Election time is nearly upon us with the first of two elections coming up this Thursday, May 4. This one is for the County Council and, unlike the General Election in June, the candidates have priorities other than the inevitable Brexit.
At the last election in 2013 the result was:
Conservatives 20 seats (having lost 9 from the previous election)
Liberal Democrats 13 (having lost 3)
UKIP 7 (from no seats previously)
Labour 7 (an increase of 4)
Independant 5 (an increase of 2
Specifically in Rye, the sitting Councillor, Keith Glazier (Conservative) achieved 36% of the votes cast, UKIP 33%, Labour 24% and Liberal Democrats 6%.
This time round there is a Green Party candidate (see below) to add into the mix and it will be interesting to see if, having won their primary objective in the referendum, the UKIP vote holds up. However, all the parties and their candidates for Rye have now stated their policies and these are summarised here:
Keith Glazier (Conservative) says that he has kept all the promises to deliver on the ESCC pledges made in 2013, that he will continue efforts to ensure that rate increases are kept as low as possible and to increase job opportunities in Rye and across the county. The number of unemployed in East Sussex has reduced by more than half since 2013. He has made a number of policy pledges, including to continue career promotion in schools,colleges and universities; to continue significant infrastructure investment while protecting the landscape; invest in rural areas as well as towns; to work with all strategic partners to deliver best services to the public; to work closely with health partners ensuring health and social care suitable for each patient and to work with all partners to ensure every citizen is safe. Additionally, for Rye, he has promised to continue to try and find affordable, practical and deliverable solution to traffic and parking.
Alison Phillips (UKIP). Her party is calling for a change in the governance structure at County Hall and they consider that with too much power in the hands of the lead councillors, too few people are making the big decisions. They are opposed to the recent increase in business rates and to building on flood plains and greenfield sites. They are also opposed to closing junior schools in favour of multi-sized schools and are in favour of revisiting planning strategies so that a county transport plan can be produced before more houses are built. They are working on a food and farming policy as they believe that no other party is taking food security seriously. Having realised their ambition of stopping the millions of pounds paid daily to Brussels they will be able to stop some of the public sector cuts and, by better training, fill gaps in the jobs market without relying on immigration.
Nigel Jennings (Labour). He has pledged to protect and enhance public services, oppose any moves to introduce selective education, safeguard the emergency services, make roads safer and demand improved grant settlements from central government to support local services. Specifically in Rye he will prioritise the parking issue and support the efforts of the Town and Parish Councils to reduce the speed of traffic through the towns and villages. He has a passion for the environment and will support local communities in improving theirs. He is involved in developing the community garden in Rye and wants to see other similar projects flourish in the area. He is a resident of Rye and has previously been a town councillor.
Derek Greenup (Liberal Democrats). His party want to protect front line services from further cuts. They are proposing 20mph speed limits in the area around all schools and recreational grounds as well as spending more money on roads to tackle the problem of potholes. They want to see more support for independent living for the elderly and are supporting Sussex head teachers in their fight for fairer school funding.
Adam Smith (Green Party). He is a former Rye Town Councillor who wants a more sustainable society and would help deliver initiatives such as the Greenway project giving safe access to the town centre from Tilling Green and Valley Park. He will work to get greater autonomy for local councils and seek to dissolve District Councils such as Rother, thus providing substantial savings in costs. He will work to restore essential bus services and to have road repairs in the Rye and Eastern Rother division completed more quickly with better distribution of the grant to ESCC for this purpose, none of which has so far been spent in this area. He will also support Civil Parking Enforcement and is keen to see more traffic calming initiatives, greater use of school safety zones and a reduction of heavy goods vehicles on unsuitable roads.
Rye News photo library