Greens hold Arundel and Walberton seat

The Green Party has retained its seat in Arundel and Walberton.
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Green Party candidate Stephen McAuliffe was elected to the Arundel and Walberton seat at Arun District Council in a by-election yesterday (December 1).

He is now one of three Green councillors at ADC, joining Barnham representatives Isabel Thurston and Sue Wallsgrove who was elected in September.

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The seat became vacant when former Green councillor Faye Catterson was removed from office following a six month absence.

Councillor Steve McAuliffeCouncillor Steve McAuliffe
Councillor Steve McAuliffe

Mr McAuliffe secured 873 votes, Conservative Party candidate Mario Trabucco came second with 549 votes, and Michael Ward of the Labour Party came in third place with 407 votes.

Royal Mail strikes forced the council to mail out postal voting packs early this year.

Turnout was just over 27 per cent with 1,839 ballot papers issued and a potential 6,798 voters. A total of ten ballot papers were rejected at the count on Thursday night.

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A key issue going into this by-election was the A27 Arundel Bypass with two of the three candidates explicitly saying ‘no’ to the unpopular ‘Grey Route’.

This included Arun’s newest councillor, Mr McAuliffe.

The Fontwell resident and environmental scientist says the impact of the proposed route would be ‘devastating’.

Mr McAuliffe is also a parish councillor in Walberton having been elected in 2021.

He previously served as a councillor in Hailsham, East Sussex.

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On his by-election win Mr McAuliffe said: “Voters are yearning for greener, fairer communities and strong local advocates. I am delighted they have placed their trust in me.

“I will stand up for Arundel and Walberton against the constant threat of excessive house building and unnecessary road building that puts our unique environment, and residents’ health, at risk.”

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Carol Birch, Chichester and Arun Green Party, said: “We are delighted with the result, Steve McAuliffe will be a brilliant councillor.

“It is also a clear ‘no’ to the proposed A27 Arundel Bypass Grey Route. With important Arun roads flooded during the campaign, we can see that the money needs to be diverted to make Arun resilient to climate change.”

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ADC leader Shaun Gunner (Con, Rustington East) said his party’s candidate had done an ‘excellent job of maintaining a strong second-place position’ while Green and Labour activists were ‘bussed in from around the county’, despite a decreased vote share.

“Many commentators were predicting that the Conservatives would come third in this by-election, and yet we’ve beaten the odds,” Mr Gunner said.

“I know that Mario has every intention of building on this good work and gaining a seat in Arundel and Walberton at next year’s local elections, and I will be out there working with him to put our case to our residents.

“In the meantime, I congratulate Steve McAuliffe as the newly-elected Green councillor for Arundel and Walberton, and look forward to working with him over the next five months.”