Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Greens in the sea-front sunshine: from left, Cllr Julia Hilton, Caroline Lucas MP, Tony Collins, Cllr Claire Carr (photo: Stuart Griffiths).

Lucas adds shine to Greens’ election campaign launch

Hastings Green Party launched its campaign for the May council elections with an action day and a VIP visit from Brighton Pavilion MP, Caroline Lucas, who joined candidates and supporters for a walkabout in target wards on 19 March. HOT’s Chris Connelley tagged along.

In a short speech, Ms Lucas welcomed the party’s growing profile in the town, following its success in last year’s local elections, when Julia Hilton secured a landslide win in Old Hastings ward to become the borough’s first Green councillor. She also took a seat on East Sussex County Council, where she represents Old Hastings and Tressell Ward.

Opening her speech, Ms Lucas said she was “So happy to be in such a dynamic town” and was excited by the party’s prospects in the upcoming campaign. ”So many people in the party are looking at Hastings and have high hopes for here”.

She went on to identify the impact of a strong Green presence in local government, name checking the ‘Lewes model’ as an example of positive action by a Green-led council just a few miles away to roll-out home insulation for 40,000 homes, with a focus on social housing so the benefits were made available to the poorest households first.

She claimed this was an example of the Green Party’s practical approach, and one that demonstrated its commitment to putting policy into practice and of “getting things done.”

Key priority

With domestic energy prices set to rise by thousands of pounds, Ms Lucas described action on heating costs as a key political priority in the context of what she called a ‘cost-of-living scandal.’

Hilton and Lucas (photo: Stuart Griffiths).

She went on to talk about the need for more affordable housing, and expressed concern about the adverse effects of large numbers of Airbnbs on communities, as property is taken out of the general housing stock. This is an increasing theme in Hastings, which has a sizeable Airbnb market.

She also endorsed the 20s Plenty campaign for traffic speed reductions in residential neighbourhoods, something the local Green Party are currently petitioning for, arguing that it made sense on both safety and environmental grounds.

Ms Lucas concluded her talk by stating that Greens stand for social as well as environmental justice, with a broad-ranging programme covering all policy areas, and reminding her audience that much depended on getting people elected to make change happen. She said last year’s results proved it was possible here in Hastings and encouraged the local ‘Green team’ to run the most active campaign possible.

The launch day also included a chance to meet 2022 candidates — following recent form, the party is standing in every ward — and to introduce its manifesto for the May borough council elections, Hastings Deserves Better. This sets out its vision in 10 policy areas, including backing local business, promoting local culture and food, greening local streets and pushing for a more open and accessible council, with an overall aspiration for a “happier, healthier, more equal and wealthier borough.”

Looking back on the day, Green Group Leader Cllr Julia Hilton said, “ The sun shone for us, we had a great turnout of helpers and a really strong reaction out on the doorsteps. Spring is in the air and there’s a real appetite for something different. And as last year showed, when people vote Green, they get Green.”


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Posted 21:00 Sunday, Mar 20, 2022 In: Elections 2022

Also in: Elections 2022

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