The only planned Victorian town

I WRITE in reply to the letters by Robert Armstrong and Malcolm Rasala.

My husband and I knew Eastbourne from former visits when we came to live in Willingdon Village in 1973.

Although part of Eastbourne, this was still a real village, with a variety of shops, post office, etc. You did not need a car to live here.

Even my husband easily commuted to London every day, because Eastbourne had a most marvellous seven-day bus service.

So, who or what changed this ‘idyll’ against the will of the people, seeing we are supposed to live in a democracy?

I am sure it started with Eastbourne’s first planning application for a supermarket - vigorously opposed by the elected planning committee and the officers who had found out this could lead to the destruction of local shops.

However, our still highly undemocratic government appointed Appeal Authority had little sympathy for our lovely town and started the town-wide destruction of our wonderful variety of local businesses.

Later, I remember from my time at the planning committee, a town-wide survey was made of the destruction of our local shops and businesses and it was truly horrendous.

But, on top of that how did we lose most of our very useful post offices - including Eastbourne’s main post office and our still greatly missed local village post office?

Our then MP Ian Gow fought with us to the bitter end to stop this madness. Later I learned Mrs Thatcher, who was seemingly given power to act on what she disliked, very much disliked “cross-subsidisation.” As the post office telephones h

ad always subsidised the postal side she privatised them as British Telecom, thereby leaving post offices and the Royal Mail in a precarious situation. Again, what we, the people wanted was neither here nor there!

The first thing I learned about Eastbourne is it is such a lovely and unique Victorian town because it is the only planned Victorian town in Britain: the famous architect who planned it went to Paris to prepare it!

And of course you can lean all about it from our Heritage Centre!

So, what is it we badly need here in Eastbourne and all over Britain, particularly as the most serious latest government assault on our well-being is directed at our wonderful National Health Service?

What we desperately need, is a genuine democracy, that means a written constitution which clearly sets out our individual rights and the rights of our governments.

The US, France, Germany, etc - you can easily read their constitutions so why is ours denied to us? Or rather, isn’t it obvious why?

A Conservative MP was quoted in the Guardian, not long ago that our Government could rightly be called an elected dictatorship.

As an “old” Liberal (January 1986) I hope to live long enough to see this drastically changed.


Melvill Lane