Seaford tip - Undemocratic power of cabinet

Like most people in Seaford (as well as those in our surrounding villages of Alfriston, East Dean and Berwick) we are totally dismayed a the decision to close our local waste recycling centre at Cradle Hill in Seaford.

This decision has simply not been thought through at any level and is actually contrary to the long-term strategic development plans (up to 2020).

The closure of this well-used (and popular) facility will create a tsunami of problems and while the council may be aware of the law of unintended consequences, they may care to reflect on the following and respond accordingly:

1. Simply using the tip at Newhaven is not an option. The local council and residents do not want any additional and substantial traffic. The A259 could be blocked for long periods, just wait for the bridge to close, requiring Brighton Buses to totally revise their timetables.

2. There is a real risk that fly-tipping will be more prevalent.

3. Domestic waste will increase as items that otherwise may be recycled are included in the domestic waste. This will increase significantly the volume (and weight) of domestic waste, such that collections may have to be more frequent and recycling targets will not be met.

4. The cost savings quoted do not break-out any specific figures, but it is possible that the unintended costs plus costs associated with breaking various contracts (and then having to re-start or re-activate the Seaford tip) all wipe out any imagined savings.

5. Seaford has a unique socio-economic profile with a large proportion of retirement age. It is unjust to require them to undertake a longer, unnecessary journey.

6. Residents are totally fed up with services being removed from the town, despite its size. While Lewes continues to be favoured, Seaford continues to be shafted.

7. If anyone thinks that local residents will give up without a fight, then they are quite mistaken. The meeting on Friday, November 15 at the Baptist Church was a packed event (so much so that a further meeting has had to be arranged) with a near-mutinous atmosphere.

But what really upset attendees at this meeting was the totally undemocratic power of the Cabinet.

That just eight individuals, tellingly none of whom live anywhere near Seaford, can ride roughshod over the views of 49 councillors beggars belief. It is also worrying that this proposal was first mooted many months ago and has only recently become public knowledge via an unattributed leak.

So, the whole way in which this matter has been handled is suspect and may require a referral to the appropriate ombudsman responsible for conduct in public office.

It appears that the only way in which this decision can be reversed is to gain a petition of 5,000 signature which will trigger a debate by the full County Council.

To this will be added a campaign of letter writing/emails to Cabinet members and media coverage via our local press and national TV and radio, a well-known local TV reporter lives in Seaford.

It’s futile to hope that this decision can be reversed without a concerted campaign of opposition.

What you all have to remember is that domestic recycling is undertaken as a matter of free choice. It is not yet compulsory. We do not have to do it.

Perhaps we could all burn our garden waste instead. Most folk love a good bonfire.

Messing with the good folk of Seaford will impact on their lives.

Our futures look bleak if we are forever in the hands of short term politicians.

Paul and Lesley Lambert