Opinion

Opinion

REV DAVID FAREY: Bible on the Beach, and Rosary on the Coast

We are surrounded by paradoxes! “Man is born free, but he is everywhere in chains”, wrote Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the 1700s.

Opinion
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TREVOR WEEKS: Spring has definitely sprung

Spring has definitely sprung this week. The leaves on the trees and bushes have really started to burst into life and at the same time, we are now getting loads of young birds being admitted into our care too.

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Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon SUS-170614-095516001

STEPHEN LLOYD MP: A troubling case of corporate intransigence

I have being working on a troubling issue for a constituent for over a year now, which seems to have an obvious resolution but despite this I keep banging my head on the brick wall of corporate intransigence.

Opinion
Katy Bourne

Sussex PCC's video log: #StandUpToStalking

Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, explains why it is important that we all #StandUpToStalking

Opinion
David Farey SUS-160113-102615001

REV DAVID FAREY: Let’s try harder to be kinder to each other

The last three months of my sabbatical break have passed in a flash, ending in an eight-day pilgrimage to Israel.

Opinion
Swan at Sovereign Harbour SUS-181104-142628001

TREVOR WEEKS: Swans, and a successful kingfisher release

So much has happened this past week I don’t know how I am going to fit it all in!

Opinion
Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon SUS-170614-095516001

STEPHEN LLOYD MP: Potential military action in Syria

The recent use of chemical weapons in the dreadful and long running Syrian conflict is a very dangerous escalation. Deploying such weapons is also a clear violation of international law.

Opinion
Streetlight received a 5,000 grant from Sussex Community Foundation

The human cost of modern slavery

Sussex Community Foundation has two funds – the Nick and Gill Wills Fund and the Brenda Ford Fund - that specifically support charities and community groups in Sussex, supporting women who are vulnerable or at risk of abuse, exploitation or violence.

Opinion
Dr Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester

Life and faith is about more than entertainment and the survival of the fittest.

I’ve been watching the new Netflix series on the tale of Troy.

Opinion
Police news

OUT IN THE FIELD: The thin blue line is getting thinner

Fair play to PC Dave Elliott, or Billy Elliott as he is known among his colleagues, for putting his head above the proverbial parapet last week to speak out about “dangerously low” levels of staffing which are “not safe or practical” for frontline police officers. He spoke the truth and said what a host of other officers are thinking – that they are being asked to do more and more with fewer and fewer resources as the thin blue line gets thinner by the day. PC Elliott saying it like it is has prompted a flood of support from not only his colleagues but retired police officers who are unhappy that the police service they joined as young men is being eroded away. Among them is Kevin Moore who, like his father before him, joined the job because he wanted to lock up bad people: a no-nonsense top detective who was once the boss of Eastbourne CID before he moved up the ranks. His petition calling for Sussex Police boss Katy Bourne to prioritise the recruitment of police officers over police community support officers is gaining momentum. That this whole issue is garnering support is not in doubt but what is unclear is the message coming from Sussex Police and Mrs Bourne’s office about what is being done to reassure the public – the public who have become increasingly concerned over the ability of the force to be able to respond with frontline police officers to incidents. Seeing as a portion of our council tax goes on policing, Mrs Bourne has secured a considerable increase in funding for the new financial year of 2018/2019 through a rise. The message is we will have more officers and staff. But what is not being said is that it appears there is no actual increase in the numbers of police officers. All that the money will be doing is keeping the officers who would have been lost through central government cuts. Plugging a gap then? Moving deckchairs around? Maintaining a status quo? Standing still even? What the force needs and what the public wants is more frontline police officers. I have the greatest respect for PCSOs but they have as much power as you or I when it comes to arresting some ne’er-do-well – none. We have tried to pin the PCC down on what exactly the council tax precept will be spent on – frontline police officers or PCSOs. The message back has been, “The precept investment will mean new officers and staff taking additional posts in local policing. We will be providing more details of our future plans next week.” They’re either completely out of touch about what plans are needed or thanks to the likes of PC Elliott and Kevin Moore, they’re changing said plans. Hopefully it’s the latter.

News
Two swans from Eastbourne SUS-180304-163428001

TREVOR WEEKS: A tale of two swans - and a close call for fox cub

Easter sees wildlife rescue organisations up and down the country starting to get busier and busier.

Opinion
Ice Rink at Eastbourne Railway Station E51067K

OUT IN THE FIELD: Litter strewn verges are an eyesore

Like many others, I marvelled at the Bolero ice dance routine by Olympic champions Torvill and Dean way back when and have always been a huge fan of ice skating. I recall one Christmas a makeshift rink was set up in the railway station car park and another time in Fort Fun. Since then anyone wanting to slip on their skates has had to go to London so it’s particularly pleasing to see that support for a rink in Eastbourne is growing rapidly. That is thanks in part to Engineering Eastbourne, a project launched recently to encourage young people to get into engineering. While some of the suggestions coming from the young people may be ambitious – although I quite like the idea of the railway lines from here to London being converted so we could jump aboard autonomous vehicles – the dedicated mountain bike track and ice rink have struck a chord with people that can actually make this kind of thing happen. The potential footfall of such attractions will run into hundreds of thousands and would be a huge boost to the town. Follow @EngineeringEastbourne to get involved and we just might be able to turn one of these ideas into reality.

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Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon SUS-170614-095516001

STEPHEN LLOYD MP: Passover, pensions and welfare assistance

It was a privilege last weekend to attend the Eastbourne Liberal Judaism Passover Seder ceremony as their guest.

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Baby badger from near Hailsham SUS-180328-100011001

TREVOR WEEKS: Orphan badgers and foxes, and a happy ending for buzzard

You can tell Easter is almost here as WRAS welcomes in its first orphan badger and fox cubs.

News
Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon SUS-170614-095516001

STEPHEN LLOYD MP: A celebration of Eastbourne’s potential

I took the opportunity a few days ago to be shown around the innards of the new Arndale (Beacon) development and it’s looking tremendously exciting.

Opinion
Rt Revd Richard Jackson, Bishop of Lewes

Everything changed at the first Easter

A few years ago I gave up caffeine of any sort for Lent.

Opinion
Injured toad SUS-180321-104616001

TREVOR WEEKS: Cold spells save on hedgehog food as they’re hibernating

The cold spells over the past month have certainly saved us on food bills for the hedgehogs, as most of the ones we are over wintering have hibernated.

News
Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd at the Wish Tower with the team organising the Peace Garden. SUS-180322-101729001

STEPHEN LLOYD: Peace garden a fitting and evocative tribute

One of the hardest things I think anyone can ever experience must be as a parent losing a child. Almost beyond words.

Opinion
Congress Theatre in Eastbourne undergoing major building works (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-170327-104429008

OUT IN THE FIELD: Fur coat no knickers as Winter Garden refurb is cut back

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. The £44 million project to refurbish the Devonshire Park Quarter is going over budget by nine million quid and Eastbourne council will be borrowing a cool £4million on taxpayers’ behalf to make sure it gets finished. Well, finished is perhaps stretching the truth somewhat as we are now being told that some aspects of the scheme will have to fall by the wayside. My first observation is that rather a lot of the budget has been taken up by improving the tennis offering at Devonshire Park. While the court construction works were within budget, the irrigation system for the courts had to be replaced rather than extended and it was decided that rather than refurbish the tennis players’ building, a brand new sparkly one should be built instead to meet the needs of the international player governing bodies. Okay, the investment has secured the women’s tournament for ten years and the tennis players and LTA officials are happy. But it’s of little benefit to your ordinary Joe in the Eastbourne street. The second point is that the refurbishment of the Congress Theatre and the construction of the new Welcome Building are both well underway which will at least benefit local people. But what of the poor Devonshire Park Theatre and the Winter Garden? The former has had its facelift already but it is still so unbelievably “disabled access unfriendly” and in this day and age it is pretty poor when wheelchair bound theatre goers have to enter the theatre via a service road at the side of the theatre. The Winter Garden, we are told, is also coming out looking like the poor relation as while major restoration work is going ahead and a lift installed, there will not be any redecoration and the toilets won’t be refurbished. What a terrible shame that this grand old lady is being treated so unfairly. In my opinion, it’s like buying a Louis Vuitton handbag and putting a purse from Primark inside. All fur coat and no knickers....

Lifestyle
Trevor releasing a pigeon at Pallet Track Hailsham SUS-180314-142745001

TREVOR WEEKS: Buzzard rescued from railway line, and wood pigeon released

We were called out to rescue a buzzard after it struck a train between Buxted and Uckfield Railway Stations last week.

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