Principles not politics to take town forward

Picture by Ron Hill
Picture by Ron Hill

There’s a new shape, style and direction to Uckfield Town Council.

The town’s newly formed ‘Trust’ (Team Representing Uckfield Supporting Transparency) group of independent would-be members achieved astonishing success in the recent election with candidates elected to eight of 15 available seats.

Two LibDem members, Alan Whittaker (Uckfield North) and Caroline Pagett (formerly Ridgewood) lost seats.

Newly elected member Duncan Bennett gave his explanation for the group’s ability to vacuum the bulk of local votes.

Duncan, a former deputy mayor, told the Express: “Our whole ethos is to steer away from party politics and group together under one heading. I don’t agree that politics has any place in the concept of parish or town government. It takes away from the things that need to be done. Politics should not matter. Uckfield is our home, we live, work and play in the town and being involved with a local authority is not a power game. There are big decisions to be made and it’s vital councillors think through what is the best direction for the town without adhering blindly to party guidelines.”

In Uckfield North, Trust’s James Anderson, Louise Eastwood, Donna French, Jacqueline Love and Chris Macve gained five of six seats. LibDem member Paul Sparks keeps his. Diane Ward, Helen Firth and Paul Meakin were elected for Uckfield Central. In New Town, Spike Mayhew (LibDem) and Mick Dean and Duncan Bennett (Trust) were elected. Ridgewood is represented by Ian Smith, (town mayor,) Keith Everett (both independent) and Jacqueline Beckford (LibDem.) Members Mick Harker, John Carvey, John Collins, Jim Molesworth-Edwards, Sarah Hall, Jeremy Hallett, Sam Lear and Thelma Rumbelow stood down.

At the Trust launch, candidates declared themselves independent of politics and vowed never to be forced to toe a party line. Their priority is the town where they live and the people with whom they share it. They fear plans and decisions with effects that have a massive impact on the community may be kept from public view and vowed to ensure Uckfield’s electorate is fully informed and involved in such matters. Cllr Smith said: “I am happy to be working alongside lots of new faces on the council. I ask that we work together as a team as we must at a time when many changes are on the cards. We must iron out all our differences and take Uckfield forward.”

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