In letters last week Cllr Stockdale was right to point out that many of the assets the District wishes to charge the Lewes town’s folk for were ‘built and paid for’ by the people of Lewes – they are essentially already ours. What, however, your report fails to address is that Tory District Cllr Page wants to implement taxation in one locality (the Town) but representation and management by another locality (the District). If the people of Lewes are to pay for the maintenance and upkeep, the ownership of these properties should be returned at no cost. Cllr Page in fact states he is trying to create a system where ‘people don’t pay twice’, but without a corresponding reduction in the District levy for Town residents this will be exactly the result of his plans.
District Councils across the UK (Cornwall, Durham County etc) are slowly being disbanded and Lewes Town Council must step up to the mark. We must not accept just the crumbs off the District Council’s table. The Town Council should demand all non-statutory services and assets for the Town; this includes all off street car parking, development land, community centres, tourist information office buildings, School Hill House and Lewes House, parks and playing fields.
The bigger problem is that the Town Council seems unable to properly scrutinise these plans. A negotiating team of Town Councillors has been established, but its latest report to the Town Council was only given orally, with much conjecture and little information – this is no way to conduct negotiations about the future of our town. Is there a conflict of interest when some councillors are both on the District and the Town Council? Do we have the full information to make informed choices? Without rigorous oversight the Town will lend up losing out, again.
Labour and Co-operative Party Candidate for Lewes Town Council Bridge Ward