Brighton and Hove Independents name first five candidates for local elections

Posted On 24 Jan 2023 at 12:01 am

The Brighton and Hove Independents have named five candidates for the local elections in May including the group’s founder Bridget Fishleigh.

Councillor Bridget Fishleigh

She is the only current member of Brighton and Hove City Council to have been elected as an Independent.

She will be joined as a candidate in the new Rottingdean and West Saltdean ward, created by boundary changes, by Mark Earthey, a sustainable energy consultant.

Dr Earthey advises companies, governments and national regulators on creating strategies for renewable energy, sustainability, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change and fighting energy poverty.

He is already working with a number of local groups, energy co-operatives and neighbouring town councils to create community energy schemes based on renewables.

Dr Earthey is also a member of both the Saltdean and Rottingdean Climate Action Networks and the A259 Action Group, having suffered at first hand the limitations of the local transport network.

He said “The city faces real challenges, both local and global, that cannot be addressed by a single-track, dogmatic ideology. Now is the time to take a diverse approach to policy-making based on evidence and fact.

“Having lived in the city since 1991, I can bring 30 years of experience in both the private and public sectors advising large corporations and community energy schemes. I want to use this expertise on behalf of all residents who deserve better than they have received to date.”

In Queen’s Park ward, Adrian Hart will stand for the Brighton and Hove Independents, having lived and worked in the area for 20 years.

Mr Hart has been involved in housing co-ops, anti-racism campaigns and community film-making. He has also worked in schools, colleges and youth theatre groups.

Mark Earthey

In the community, Mr Hart has been immersed in community matters ranging from housing campaigns to the establishment of the White Street Community Garden in Edward Street.

With the Amex Area Neighbourhood Forum, Mr Hart helped to secure the lease of the land after years of being told by local councillors and council officials that it couldn’t happen.

He said: “There is a new mood today in local politics. People are sick of ‘the party’ coming before the people. A new era of independent councillors makes perfect sense.

Adrian Hart

“Brighton and Hove has the opportunity to lead the way in becoming a city where its people take over the running of their neighbourhoods, breathing oxygen back into local democracy.

“Let’s vote for change – councillors derived from civic life, community and business enterprise.”

Old Steine Community Association founder Gary Farmer, who is also the managing director of a language school, will stand in Regency ward

Mr Farmer said: “Growing up and living in Brighton, I’ve watched the city decline as successive administrations have abandoned common sense, accountability and responsibility, choosing to put party loyalties ahead of the needs of the people. Now is the time for change.”

Gary Farmer

And in the new Kemptown ward, pub landlord Alan Towler will represent the new Independent group. Mr Towler has lived and worked in Kemptown for 23 years, spending the past 11 years as co-owner and chef at the Bristol Bar, in Paston Place. He is also a member of the Madeira Terraces Advisory Panel.

He said: “Like many people I have been frustrated with the time the council has taken to get a grip on situations such as the Madeira Terraces.

“Too much talk, too many meetings, too many consultants and too little action.

“It’s no surprise that the city is in a state given the inability of the current crop of councillors to make a decision. I am ready to stand-up for the city that I love.”

Brighton and Hove Independents was founded by Councillor Fishleigh who was shortlisted in the national Councillor of the Year awards just over a year ago.

Alan Towler

Mr Farmer said: “Over the past three years, Bridget has shown that independent councillors can make a real difference by putting the needs of residents before party political allegiances.

“From running a food bank to leading on regeneration projects, planting trees and securing improvements to local infrastructure, Bridget has led by example and I am proud to join her.

Councillor Fishleigh said: “Now, more than ever, with tough times and significant cuts in funding from central government, we need to ensure that every penny counts and our city is managed wisely and prudently. No more vanity projects, incompetence and mismanagement.

“It’s time for change. We are Independents because we are not part of the traditional political party system and will put people before politics.

“We are competent, trustworthy and financially astute – and will be bi-partisan in our approach to improving the lives of residents. We are the change that our city needs – and deserves.”

Councillor Fishleigh said that the new group’s purpose was to improve the running of Brighton and Hove through the election of non-political candidates with the life and work experiences needed to manage a city of nearly 300,000 people.

Of the 20,000 councillors across the country, more than 3,000 are independents, she said. They outnumber the Liberal Democrats.

The Brighton and Hove Independents said that its priorities were

  • putting the needs and wishes of the people of Brighton and Hove first
  • being prudent with residents’ money, making decisions based on evidence and analysis with clear key performance indicators (KPIs) and measures of success
  • listening – and acting – when residents and local businesses come to them with a problem
  • no more vanity projects

The Brighton and Hove Independents said that the group was looking for more people to stand as candidates in May as well as seeking donors and volunteers. To find out more, click here.

  1. Hove me do Reply

    It’s exciting to see that she has selected a dynamic, diverse selection of white middle-class men who wouldn’t look out of place in a TV ad for OurTime.

    • Keir Laureland Hardy Reply

      Spoken like a true party wonk. Before the last elections, Labour deselected their only ethnic minority councillors. The Greens are all pale and increasingly stale. Only the Tories have any councillors from an ethnic minority. All the main parties also seem to have eliminated any signs of the working classes or lower middle classes too, with a small number of rare exceptions (Barnett, Lewry, Grimshaw).

  2. Susie Reply

    “Putting the needs and wishes of the people of Brighton and Hove first” is good! We want only people who were born and bred in B&H to have the right to live and work here. The indies are the only party who will do anything for us. Vote them!

    • ChrisC Reply

      So you wont be voting for Mark Earthy then as he doesn’t fit your insular “born and bred” criteria.

      • Susie Reply

        Well if that is our wish, have you not read: “Putting the needs and wishes of the people of Brighton and Hove first”? Keep up! Wish what you may.

        • ChrisC Reply

          Nothing for me to keep up with.

          One minute you say only those “born and bred” in Brighton should be here yet you seem happy to support a council candidate who isn’t “born and bred”.

          You can’t have it both ways,

  3. Charles U Farley Reply

    If they are the best people for the job then what’s the problem?
    The sooner we get back to a meritocracy and away from the current virtue signalling the better.

  4. Nigel Reply

    “listening – and acting” straight from the Tor!es handbook, especially the acting. Excellent!

  5. ChrisC Reply

    What are their policies though?

    One persons “vanity project” is another’s essential need. To sone fixing the terraces is a vanity project to others it’s essential works.

    What are their plans to improve recycling, fill potholes and fix pavements and generally clean the streets?

    What are their proposals to deal with falling school pupil numbers? Sone schools will need to close so what criteria will they use?

    How will they improve social care?

    What part of the budget will they cut to deal with falling government grants and to find their priorities?

    Their four priorities are meaningless with out specific policies.

    If they come up with a reasonable package then I would consider voting for them. Bit I want to see policies not slogans.

    • Mick Reply

      Agree – fixing Maderia Terraces is the absolute definition of a vanity project. It’s a ridiculous waste of money when so many other things need fixing first (e.g. public toilets) and fixing them will be a net loss of money to the city (there’s absolutely no way it will generate millions of pounds from extra tourism). What a ridiculous thing to put as one of only 4 policies, it’s utterly meaningless.

  6. David J Reply

    How can they be Independent if they are a group?

  7. Soph Reply

    I welcome a move away from party politics because frankly they pretty much all STINK. Good luck to the people who are willing to make this city better. I hope you live in – and know – the area you want to represent (and won’t impose damaging developments on other areas). I hope you have bags of common sense and practicality. I hope you can understand a complicated budget, get this city working and moving properly, clean it up, and make it safer (especially for women). We want a council who can deliver the services we pay for (no rubbish collected the last two weeks!). I hope you can look after the needs of everybody – all ages and abilities. I hope you don’t ignore the drink and drugs problem and paper over the cracks with ridiculous, grandiose schemes. I hope you serve the people, not yourselves.

  8. Indie Del Reply

    We don’t need anyone vetted (even if not perfect) by political parties. We need more wheeler-dealers type of local independent councillors. “No income tax, no VAT, no money back, no guarantee”.

    • Geoffrey Robertson-Maxwell Reply

      Your characterization is more relevant to the likes of the ex Chancellor, Nadim Zahawi, or the PM and his formerly non-dom wife. For those of us watching Stonehouse on TV, it’s a reminder of how Labour isn’t without its representatives who think tax is for the little people either. No indies that I know of are tainted like that, let alone of making the kind of claims we learned about during the MPs expenses scandal.

      • Tina Reply

        Yeah right. Looking at who is running for the “indies” in this article, I would say job for the boys. Not a good start!!!

        • fed-up with brighton politics Reply

          This is just the first five. Others are in the pipeline. At least the five mentioned so far have some sort of expertise in areas which current councillors do not.

      • Esther Reply

        The Independent Party would have Andrew T@te running at this rate, would not?

  9. Timothy Reply

    Interesting that 1 of their 4 policies is to stop the Mederia Terrace renovations (“no more vanity projects”). It somewhat contradicts the other quote earlier in the article but I guess that’s what you get with a group of independents!

    • Tomithy Reply

      Where do they say they want to stop the restoration? My impression was they wanted to focus spending on genuine restoration rather than pouring tens of thousands into a temporary art installation there? The units proposed as part of the restoration will generate rents, like those between the piers. The wall behind the Terraces supports the A259 above. Work is needed and, apart from temporary art installations, is essential investment rather than wasteful spending on vanity projects. Some of the Indies critics here are distorting the little they know and are very obviously part of the problem and probably not part of the sensible core vote being chased by the Indies.

    • fed-up with brighton politics Reply

      They do not say that. The Terraces are not a vanity project and I think all parties and residents want them restored. If the council controllers over the years had done any maintenance (and just once in 20 years have I seen a paint job on them), then they would not be in their current state.

  10. Jonathan Reply

    Gary Falmer absolutely despises Brighton – take a look at some of his local Facebook group posts. He regularly describes Brighton as a “cesspit” which will certainly appeal to the Tory voters. Dividing the Tory vote is good with me!

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