OUT IN THE FIELD: Crossing chaos in Eastbourne town centre

Police officers question people acting in an alleged antisocial manner in Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-181204-101324008
Police officers question people acting in an alleged antisocial manner in Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-181204-101324008

The row over policing in Sussex rumbles on and we are now told the exact plan of what the council tax money will be spent on will be revealed next week. In the meantime, it’s great news that Eastbourne Police officers in particular are – with the support of other agencies like the council – cracking down on that bane of people’s lives: the anti-social element of the street community. You know the ones, the drug dealers, squawking drunks, professional beggars and the like whose anti-social behaviour makes it unpleasant for everyone else. I went out with two PCSOs and a police sergeant this week and saw first hand the problems in one area of the town: Jevington Gardens in Lower Meads where street drinkers and drug users are making residents’ lives a misery morning, noon and night. A group of people, some of whom as high as kites, didn’t like the fact their booze was confiscated because they had been drinking it in the street. But they were quickly got rid of thanks to a dispersal order which means offenders are banned from a certain area for a period of hours and if they return in that time, they can be arrested. It’s great to see partnership working in action and a timely reminder that it isn’t just down to the police or council to deal with the issue. It’s businesses locking their gates so groups can’t hang around there; shops being a little more choosy about who they sell alcohol to and finally the public who need to think twice before handing over any money to individuals sitting in doorways and give it to the relevant charities instead.

I don’t know what exactly the method in the madness is at the rejigging of the pedestrian crossings outside Eastbourne Railway Station. But I do know two things: people aren’t at all happy about it and it’s going to take at least 62 weeks before it’s completed. I have also come to the conclusion that you quite literally take your life in your hands when trying to cross from outside the London & County Wetherspoons to get to the station. It’s a mass of temporary lights and red barriers and not helped by the fact that Gildredge Road is now the new Diesel Alley – and full of nice new shiny blue bus stops with a new dedicated bus lane under construction from one end to the other. In among the mayhem, the contractors have also taken away the recycling bins from behind the Tourist Information Centre and blocked off Cornfield Road by the TIC so it’s impossible for elderly people to get out by the banks. At the end of it all there will be a 20 mile an hour zone within Cornfield Road, Terminus Road, Gildredge Road and several connecting roads, a one way traffic flow between the junction of Terminus Road/Gildredge Road in an easterly direction towards Cornfield Road, new bus lanes in Cornfield Road, Terminus Road and Gildredge Road, alteration to on street parking arrangements in Gildredge Road, Cornfield Road and other roads within the scheme extent and lots of banned turns, prohibition of vehicles and revised one way traffic. Before that though is 62 weeks of complete chaos.

Police officers question people acting in an alleged antisocial manner in Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-181204-101302008

Police officers question people acting in an alleged antisocial manner in Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-181204-101302008

Roadworks around Eastbourne railway station (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-181204-100857008

Roadworks around Eastbourne railway station (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-181204-100857008

Roadworks around Eastbourne railway station (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-181204-100846008

Roadworks around Eastbourne railway station (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-181204-100846008