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 Patricia Mountain.
Why do you want to be a councillor?
I want to stand with the local community against the politicians of the entrenched legacy parties. Government cuts have had a detrimental effect on child and adult social care. I would seek to ensure that all available funds will be used to provide public services that people can rely on.
What will you bring to this role?
I believe that best decisions are local decisions. Community groups and volunteers are often more capable to run facilities and services than the state. I would work to support, empower and energise local groups.
Do you live in Wish ward?
I do not live in the ward.
What three things will you do to support this area?
If elected, I would work to slash excessive pay deals for senior council staff, cut councils’ advertising and self-promotion budgets and stop non-essential council booklets, magazines and newspapers. Spend the money saved on frontline services to benefit residents.
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?
Time to bring power back to the people. Major decisions should be subject to binding referendums if the people demand it. On the petition of 5 per cent of the local electorate within three months, major planning and local service decisions should be subject to a democratic vote of affected residents.
How would you push for more “social” housing rather than so-called “affordable” housing?
A building programme of council homes, prioritising local people, putting an end to queue-jumping by those from outside the area. This is a “City of Sanctuary”, housing and taking care of those “new to the area”. Why, when they cannot meet the housing needs of local people?
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?
It is appalling that public toilets are so far down the agenda for this council. I would want to see public toilet provision increased, with more disabled access and more changing facilities for children and adults. Section 106 infrastructure monies received from developers may be one way to fund this.
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?
Britain’s communities suffer from an unacceptable level of crime and anti-social behaviour. The present system needs an overhaul to make sentences meaningful, rehabilitate offenders, deport foreign criminals, free up the police from excessive form-filling and tackle nuisance behaviour and anti-social behaviour.
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?
I would encourage the public to report any hazard caused by poor maintenance, in particular, of the trees lining our roads. Uneven pavements, often inadequately illuminated at night, represent a danger to all. I believe in people power. Local councils should exist to serve communities not just spend residents’ money.
There is a cycle lane along the seafront. What are your views on taking up half the road with a new one?
I cannot support bus and cycle lanes which are largely unused and cause tailbacks in the remaining lanes. Cyclists have dedicated lanes of their own and pay nothing. How can this be fair? Cyclists and motorists need to share roads and all pay towards road maintenance.
To what extent will you be voting on issues according to their merit or along party lines?
The community is “boss” and UKIP councillors are free to use their own judgment to serve the wishes of those who elected them. The UK Independence Party will not apply the whip to its councillors and will give its elected councillors freedom to vote how they choose.
How willing are you to get out and about in all the communities that make up the ward?
UK Independence Party councillors are seen to be more practical and work harder than legacy party politicians. Having said that when canvassing the ward, it was very clear that the sitting Conservative councillor in this ward is highly respected and his hard work is appreciated.