A campaigner against plans for hundreds of flats on an old gasworks site is to stand as an Independent candidate in the Rottingdean Coastal by-election on Thursday 5 May.
Stephen White announced today (Sunday 27 March) that he would take part in the contest for a seat on Brighton and Hove City Council.
Mr White, of Eastern Road, Brighton, is one of the founding members of AGHAST (Action on Gasworks Housing Affordability Safety and Transparency).
He is a BAFTA-nominated, award-winning television producer, with a wide variety of financial and commercial experiences from running his own successful business.
Mr White said: “I have never been a member of a political party and am compelled to stand as an Independent for two reasons.”
He said that the reasons were “to show the strength of local support against the proposals for the gasworks and because our area has never had a councillor who actually lives in the area between Lewes Crescent and Roedean, including the Marina”.
He added: “I know, in person, what the everyday experience of living here is really like – great sea air, beautiful architectural heritage, overflowing bins, rat runs and all.
“My long career has trained me to listen carefully to people’s real concerns. I will work for the people in my community who want – and deserve – to live in a clean, well-run, financially stable city.”
Founded in 2020, AGHAST is a well-supported campaigning community group which is tracking proposals to develop the gasworks site in East Brighton.
Berkeley Homes plans to build 16 blocks of flats up to 12 storeys high on the polluted site.
AGHAST, in coalition with 15 other Brighton community groups, has co-ordinated a community campaign opposing the high-density luxury proposals to help safeguard local residents from the release of poisonous dust and gases into the air.
The group is campaigning for a radical rethink of, what so many local residents feel is, an insensitive and ugly overdevelopment of the site that will provide no affordable housing for the local community.
Jean Hunter, a former Labour councillor and fellow member of AGHAST, is a Roedean resident. She said: “Stephen would be a brilliant councillor and I hope our community will get behind him.
“The developers, and council, have no idea about the exact level of contamination that’s underground. In some other gasworks sites noxious fumes have been experienced up to a mile away. We value our health.”
Rottingdean Coastal ward stretches from Lewes Crescent to West Saltdean and includes The Arundels, Eastern Road, Marine Parade, Roedean, the Marina, Ovingdean, Rottingdean and West Saltdean.
In 2019, voters in the ward returned Bridget Fishleigh, only the second Independent candidate to be elected to Brighton and Hove City Council in its 25-year history. Last year she was shortlisted in the UK’s Councillor of the Year awards.
Councillor Fishleigh said: “Stephen is exactly the kind of person I’d love to see more of at the council – people who’ve lived here awhile and are ready to put the needs of the city, and the people who live here, above party politics, politically neutral with financial and commercial acumen and a track record in our communities.”
The by-election was triggered by the resignation of Conservative councillor Joe Miller.