Anger over two-hour wait in council telephone call

Southover House, the Lewes District Council offices in Lewes
Southover House, the Lewes District Council offices in Lewes

A Lewes resident is ‘disgusted’ with the new partnership between Lewes District Council and Eastbourne Borough Council after being kept waiting on the telephone for two hours.

Rita Ellis, from Malling, hit problems with the switchboard on Friday.

She rang at 1pm with a Lewes District Council query and finally got through to someone at 3pm.

A member of Eastbourne Borough Council initially responded to her, but said he didn’t have any of the extension numbers for the council in Lewes. Rita said she tried several extension numbers and didn’t get through to anyone.

Eventually a senior officer from Lewes District Council answered her call and arranged for somebody to visit on Monday. Rita said: “To be put through to Eastbourne council, which has nothing to do with us, is absolutely ridiculous. This is an ongoing problem, there are lots of complaints about it. There needs to be another system. Many residents are elderly and would be so confused by waiting on the phone.”

A spokesman for Lewes District Council said: “Delivering consistently good customer service when people telephone us is a top priority and we are working very hard to achieve that.

“In recent times a combination of high call volumes and the integration of new systems has had a negative impact on waiting times.

“We are very sorry for the problems Ms Ellis encountered and have apologised directly to her.

“Her comments have also been shared with the team in this area to help with the improvements we are making.”