After 28 years as a councillor, it’s time to stand down
After a great deal of thought I have decided not to stand as a councillor at the May elections in 2023.
I have been a councillor since 1995 when I was elected to represent Westbourne ward on Hove Borough Council. This was the first year that Hove had a Labour administration!
Hove then joined with Brighton to become a unitary authority in 1997. I soon transferred to Hove Park, or Stanford ward as it was called then, as it is where I live. And I have been lucky enough to represent the ward ever since.
The Conservative group came to power in 2007 until 2011. At that time, I was one of the deputy leaders, with Councillor Mary Mears as leader.
I was chairman of the Children , Families and Schools Committee and oversaw the setting up of the Brighton Aldridge Community Academy (BACA) and began the work to set up the Portslade Aldridge Community Academy (PACA).
We also bought in the catchment areas for secondary admissions that are still in place today.
During those years I was also lucky enough to open a number of new children’s centres, Connaught Road Infant School and several school extensions as there was a boom in the birth rate.
Through the years I have sat on many committees such as Environment, Transport and Sustainability, Tourism, Economy and Culture and the Health and Wellbeing Board. But I have always been on Children, Families and Schools, or Children, Young People and Skills as it is now called.
As a primary school teacher for many years, this committee has always been my greatest interest. I have learnt a great deal by being on different committees and I have been fortunate enough to meet many interesting people.
I have enjoyed working with all my colleagues over the years and have enjoyed working with my fellow ward councillor Samer Bagaeen these past four years.
I shall be sorry to leave and I am sure I will miss all the challenges but I have decided that the time is right to spend more time with my family and maybe have a few more holidays!
I have enjoyed my 28 years as a councillor very much and I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the many residents of Hove Park Ward who have helped and encouraged me over the years. Sometimes the work has been very frustrating but at other times very rewarding.
I would also like to thank all the voluntary and community groups that I have worked with. These residents give freely of their time to help make the area a better place to live.
Hove Park ward is now being enlarged to include Westdene so there will be a requirement for three councillors rather than two.
I am very pleased to announce that Emma Hogan and Ivan Lyons, both of whom live in the new ward, will be joining Samer Bagaeen, who many of you already know, as the three prospective Conservative candidates for Westdene and Hove Park ward.
I know that if they should be lucky enough to be elected they will work tirelessly for the residents. I wish them every success.
Councillor Vanessa Brown is a Conservative member of Brighton and Hove City Council and represents Hove Park ward.
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28 years is an extremely long time, what exceptional dedication to the area you live in. Definitely, something to hold with upmost pride.