Brighton and Hove councillor David Smart has died unexpectedly.
Councillor Smart, who represented Hangleton and Knoll on Brighton and Hove City Council, died last night (Wednesday 8 December).
He was a retired police officer and former member of the Older People’s Council. He lived in High Park Avenue, in the heart of the ward, and won his city council seat in May 2007.
Councillor Smart, who was in his seventies, and his widow Olive had recently celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.
His colleagues held a minute’s silence at the start of the cabinet meeting this afternoon.
Fellow Conservative councillor and ward colleague Dawn Barnett said: “We’re all very upset. It was so sudden. He was well liked.”
Councillor Tony Janio, also a fellow Hangleton and Knoll ward Conservative councillor, said: “We’re all devastated. It was such a shock.
“He was very much a community-based councillor.
“At the last election, he was one who coined the phrase, ‘in the community, for the community’.
“He set up the multicultural engagement project which has been very successful.
“He was a member of the Hangleton and Knoll Project and very well respected in our community.”
Even the Brighton Politics Blog, which is not known for its Conservative sympathies, said recently: “Labour has lost the common touch which councillors Barnett, Janio and Smart have in abundance … They know how to nurse a ward.”
Green councillor Jason Kitcat, who lives in Hangleton, said: “It’s very sad news. David was liked across the parties and well regarded. He was a very enthusiastic councillor.
Asked about the political implications, Councillor Kitcat said: “We will discuss the implications of this after a respectful period.”
A by-election is not expected to be held, with local elections due next May.
But the minority Conservative administration now holds 25 of the 54 seats on the council.
Labour and the Greens hold 13 each and the Liberal Democrats two.