OUT IN THE FIELD: Come on in – the water’s lovely!

Eastbourne in the heat wave (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-180726-092913008
Eastbourne in the heat wave (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-180726-092913008

It would appear the powers that be at East Sussex County Council may have dropped a clanger in their recent round of cuts which has seen the parking shop in Eastbourne’s Gildredge Road close its doors and be relocated – behind the scenes and out of the public’s gaze – at the Central Library. It means you cannot apply for parking permits in person any more and have to go online instead. While most people have been able to register and apply for permits without any problems, a large section of the town’s elderly population are struggling because they either don’t have a computer or access to one. Those without internet access, the county council advises, can apply for their permit via the publicly available computers in libraries, and hard working library staff can provide help and support as can volunteers from the Computer Buddy Scheme, who will even help folk upload the various proof of residence required and get them an email address – if you can get an appointment. All sounds good so far despite the fact there are many elderly people who wouldn’t know one end of a computer from another and have never had an email address in their lives. And why should they? They have managed perfectly well over the years without going within spitting distance of a computer or sending an email to communicate. They are all old school and like conducting their business with a person face-to-face. And that is the point. Unless I am very much mistaken, when a consultation was launched to look at the possible closures of parking shops, there was diddly squat mentioned about people only being able to apply for permits online. I know it all comes down to money, the county council hasn’t got any of it and cuts need to be made, but it is also important that people have a choice. And this time there is none whatsoever.

Come on in, the water’s lovely. So say two of my friends who have taken to swimming in the sea off Eastbourne every day thus far this summer. Not only is it warm apparently but particularly up opposite Holywell it’s clear and ‘like swimming in the Med’. That’s good seeing as it’s the first week of the long summer holidays and with temperatures soaring, the cry of thousands of children can be heard demanding paddling pools be filled. Ditch the pool and take to the beach or if you do need to use your paddling pool at home, fill it during the day if you can rather than during peak water use times – and keep it covered overnight to save refilling the next day. We all need to be waterwise so use the water afterwards to water your garden because I’ll bet that, despite the extortionate amount of rates we pay for drinking water each year, there will be more than just talk of a hosepipe ban in the coming weeks.