WEALDEN DISTRICT ELECTIONS
Wealden snow-scape looking toward Windmill Hill from Herstmonceux. We can remember that at this time of year this field would be feet deep in snow. There can be no doubt about the change that global warming is causing. We need to act rather faster than most Councillors are able to take this in. We need Members who are moving with the times and looking to make a positive contribution to society for the health of our children and the health of the planet. Copyright photograph © February 2018 Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd, all rights reserved.
COUNCILLORS SERVING IN 2017 INTO 2018
RAMBLING - This gate has seen better days, but that should not put you off from paying a visit to our glorious Sussex countryside provided that it is still around and the air is still breathable in years to come. If you can spare the time, you will discover peace the charm of country living that town dwellers forget about as they inhale diesel particulates and consume their fast food. Copyright photograph © February 2018 Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd, all rights reserved.
The above are members (councillors) of the Wealden District Council from 2017 into 2018. They are the local representatives that are entrusted to provide an effective administration, taking in taxes from the residents and businesses and doing their best to provide social and other services efficiently.
The introduction of the Climate Change Act 2008 and the requirement to provide affordable land for sustainable development is a challenge that most councils in the United Kingdom are finding hard to adapt to, since directed to do so from 2012 in the National Planning Policy Framework Document. Wealden is no exception. They have not built any zero carbon housing and as far as we know no genuinely affordable units either (Ref: local wage test).
It was Margaret Thatcher who (in effect) cancelled low cost council housing, without giving a moments thought to the long-term ramifications for those at the other end of the earning scale. We wonder if our present Prime Minister, Theresa May, might try to do something about affordable housing to seek to re-balance the system. Obviously, once she sorts out the Brexit mess.
One of the problems might be that many councillors in the UK are either landlords or have close ties with land and property owners. If that is so, this is a clear conflict on interest that should be addressed. Councillors who do not have any residual interests will be more likely to want both affordable and sustainable housing for their constituents as they aim for a truly circular economy.
POTHOLE POLITICS - No, not a B road, this is the busy A271 (New Road) between Herstmonceux and Magham Down. This section has been patched up umpteen times over the years, but not very well. This kind of 'Mend and Make Do' was all very well during World Way Two, but with Road Tax being what it is and with roads like this being dangerous to drivers, one might expect that Wealden and East Sussex County Council might want to get on with a proper repair - and while they are at it, Nus Ghani may want to lobby Central Government for extra cash to help get the country back on tract to an economic recovery. We wrote to Conservative MP Caroline Ansell, the former member for Eastbourne about the potholes in Eastbourne and surrounding areas a few years back. The current MP for Eastbourne is Stephen Lloyd, Liberal Democrat, and he is doing something about the pitiful A27 with a petition that you can sign. Copyright photograph © February 2018 Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd, all rights reserved.
The fact is that affordable land has not been identified in the Wealden district and at the time of writing, there are very few energy sustainable houses being built such as to get anywhere near the UN targets. We fear that Brexit may take England further away from the European lead targets as research funding will be near impossible to find once Horizon 2020 grants dry up.
We do not want to miss out on the opportunity that we have at the moment, to comply with the 2050 targets and electrify Britain so that we can all enjoy electric motoring. It might be prudent to look at other low carbon vehicles to hedge our bets - but right now anyone could change of to very low carbon motoring except that our councils are not installing roadside or car-park charging points.
You MP for the Wealden District is Nusrat Ghani. Ms Ghani takes over from Charles Hendry and before him, Sir Geoffrey Johnson-Smith. We hope that Ms Ghani does what she can to implement a low carbon society, aiming for a truly circular economy and fair taxes. Speaking of which, what about our Road Fund Licences. Where is that money going if not on building better roads and keeping the ones we have in good condition. Wealden is littered with potholes. When will we see an end to the Pothole Politics that the previous coalition Government favoured.
YESTERYEAR - This very large Victorian country house soaks up heating oil like there is no tomorrow. In fact, with the climate change act targets not being met by Wealden District Council at the moment, there may well be no tomorrow. Don't you just love the snow? Makes you think of winter when you were young. Enjoy it while you can. The councillors at Wealden are helping to make scenes like this a thing of the past. Copyright © photograph 27 February 2018.
A WHITE CHRISTMAS - Lobby your councillors for more to be done to combat climate change or we will lose our winters altogether and your children will never see the sight of a snowy field or experience the crisp air on a winter walk. Copyright photograph © 27 February 2018 Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd, all rights reserved.
COUNCILLORS SERVING IN 2002 - 2010
We pay a lot of public money for the civil servants that run our councils. The quality and integrity of the staff that members of our councils hire and trust to do things correctly and honestly is paramount. The moment that anyone becomes aware that an officer of your council is abusing their position of trust - you should haul them up for an investigation and if impropriety is established, then that/those civil servants must be dismissed for the good of the council - in the process losing their pension rights - as forfeiture in stead of a prosecution perhaps - except where the abuse of trust is so beneficial in terms of fraudulently obtaining financial gains, such as a gain in land value.
There are many well documented examples of abuses on the www.bushywood.com and other anti-corruption websites. The unlawful demolition at Bushy Wood is the lead case, hence the name of that website. As a council Member, you may be told by your officers that the published cases are untrue. If you are told this we advise reading the papers for yourself, and reprimanding the officers who are deliberately spreading untruths with a spin to cover up their shameful behaviour. In all likelihood it is those officers who are up to no good, or will be up to no good if you let them - typically the long serving ones.
Another case where your officers failed to act to protect a tenant is the case of the farmer Anne Harris. Judge Kennedy is quoted as saying that her case was the worst case of harassment that had come before him in the Eastbourne County Court. He fined her landlord Mr Anscombe ten of thousands of £pounds for his actions that were only possible because Wealden District Council failed to act to stop him. Setting fires adjacent to her home as he did could well have ended in a death and a murder charge. Fortunately, Mrs Harris made a legal stand before the harm escalated.
Lessons to be learned. We pray that all of you will do your utmost to ensure that such repeats of history do not happen again. It is up to you and the electorate who vote for you.
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