The 'strangest requests' from residents

Two councils in East Sussex that are sharing services have put together a list of the oddest requests their officers have received from residents this year.

Lewes District Council and Eastbourne Borough Council have been developing new ways of working to save money and avoid reductions in frontline public services.

The customer and neighbourhood services team work across the Lewes district and Eastbourne dealing with enquiries, covering everything from planning and parking to rubbish collections and noisy neighbours.

However, occasionally even a seasoned call operator in the customer contact centre is caught off-guard with the nature of the request coming in online or over the phone.

For example, why would someone in Eastbourne or Lewes ask the council for the bus timetable for Copenhagen, or for a death certificate for a very much alive husband or call to say their nutritionist isn’t picking up and do the council know if she has changed her number or just busy?

Scot Reid, Head of Customer and Neighbourhood Services, said:

“While we will always do what we can to assist our residents and the people who visit Lewes and Eastbourne, sometimes we have to politely point them in another direction.

“We’ve been encouraging people to go online and use email or Twitter when they want to get in touch because it’s quicker and more efficient, but it hasn’t stopped people making the strangest requests.

“One of the most memorable I think was asking us to write to the dog next door because it looked at them funny when they opened the back door.”

There are nearly 15,000 people following @LewesDC and @EastbourneBC.

Other enquiries include:

  • A snake has just crawled out from under my bath. 
  • I’ve been in hospital; did I get any post? I thought you would know.
  • I need to make an appointment to see my GP. Can you walk up the road and ask them to call me?
  • I’m back from a two-month holiday, have I got any mail to collect?
  • I’ve seen a swan stood at the side of the road, it looked like it wanted to cross. Can you send someone out to help it cross?
  • How do I get a stain out of a lemon-coloured T-shirt? 
  • What time is it and what day is it?

To visit the new council website and to get in touch, visit www.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk