BREAKING NEWS: Lewes District Council leader to resign

Cllr Rob Blackman

Cllr Rob Blackman

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The leader of Lewes District Council (LDC) has decided to resign from his role, it has been announced this morning (Thursday, September 17).

Councillor Rob Blackman will step down with effect from Monday (September 21).

Deputy leader, Andy Smith will become the acting leader of the council and a new leader will be elected at the next full council meeting in October.

Cllr Smith said: “This change in leadership is very much about a change in how we work with and listen to our towns and parishes.

“We are proud of the projects and partnerships we are building. We have a fantastic council and we were elected in May to get on with delivering excellent services across the board. That’s what we will focus on as that is what we were elected to do.”

Cllr Blackman’s decision to resign comes more than a week after he faced mounting pressure to step down following a leaked email he sent out to Seaford councillors, describing the town’s ‘victim mentality’.

The row came about after Seaford town councillor Mark Brown questioned the recent temporary closure of Seaford tourist information centre to cover a shortage of staff at Lewes.

In his email response to all Seaford town councillors, Cllr Blackman referred to ‘poor little Seaford’ several times while listing a number of things the district council has done to help the town.

In last week’s Express, Cllr Blackman apologised for the email.

He added: “I felt the council needed to be reminded of some of the things that LDC has done for the town. I agree it was blunt but it wasn’t designed to be rude. It was also not a letter from me to the public.

“The key message was that Seaford is not being treated any differently from anywhere else. We have to balance the needs of everyone in the district not just people from Seaford. I am a Seaford man. I love this town, but Seaford isn’t a special case. There are 100,000 people in this district and LDC has to maximise its resources for the good of all our residents.”

Cllr Sam Adeniji, Seaford town and district councillor, said: “I hope with Cllr Blackman’s resignation as leader, we can now put this issue behind us and continue to deliver for the residents of the district and more importantly to address the concerns for the people of Seaford.

“As one of the district councillors for Seaford I would also like to reassure Seaford residents they are not and will not be treated differently from other towns in the district.”

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