OUT IN THE FIELD: Eastbourne garden waste collection is rubbish

Garden waste bins in Dillingburgh Road, Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-180517-100644008
Garden waste bins in Dillingburgh Road, Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-180517-100644008

If the last fortnight is anything to go by, what a load of rubbish the new garden waste scheme in Eastbourne is turning out to be. Across the town, council tax payers duly paid the £52 annual charge, put stickers on their brown bins and left them out to be collected. Their collection days came and went and the bins remained empty leading to a massive backlog, we are told, due to the powers that be at council contractors Kier not putting out enough vehicles on the rounds. Apparently Kier reduced the number of collection trucks to just one and quite understandably the vehicle and its crew members, who are not to blame for this shambles, couldn’t cope. Important looking men in nice shiny Eastbourne and Lewes councils van visited various streets checking who had stickers on their bins. I gather in one road they looked at bins to inspect aforementioned stickers and peered inside, presumably to make sure people weren’t trying to sneak in a dead body or two. The council says the take up of the garden waste collection scheme has been phenomenal. In that case would it not perhaps have been better if Kier had waited to measure uptake before getting rid?

The town is now officially a mass of temporary traffic lights (they frequently stop working in Gildredge Road), traffic cones and red and white traffic barriers. The town centre improvement scheme will I am sure be fantastic when it is done but everyone’s patience is wearing a bit thin when you throw the ongoing work at Whitley Road and Beamsley Road into the equation. And now Langney Rise will soon be closed. Deep joy.

If ever there was a reflection of the sign of the times, it’s the illustrious history of the marvellous Friends of Eastbourne Hospital charity, now celebrating its 70th anniversary. The charity, known back then as the Hospital Patients Association and later the Friends of the Eastbourne Hospitals, has raised in excess of £16 million over the years. What is telling is that back in the 1940s and 50s there were eight hospitals in the Eastbourne area including Princess Alice, St Mary’s, The Leaf, Merlynn Convalescent, Gildredge, Downside, the Eye Hospital, ENT Hospital and the Maternity Home, affectionately known as Number Nine Upperton Road, where most of us of a certain age were born. One of the first donations in 1949 was a radiogram for Number Nine. Following the closure of All Saints Hospital in 2004, the Eastbourne DGH became not only the only hospital being supported by the charity but the only one left in Eastbourne, so in 2013 the name was changed to avoid confusion – this time to the Friends of the Eastbourne Hospital. Long may the charity continue its wonderful work in providing extra equipment and services for patients and staff.

The Birthday Shout Out returns this week and those blowing out the candles include Sandra Farmer, Claire Blacklaws, Pauline Lorence, coastguard Keith Rayment, Billy Reed, Yvonne Allan, Sue O’Hara and photographer Mark Dimmock.