Opinion - Ed Smith

Lewes is currently faced with a number of issues. How they are decided could immeasurably change the face of this little town. We rely on our local councillors to make decisions for us, whether they’re town-wide ones like the Phoenix development or more local issues like the flint wall at the Dripping Pan and the old trees in the Grange. You can’t help wonder, however, who our civil servants are really serving. We, the voting public, elect town and district councillors to represent our views and further our needs. Increasingly, though, policy decisions are being made that seem to fly in the face of local popular opinion. I find it hard to believe that over 50% of the voting public are in favour of fighting the Falmer Stadium. Nobody, it seems, is comfortable with the direction the Phoenix development seems to be taking. And although there are supporters of the parking scheme as a general concept, most would argue that the present system is at best ill thought out, and at worst the beginning of the end for our town centre.

A little accountability would go a long way towards restoring public confidence in our civic leaders. Never to my knowledge has anyone stepped forward and explained any of the important decisions the council has made on our behalf or talked us through the reasoning behind it. A register of local councillors should be set up noting their stance on the matters that are important to Lewesians. That way, when the next council elections come around, we can more easily vote out those we feel are unrepresentative of us and our views.

‘Op’ Ed Smith: ‘just who are our civil servants really serving?’