Statement on behalf of Eastbourne Borough Council and Lewes District Council

This is the latest statement from two of our local councils regarding the current situation:-

During these unprecedented times we are sharing regular updates about the council services that residents in Eastbourne and Lewes district rely on.

Following the latest government advice and in the interests of the welfare of our residents and staff, we are changing the way our Customer Contact Centre operates.   Resident enquiries continue to be answered, but we have now closed our reception areas at 1 Grove Road in Eastbourne and Southover House in Lewes.

To contact the council, residents must use the council website – www.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk and email customerfirst@lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk whenever possible.  Our customer advisers will be calling over 3,600 vulnerable residents to undertake welfare checks and it is important to keep the telephone lines open to allow this critically important work to take place.

With the high volume of enquiries at this difficult time there will be some delay in responding, but our officers are working to resolve them all as quickly as they can.

Service updates include:

  • We are pleased to confirm that officers have completed the work on awarding expanded retail relief to 704 eligible retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in Eastbourne and their zero bills will be posted 1st class tonight (24/3/20). The total value of relief awarded is £24,098,895.  
  • The software to allow for the above work to be carried out for businesses in the Lewes district is expected in the coming days.  If there is any delay from our software provider we will manually suppress all eligible accounts to ensure that April direct debits are not taken.
  • Our officers received the government’s business rates grants scheme guidance today (24/3/20) and are working as quickly as possible to publish it, along with an updated retail relief joint policy, on the council website.  It is hoped to have the information online by tomorrow morning at the latest.
  • Anyone having trouble paying their council tax should contact us by visiting www.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk or email customerfirst@lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk .  Visitors to the web site also have the option of a web chat with a customer adviser.  Residents who do not have online access or are vulnerable should contact us by telephone on 01273 471600 (Lewes) or 01323 410000 (Eastbourne).
  • Phones are being installed outside 1 Grove Road and Southover House tomorrow that residents can use to contact customer advisers.
  • It is business as usual for household waste and recycling collections but there will be no collections of bulky waste at this time e.g. appliances and furniture.
  • Our waste teams are working incredibly hard at a time when inevitably some members of staff are in isolation.  To counter this we are diverting staff from non-essential day-to-day duties to other frontline roles.   For example, some of our grounds maintenance colleagues will be trained to work in waste and recycling.  We will catch up with the grass cutting and other related work in due course.
  • We continue to liaise with the government and other partners about increasing support for the vulnerable in local communities. Our senior team is looking at how best to utilise existing council systems and infrastructure to achieve this.  We will issue updates on this work as soon as possible.
  • Signs are in place confirming playgrounds are closed and all public toilets are closed too.
  • Updates and latest news is being posted regularly on Twitter @LewesDC and @EastbourneBC