Category: East Sussex

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Labour conference buried gem: Land laws reform to stop the “free-for-all”

Rick Dillon
Labour Party Shadow Secretary for Housing Lucy Powell speaking at the Labour Party conference in Brighton, Sept 2021

Forget Starmer’s speech, McDonald’s resignation and Rayner’s expletives, says Sussex Bylines writer Rick Dillon, who attended much of the Labour Party Conference in Brighton this week. Far more important were the under-reported land laws reform proposals, some put forward by the Hastings & Rye local party and passed enthusiastically by delegates, that would stop the developers’ planning free-for-all and could finally fix our nation’s housing crisis…

Recipe for success: how hands-on volunteers battle food poverty

Ali Ghanimi
Fare share volunteer loading donated surplus onions in a crate into a van for distribution to the community

Sussex food partnerships are at the forefront of finding long-term solutions to the growing problem of food insecurity. Affordable food projects, community supermarkets and organisations who take surplus fresh produce from local farms and turn it into soups, are all playing their part in relieving the food poverty that exists in all of our communities…

The unkindest cut – real life stories

Sussex Bylines
Woman looking at the "Keep the lifeline" petition on her smart phone

We invited Sussex Bylines readers to share their personal experiences of how the government’s planned Universal Credit cut will affect them. We have already received some courageous responses that make for sobering – and in some cases, heartbreaking – reading…

Afghan refugees desperately need our help…

Vivienne Griffiths
A line of child refugees in Kabul, Afghanistan

Government bungling together with Priti Patel’s inhumane Borders Bill and disastrous Home Office response have only served to hinder humanitarian efforts, both with the evacuation in Afghanistan and assisting asylum seekers here in the UK. Traumatised Afghan refugees who have barely escaped with their lives deserve kindness, compassion and support, not more hostility. Writer Vivienne Griffiths examines the horrifying events of recent days and offers practical advice for anyone iwanting to help refugees locally…

NEW WRITER

Fixing our faulty food system: how community food partnerships work

Ali Ghanimi
People cooking in Community Kitchen at Brighton & Hove Food Partnership

Across Sussex, local food partnerships are springing up to address the myriad problems stemming from the UK’s flawed food system that is not only making us ill, but also harming our planet. And our central government is lagging far behind these growing grassroots community groups…

TOXIC SHOCK

Profits from pollution: how private monopoly Southern Water is failing the public

Ginny Smith & Rick Dillon
Protesters on a Hastings beach following yet another sewage spill by Southern Water

A spate of sewage discharges and spills into our seas and rivers is prompting protests as demands grow across Sussex for Southern Water to clean up its act and stop putting profits ahead of clean water. As a private monopoly it is accountable to its shareholders rather than its customers, but a growing number of campaigners believe it’s time to bring it back into public ownership.

TOXIC SHOCK

Beautiful but deadly: the pollution of Sussex rivers

Ginny Smith & Rick Dillon
River Ouse at Barcombe - looks beautiful but the water is often polluted

Raw sewage has been flowing into Sussex’s rivers and streams – often discharged straight from Southern Water treatment works. In the second part of Sussex Bylines’ Toxic Shock series we look at the effects of this pollution on our fresh waterways – and speak to some of those demanding it be stopped…

Destroy these outdated A27 plans, NOT the South Downs

Norman Baker
Before and after images showing (top) how the countryside east of Lewes looks now and (bottom) how it would look if the proposed new A27 motorway was built right through it

“Pristine countryside lost to concrete cannot be recovered: once gone, it is lost forever. Is that what we really want to see for this beautiful section of the South Downs?” Former Lewes MP and Transport Minister Norman Baker demolishes the persistent proposals to build a new four-lane highway that would decimate the Low Weald countryside, including ancient forests, protected wildlife, working farms and historic villages, and calls on the lead Conservative Councillor to change course NOW, before it’s too late…

LONGER READ

Further adventures on the trigging trail: The 2021 Pangdean Bottom Trespass

James Joughin
People protesting by walking on part of the South Downs that is owned by Brighton council but is not accessible to the public

Author James Joughin joins a very polite and orderly ‘mass trespass’ on the South Downs – 300 people walking into a valley at Pangdean Bottom. This is not land owned by a caricature evil landlord but Brighton Council-owned and rented out to tenant farmers. The trespassers’ point was that it was totally unavailable for use by Brighton city residents and taxpayers, even though the footprints of walkers would surely do no more harm than the hooves of cattle.

WHAT SUSSEX MEANS TO US

My own private (rented) beach chalet

Hilary Lawson
Painting of Rottingdean beach chalets by John Haywood

It’s a little-known secret that you don’t have to shell out in excess of £20,000 to be the lucky owner of a Brighton & Hove beach chalet. You do need, however, a bucket-full of patience to wait for your name to rise to the top of the Brighton & Hove beach chalet rental waiting list…

WHAT SUSSEX MEANS TO US

Power of the people

Mo Kanjilal
Sussex Uni students demonstrating against privatisation of the university

“Being involved in Sussex Bylines since day one has shown me that there is another way; that there are so many of us out there who want to see a different, better world.”

UPDATED

What Sussex means to us

Sussex Bylines
A glider flies over the South Downs near Ditchling Beacon, East Sussex

On the first anniversary of Sussex Bylines’ inaugural issue, some of our key contributors have written a short piece on the subject of “What Sussex Means to Me”. From memories of being a student at the newly built Sussex University in 1966 while living in shabby digs in Brighton to the legendary magic of bonfire night in Lewes, this compilation is a wonderfully eclectic mix of short personal essays…

WHAT SUSSEX MEANS TO US

The magic of Sussex bonfires

Rick Dillon
Hastings Bonfire Night

“Here in Sussex, Bonfire Night isn’t just for children – and it never loses its magic” Hastings resident Rick Dillon explains why…

WHAT SUSSEX MEANS TO US

Deeper currents

James Joughin
Quirky poster for the Small Wonder short story festival at Charleston

For Scottish-born and bred James Joughin, it wasn’t until he’d been living in Brighton for quite a few years that he began to tune into the intriguing “deeper currents” of life in Sussex…

WHAT SUSSEX MEANS TO US

Over six decades of [East] Sussex

Tom Serpell
A glider flies over the South Downs near Ditchling Beacon, East Sussex

One of our most prolific contributors, Tom Serpell, takes a break from article writing to give us a succinct breakdown of his relationship with (East) Sussex from the 1950s to present day…

WHAT SUSSEX MEANS TO US

A room with a sea view

Vivienne Griffiths
Palace Pier, Brighton

To celebrate the first anniversary of Sussex Bylines’ inaugural issue, we asked some of our key contributors to write a short piece on the subject of “What Sussex Means to Me”. From memories of being a student at the newly built Sussex University in the sixties while living in shabby digs in Brighton, to the […]

WHAT SUSSEX MEANS TO US

People’s Republic of Brighton

Robert Ellson
An electoral map of Sussex, entirely Tory blue except for Brighton with two red and one green patch

Most constituencies in Sussex have Conservative MPs (thanks to our FPTP voting system) but Brighton & Hove is a progressive exception, having elected on Green and two Labour Party MPs

WHAT SUSSEX MEANS TO US

My adopted home

Ginny Smith
A view of Cuckmere Haven, East Sussex

Writer Ginny Smith explains why, after four decades, she considers Sussex to be “home”, yet still retains the feeling of being a slightly removed observer too…

Refugees Work: so why not let them?

Tom Serpell
Migrant workers in the fields in the USA

Refugees could make a contribution if this country would only allow more in and let them work. This would relieve desperate people of the dangers of life in camps, on the road or under the control of smugglers. It would enable them to demonstrate their skills and commitment to this country. It would add to the workforce and enrich our culture. This surely constitutes a win-win.

A win for rogue landlords as Tories block council licensing

Rick Dillon
Members of Acorn, the renters' union, protesting in Hove regarding landlord licensing

Lack of repairs creates misery for thousands in private rented accommodation. But getting councils to back a scheme that forces landlords to act is only the first step and, so far, applications to renew council licensing are being turned down by the Conservative Housing Minister Robert Jenrick.

Playing For England: Football and national identity

Mo Kanjilal
Image showing the England football team kneeling on the pitch with Priti Patel arriving in a tank and Boris Johnson streaking topless

The wonderful fact is that this team really does represent what it is to be English today. They represent Englishness and belonging. They inspire those of us from immigrant backgrounds to embrace being English and to be proud to support the team. Sport does have a way of doing that. And it is especially needed for a country that has been so divided in recent years.

Our Great British Seaside: a love affair celebrated in art

Rick Dillon

The British seaside is enjoying a renaissance this year due to Covid overseas travel curbs. Back in the day, far fewer holidaymakers went abroad, instead flocking to the nearest bit of coastline for fun regardless of sun, as can be seen in a new exhibition at Hastings Contemporary Seaside Modern featuring work by a range of 20th century artists span-ning 50 years, from the 1920s to the 1970s.

PODCAST

Pride podcast special with Brighton MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle

Sussex Bylines
Brighton Pride August 2019

In this week’s Bylines Network podcast, Chris Davis in Brighton and co-host Connor Lamb in Newcastle (North-East Bylines) have a lively and revealing discussion about what Pride means to them and share their personal experiences of growing up queer. They also interview the Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, who is only the second British MP to be open about living with HIV. Their conversation proves fascinating, covering everything from the history of Pride to its subsequent commercialisation, and the empty virtue signalling or “Pride-washing” that some corporations are now guilty of. And they don’t shy away from asking perhaps the most contentious question of them all: which Brighton Pride headliner was better – Kylie or Britney?

OUR FUTURE, OUR VOICES

Sussex Bylenses: Spotlight on new young photographer

David Holden
Photo of the Brighton beach by Ben Muir aged 12

Sussex Bylenses is pleased to showcase the work of 12-year-old Ben Muir, a young photographer from Steyning. Photo editor David Holden writes: “Ben’s composition and eye for detail demonstrate a natural talent usually only achieved after some years of practice.”

THIS LAND IS OUR LAND – how can land be treated as personal property?

Tom Serpell
Private property sign on a barbed wire fence in the UK countryside

Over the centuries, and particularly in the last hundred years or so, there’s been a decrease in wealthy land-owning aristocrats, an increase in “self-made” rich businesspeople, and therefore a larger number of owners participating in the real estate market. Yet shockingly, around half of England is owned by just 1% of landowners, and they are almost entirely a mixture of corporations, oligarchs and aristocrats. Tom Serpell asks: should anyone actually be entitled to claim ownership of land?