Five candidates are standing in a by-election in Wish ward for a seat on Brighton and Hove City Council on Thursday 8 December.
The seat became vacant when Conservative councillor Garry Peltzer Dunn died.
The five candidates are Patricia Mountain (UK Independence Party), Peter Revell (Conservative), Bella Sankey (Labour), Stewart Stone (Liberal Democrat) and Ollie Sykes (Green).
Each candidate has answered questions about local issues and why they want to represent the ward. Below are the responses from Bella Sankey.
Why do you want to be a councillor?
I was born and raised in our beautiful city and I want to give something back. The Tories have decimated basic services and, under the Greens, the city is stagnating. Labour has the values, vision and policies to turn things around and I want to play a part in that.
What will you bring to this role?
I’m a trained lawyer, charity director and human rights campaigner. I’ve dedicated my life to serving others and I’ve achieved a huge amount. I want to bring those skills into politics and carry on improving people’s lives. I’m a hard worker and I know how to get things done.
Do you live in Wish ward?
I live over the border in Hove Park ward but I spend a lot of time in Wish.
What three things will you do to support this area?
I will make basic services, such as weeding, rubbish and recycling collections, a priority. I will campaign against building projects that spoil our seafront and support regeneration, including with gardens and green spaces.
The “Synergy” scheme proposed for the seafront at Aldrington Wharf has prompted concerns about more traffic noise and congestion. How will you support the community who are worried about the effects of hundreds more people on the wider infrastructure such as schools and GP surgeries?
The Tories’ deregulation agenda for the country means ludicrous proposals like “Aldrington Wharf” are ripping the fabric of our communities apart. I would work with residents to stop this development which is too tall, too dense, offers no affordable housing to address the city’s housing crisis and would put an intolerable burden on basic services.
How would you push for more “social” housing rather than so-called “affordable” housing?
The Labour Party is committed to creating homes that are really affordable to rent and buy. We will rebuild our council housing stock and bring homes back into the ownership of local councils. We will tilt power back to private renters and first-time buyers.
There is a lack of public toilets along Hove seafront and some people relieve themselves behind the beach huts. The Hove Lagoon toilets are in a state. What will you do to improve facilities?
Our public toilets are in an appalling state and the closures are unacceptable. The Tories have cut £100 million from our council budget and the Green administration doesn’t bother prioritising basic services. I support the building of a new toilet block as part of the Hove seafront regeneration.
Anti-social behaviour is a problem. Cars are vandalised and there’s late-night noise. How will you support residents whose lives are blighted by other people’s poor behaviour?
I will work closely with community police officers to prevent crime. Tory cuts have cut the number of community police officers and have increased poverty – this leads to a rise in crime and anti-social behaviour. I will work to ensure the council wins funding for crime fighting.
People have complained that footpaths are becoming dangerous because of the lack of weeding, particularly around trees where roots are sprouting. What will you do about it?
Labour would recruit more manual weeders, invest in the right tools and use non-harmful weedkillers on our pavements. We need to do this now.
There is a cycle lane along the seafront. What are your views on taking up half the road with a new one?
We need an integrated transport system to promote environmentally friendly travel. This cycle lane will deliver a safer, protected cycleway and help to reduce cycle traffic on the narrow pavement but planning decisions need to be joined up and the new cycle lane should replace the one on the pavement.
To what extent will you be voting on issues according to their merit or along party lines?
I’m a Labour candidate because I believe we can improve people’s lives. As a councillor, I’ll help shape Labour’s policies to reflect local concerns and deliver for our community. I don’t think merit and party allegiance will be in conflict.
How willing are you to get out and about in all the communities that make up the ward?
I’ve been out speaking with residents across the ward, from St Leonard’s Road to the Ingram Estate, most days since I was selected as Labour’s candidate. I love people, I love the diversity of our community and I love community-building so I take pleasure in this part of the role.