The list of things that rattle my cage – and, I would imagine the vast majority of Eastbourne folk – grows ever longer. Public toilets closing (I hope the pile of mess outside the locked doors of the Meads conveniences has gone now), wheelie bins overflowing with rubbish (so the seagulls throw it all over the street) or not being collected, the state of the Carpet Gardens (looking resplendent this year I have to say) and cycling on the seafront (we need a cycle path and soon). But the top of my list and guaranteed to get on my twig is parking. I do not have a problem with parking charges per se but I am apoplectic at East Sussex County Council’s current ‘consultation’ to increase charges across Eastbourne. I get the fact that county wants us in Eastbourne, Lewes and Hastings to all be paying the same. But doubling and in some cases tripling the fees to park on the streets of Eastbourne, will be the final nail in the coffin of the “High Street” not to mention areas like Little Chelsea, Meads Village and Hampden Park. It’s an absolute outrage and what is even worse is that County Hall is running the consultation in the summer months – from July 1 to August 11 – when, you’ve guessed it, most people are on their summer holidays. I know we need to cut down on traffic congestion, pollution and the like. But increasing the charges to park in Eastbourne is not the answer. Why not drop those higher charges in Lewes or Hastings? Or better still, take off their “Highway Man” tricorn hats and masks and look at a decent park and ride for the town. Please fill the consultation in online if you can this weekend and send a message to the Highway Men. People power might just work.
In a world where few people seem to have a good word to say about young people, it was really refreshing to visit Bushy Wood scout and guide camp recently for the facility’s 60th birthday celebrations. Hundreds of youngsters including beavers and brownies were taking part in a range of activities from abseiling to wood crafts at the Big 60 weekend long camp. All these youngsters would have gone into the school on Monday morning after the event and no doubt told their classmates what they had been up to and it certainly wasn’t sitting in front of a TV or playing video games. Long may Bushy Wood continue to provide young people with a safe space to live their lives to the full and here’s to another 60 years.
While we are on the subject of clocking up the years, the Big 60 was the perfect place to recognise long service by my old family friend George Cole who has devoted more than 50 years to the scouting movement in Eastbourne and across the district. Frank Woods is pictured looking very delighted, chuffed and proud presenting George with his Chief Scout’s 50 Years Service Award at the closing ceremony of BIG 60 – on the 40th anniversary of the official opening of the Houston–Stevens Lodge which he helped to construct. Congratulations George!