Social enterprise will run project

Mr Steadman's letter in last week's Herald contained a few inaccuracies that I felt compelled to write in and correct.

Eastbourne Borough Council has committed 24,000 for a two-year project which will be run by a social enterprise.

This is basically a company with a social conscious like the Co-op and Fairtrade. This company will use the money as a starting point for a project with a two-fold aim, to raise awareness of the access needs in a wide range of venues in this town and also help to improve access.

Simply shouting that we need better access will not get anything done, we need to work with people not against them, hence the need for this project.

Local volunteers will be trained to give reviews and then the owners of the businesses will be invited to respond and be given advice on how to improve access.

This project is absolutely not about self-congratulation, in fact, the first reviews will be of council property, such as the town hall and sports centres and I am certain that the reviewers will find plenty that we need to do!

The long-term aim of the project is that we will have reviewed almost everything, from local newsagents to restaurants, from GP surgeries to local opticians, from the local grocers to big hotels. Everything that people use, whether they are disabled or not will eventually be covered.

The main reason for this is that any adjustment that would benefit a person with a disability will benefit many others as well.

Good lighting in a store benefits visually impaired people and unsurprisingly anyone else who comes in.

This is, as we can all imagine, going to take far longer than two years but with the support of many groups around Eastbourne, I am sure it is going to be a success.

The other issue raised by Mr Steadman was the issue around dropped kerb provision. It is East Sussex County Council which is responsible for the provision of dropped kerbs and until members of the Eastbourne Access Group fought for it, there was no provision at all for dropped kerbs to be given a separate budget.

Eastbourne Borough Council applied for 180,000 worth of works to be budgeted for and only 42,000 was agreed.

This allows only five new dropped kerbs to be put in this financial year and the rest for essential maintenance of existing kerbs.

Quite simply, this is a disgrace. The county council is allowing Eastbourne's pavements fall into ruin while they spend more and more money on spin.

Councillor Andrew Goodwin

Eastbourne Borough Council

Town Hall