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Eastbourne & Willingdon Lib Dems

Stephen's Newsletter 10/07/13

July 10, 2013 2:46 PM

Like the prophets of old, the pundits have predicted it repeatedly, the media has got itself into its annual tizz of speculation and expectation, and conversations between friends have been about little else. And after what feels like an eternity, it has finally happened. No, I'm not talking about Murray winning Wimbledon, I was talking about the sun finally coming out! And doesn't our town show it off well. However, despite the glorious weather, there is always work to be done - the DGH, Albert Parade, the TA and more have dominated my last few weeks; read on for more details...

Following this, I worked closely with the Health services watchdog and the Care Quality Commission, who had already planned to inspect the hospital, and following a number of frank meetings they are looking into the paediatric services at the hospital and will be reporting shortly. I have also raised concerns about this with David Cameron at PMQs and will be meeting with the Secretary of State for Health next week. Click here for more information.

On a happier note, last week the NHS celebrated its 65th Birthday! This is a good time to reflect on the hard working staff, nurses, doctors, occupational therapists, porters, health care assistants, admin staff, and countless others - all the wonderful NHS employees who make our Hospital and community NHS services tick, and who keep this great national institution running, saving countless lives in the process. Happy Birthday and a big Thank You.

We also have a fight on our hands in Albert Parade, where this fantastic little collection of shops is being threatened by Sainsburys which is poised to take over the Drive Pub at the end of the Parade. To the best of my knowledge, Albert Parade is unique in East Sussex for having such a wide variety and high number of excellent quality independent stores, including a greengrocer, butcher, baker and fishmonger. But all of these traditional shops could be threatened if Sainsburys succeeds. They will have a fight on their hands though - last Saturday a couple of hundred concerned residents turned up in the glorious sunshine complete with brollies to tell Sainsburys not to 'Rain on our Parade.' We'll continue the battle to keep Albert Parade Special, please click here to join the fight!

The Government has been looking for some time into the future of the TA and I've been lobbying the Ministry of Defence for months to ensure that Eastbourne retained its excellent TA squadron. The verdict was delivered last week, and it came as sad news to many that our much loved 56th Signals will be disbanded. This squadron has served Eastbourne for decades and they will be sorely missed. However, one bit of positive news is that Eastbourne will retain a TA presence in the town and members of the 56th will be able to transfer over to the new regiment based here - B Company of the 3rd Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment. This is a regiment with an illustrious history and strong local connections and I know that they'll be welcomed to our town to carry on the proud traditions of the military in Eastbourne. Click here for more information.

As you will know, one of my absolute priorities since the General Election has been 'Jobs' and as a town we've pulled together superbly over the last 3 years, despite the challenging economic climate. We've recruited over 2,400 new apprentices since 2010, already over 200 more than the 5 years previous to 2010! Unemployment is also down by more than 200 people compared with the same time last year. I've even signed up myself to spend some time as an apprentice. Where I will go has yet to be determined, but you can be sure that they'll work me hard! I'll report back soon.

I am a big supporter of the Language Schools in Eastbourne. They have a justifiably excellent reputation, bring a considerable amount of money into our town - over £20 million a year - employ many dedicated staff and last, but not least, provide a solid income stream for many local residents who act as hosts. This year, the demand is so high, they need to hear from 100 new potential hosts quickly, which is why I've joined them in publicising the issue. Please click here for who to contact if you're interested.

Wasn't the Carnival last month just great! The weather held, the floats looked magnificent and the crowds once again turned out in their thousands! I'm very proud to say that the Eastbourne Sunshine Carnival is here to stay. Photos are up here, see if you can spot yourself. Special mention goes to Best commercial entrant: Eastbourne Theatres; the best voluntary group: Eastbourne Working Men's Club and overall Best in Show: the 23rd Eastbourne Scout Group. Congratulations to them. Click here for more information.

Saturday was a super hot summers day: All good. I had the pleasure of joining Bespoke, our local cycle group, for a couple of hours as they showed me - literally- their proposed new cycle route from Polegate to the Seafront via Willingdon, Ratton and Old Town. Loved it! I'm a big supporter of getting more cycle lanes in Eastbourne. It's good for our health, good for our families and it will bring many more visitors to Eastbourne. Just the one thing - if any readers haven't ridden a bike for 35+ years like myself, imagine taking a 2.5 hour ride last Saturday afternoon. The phrase 'no pain, no gain' springs to mind... See here for more information.

So there's a lot going on as ever, and Summer is only just starting, with all the events that come along with it. The proactive Eastbourne Town Team are working with the many excellent independent coffee shops in Eastbourne have put a lot of work into a Coffee Festival that will be running from the 13th to the 15th July. Well done all, it looks great. Click here for details and do pop along to support.

With best wishes,

Stephen Lloyd MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon