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Council approves children’s services changes

Ringmer Children's Centre

Plans to pull out of 10 children’s centres and two nurseries have been approved by East Sussex County Council under changes to its early years’ service.

Councillor Sylvia Tidy, East Sussex County Council’s lead member for children and families, approved the revised Early Help Strategy following a public consultation.

Ten of the county’s 26 children’s centres face closure by April 2020 unless alternative providers can be found.

They include: High Weald, Seaford, Chailey, Ringmer, Battle, West St Leonards, Old Town (Eastbourne), Crowborough, Rye and Egerton Park.

At Ringmer Children’s Centre, parents expressed dismay at the news. Suzanne Harling told BBC South East: “It’s a crying shame, absolute crying shame.”

But Ms Tidy said: “It is just buildings that we are closing, we are not cutting down the services."

Today's South East news website headlines

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Worthing Herald:Parents defend Worthing school facing potential changes

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Brighton & Hove News:Vegan campaigner appeals conviction for spitting at woman wearing fur coat

Hastings Observer:Woman, 23, assaulted by group of people on St Leonards seafront

Brighton & Hove Independent:Brighton man among 3 charged after London assault

Plans for 220 homes and 'spine road' approved

Huw Oxburgh

Local Democracy Reporter

Site in Battle

Long-awaited proposals for a major housing development in Battle have been given the go-ahead by Rother planners.

On Thursday, Rother District Council’s planning committee approved an outline application to build up to 220 homes at the Blackfriars site near Battle – land partly owned by the council which has been set aside for housing for many years.

The committee also gave full planning permission for the construction of a “spine road” between The Spinney and Harrier Lane, which would effectively connect Marley Lane and Hastings Road.

Concerns raised by residents included fears over traffic in the area, impact on the High Weald AONB and over-development of the site.

Following a short discussion the application was approved by the committee. Details of the housing scheme were only approved in outline and will require further planning permission at a later date.

Last year, Rother District Council was awarded £3.25m of government funding in an effort to "kickstart" the building process.

The majority of this funding was set aside for the development of the new road included in the application.

Severe accident: A26 East Sussex both ways

BBC News Travel

A26 East Sussex both ways severe accident, from Beacon Gardens to B2100 High Street.

A26 East Sussex - A26 Beacon Road in Crowborough blocked and it's slow in both directions from the Beacon Gardens junction to the B2100 High Street junction, because of an accident involving two cars.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Funding cut for council-run nurseries

Huw Oxburgh

Local Democracy Reporter


A controversial decision on the future of two council-run nurseries in Bexhill has been met with anger from residents and Rother councillors.

On Monday, East Sussex County Council’s lead member for children and families Sylvia Tidy approved a raft of measures intended to cut £2.6m from the authority’s early help budget.

As part of these plans, the council will cease its funding of the Cygnets and Rainbow child care centres – the only county council-run nurseries.

According to the council the move comes as part of a wider change to early help services, intended to “focus limited resources on services rather than buildings.”

As part of its decision, the council has promised to work with other providers to secure sufficient nursery places in Bexhill “so far as is reasonably practicable". This could see the nurseries taken over by a private provider, councillors heard.

The council has also promised – following angry responses from residents in the public consultation – not to close the nurseries before September 2020, ensuring families can enrol their child for a full school year if needed.

Sunrise across Kent and Sussex

Guy Bell

The home counties were showered in sunlight this morning and photographers, amateur and professional, captured the red sky in all its glory.

Eastbourne's beach turned red and was snapped by B Fowler.

Red sky
B Fowler
Eastbourne covered by the red sky

Meanwhile, Eddie Mitchell captured the red sky above the iconic Worthing Wheel.

Worthing Wheel
Eddie Mitchell
Sunrise over Worthing
Goring sky
The sky shone bright in Goring By Sea

@Msiggsy was able to take a picture of the stunning sky above Goring By Sea while Iain Gowers was able to do the same from his home in Hove.

Hove sky
Ian Gowers
Ian Gowers captured this stunning view in Hove

Paddock Wood FC supporters were up early this morning to help show off the sunrise at the village's railway station.

Paddock Wood
Paddock Wood FC Supporters
Paddock Wood's sky was a sight to behold at the break of dawn

Today's South East news website headlines

Printing press
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The Argus:Number of bus lane fines issued increases by 774 per cent

Kent Online:Students are being offered free meals to commute between university campuses after chiefs struggled to attract new students to its Medway site

Get Surrey:'No evidence' of how Surrey Police will make £10m of required savings, report finds

Chichester Observer:Earnley Concourse fire ‘under control'

Eastbourne Herald:Two rescued by the RNLI near Eastbourne

Crawley and Horley Observer:Person who fell onto shop roof rescued in Crawley town centre

Worthing Herald:Downton Abbey star helps raise an Earl’s fortune at Chichester to protect the South Downs

Mid Sussex Times:Burgess Hill development for more than 3,000 homes given permission

Brighton & Hove News:Brighton pub’s bid to create new city centre roof terrace sparks fears of flying fag ends

Hastings Observer:Witnesses sought after ‘gunshots’ heard in St Leonards

Brighton & Hove Independent:Two rescued from house fire

Two dog shot in attacks

Two dogs have been shot in separate incidents in East Sussex.

The first took place on the evening of 15 September when a five-year old springer spaniel was shot with an airgun on Buckhurst Farm Estate in Hartfield. The dog was later put down.

The second incident happened in woods close to Mardens Hill, Crowborough on the morning of 28 September.

A male dog suffered wounds believed to have been caused by air pellets.

It received treatment and is understood to be recovering.

Police say there is no evidence to connect the two incidents

Council to 'continue subsidising' under threat nurseries

Huw Oxburgh

Local Democracy Reporter

Two Bexhill nurseries may have avoided the threat of immediate closure.

East Sussex County Council is set to decide on whether or not to continue subsidising Cygnets, in Egerton Road and Rainbow in Ninfield Road.

The council began consultation on proposals to withdraw its subsidy of the two nurseries earlier this year, as part of a wider set of changes intended to save £2.6m from the authority’s children’s services budget.

The proposals, however, have proven to be controversial with Bexhill residents, who raised fears for the future of the nurseries should the council subsidy cease.

According to council papers, the objections from residents included a petition signed by more than 1,100 people.

In light of these concerns, council papers say, the authority intends to continue subsidising the nurseries for a 12-month period.

Both nurseries have been rated as outstanding by the education watchdog Ofsted.

Walk-in centre to stay open as trial plans revealed

Huw Oxburgh

Local Democracy Reporter

Walk-in medical services are to continue to be available in Hastings town centre as NHS commissioners move ahead with plans to trial a "primary care led hub", councillors heard this week.

On Thursday, East Sussex’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) were told about details of revised plans for the future of the Station Plaza Walk-in Centre in Hastings.

The centre had previously been earmarked for closure as part of wider proposals from both the Hastings & Rother and Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG).

After working on the proposals, however, the CCGs are now looking at trialling a “primary care led hub” at the centre instead, which is expected to see walk-in services retained.

The trial is expected to begin in December and is not expected to last more than 16 months, although the CCG says it will be looking at commissioning a service based on the trial's results.

Today's South East news website headlines

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The Argus:Brighton council leader: We struggle to empty bins

Kent Online:Staff sacked at Elvy Court Care Home in Sittingbourne after abuse

Get Surrey:Gatwick Airport drone attack: £790,000 spent on investigation but police still don't know who's responsible

Chichester Observer: Electric fence around Bognor bowling green 'utterly over the top'

Eastbourne Herald:Lewes MP hits out after car tyres are damaged for the second time

Crawley and Horley Observer:Call to tweak plans for ID checks at West Sussex rubbish tips

Worthing Herald:Concern for missing Worthing man who discharged himself from hospital

Mid Sussex Times:Burgess Hill woman convicted of benefit fraud after dishonestly claiming thousands of pounds

Brighton & Hove News:Student campaign to end unpaid trial shifts prompts public consultation

Hastings Observer:New Hastings lifeboat to honour mum and son’s shared love of the sea

Brighton & Hove Independent:Extinct moth makes amazing return to Sussex

Rising number of children in unregulated care places

Huw Oxburgh

Local Democracy Reporter

The number of children placed into unregulated care in East Sussex has more than tripled in the last four years.

East Sussex County Council's use of unregulated care places for children and young people over the age of 16 – also known as semi-independent or supported accommodation – has risen year-on-year since 2015-16.

The figures show the council placed a total of 63 children into unregulated care places in 2018-19 - rising from 13 in 2015-16.

Some of these children were placed outside of the county.

According to the council, the rise is due to a move away from using other types of accommodation.

Police officer seriously injured after being hit on A27

Police officer hit on the A27

A police officer has been seriously injured when he was hit by a vehicle as he helped the driver of a broken down lorry on the A27 near Falmer.

He was struck at about 20:30 BST on Wednesday as the lorry on the eastbound carriageway was just about to move again, Sussex Police said.

The officer received serious but not life threatening injuries.

The collision is not being treated as a deliberate act and the driver, who has not been arrested, is cooperating with the police investigation, a police spokesman said.

Boy, 13, injured in hit-and-run

Guy Bell

BBC Reporter

Brooks Road

A 13-year-old boy has suffered head injuries during a hit-and-run.

The boy was hit by the car, believed to be a silver or grey BMW, on Brooks Road, Lewes, at about 08:20 BST.

He was taken to Lewes Victoria Hospital for treatment and police are searching for the driver of the car.

Meals-on-wheels cut back

Huw Oxburgh

Local Democracy Reporter

Meal on a tray
Getty Images

East Sussex County Council is to cut its meals on wheels subsidy, leaving all but the most vulnerable of users to pay for the service in full.

While the council had originally proposed scrapping the subsidy entirely, the proposals were rethought in light of a public consultation earlier this year.

As a result, the council will continue to help with the costs for its most vulnerable residents, meaning between 100 and 150 of the service’s 679 users will keep their subsidy.

The final proposals were approved by lead member for adult social care Carl Maynard at a meeting on Tuesday.

During the meeting, councillors heard how each service user would be assessed on a case-by-case basis, to decide whether they will continue to receive the subsidy.

This would involve assessments both in person and on the telephone, councillors heard.

However, this saw concerns raised by Angharad Davies in her role as chairman of the council’s scrutiny committee, who said: “We did feel very strongly about the fact that telephone assessments in many instances wouldn’t be good enough and that face-to-face interviews are important."

Council sets green target in Rother

Huw Oxburgh

Local Democracy Reporter

Rother District Council has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030, after becoming the latest local authority to declare a climate emergency.

The pledge was made at a full council meeting on 16 September, as councillors unanimously passed a motion put forward by the Rother Alliance – the council’s cross-party leadership group.

As well as the pledge to become carbon neutral by 2030, the motion called on the council to ask Government to provide additional powers and funding to become carbon neutral, seek other external funding to achieve this goal, and identify climate champions for communities in Rother.

It also requested that cabinet set up a steering group responsible for creating an action plan for the council’s future work on climate change.

In passing the motion, Rother District Council became the fifth district or borough council to declare a climate emergency in East Sussex, with a pair of similar motions set to be discussed by East Sussex County Council at a meeting of its Place Scrutiny Committee on 18 September.

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Byron Burger death: Crowborough teen had fatal reaction
Owen Carey was celebrating his 18th birthday but had a severe reaction to buttermilk in a burger.

Council leaders to join schoolchildren for climate strike

Sarah Booker-Lewis

Local Democracy Reporter

Climate change banner
Creative commons

Two Brighton and Hove council leaders have pledged to join schoolchildren skipping school to take part in a climate strike.

The city council leader Nancy Platts and opposition leader Phélim MacCafferty said that they would join children missing school on the picket line next week.

They also agreed that Brighton and Hove City Council should work with schools to support young people who want to take part in the protest.

They gave their backing at an urgent meeting of senior councillors at Hove Town Hall to discuss the proposed climate strike on Friday 20 September.

It is the latest in a series of monthly climate change protests which started in February.

Two of the young people who plan to take part – Uma Krieger and Annapurnea Marley – listened to the town hall debate and were delighted with the outcome.

Miss Krieger said: “It is really great to get it passed. I hope everyone who was not allowed to strike will now be able to."

The council will send advice to head teachers suggesting that they require written permission from parents for their children to be out of school.

Secondary school pupils should have a member of staff accompanying them to the march.

Primary school pupils would be expected to collect them for the event.

Crowborough teen had fatal reaction to Byron Burger
Owen Carey was celebrating his 18th birthday but had a severe reaction to buttermilk in a burger.