Dogs on leads - latest moves at Bexhill Town Forum

The hotly-debated move towards dogs on leads in public places, such as Egerton Park and on the seafront, will be up for discussion at Bexhill Town Forum on Tuesday.

The Forum will hear a report from Richard Parker-Harding, Head of Environmental Health at Rother District Council, on the controversial plan to control dogs on leads throughout the district, with Town and Parish Councils already identifying any areas of particular need.

The Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex Peter Field will tell the gathering about the work of the Lieutenancy, and Charles Everitt, the Chairman of NHS Hastings and Rother, will be discussing Primary care Trust in Bexhill.

Also up for discussion will be Next Wave as well as the contentious issue of landfill in Turkey Road, all of which points to a lively Bexhill Town Forum according to vice-chairman Sean O'Brien.

Sean was voted in at the last Bexhill Town Forum with chairman Paul Plim and at just 17 is well known for his four years work with the Youth Council.

Sean commented: "We are striving to achieve a forward-thinking positive Forum - one that speaks for the people."

Important changes have already been made - at the meeting next week there will for the first time be a signer and a hearing-loop so that the deaf and hard-of-hearing can join the public debate.

Sean said: I am ecstatic. This is to encourage the deaf and hard-of-hearing to come to our meetings and have a say. This promotes diversity and equality. During my time at the Forum it hasn't been done before so this is really good, and I hope it gets the response we really need for it to continue as a permanent fixture."

Sean, a former pupil of St Richard's College, is currently studying at Bexhill College and is aiming to become a teacher of English Literature.

He has been involved in the Youth Council since he was encouraged into it by Margaret Jones, the former RDC chairman who championed first the Forum and then the Youth Council so that young people in Bexhill could also have a voice.

He feels the Youth Council has been involved in useful work particularly by identifying issues around safety - young people are particularly concerned about poor street lighting which makes them feel vulnerable, and uneven pavements which might cause injury.

He feels the Youth Council's input is worthwhile and commented: "We do a lot of work behind the scenes.

"We are going to end our safety campaign and we are looking to start something knew - we don't know what yet, but we will. The current membership is good, and it has never been stronger. It is really excellent and we have great support."

The Bexhill Town Forum starts at 6.30pm and will be held at Bexhill College.