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LEWES PLANS SECRET SALE OF EMERGENCY HOUSING

23 Mar
NEWS RELEASE For immediate release  22/3/15

Picture- Saxonbury in lewes
saxonbury
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Lewes stop the cuts has discovered that the social cleansing of Lewes is set
to continue with the planned sale of Saxonbury in Juggs Lane as part of the
secret sale of 49 sites by Lewes District Council.

The building is on the list of sites for sale, which has been shown to
members of the campaign.

It is currently used as temporary accommodation for homeless local people
and is the only such facility in the town. The accommodation consists of  
self contained-flats with their own kitchens etc. The tenancies are temporary, 
not secure, and given to tenants who have met homelessness tests.

Lewes Stop the Cuts housing spokesperson Chris Smith says: "With high house
prices in Lewes town almost anyone can become homeless.  All it takes is a
relationship breakup or a lost job.  It is vital that people can find
temporary accommodation in the town so that they can continue to hold down
their jobs and their children can continue to go to the same school".

He comments " We need to be building more emergency housing to cope with the
crisis, not selling of what we have.  In the long run this will cost the
council money in sub-standard bed and breakfast bills." 

LSTC understands that land at Jubilee Gardens next door is also on the list
of sites for sale, as is the old Turkish Baths, the tourist centre, the
council offices in Fisher Street, Western Road toilets, and St Marys Social
centre.  Town councillors have been told that at least one of the sales is
so far down that line that it cannot be stopped.

Chris says  " The secrecy around these sales seems to be designed to
suppress opposition.  I believe that both the ruling conservative group and
the main opposition liberal democrat group support these sales and are
withholding information from local people.  There is an election for the
district council coming soon and residents should ask candidates what their
stance is."

A local resident who has lived close by in Juggs Rd. for nearly 20 years 
commented that Saxonbury is a part of  the local community and they want 
it to stay that way.
For more information contact:

LSTC MEDIA OFFICER CHRIS SMITH cs@hbhelp.co.uk,
01273483869

NOTES
Where pensioners, people with children or other vulnerable people become
homeless through no fault of their own the council must find them somewhere
to live.  The number of people needing to be housed in this way in Lewes
District has over doubled in recent years.  It is common for people to be
placed in bed and breakfast accommodation, in places like Eastbourne, even
though it is illegal to put them in this type of accommodation except for
very short periods.

 

NORTH STREET DEVELOPMENT- FINE WORDS MASK THE SOCIAL CLEANSING OF LEWES

21 Mar

Lewes District Council and developers Santon have submitted their planning application for the development of North Street to the planning authority- the National Park.  It’s a development that will increase the size of the town by 5% on its own.

With over 400 people on the housing waiting list many people had great hopes for the 400 dwellings that were promised.  Lewes Stop the Cuts has read through all the fine words to discover that their hopes will be dashed.

  • Only 95 homes out of a total of 416 will be available for general needs rental.(1)
  • These homes are supposed to be let at “affordable rents”, but rents could be up to £350 pounds a week.(2) Some people will end up paying more than 50% of their income in rent.
  • There will be 32 homes available to part rent and part buy, but you will need to have an income of around £30k to buy even the smallest share of the smallest home- far more than most Lewes people in housing need earn.(3)
  • Although there is a desperate need for housing for older people which has level access, there will be hardly any housing suitable for them unless they want to go into care home style accommodation. Despite the claim that all the homes in the development are suitable for living at all stages of your life many of the smaller dwellings involved climbing up stairs to the third floor!
  • Any older person wanting somewhere with a lift will be forced into care home type housing where they will be forced to pay around £250 per week in rent, on top of paying for any care needs that they have.(4) There is already an over-supply of this type of housing.

Lewes Stop the Cuts housing specialist says “We are already losing many young people from Lewes because they cannot afford to live here.  They are our future and we cannot afford their loss.  Our older residents also face housing problems and this scheme will do little to help them.

We need a decent number of homes to rent at prices that people can actually afford and we need places that people can live in at all stages of their lives.”

For more information contact:

LSTC MEDIA OFFICER CHRIS SMITH  cs@hbhelp.co.uk, 01273483869

NOTES

(1).Source- Housing Assessment submitted with the planning application.

(2). Rents will normally be set at 80% of the market rent.  We have reviewed rents on offer as at 16/3/15.

This is what we found

Size of property                      Mean weekly rent              80% of this

1 bedroomed                           £180                            £144

2 bedroomed                           £254                            £203

3 bedroomed                           £288                            £230

4 bedroomed                           £437                            £350

(3). Source-  East Sussex council summary of census data and Housing Association web sites.

(4). Source- survey of extra care housing rents in Lewes areas

Lewes Stop the Cuts is a non party campaign group opposed to cuts in public services affecting Lewes.  It has over 450 supporters who are sent regular updates.  To subscribe visit our website at https://lewesstopthecuts.wordpress.com   Details of the proposed to bus services in East Sussex can be found at the same address.

A fully detailed briefing on this subject is available from the media officer.

Love Your Bus Campaign a new initiative- Fares Fair.

16 Jan

 

LOVE YOUR BUS CAMPAIGN LATEST NEWS

 

 

It’s the new year and the Love Your Bus Campaign Continues- In fact we have launched a new initiative- Fares Fair.

FaresFair

 

What happened in December

 

The full council voted not to make the bus cuts, but, because democracy has been minimised in East Sussex County Council, the cabinet, a small group of council members from one party (the Conservatives) has the final say.  They voted to make the cuts.

 

As a sop to democracy, the cabinet systems has a series of scrutiny committees, who scrutinise decisions made by the council.  A decision can be “called in” by members of the scrutiny committee if it has been taken in an unlawful or unreasonable way.  Four members of the scrutiny committee have done this.  What happens after that is that the cabinet asks officials to find ways of ruling the call in “out of order”. This is very easy to do, and in fact the officials have ruled the call in request out of order.  Councillors on the committee are now looking at what else they can do.

 

Fares Fair

 

The cabinet meeting agreed to cut services, but it did not agree a fare rise.  Instead it gave officials power to make increases of UP TO 30%.  This means that the fare issue is not decided.

 

The council only sets the fares on the services that it financially supports.  Otherwise the bus operator sets the fares.  Bus operator Compass bus, tempted by the possibility of raising fares, has said that it will run quite a few services, at reduced frequencies, without any financial support from the council.  So now some fares will be set by Compass and some by East Sussex Council officials.

 

The COMPASS BUS COMPANY will now be responsible for setting fares on these routes:

 

121 Lewes to Chailey and Newick

123 Lewes to Newhaven

125 Lewes to Alfriston

127 Landport estate bus Lewes

128 Nevill estate bus Lewes

129 Nevill and Winterbourne bus Lewes

143 Lewes to Ringmer, Laughton, Hailsham and Eastbourne

The campaign is asking people who use these services or who know people who do to contact Compass bus to ask them to keep fares at present levels, saying how a fare increase would affect you.

 

You can email them at office@compass-travel.co.uk  Please send a copy to us at lewesstopthecuts@gmail.com

 

Or write to them at Compass Travel, Faraday Close, Durrington, Worthing. BN13 3RB

 

Ask Compass to tell you what they decide to do.

 

EAST SUSSEX COUNTY COUNCIL will now be responsible for setting fares on these routes:

 

125 Lewes to Barcombe

166 Lewes to Plumpton and Haywards Heath

824 Lewes to Ditchling and Burgess Hill.

 

The campaign is asking people who use these services or who know people who do to contact East Sussex Council bus to ask them to keep fares at present levels, saying how a fare increase would affect you.  You can contact them via your county council member or

 

You can email  them at passenger.transport@eastsussex.gov.uk  Please send a copy to us at lewesstopthecuts@gmail.com

 

The fare rises

 

Here are some sample fares. The current fares are shown first, the effect of a 30% increase is shown in brackets

from Nevill or Landport into Lewes

single £1.70 (£2.21)

return £2.20 (£2.86)  (Lewes day bus ticket is the same price)

weekly ticket £8 (£10.40)

 

From Newhaven or similar 8 mile journey

Return £4.80 (£6.24)

Weekly ticket £16 (£20.80)

(this is the maximum ticket price on subsidised services)

 

Lewes dial a ride (fares payable by everyone, including bus pass holders)

Return journey in Lewes town £3.50 (£4.55)

Return journey from outside Lewes town into Lewes £5 (£6.50)

 

Weekly tickets for young people who use the bus to go to school will also go up. The maximum fare will go up from £15 a week to £16, but the council does not appear to have decided how much fares that are below the maximum would be increased.

 

Bus Pass Holders beware.

 

Pensioners and others with bus passes should also be concerned.  Already they face increases on dial a ride services and some political parties have been suggesting that they would like to take the bus pass away from pensioners. Candidates will be coming round to ask for your vote.  You should ask them what they think about the fare rises and service cuts and whether they will cut the concessionary bus pass or make it dependent on people’s income.

 

What you can do now:

 

  • Contact East Sussex Council or Compass bus (depending on who will be setting the fares on your services, asking them not to increase fares, and to let you know what they decide to do. You can find the contact details above.
  • Candidates will be coming round to ask for your vote. You should ask them what they think about the fare rises and service cuts and whether they will cut the concessionary bus pass or make it dependent on people’s income.

Lewes Bus services to be decimated

30 Jun

 

 

 

 

 

Latest information 09/07/2014

RE ESCC ‘Consultation Exerceise’ on the decimation of our bus services.

Email received from Madeline Harmer business transport officer for ESCC
“Paper copies of the survey are available in all libraries and will shortly be available on supported buses throughout East Sussex. Residents can request a paper copy of the survey by calling us on 0345 60 80 194, and in this month’s “Your County” there will be information regarding the consultation which will include this telephone number.

In addition all key stakeholders, including parish and district councils, charities, children centres, religious communities, and social groups have received a link to the online version of the survey, and a note informing them that they can request paper versions of the survey by calling us on 0345 60 80 194.”

 Make sure your voice is heard today!!!!

Bus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30% price hike and service frequency slashed.

People can shop on line instead of using local shops, says council

On July 1st East Sussex Council’s cabinet is likely to rubber stamp a proposal which would start the decimation of  the subsidised bus services in Lewes and East Sussex.  The 28 and 29 run by Brighton buses will not be affected. But almost every other bus service running into Lewes will be cut.

Fares Hike

Local sustainable travel expert Chris Smith says:

“Fares on remaining services will face a huge hike, making them unaffordable for many.  Increases will approach 30% across the board!  This will lead to even less use of what buses remain.

For example, the current fare from Lewes to Newhaven and return is currently £4.80.  A 30% increase takes that to £6.24.   This is almost double the current train fare and makes the car, if you have one, a cheaper option.

You can see that the council are trying to reduce bus passengers so that they can make even further cuts”.

Subsidy cut

In 2012/3 the councils supported bus services to the tune of just over £2.9 million a year.  It wants to reduce this support to under £700 thousand by April 2015.  (The council has recently spent about £56 million of its (our) money on the Bexhill Hastings link road on top of the money paid by the government)

Service cuts

The council will keep many bus services which are used for people to get to and from work and also most journeys that enable students to get to school. (But there may be fewer services than there are now even in the peaks)

All evening and Sunday services subsidised by the council will be withdrawn.

The council is not clear what will happen on Saturdays on routes which will still have a daily service Monday to Friday.  You should not assume that there will still be Saturday services. Where there are Saturday services the frequency will be the same as the off peak services shown below.  There will be no Saturday services to Barcombe, Plumpton or Haywards Heath.  There is already no Saturday service to Hailsham.

Off peak services in the day will be drastically cut.  Here’s how Lewes town’s bus services would fare outside of normal school and work rush hours:

121 Lewes-Newick service is reduced to every two hours

123 Lewes-Kingston- Newhaven is reduced to every two hours

125 Lewes- Barcombe- Alfriston will operate on Mondays and Thursdays only (daily peak service)

127 Landport Service is reduced to hourly

128 Nevill Service is reduced to hourly (this frequency probably includes the 129 service)

129 Nevill and Winterbourne service is reduced to every two hours

143 Lewes- Ringmer and Hailsha will operate onTuesday and Friday only (no service at all on other days)

166 Plumpton and Haywards Hth will operate on Mondays and Thursdays only (daily peak service)

824 Ditchling and Burgess  Hill will operate on Tuesday and Friday only (daily peak service)

A number of public services serving Ringmer college from the east will become school only services, which will mean an increase in travel costs of £5.50 per week per student.

There are similar cuts right across the county.

WHO IS AFFECTED?

As the county admits, shoppers and those with medical appointments will be worst affected.  That’s bad news for shopkeepers. The council hopes more people will shop on line instead of using local shops.

But it is bad news for shift or part time workers too, and the council admits that some people may lose their jobs  (on top of the bus drivers who will also lose theirs)

Also affected will be pensioners, who face further isolation, and young people who want to visit their friends.  The county admits that people with learning disabilities may have trouble getting to day and training centres.

Because the council is cutting only socially necessary services the poorest and most vulnerable will be disproportionately affected.

The council believes that some services, such as libraries, will be affected.  As you probably know, rural libraries are being cut, so more people need to travel.

Areas like Chailey, Newick, Laughton and Kingston will become no go areas where it is impossible to live without a car, or more than one car.  And, of course, the number of cars trying to drive and park in Lewes will rise.

The policies take no account of environmental concerns and take no account of the extra costs of more traffic, pollution or social isolation.

20% of households in Lewes district do not have access to a car.  Even in those households that have a car, household members may be stranded at home if one member must take the car, for example to get to work.

The council has the power to use revenues from car parking schemes to subsidise bus services, but has not promised to do so.

What COULD the council do?

Chris says that there are other courses that the council could follow:

  • It could commit itself to not wasting money on road schemes
  • It could actually publicise the bus services to ensure more people use them instead of keeping them secret.
  • It could generate more money from parking schemes and use this to pay for buses.
  • It could adopt the system used in London and being tried out in Newcastle, where companies have to tender to run the profitable and the unprofitable services as a package.  At the moment the commercial companies trouser the profit on the profitable routes and the taxpayer subsidises the others. Under the alternative system the profitable routes help subsidise the loss making ones.

When would the cuts happen? 

These cuts would happen in April 2015- just 8 months away

What can you do?

  • Tell everyone who you know who might be affected anywhere in East Sussex. – You could forward this newsletter to them
  •  Raise the issue at any organisation or community group you are part of.
  • Look at the detailed information here  to see exactly how you may be affected.
  • Tell your county council member that you want them to oppose the cuts at every opportunity.
  • Contact local papers and radio stations to tell them how you will be affected.

July 1 is not the end of the decision making. This is what the county council says it will do:

“In July, August and September 2014 we will use a wide range of methods to ask members of the community for their views about the draft Strategy and our proposals for the Supported Bus Network.

During October and November 2014 the Project Board and a cross Party Councillors Advisory Group will review what people have told us. Using these views and other relevant information, we will decide if any changes need to be made to the draft Strategy and/or the Supported Bus Network proposals.

In December 2014 ESCC’s Cabinet will be asked to approve the final version of the Strategy and recommendations for the final supported bus network.

Chris says “There is still time to make a difference!  But we need to act now.”

 

Image

Public Meeting. What’s the best for the Phoenix/North St? Thursday 29 th May 7.30 @ Lewes Town Hall

22 May

publicmeetingweb

Alternatives to Austerity: 15th May, 7.30 @ The Elephant & Castle

13 May

Lewes & District Trades Union Council Presents

“The Alternatives to Austerity”

With Michael Meacher MP

plus local speakers

Upstairs at the Elephant & Castle public house, White Hill, Lewes

Thursday 15th of May at 7.30 pm

Free entry. Collection for Lewes Stop The Cuts.

Following on from the last Trades council festival in the Autumn of 2013 , this meeting will address the continued impact of austerity and how alternative strategies may be presented to challenge the governments contention that ‘there is no alternative’. The meeting will be chaired by Ann Ruyzlo, Trades council secretary and POA member. The main speaker will be Michael Meacher MP one of the Labour party’s leading proponents of alternative strategies. Local speakers will include Lynda Walker, secretary of East Sussex Unison and others. The meeting will conclude with a discussion of questions from the audience.

ATOS National Demo in Brighton on Wednesday 19th of February 1000 – 1400

14 Feb
Brighton Assessment Centre, Lower Ground Floor West, Lees House, 21-35 Dyke Road, Brighton, BN1 3GD 10:00 until 14:00
As part of the UK wide national protest, this is to be a demonstration against the inhuman methods employed by Atos during their assessments of sick and disabled people. The protest is open to everyone from Brighton and the greater area. As with other demonstrations around the country, there may be some Direct Action taken. Involvement with this is a personal choice.
We are planning to hold a short period of silence at 1pm in memory of some 30,000 people that are believed to have died following Atos assessment (10,600 between Jan to Nov 2011 alone!)

 

ATOS

 

Pensions – A Lib Dem Con?

11 Feb
On Tuesday 11 Feb, Steve Webb, Pensions Minister came to Lewes to give a talk entitled ‘What do pension changes mean for me’. Pensions are a hot topic because the government is changing the way pension provision is made and clearly this will affect everyone who has yet to reach pension age.
 
One of the main planks of the changes is the introduction of a ‘Single tier pension’ which will merge all current state pension provision into one single pension. The issue is how will this affect people?
 
The government says the changes will be cost neutral in the short term and will cost less in the long term. However, there will be winners and losers. The majority of people will gain in the short term but 19% ie 1 in 5, according to the respected think tank, The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS), will be losers. Maybe you will be one of these. The IFS also predict that ‘In the longer term, the new system will be less generous to just about everyone than the system that it is replacing’ and that ‘most people would have to live to over 100 to be better off overall’ (Quoted from IFS Report R82). Given that by 2060 the new system will save .4% of national income this makes complete sense.
 
The National Insurance Fund was in surplus by over £38 billion at 31 March 2012 and given the size of this pot it begs the question whether these changes are necessary and indeed that pension provision could be improved for the worst off.
 
In tandem with raising the state retirement age from 60 to 68 and for men from 65 to 68 which already penalises the poorest in society and given that the vast majority of people in the long term will be worse off under the changes, this is simply another cut in people’s standard of living by this coalition government.
 
Tony Rowell LSTC pensions spokesperson

East Sussex County Council is proposing to make cuts of £27.7 million in the 2014 / 2015 financial year

6 Feb

Lobby of East Sussex County Council Budget Meeting County Hall

Tuesday 11th of February 8.30 – 10.00 am

East Sussex County Council is proposing to make cuts of £27.7 million in the 2014 / 2015 financial year and it appears that Lewes will be hit particularly hard.

Proposed cuts include the following job losses:

12 at the Phoenix Centre. A day centre for the elderly and a valuable resource for other local groups – which may be closed for good

19 at County Hall

18 at the East Sussex Music Service.

ESMS is one of the county’s flagship services on, which has achieved a high level of success

Come and support us and other local groups against the cuts on Tuesday morning. It is also possible to attend the finance committee meeting. We will meet outside the front door off St. Anne’s Crescent.

Upcoming Events in Lewes and Brighton

6 Feb

Upcoming Events:

Tuesday 11th February 8am to 10am
Lobby East Sussex County Council against Cuts County Hall

Tuesday 11th February 8am
Tell Pensions minister Steve Webb what you think in Lewes Register here for free
Thursday 6th February
Defend the NHS Forum What is happening to our Sexual Health Services?  7pm GMB Offices, Church Rd, Hove
Thursday 6th February
Debate on Council Tax Referendum hosted by the Argus 7pm Hove Town Hall
Thursday 6th February
Debate on Council Tax Referendum hosted by Brighton Peoples Assembly 7:30pm St Michaels Community Centre
Saturday 8th February
Support LGBT and human rights during winter Olympics
Meet Midday at the Clock Tower
https://www.facebook.com/events/1386291254926565/
Monday 10th February
Debate on Council Tax Referendum hosted by the Brighton Independent Newspaper
Metropole Hotel 7pm register here to attend
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-big-debate-tickets-10321097681

February 13th at the White Hart in Lewes
Transport minister Baroness Kramer is to speak – again go and tell her what think.
Register here for free event

Wednesday 19th February
National Demo Day of Action Against ATOS
Stop the inhumane assessments of the sick and disabled
8:00am Brighton Assessment Centre, Lower Ground Floor West, Lees House, 21-35 Dyke Road, Brighton, BN1 3GD

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