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01/12/2016 - Burgess Hill North News

Labour — Putting Burgess Hill First

Since May 2015, all except two of Burgess Hill’s elected representatives, at Town, District and County levels, are Conservatives — and one of those is an independent who was elected as a Conservative.

This means the Tories have had virtually no opposition, no-one holding them to account, no scrutiny. They have been free to take their decisions unopposed. This cannot be good for democracy and is certainly not good for local people, as we shall see in this issue:

1. Education – cuts all round but money for grammar schools?

2. New River retail development – where are the toilets? Disabled people speak out.

3. Social care – continuing cuts leave the elderly vulnerable.

Our local authorities must be held to account. We need a voice and representation that understands the real needs and concerns of local people. At the next County Council elections in May 2017, this area will be part of Burgess Hill North Division. Labour would provide that voice.

Labour is a positive, responsible alternative

Education – cuts all round but money for grammar schools

Local primary school cuts

The table below shows the cuts facing primary schools in your area by 2020:

Primary school funding cuts

Source: WorthLess Campaign – Fair Funding for West Sussex Schools

And yet years of austerity mean that West Sussex schools are already at breaking point, with classes of 36+ and 4½ day weeks talked about. Meanwhile, funding is available for a new system of grammar schools that will benefit a mere 20% of our children. We need a properly-funded education system for all, not grammar schools for a privileged few.

Collapse of Sixth Form Provision in Mid Sussex

With the imminent closure of Central Sussex College in Haywards Heath due to high debts and “the significant savings to be had from reducing the number of campuses” (Sarah Wright, Central Sussex CEO), 16-19-year-olds will now have to incur heavy transport costs to travel outside Mid Sussex for their sixth form education leading to more limited opportunities for 16 year olds.

This is the result of a Tory strategy of moving as many services as possible into the private sector. Education should never be run according to a principle of profit. And the Council have made little effort to step in or to instigate a thorough investigation into exactly what went wrong.

Woodlands Meed – special needs education not spared

In 2010, WSCC made a formal proposal to close two Special Schools at Newick House and Court Meadow and replace them with a new single-site special school for 3-19-year-olds on the Oakmeeds campus at Burgess Hill.

Only part of the new school was built, with promises to complete the rest when funding was available. This left post-14 education at the old Newick House site with dilapidated facilities wholly inadequate for their needs.

Oakmeeds has since become an Academy and WSCC have leased the whole of the campus to the Academy Trust, including the site allocated for the building to complete Woodlands Mead School. This was done without making any provision for their replacement building.

WSCC officers have repeatedly cited a lack of funds but at a packed meeting earlier in the year at which parents and staff clashed with West Sussex County councillors, it became apparent that these latter had little idea of what was going on and that the Council’s future planning was again at fault.

New River retail development – where are the toilets? Disabled people speak out

Investment to revitalise our town centre is welcomed by Burgess Hill Labour Party but the District Council has shown little desire to hold the developers, New River Retail, to account. Following the disastrous decision not to replace the Martlets Hall, Burgess Hill’s only purpose-built entertainments centre, it now emerges that not only will there be no public toilet facilities in the town centre (with shoppers expected to use the facilities provided in local coffee shops and restaurants), there will also be no provision whatsoever for disabled residents.

Imagine having to change your severely disabled child on a dirty floor, or in the back of a car. Imagine not being able to access normal toilets because you are a wheelchair user. For many this is a daily reality and makes everyday life a struggle. In the worst case scenario, it can leave people feeling isolated and unable to leave the house for fear they will be caught short. The District Council, meanwhile, has turned a deaf ear, despite the many suggestions and proposals being made by local disability campaigners to overcome this problem.

Social care – continuing cuts leave the elderly vulnerable

The County Council’s provision for social care is deteriorating. And yet it has a duty to provide support to those in need:

That’s a 40% reduction between 2009 and 2014

And of the 14,055 people who requested social care in 2015/16, 11,340 received nothing at all from West Sussex

Source: Leonard Cheshire Disabilities Trust

That means that 81% of requests were denied social care last year.

This was despite more people needing help because of an ageing population.

This is unacceptable and the council must be held to account.

Only Labour can provide the real opposition our town needs



We have regular branch meetings once a month, campaign in the town centre and a good programme of social activities.

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