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September 18 2015.

Lewes District Council leader Rob Blackman's resignation produced a number of interesting emails. Here are the ones we can publish.

If you have a view, email


I welcome the news that Councillor Rob Blackman has stepped down as the Leader of Lewes District Council. Having read his offensive letter, as no doubt many other LDC residents did, his attitude towards our neighbours in Seaford was unprofessional and arrogant.

Here in Newhaven, Councillor Blackman is on the whole disliked and held in low regard by townsfolk over LDC’s plans for the Robinson Road and Meeching Down sites. Residents who attended the 'drop-in' session on the 23rd of July were dismayed by his detachment when they questioned him.

With this change of leadership we are presented with a great opportunity to change how LDC is run and governed. As a Council we need to reconnect with the local populace and repair the reputation of the Council. We also need to abolish the 'cabinet' style of governance and rediscover democracy and what that means.

Councillor Simon Barnes
Newhaven, Denton and Meeching.



Donna Lonsdale-O'Brien


Now Cllr Blackman has resigned, I look forward to the new leader of LDC who must have integrity, judgement and solicitude.

If Cllr Adeniji didn’t act on behalf of Cllr Blackman by forwarding the email, then Cllr Blackman would still be in his position. It was Cllr Adeniji’s judgement call. Was it good or was it a stab in the back? You decide!

As a resident, high street business owner, founding member of the traders association and town Councillor; I take this opportunity to call on the new leader of LDC to allow Newhaven’s request for 2 hours free parking in the town centre car parks. This and the previous Tory administration have said no, the previous Lib Dem administration said no. It is time for the new leader to listen to the residents, shoppers, business owners, traders association, chamber of commerce, MP, town Councillors and district Councillors of Newhaven.

The new MP decided against opening her office in the town centre partly due to parking!

LDC need to take action before Newhaven high street is killed off, before Lower Place car park becomes mostly reserved parking for the Robinson road development. Forward thinking, not a knee jerk reaction when it’s too late!

The new leader also needs to listen to the electorate. We all know and appreciated the housing shortage and that LDC have to built. However, do not build on GREEN space full stop.

Cllr Laurence Pulling
Newhaven Town Council



The Lib Dems welcome the decision by Councillor Blackman to resign as leader of the Conservative administration at Lewes District Council, as called for by Cllr. Sarah Osborne.

His time as Leader has been peppered with controversy and poor decisions, but despite  two previous challenges to his position, he managed to gain enough support from his colleagues to retain his grip on power.

He tried to use LDC to support the Conservative-backed Seaford Constitutional Club in Seaford and following internal investigations his conduct was severely critisised. He failed to support our call to ensure all LDC employees received a living wage, despite his own Prime Minister advocating its introduction and indeed went on to appear to justify this by implying those employees not receiving it had learning difficulties, or were disabled. When challenged on figures over the employees affected, he was unable to work out simple percentages, suggesting 4 out of 400 was only .001%. His handling of the 49 sites proposals and the secret negotiations with the development partnership involved, without full and open consultation with Councillors and residents, has left the Council open to ridicule. This has not been helped by his attendance at public meetings in his own home town, giving incorrect information in support of proposals. He dismissed out of hand the Lib Dem idea of free parking in Newhaven, to encourage shoppers into the town. This despite his own MP advocating the advantages, but continuing to suggest his commitment to regeneration. His administration has forced Special Expenses on the most vulnerable of the District's communities and in a final damning email, he referred to his own town and its residents, as 'poor little Seaford.'

Given all this and more, his resignation as Leader is the least that could be expected. The question is, is he fit to be a Councillor representing a town and residents? He should resign as a member of LDC and allow his electorate to vote in a credible and respectful Councillor to properly represent their views.

The former Leader of the Council, James Page, sacked him as Deputy, before himself resigning and recommending members join with him to vote in the opposition leader to the post. Cllr. Blackman rose back to power, backed by the now Chair of the Council, Ruth O'Keeffe (Ind), the UKIP members at the time and Sam Adeniji (Con/Ind/Con). They all supported him in the later challenge by the Lib Dems, but ironically, it was Sam Adeniji who was one of those supporting so strongly the Lib Dem call for his resignation last week.

He leaves the District Council in a state of confusion and lacking the respect of the people it is elected to serve. Those responsible for his ability to retain his tenuous grip on power so long, need to have a long, hard look at themselves and think long and hard about the new team they choose to take the District forward.

Cllr. Steve Saunders
Newhaven Valley


This is the best thing Rob Blackman has done since becoming a Councillor. Now he needs to resign as a Councillor.

J. Walker