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The Green Team on the occasion of their campaign launch: MP Caroline Lucas, fifth from left in middle row, with Cllr Julia Hilton on her left and Cllr Claire Carr on her right.

We can win! say Greens

HOT has asked the four local parties for a brief rundown of their policies and reasons why you should vote for them. Here is the response from the Green Party, who marked their election campaign launch last month with a visit from MP Caroline Lucas.

Campaigning for Julia Hilton in Old Hastings in 2018, we heard over and over that whilst people liked the idea of a Green councillor, they were going to vote Labour as Greens couldn’t win in Hastings. That year, Julia came within 29 votes – out of 3500 cast – of winning a seat. Had a few more people had the courage of their convictions, our breakthrough would have come then.

Instead, we had to wait another three years, to the 2021 elections, where Julia took the Old Hastings Borough Council seat from Labour in a landslide as well as the county council seat of Old Hastings and Tressell.

This year we’re planning on getting more Greens elected. Julia has proved to be a hardworking and popular councillor, a model for future councillors, and we have firmly laid to rest the idea that Greens can’t win in Hastings.

Fly-tipping at Farley Bank, as reported by Tressell candidate Glenn Haffenden.

We have a big team of enthusiastic candidates and canvassers, who are out on a daily basis knocking on doors and talking to residents. We’re hearing the same thing over and over again: people don’t feel listened to. Most say they never hear a thing from their councillor outside of election time, and many don’t even know who their councillor is, so invisible are they. People want change; they’re fed up with decisions by the council, particularly over planning, they’re fed up with being told that the council has no power to do anything significant on climate change, they’re fed up with feeling that their voices don’t matter.

And they’re particularly fed up with voting for a party they feel at best lukewarm about, in order to keep out a party that they really dislike. This time, many people are telling us, they’re going to vote what they believe – Green. They like our policies, they like our candidates – and most of all, they want change.

Here are some of our key policies; see also our full manifesto.

Housing
A key issue that comes up on the doorstep is housing. Gentrification means that many people who have lived here all their lives cannot afford to buy, and are forced into spending a huge amount of their income on insecure – and often poor quality – rented housing.

We plan to audit unused council-owned land and buildings with a view to building well-designed, energy-efficient accommodation, or adapting existing buildings for homes. We will not build on flood plains or sell off prime sites to developers with little control over standards and quality. Hastings Borough Council has committed to building 500 affordable homes over the next five years – we want these built to Healthy Homes principles so they are fit for the future and adaptable as people’s needs change. We will press social housing providers to improve standards, to maintain estates and provide decent play facilities. We support proper regulation of AirBnBs so that neighbourhoods don’t lose their sense of community.

Fuel poverty
In addition, we will take action to insulate local homes to protect residents against rising energy costs, and join the Great Homes Upgrade campaign for more funding from government to insulate our homes and fight fuel poverty. We want to apply the successful approach of Green-led Lewes District Council, which has worked with neighbouring councils to create a massive retrofit programme to insulate and future-proof 40,000 units of social housing across the region. This warms up homes, reduces energy bills and keeps older housing in use, whilst also providing well-paid skilled jobs for local people.

Central St Leonards candidate Tony Collins, with, from left, Cllr Carr, MP Lucas and Cllr Hilton.

Climate change
Tackling climate change needs to be the lens through which we make all our decisions. The council can’t do this on its own, but needs to be the leader, bringing partners together and harnessing the power and imagination in our community to devise solutions that meet everyone’s needs but fit within planetary limits. Local councils all over the country are coming up with imaginative schemes to tackle climate change. It’s not good enough to say, as Hastings Borough Council has said, that there’s very little they can do because there’s no money. We know that budgets are extremely stretched but working with other councils – as Lewes District Council has done – can bring economies of scale and shared skills.

Greening our town
We have amazing parks, but many streets are treeless. We will press for a major tree planting programme and support the Hastings Garden Town initiative, which will build on the existing network of community gardens. We will encourage Optivo and other housing providers to release land for allotments. We will protect nature reserves, such as Marline Valley, currently threatened by plans for a new business park.

Local businesses
We support local business and will bang the drum for our many brilliant small enterprises. Council contracts should go to local businesses, and council land and businesses should not be sold off for others to develop. Where skills need to be brought in from outside the town we will look at ways for those to be shared to build our local skill set and increase our adaptability in an ever-changing world.

20mph and active travel
We need a child-friendly approach to urban planning. To reclaim our streets, we are pressing the county council to impose a 20mph speed limit in residential areas. We want to provide secure on-street bike parking for those who have nowhere to keep a bike. We will push for the council to take action on idling. Many Hastings residents cannot afford a car but are forced to put up with air pollution and dangerous streets. We want to make it easier and safer for everyone to walk, cycle and use public transport.

Gensing candidate Amanda Jobson, right, one of the instigators of the crowdfunder to monitor sea pollution, with Cllr Julia Hilton.

Clean seas
Southern Water is pumping vast amounts of raw sewage into our coastal waters. We will hold the company to account and push for proper regulation, so our waters are safe for swimming. Amanda Jobson and Becca Horn, two of our candidates, have taken the lead, setting up a crowdfunder to pay for our seawater to be tested through the winter, when the Environment Agency doesn’t test.

We’ve established that Greens can win in Hastings. We know that a lot of people are crying out for a change and like the policies we are offering. Roll on 5 May.

Hastings local elections 2022 – Green Party candidates

Ward Candidate Ward Candidate
Ashdown Andrea Needham Maze Hill Beccy McCray
Baird Dan Hope Old Hastings Ben Pacey
Braybrooke Sally Phillips Ore Gary Rolfe
Castle Becca Horn Silverhill Dave Carey-Stuart
Central St Leonards Tony Collins St Helens Lucy Brennan
Conquest Gabriel Carlyle Tressell Glenn Haffenden
Gensing Amanda Jobson West St Leonards Sherry Clark
Hollington Tracy Lord Wishing Tree Stephanie Fawbert

 

Candidates’ statements

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Posted 17:58 Thursday, Apr 7, 2022 In: Elections 2022

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