Five candidates are standing in a by-election in Patcham ward for a seat on Brighton and Hove City Council on Thursday 6 May.
The seat became vacant when Conservative councillor Lee Wares resigned to move closer to his elderly parents.
The five candidates are Bruno De Oliveira (Labour), Charles Goodhand (UK Independence Party), Madelaine Hunter-Taylor (Liberal Democrat), Anne Meadows (Conservative) and Eliza Wyatt (Green).
Each candidate was sent questions which were submitted by community groups and voters. Below are the responses from Conservative candidate Anne Meadows.
Why do you want to be a councillor in Patcham ward?
I have lived in Patcham for over 20 years, work for the NHS and my children went to the local schools.
I live near Horsdean Recreation Ground, land which the Greens and Labour wish to develop but where I support the 1,600 residents who wish to save this land from development.
I want to ensure residents in Patcham and Hollingbury have a voice in the city which reflects their needs, a voice which is different from those in the centre of the city – a nuance not understood by the current administration.
What do you bring to this role?
I have extensive experience, having been a councillor previously, so I am familiar with the challenges both residents and councillors face.
I was on the Housing Committee, so I know the work that needs to be done to raise the quality of our own stock, build new homes where appropriate and also tackle homelessness in the city.
The Greens and Labour recently voted for the Homeless Bill of Rights, which encourages tents to be set up on the streets and in open spaces.
This puts the council at odds with the police, whom residents would expect to uphold the law.
What understanding do you have of the struggles that children, young people and adults and their families face because they have additional needs or a disability?
It was Conservative councillors who demanded answers when the home to school transport service failed.
The barrister’s report into home to school transport failings showed that a change in culture at the council was needed to stop things going wrong again.
I am a strong supporter of BADGE (Brighton Access for Disabled Groups Everywhere), formed following the council’s discriminatory transport policies last year.
It was heart-breaking to see disabled people from Patcham and Hollingbury put in the position of asking to use toilets in Madeira Drive as the current administration stopped the use of disabled vehicles from parking on the seafront.
To what extent do you support the trend of building more homes on busy roads, exposing more people to pollution? What will you do to improve air quality?
We need homes built on brownfield sites. However, it’s also important not to overdevelop those areas. We should not be building on our valuable urban fringe, which acts as a wildlife bridge to the South Downs.
Greens and Labour support building on the urban fringe, which will only increase traffic and pollution in areas like Patcham and Hollingbury.
Statistics show that there are more than enough brownfield sites available for housing to meet the city’s housing targets without impacting on the urban fringe in Patcham and Hollingbury.
The ill-considered implementation of cycle lanes has made air quality worse by causing traffic to slow down to a crawl, while cycle lane usage hasn’t increased.
Brighton and Hove Buses have introduced cleaner buses to Patcham and Hollingbury, which I hope to see more of.
In Patcham and Hollingbury, the Conservative councillors are driving a project to plant a new wood.
And it is the Conservatives who have been the voice for conservation on the council as the coalition of Green and Labour councillors have demonstrated they prioritise development over the environment or the urban fringe.
How do you think a park and ride scheme, as suggested by the Climate Assembly, could be implemented in Brighton and Hove?
Conservative councillors were on the Climate Assembly Member Working Group and have listened to residents in the ward who discussed a properly sign-posted and integrated park and ride scheme.
This is not a new suggestion as the council has considered it before. However, shortage of land is an issue.
I believe it is worth investigating, although we also need to work with partners to find a suitable location.
At the moment, a park and ride scheme will need the support of the Green and Labour coalition and where they stand on the issue is unclear.
What would you do to improve transport equity in our city for the 40 per cent of households who do not have access to a car?
Transport inequality has risen. For example, the closure of Madeira Drive means that parking revenue that is used to subsidise the city’s bus service has been lost.
I support an integrated transport approach, with proper consultation, which will allow for all types of transport users to co-exist peacefully in the city.
Our playgrounds are dated and some of the equipment is broken. How will you champion improving play areas for our children?
Thanks to the lobbying from Patcham ward councillors, my Conservative colleagues fought for funding in this year’s budget for Mackie Park and Carden Park play areas to be refurbished.
Now that funding has been secured, I will fight to ensure these playgrounds are upgraded as soon as possible. And that the other playgrounds in the ward are upgraded next.
There are no youth clubs in the area. What will you do to give teenagers something to do?
Patcham and Hollingbury have many youth clubs, such as the Nautical Training Corps, Scouts and Brownies, and church groups such as Kidz Klub at Brighton Elim Church.
My Conservative colleagues have been working closely with the Trust for Developing Communities (TDC), who have produced a very useful map of all the youth activity in the area. I will support that work and promote our many youth groups in the area.
What action will you take to tackle dog waste on our streets?
A lack of dog waste bins is a common complaint in Patcham and Hollingbury.
We have many parks and green spaces which attract dog walkers, of whom the vast majority do dispose of dog waste appropriately.
It is worth noting, however, that only one fine was handed out by the council over a six-month period last year, suggesting not enough effort is put into enforcing our city’s by-laws.
As a councillor, I will ask for more dog waste bins and better enforcement.
What are you going to do about the rubbish problems of missed collections and people dumping their rubbish in communal bins?
Missed rubbish and recycling complaints are among the most frequent – and this has come up on the doorstep and on social media. Even my neighbours have complained about it.
Often people with assisted collections report them being missed. They are our most vulnerable residents so, if I am elected, I will join my Conservative colleagues in raising this at every level of the council.
I will do my best to ensure residents’ voices are heard loud and clear and their rubbish and recycling is collected regularly.
What will you do to make yourself known as an active part of our community?
Living in the area means I know many different people, including the mums at my sons’ schools and local shopkeepers.
I am now leafleting and canvassing the ward, getting to know as many other people as possible.
I am on Patcham community Facebook sites and look forward to visiting every community group once they are running again, eg, the local churches, Old Boat Corner Community Centre, the libraries, U3A, who look after Patcham Peace Gardens, Neighbourhood Watch and the Local Action Team.
I can’t wait to meet them and get involved.
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