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 Green candidate Eliza Wyatt.
Why do you want to be a councillor in Patcham ward?
I was born and raised in Patcham and have witnessed the growth of the surrounding area.
I care deeply about protecting nature and the environment for our children – I have been Green for as long as I can remember – and an issue close to my heart, saving the NHS.
I am in favour of providing good housing for diverse income groups but I’m also keen on protecting Patcham from simply becoming a rat run for the town of Brighton and preserving existing parks and gardens.
What do you think you will bring to this role?
I’ve got deep local roots – as a child I went to school in Patcham.
I’ve previously stood up for the preservation of Patcham old village against bullying contractors.
I’m proud to be part of a successful Green Party team that’s making our city a better place to be.
I want to help them help Brighton citizens continue to improve the quality of their life in Brighton.
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’s really important that the council supports our city’s SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) community through the many challenges they face.
The council has made steps to work closely with SEND families to understand their needs but can do more.
It’s also important that the council learns from past mistakes – such as the home to school transport debacle, which was rightly challenged by Greens. Now we need to ensure we build on the SEND strategy and ensure it is delivered.
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?
As a first step, Greens are focused on reducing pollution levels by encouraging greater take up of public transport, cycling and walking and supporting the move to more electric vehicles.
We are very constrained given Brighton and Hove’s position sandwiched between the sea and the Downs, which limits where we can build.
We do, however, have a housing crisis, with many thousands of people on the council waiting list. We are committed to delivering 800 new council homes by 2023.
From introducing more safe walking and cycling infrastructure to supporting the introduction of a liveable city centre, Greens have already taken some great steps to improve air quality.
I would like to work as a ward councillor to ensure that we look at air quality in Patcham and ensure we take action.
How do you think a park and ride scheme, as suggested by the Climate Assembly, could be implemented in Brighton and Hove?
I support the recommendations of the climate assembly, which made it clear that the council should look again at park and ride.
I know some people do miss the previous arrangements at Withdean Stadium.
However, I do think that delivering this will be a challenge as there are precious few sites where a park and ride would work.
A park and ride also doesn’t address the need for a shift towards active travel. I support a feasibility study taking place to see what is possible.
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?
I think that it’s really important that we provide more walking and cycling infrastructure, as Green councillors have. It is crucial for those who do not travel by car.
A plan for helping people without cars to access the tip is a priority for me and I’m keen to work closely with bus companies to ensure there is better public transport.
Having said that, in Patcham, there are many older and less mobile residents who do sometimes need to use cars to get around.
Equity means that we need to ensure that they are also included in any outcomes.
Our playgrounds are dated and some of the equipment is broken. How will you champion improving play areas for our children?
Outdoor play is critical for children and that’s why Greens are investing in a playground refurbishment programme including £80,000 additional investment in Mackie Park and £140,000 in Carden Park.
I will also champion outdoor play generally and explore how we can make initiatives like “play streets” easier for communities to organise.
There are no youth clubs in the area. What will you do to give teenagers something to do?
Youth work is about more than buildings and while we don’t have youth clubs in the direct vicinity, the council funds the Trust for Developing Communities to provide youth work in the area.
Thanks to Green councillors, we are investing more funding into youth services in the city, including more than £2 million in a new Central Youth Hub at the current Brighton Youth Centre site.
What action will you take to tackle dog waste on our streets?
As a ward councillor, I will work with residents and the council’s environmental enforcement team to tackle problem areas and ensure people will be fined.
I will also support residents when they would like to see more bins installed and a fresh campaign to make people aware of their responsibilities is needed (stencilling pavements with “pick it up” signs, for example).
What are you going to do about the rubbish problems of missed collections and people dumping their rubbish in communal bins?
I would like to work with council officers to ensure that fly-tipping sites are monitored with the council’s new mobile fly-tipping cameras – which raised £3,000 in fines on their first day of operation.
As a ward councillor, I would raise any missed collections to ensure swift resolution and support the actions of the current Green council in continuing improvements at Cityclean.
This includes the replacement of the fleet to ensure fewer vehicle breakdowns.
What will you do to make yourself known as an active part of our community?
I love Patcham and I stood to help improve the community in which I live.
I will make myself available for all residents – for meetings, by email and on social media. I’m a member of the Patcham Community Facebook page so they can raise the issues they need me to take action on.
From the campaigning I have done so far, it’s clear there’s lots of work to do and I look forward to representing residents of Patcham and Hollingbury as their first Green councillor.
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