Picture of Cllr Helen Burton
Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council Councillor David Tutt has announced a new cabinet role for Councillor Helen Burton, with a portfolio managing the councils’ property assets, heritage assets and communications.
Councillor Burton said “I’m really pleased to be given this portfolio. I’m passionate about keeping the public informed about council business, so through this new role I can make sure our work is as accessible as possible.
This also means that I can work with officers and local experts to create a strategy for all of our heritage assets and lead what I hope will become a national campaign for the government to properly fund maintenance of our countries’ heritage.
In a town like ours we are lucky to have so many heritage buildings, however it’s a double-edged sword, because we have no extra funding to maintain them. This means residents are expected to pay for them through local taxation and I don’t think that’s fair.
As an example, the full restoration of the bandstand alone is likely to cost more than £12 million pounds and our income through council tax is only around £9 million a year. As that has to fund front line services, you can see the problem. I intend to continue my call for central government to protect our country’s heritage buildings with proper funding, and I hope that our MP will support the campaign. I will also work with officers and local experts to apply for any other funding that may be available to us.
I’ll be publishing a full list of our heritage buildings on the council website along with information on their current state, work that has been done in maintaining them and future plans for their maintenance. I’ll also be liaising with local heritage groups to make sure that the council and residents can work together positively.
Regarding our other property assets, as part of the council’s recovery from Covid, the Government have asked us to assess some of our assets for disposal and be less reliant on tourism. As a tourist town we know this will be challenging but the cross-party Strategic Property Board is now reviewing what assets we could dispose of to maximise the benefits to the town. We already know what we won’t be selling, namely the downland farms, because that was the decision of the people of Eastbourne in 2017, but I’m looking forward to joining the board and helping to develop our plans for the future.
Council leader David Tutt said “Helen has a track record of fundraising, project management and working with local groups for the benefit of the Eastbourne community. I welcome her onto the Cabinet in this important role.