From the leader, Cllr Doug Oliver – May 21, 2021

It was great to see more local businesses reopening this week and starting their journey of recovery, breathing life back into the district’s economy.

It’s easy to underestimate the impact successive lockdowns and restrictions have had on businesses in Rother.  The reality is that many have not survived the effects of the pandemic, while the future of many more hangs in the balance.

Support from the local community is going to be pivotal to those struggling to get back on their feet, and we will continue to do everything it can to help make the reopening as safe and successful as possible. Financial help is still available for those who need it, and I would encourage businesses owners to see how we can help by visiting our website.

The light at the end of the tunnel for Rother is the summer tourism season which, with more people than ever spending time locally, will create new opportunities for the district’s economy.

A surge in “staycations” will be of huge benefit for Rother and we need to capitalise those opportunities, but we are acutely aware of the need to balance a booming tourism industry with the needs of our residents.

This is no more evident than at Camber Sands, where we could expect to see up to 25,000 visitors at peak times, as well as more visitors to Pett Level /Winchelsea Beach and Herbrand Walk, Bexhill.  Increased traffic and visitor numbers creates potential detrimental impact on local communities, but by working with our partners – including Sussex Police, Camber Parish Council and East Sussex County Council, we continue to strive to make this season a successful one for all to enjoy.

It’s fair to say that all of our lives have changed dramatically over the past 15 months but, as we cautiously head towards a sense of normality, we have the opportunity to use our experiences to drive change – whether that’s changing our shopping habits, how we work, where we spend holidays, or how we exercise.

Those returning to our leisure centres will be asked to complete a survey on behalf of Sport England, with the information giving the Government, leisure providers and the council the most comprehensive user data we’ve ever been able to gather. This information will be a great help in funding and designing future leisure facilities and activities that are best suited to our local communities.

Finally, I would like to offer my congratulations to candidates for the county council and the newly formed Bexhill parish council.  I’d also like to record my thanks for the efforts of officers to ensure the elections were run safely and efficiently.   I look forward to working with our new colleagues to ensure our district continues to thrive.

Published: 25th May 2021