Candidates announced for Marine by-election that could decide balance of power at Worthing Borough Council
The by-election will be taking place on December 2 to fill a vacant seat on Worthing Borough Council.
This follows the resignation of former ward councillor Tim Wills, after anti-racist campaign group HOPE not Hate said he allegedly sent messages to a Telegram chat associated with Patriotic Alternative.
Mr Wills’ resignation has left the Conservative group on the council without a majority.
The group now has 18 seats while Labour has 15 and the Liberal Democrats have three.
You can find out more about the four by-election candidates below:
Syed Ahmed - Conservatives
Syed Ahmed has been selected as the Conservative candidate to stand in the Marine by-election.
Syed is a local businessman and owner of The Shaan Restaurant on Tarring Road, Worthing.
Syed and his wife Aklima have lived in Worthing for more than 20 years, built a successful and popular business and raised their young family in the borough.
During the first COVID lockdown, Syed turned his kitchen into a community hub, donating more than 400 hot meals to local front-line NHS staff at Worthing Hospital.
Syed’s campaign will focus on the priorities of his residents, such as ‘standing up against overdevelopment’ and ‘protecting our green spaces’.
He also wants to see continued investment in ‘popular spaces such as Goring Road Shops and West Park Playground & Gym’ whilst ensuring ‘council tax remains low’.
Syed says that sustainability is ‘at the heart’ of his campaign and he ‘fully supports the ambitious Zero 2030 target’ that the council has set.
Syed said: “Public service is a great honour and I hope the good people of Marine Ward will lend me their support on December 2.
“The council needs diverse and dynamic voices ensuring the widest possible representation for all parts of our community.”
Sonya Mallin - Green Party
Green Party candidate Sonya Mallin has lived in Worthing since 2007.
She is a mum and says this was one motivation for joining the Green Party in 2019.
“I’m worried for our children,” she said, “If home schooling whilst working during the pandemic wasn’t bad enough, now the future of our climate is being threatened.
“Our planet is on fire. It’s now or never.
“We can’t simply ‘hope’ things will get better and vote the way we’ve always voted – It’s time for change.”
A project manager at a local college, Sonya says she is ‘used to getting things done’.
“I’m ready to work with elected politicians, holding our council accountable for its new Sustainable Framework,” she said.
“We have to act now and act quickly if we are to save the future of our planet for our children.”
Sonya co-founded the #MonthsNotYears campaign and continues to wait for an autism diagnosis for her daughter.
“Our children thrive when properly supported but without diagnosis we’re left fighting for every scrap of support we can get,” she said.
“Being Green is more than just saving the planet. It’s about making life sustainable for everyone.
“You can put your trust in me, I won’t let you down.”
Emma Norton - Liberal Democrats
Emma Norton will be standing as the Liberal Democrat candidate.
Emma is a mum and step-mum to three children and has lived in Worthing for more than 30 years.
She originally trained and worked as a marine biologist but – following a career change – she entered the travel and then travel insurance industries.
After starting her family, she chose to share her ‘life-long love of learning’ and became a science and engineering lecturer at a local college.
As a teacher, mum and volunteer with young people, Emma ‘sees many of the challenges our children and young people face’ and she wants Worthing to be ‘a safe place for them all’.
Emma says she would like to see ‘more opportunities for everyone’ with ‘affordable homes, the right local facilities and good public transport links’.
She said: “I recognise the need for developing plans that will create a successful and sustainable future to protect not just our local environment, but the entire planet.”
In her spare time, Emma enjoys local and family history, as well as a variety of water sports, and walks on the beach or in the beautiful countryside.
Vicki Wells - Labour
Labour Party candidate Vicki Wells grew up in Lancing before studying at Royal Holloway University and Imperial College, London.
Vicki then moved to West Worthing to be closer to family, the Downs and the sea.
She is currently projects and engagement officer at Worthing Theatres and Museum.
Vicki describes herself as ‘energetic, enthusiastic and friendly’ and enjoys running, cycling and walking.
A former BBC Science Producer, Vicki was able to engage others with her love of astronomy by working on ‘The Sky at Night’.
If elected, Vicki’s priorities would include linking the South Downs to the coast via green corridors; involving the community in climate action; and lobbying to introduce a food waste collection.
Vicki would also like to address ‘the chronic lack of affordable homes’ in Worthing by investing in ‘affordable, eco-friendly social housing’.
As a councillor, Vicki would like to see further community engagement: “Our communities are the beating heart of our town and they must be heard,” she said.
“I have spoken extensively to Marine residents who appreciate the compassion, intelligence and dedication that Dr Beccy Cooper and the Labour Party have demonstrated.
“As the second Labour councillor in Marine Ward, I would offer the same level of commitment to meeting the needs of all members of the community.”