Local MP champions better Health Care Provision in Commons debate

Norman Baker MP will be leading a debate in Parliament this week about Health Care Provision in the Lewes Constituency, to be held in the Main Chamber at the House of Commons on Friday 9 January 2015 at 14.30.

He will be calling for:

  • A robust way of handling minor injuries locally
  • Expansion to the range of treatments and services provided, in already established local facilities
  • Improved GP facilities, especially in Polegate
  • A halt to the transfer of services from Eastbourne DGH to the Conquest in Hastings
  • All sections of NHS to work together to produce a fair deal locally

Norman wants different sections of the NHS to work together to produce a fair deal. He argues that providing better facilities in each local town is not only more convenient for local residents, but also helps the NHS by taking pressure off local A and E departments.

His call for localised treatment have been backed by the Head of NHS England, Simon Stevens, who replied to Norman in a letter saying; “I do think we need a concerted programme across the NHS to find new ways to support small hospitals and we are working with a number if patient and hospital groups to discuss these new models”

Norman says: “It is not fair that my constituents have to travel to hospitals in Eastbourne, Brighton, Haywards Heath or even Hastings for services that they should be able to receive in their own town.

“There are facilities locally which are being under used or services farmed out to other hospitals, making access to those services even more difficult for local people. If services could be retained or reinstated at facilities like Lewes Victoria Hospital and Newhaven Downs with an expansion to the range of services at the new Seaford Horder Centre and local GP surgeries, my constituents would be better served for their health needs

Norman has also been fighting for funding for a health care centre in Polegate and has written to the NHS urging them to release it. He recently met with Lib Dem Health Minister Norman Lamb MP who pledged to do all he can to support the application.

Norman says: For far too long medium sized towns like Seaford, Polegate, Lewes and Newhaven have had the thin end of the wedge when it comes to health care services. Promises have been given over the years by far off and unaccountable NHS managers, all of which have been to no avail.

Now new legislation has provided more influence for our local GPs who have local knowledge and often live in the town where they are providing services. We also have a government policy commitment to localise services wherever possible, enabling local people to work together to help bring about improvements.”

MP meets Southern to push for more trains to stop at Cooksbridge

Southern’s Head of Timetable Planning has met with local MP Norman Baker, Lib Dem County Councillor Rosalyn St Pierre, and representatives from Hamsey Parish Council to press the case for improved train services for Cooksbridge.

After a long campaign Norman has been successful in reducing some journey times between Lewes and London by five minutes, and believes that the opportunity now exists to add an hourly stop for Cooksbridge throughout the day.

Norman explains: “I have long argued that we need a faster train once an hour between Lewes and London, and a service that gives Cooksbridge and Plumpton the services they deserve. After much campaigning, Plumpton now has an hourly service, and I want to see the same for Cooksbridge.

“Now we have the new franchise awarded, the focus moves from the Department for Transport to the rail company. If we are to make progress, it will be via Southern rather than the Department, which is why I have arranged for their Head of Timetabling to meet me and the local parish council this week.”

  • The meeting is taking place this morning.

Newhaven MP launches petition for free parking in Newhaven

Newhaven MP Norman Baker is calling on Lewes District Council to provide free car parking in Newhaven to support local businesses.

A petition has been launched by Norman to enable others to show their support for the initiative which would enable people to have free short stay parking in Newhaven town centre for up to 2 hours to encourage people to pop into the town centre and use facilities and services there.

Norman says “Newhaven businesses need the support from Lewes District Council to assist in bringing people back to the town centre of Newhaven.

“Parking is a factor that puts people off from popping into the centre to make use of facilities there, instead of driving out of the town and to areas where free parking is.

“I am disappointed the Tory controlled district council have not taken this chance to support small businesses.

“Lewes District Council have the opportunity to throw the town a life line and support local businesses to have the opportunity to thrive once more in the town.”

The call for free parking is also being supported by Newhaven Chamber of Commerce.

The petition can be accessed online at:


If you would like paper copies of the petition, please do contact our office and we can send them to you.

Norman Baker MP’s update on fire at Newhaven North Quay.

Newhaven MP Norman Baker has spoken with Chief Fire Officer Des Pritchard for an update about the fire at Newhaven North Quay.

Norman saysI am reassured to hear the East Sussex Fire and Rescue are doing all they can to contain and put out the ongoing fire at Newhaven North Quay.

“The Environment Agency, Public Health England and Lewes District Council have been working together for the benefit of all in the surrounding area to keep this incident under control.

“Any risks of contamination to waterways has been prevented by the actions of the fire service, with water sludge being taken to Southern Water Treatment works to prevent any contamination of the surrounding area.

“Although smoke has been present in the area during the tackling of the fire, this is not considered to be toxic but could be an irritant, for that reason the advice for people in the surrounding area has been to keep doors and windows closed.

“200 tonnes of household rubbish is on site but to create a fire break some of this is being moved by 20 tonne tipper trucks.

“East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service are seeking to have the fire out within the next 24 hours.

I am concerned that this appears to be the third incident in as many years within the area and have raised that with East Sussex Fire Rescue Service asking by what means of review and precautions for the future can be made. However the priority must be, at this time, to have the fire put out.

“I wish to pass on my thanks to East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service who should be acknowledge for the ongoing work they are putting into extinguishing the fire, along with the firm Skip It who appear to be doing all they can to co-operate.