Eastbourne Conservatives hit out at council’s ‘loaded’ downland poll

Protesters outside the town hall SUS-170902-100157001
Protesters outside the town hall SUS-170902-100157001

The Conservative Group on Eastbourne Borough Council has renewed its call for a referendum on the proposed sale of the downland farms.

In a motion to go before the full council next week, the group is asking that local people have the chance to decide in a meaningful referendum.

This week the council has sent out its ‘Eastbourne Review’ to every household in the borough.

But, Conservative councillors argue, the review only puts the council’s side of the argument forward, and then asks for feedback via a loaded yes or no answer form.

Leader of the Conservative Group, Cllr Tony Freebody, said, “The so-called consultation in the Eastbourne Review falls far short of the standard required to ensure proper scrutiny and fails to allow those who oppose the sale to make their feelings known.

“The Review sets out the council’s point of view, but does not allow those with opposing views to put their case forward.

“How on earth is that democratic? If the council was serious about this, they would have allowed campaigners 50/50 coverage to allow people to have an informed choice.

“The choice offered by Eastbourne Borough Council in the form of a loaded opinion poll is a false one. Why didn’t Cllr David Tutt simply ask the question ‘Do you want to retain or sell the freeholds of the downland farms’? Perhaps he feared the result?”

Meads councillor Barry Taylor put forward the motion to be debated at the council meeting on Wednesday, February 22.