Labour and Greens celebrate county council gains in Lewes district
Labour and the Greens are celebrating a breakthrough after both parties gaining East Sussex County Council seats in the Lewes district.
Wendy Maples won Lewes for the Greens, Johnny Denis took Ringmer and Lewes Bridge, alongside other Green gains in Hastings and Wealden, giving them four county councillors in total.
Meanwhile Chris Collier took Peacehaven and he will be joined at County Hall by fellow new Labour representative Christine Robinson, who was elected in Telscombe.
Sam Adeniji held Seaford North for the Conservatives, while Lib Dems Carolyn Lambert and Sarah Osborne were re-elected in Seaford South and Ouse Valley West & Downs respectively.
The closest contest of the night was in Newhaven and Bishopstone where Lewes District Council Lib Dem leader James MacCleary was elected just 16 votes ahead of Conservative Liz Boorman.
Conservative Matthew Milligan narrowly held on to Chailey ahead of Green Zoe Nicholson.
Ms Maples, who succeeds long-time independent Ruth O’Keeffe who did not stand for re-election, said: “I’m enormously grateful for the support and encouragement I’ve had, including from people who say they’ve never voted Green before, thank you.
“Every day I talk with people in Lewes who say they’re worried about how we’re looking after our town, the planet and our futures. There are lots of truly amazing initiatives in Lewes, but lack of support for what really matters from county council. We start today, getting recognition that we are facing a climate crisis. We start today, doing politics differently. We start today for a Greener, brighter future.”
Mr Denis added: “This an astonishing vote for a new way of working at the County Council. I am so grateful for those people who had the confidence to lend me their vote.
“People have been telling me how disillusioned they are with a council that lets everybody down, and fails to understand or respond to the climate crisis. And they have cut local services to the bone. We need Greens on the Council to talk sense and get people working together for a better East Sussex.”
Meanwhile the Labour wins builds on the three seats they won at LDC back in 2019.
Mr Collier said: “I’m absolutely delighted that so many residents in Peacehaven voted for me to stand up for the local area, and I have immense gratitude that they have put their trust in me to do that job.
“Over the course of the campaign time and time again the same issues were coming up, poor roads and pavements, schools and cuts to key services. We also witness a growing realisation that our area has been poorly served and that Christine and I are absolutely committed to working with residents to improve the area we live in.
Ms Robinson added: “I’m proud to have been elected as a councillor for East Sussex County Council for the Telscombe division. This is the first time we have had Labour councillors from this area elected to the county council and that we also won in Peacehaven shows the level of feeling locally.
“Over the days since winning I have had lots message of support from residents, many expressing their hopes for the area. I’m looking forward to working with them to deliver everything we can.”
Mr MacCleary, currently leader of Lewes District Council, said: “I am proud to have been elected to serve as county councillor for Newhaven and Bishopstone.
“The local Tories had Newhaven and Bishopstone and Seaford South in their sights as their top targets in Sussex.
“Locally, the Tories deployed an intensive campaign, months of social media activity and political attacks from both the candidates and our local MP, Maria Caulfield, who had clearly tied her reputation to this campaign.
“Despite a huge spend and effort, the Tories failed to take either seat. Given that we also had strong campaigns from Labour, other minor parties and independents, the Liberal Democrat wins show an even greater faith by the electorate in the local Lib Dems.”
Ms Lambert added:“I would like to thank the voters in Seaford South who have again trusted me with their mandate to represent them at County Hall.
“I was returned with a doubling of my majority, proof that people in Seaford appreciate the hard work the local Lib Dems put into representing them and holding the Conservative administration to account.
“The Liberal Democrats remain the second largest party on the county council with over double the number of seats of any of the other opposition parties and continue to hold more divisions in Lewes district than any other political party.”
Ms Osborne added: “I am delighted to be r turning for a second term as a county councillor representing Ouse Valley West and Downs.
“This is my 15th year as a councillor, and I would like to thank everyone who voted for me, returning me with substantially more votes than in 2017.
“The Conservative majority was slashed in these election to only four, proof many voters in East Sussex no longer have faith in the local Tories.
“I will continue to serve my community and fight on their behalf on issues such as the Eton homes development, for better services for rural communities and for increased funding for vital public services.”
Conservative Sam Adeniji, who was elected in Seaford North, said: “I am humbled by the opportunity given to me to serve the lovely town of Seaford and thank full to the residents of Seaford North for believing in me and voting for me to make a positive difference to your town.
“I aim to be a strong voice of Seaford on East Sussex County Council. I am determined to tackle the issues raised with me during the campaign and will do my utmost best to get a result for our town.”
Mr Milligan said: “I am very pleased that I have been elected to the county council to represent the Chailey Division.
“It was a close result but I’m looking forward to getting to work on the issues that the residents across the villages of the division most care about.”
Ms Nicholson, who serves as Deputy Leader of Lewes District Council, said: “I’m hugely grateful to everyone in and around the villages of Chailey division who voted for me. People in our rural areas feel ignored by politicians. That’s what I kept hearing in so many conversations on the doorstep: they feel ignored and taken for granted by the Conservatives who’ve represented them, largely unchallenged, for decades now.
“It was desperately close because we showed that we’re the only credible alternative to the Conservatives. Not a wasted vote, not a single-issue party, but a credible choice for people who feel let down by same old parties and want someone to listen and work hard on their behalf for a change.
“This county seat of Chailey has been held by the Conservatives since its creation in 1985. By any measure it would have been considered a safe blue seat - Greens only won 200 votes here in 2017.
“But our campaign this time has shown that when Greens play to win, there are no safe Conservative seats in Lewes anymore.’
“In Ringmer & Lewes Bridge county division, where the Liberal Democrats were defending a seat they had held for many years, Ringmer district councillor Johnny Denis secured a thumping victory with 50.5 per cent of all votes cast, after missing out on winning the same seat in 2017 by just 107 votes.”
Chailey: Nicholas Belcher (Labour) 186, Karen Dodd (Heritage Party) 42, Hazel Fell-Rayner (Liberal Democrat) 623, Matthew Milligan (Conservative) 1627 - ELECTED, Zoe Nicholson (Green) 1580.
Lewes: David Charnock (Conservative) 542, Peter Hambly (Labour) 763, Wendy Maples (Green) 2030 -ELECTED, Catherine Wood (Liberal Democrat) 1345.
Newhaven and Bishopstone: Elizabeth Boorman (Conservative) 1235, James MacCleary (Liberal Democrat) 1251 - ELECTED, Emily O’Brien (Green) 223, Elaine Sammarco (Labour) 219, Steven Saunders (Independent) 238.
Ouse Valley West and Downs. Anthony Bradbury (Conservative) 1108, David Hallett (Labour) 209, Paul Keene (Green) 285, Sarah Osbourne (Liberal Democrat) 1671 - ELECTED.
Peacehaven: Ian Buchanan (Ukip) 51, Christopher Collier (Labour) 1363 - ELECTED, Lesley Orr (Green) 100, Katie Sanderson (Conservative) 1307, Adam Stratford (Heritage Party) 31.
Ringmer and Lewes Bridge: Janet Baah (Liberal Democrat) 1159, Johnny Denis (Green) 2291 - ELECTED, Danny Sweeney(Labour) 240, Richard Turner (Conservative) 844.
Seaford North: Samuel Adeniji (Conservative) 1808 - ELECTED, Nazish Adil (Liberal Democrat) 532, Ann Biddle (Labour) 209, Philip Boorman (Independent) 55, Peter Leeming (Ukip) 55, Gemma McFarlane (Green) 929.
Seaford South: Carolyn Lambert (Liberal Democrat) 1679 - ELECTED, James Meek (Green) 338, Luke Proudfoot (Conservative) 1303, Alun Tlusty-Sheen (Labour) 347.
Telscombe: Simon Ackroyd (Liberal Democrat) 199, Christine Robinson (Labour) 1426 - ELECTED, Anthony Shuster (Green) 189, Andrew Smith (Conservative) 1354.