Hove by-election Lib Dem candidate Stewart Stone answers your questions

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 Stewart Stone.

Why do you want to be a councillor?

I am passionate about our city and want to make it an even greater place to live, work and play.

Working for Wish residents with

  • an innovative approach
  • strong leadership
  • honesty and integrity

What will you bring to this role?

A fresh approach, challenging traditional approaches to transport, environmental issues, housing, planning, waste management and education. I would tackle all residents’ issues with speed and enthusiasm. The best-performing councils are run with Lib Dem majorities and we are winning council seats from the Conservatives throughout the south of England.

Do you live in Wish ward?

No, but I live in the city and grew up in Brighton.

What three things will you do to support this area?

  1. I will hold regular surgeries to meet Wish residents
  2. Fight to stop the Aldrington Basin development
  3. Stop the vanity and poorly timed projects that take money away from supporting our vulnerable citizens.

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 proposals represent a gross over-development of the site. The area is designated a “tall building zone” for which a maximum of eight storeys is permitted. Residents must be given reassurances that their views, light and traffic will not be impacted. The Planning Committee (including Greens, Labour and Conservative) has let Wish residents down.

How would you push for more “social” housing rather than so-called “affordable” housing?

Brighton and Hove City Council are in ownership of many brownfield sites. These should be used to encourage the multitude of innovative housing co-ops who also inhabit our city. They should be encouraged to build or renovate or rescue sites and derelict buildings to provide genuinely affordable/social homes.

Stewart Stone

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?

There should be more public toilets on the seafront. I realise that all councils are making very difficult choices in these hard times. I applaud the commitment of council to renovating some existing public loos in the city. But surely citizens have the right to decent public toilets.

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?

One of the primary jobs of a local councillor is to liaise with the police to ensure that prompt and effective action is taken against anti-social behaviour. My regular surgeries will enable me to hear residents’ concerns at first-hand and pressure the police to take them seriously.

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?

The Green-run council’s decision to ignore weeds has been a failure. The evidence is all around us. The weeds cause problems for pedestrians and animals and create long-term maintenance problems. There are effective non-polluting treatments for weeds that need to be tried – the Greens’ pavement rewilding policy is dangerous.

There is a cycle lane along the seafront. What are your views on taking up half the road with a new one?

At a cost of £475,000, the cycle lane would provide only marginal improvements. It would also introduce other issues, such as impeding access to shops and pushing parking into congested residential areas. The money should be better spent addressing residents’ concerns, such as those expressed in questions six and eight.

To what extent will you be voting on issues according to their merit or along party lines?

I will be the only Lib Dem councillor and will not be subject to the pressure of a political group. I will judge issues on their merits within the broad confines of a liberal and democratic outlook. This is exactly the approach that has made Lib Dem councils so successful elsewhere.

How willing are you to get out and about in all the communities that make up the ward?

I am well aware that Wish ward, which stretches from Portslade Station to the Hove Lagoon and to Portland Road, contains many varied communities with correspondingly varying needs. As your councillor, I would immerse myself in the issues that affect all the different parts of the ward and its citizens.

  1. fed-up with brighton politics Reply

    This man, who doesn’t live in Wish ward or anywhere near it, came bottom of the heap in the recent Rottingdean Coastal by-election, with just 3% of the vote. When he loses the Wish by-election, as he surely will, where is he going to stand next May? Somewhere else? Local affinity to the ward and something positive to offer on very local issues is everything to many of the wards, but I see none of that here. Just a burning ambition to be a councillor, anywhere.

    • Soph Reply

      In my naivety, I always believed councillors had to live in the ward they represented, and was shocked to discover this was not the case. I suppose this is the reality of modern politics, but what a shame we don’t have enough people in each ward willing to stand. The problem is you don’t always trust their motivation (particularly when they’ve been involved in projects which you felt would have a negative impact on your area). Maybe I should be grateful anyone wants to stand for election…especially in the current climate. But yes, it grates.

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