Wealden Green party's candidates were hugely successful in May's local elections: in Forest Row, Patricia Patterson-Vanegas won by a landslide, gaining 1212 votes to the Conservative candidate’s 321. Keith Obbard won his seat in Withyham by 499 to 448 votes. And in Crowborough, Colin Stocks rejoined the Town Council to represent Jarvis Brook. You can read the full story on our News page - across the district our candidates polled higher than ever before, with 12 coming second in their wards. Next time, we're aiming even higher!
Find your Green candidate for Wealden District Council below - they are listed by ward. (Here's a link to a map of wards in Wealden so you can find yours.) Please note that boundaries have changed - in Forest Row, for example, there is now only ONE councillor, not two and the boundary cuts through the edge of the village.
We have exciting, positive plans for making Wealden an even better place to live and work. Read about them after the list of candidates.
Arlington: Kay Syrad
Kay Syrad has lived in East Sussex for more than 35 years, working in education and as a writer.
A mother and grandmother, Kay is married to an environmental artist with whom she has collaborated on a number of books. She is an editor as well as a published novelist and poet and is currently co-running a series of eco-poetry courses, including one at the pioneering rewilded estate, Knepp Wildland.
Kay’s special interest is in how as a community, at this time of eco-crisis, we can be more respectful of non-human species and the natural world, remembering that nature is our source, not simply a resource.
Buxted: Caroline Coxon
My name’s Caroline Coxon and I’ve lived in Buxted for 35 years. My three boys all went to the primary school and on to Uckfield Community College (as it was then known). I ran the village playgroup, and was on the board of governors for both Buxted and Uckfield schools before starting work full-time as a teacher for children with special educational needs. Since 2002, I’ve been a freelance writer but am now officially retired.
I’m passionate about the environment, speaking out against injustice, supporting vulnerable people who find it difficult to make their voices heard, and making a stand for animal rights - locally, nationally and globally.
If I had the honour to be selected to serve Buxted, High Hurstwood and Five Ash Down as a District Councillor, I’d be sure to liaise with all local organisations including the Parish Council, find out what’s on people’s minds and champion their causes with Wealden.
Here are a few of the local issues that I see on a daily basis and that I would hope to address:
Then there are wider issues such as supporting local businesses, affordable housing, provision for the elderly and people with special needs, the transport infrastructure, protecting our hedgerows, trees and wildlife …
We’re lucky to live here, but that’s not to say that improvements can’t be made to make our daily lives work better. I don’t know the answers to our local problems, but you can be sure I’ll work my socks off to seek creative solutions and fight for our villages and all the people living in them.
Chiddingly, East Hoathly & Waldron: Alison Wilson
I moved to Laughton nearly 12 years ago after my husband and I decided that we wanted to raise our young family in the countryside, rather than in inner-city London. I have a legal background, having worked as a solicitor both in the private sector and in central government. Since living in Laughton, I have served as a school governor and as a trustee of a local music education charity. I am very keen to see more Green Party representation in government at both local and national levels.
Crowborough Jarvis Brook: Colin Stocks
I live in Jarvis Brook, and have been an active member of the community here for many years:
Since I live in the Ward, I care what happens here! Jarvis Brook contains Crowborough's finest environmental assets at the Country Park and the Ghyll, its most important commercial centres on Farningham Road and at Sybron Way, and its transport hub at Crowborough Railway Station. They all need protection and support so that Jarvis Brook can continue to thrive.
Crowborough North: Nigel Fox
Crowborough South West: Pam Tysh
I have lived near Nutley for five years, frequently visiting Crowborough for work and shopping. A retired teacher, I now work part-time as a support worker with adults with learning difficulties. My priority as a ouncilor would be to push for the council to declare a climate emergency with actions to reduce carbon emissions. I would argue for more social housing with rents based on local incomes not house prices and more truly affordable housing development on brownfield sites. Open spaces in Crowborough should be protected rather than sold to compensate for the massive cuts to local government by Westminster.
Crowborough St John’s: Gabrielle Symonds
Gabrielle Symonds was born and bred in a farming community and has lived in East Sussex all her life, with over 40 years in Crowborough.
She was at one time co-owner of a building business and latterly involved in Complimentary Medicine.
She has four grown up children, all in employment (three self-employed), three grandchildren and two great grandchildren! This means Gabrielle is involved in
family life with an interest in the greater community.
Her main issues are health, food production, housing, the homeless and peace.
Gabrielle believes a Green presence on Wealden District Council will make a difference.
Danehill & Fletching: Simon Cramond
Simon and his wife have lived in Isfield since 2004.
Simon is involved in the local community, being on the committee (and a founder member) of Isfield Community Enterprise and through support for the village Bonfire Society.
His particular concerns are:
Forest Row: Patricia Patterson-Vanegas
With a background in Economics and Finance, Patricia came to the UK in 1994 to work at senior level in industry and pursued her dream to read for a doctorate in social policy. She came to the area with her family more than 15 years ago and has a portfolio career that includes freelance project management, book editing, coaching, mentoring and teaching.
Patricia is value-driven and her work aims to help build a democracy that is ecologically respectful, compassionate, joyful and resilient. She is a founding member of Climate Forest Row, which supports the worldwide campaign for divestment from fossil fuels, and a member of the Forest Row Energy Cooperative. Her personal research aims to develop the concept of politics of wellbeing, which incorporates political reform, environmental stewardship, social justice, gender equity, personal growth and emotional resilience.
Her priorities for Forest Row are to work collaboratively to re-open the recycling centre in the village, support strategies to reduce traffic speed on Forest Row’s roads, improve affordable housing provision in Forest Row and protect public spaces. Patricia is determined to raise awareness of the importance of stewardship of the environment in decisions made at council level.
Framfield & Cross-in-Hand: Tim Parry
Frant & Wadhurst: Beth Martin
I’ve lived in Wadhurst for over sixteen years and have taken an active part in the community, including as Parish Councillor. I work as a freelance Arts project manager and at Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
My priorities include:
Hadlow Down & Rotherfield: Felicity Thompson
Felicity Thompson was born and grew up in Sussex. After over a decade of pursuing a career as a professional archaeologist elsewhere, she returned to dig up her home soils and contribute to the preservation of local heritage. Upon returning she was reunited with an old school friend, who she later married. She and her husband live with their young family in the village of Blackboys.
Felicity has always been interested in sustainability and the protection of natural and historic environments. She believes in strong communities and social equality. Her objective is to see the Wealden area become a greener, thriving place that can better support its population and nourish future generations.
As well as working in market research, she currently spends her time volunteering as branch leader for the Young Archaeologists’ Club and raising two small children.
Hailsham Central: Charlotte Still
Hailsham North: Rachel Chilton
I was born in Croydon but have lived in Hailsham for the past 23 years and raised my daughter here.
I work as a school laboratory technician and in my spare time I am a member of Hailsham Choral Society. I love to get out and enjoy our beautiful Sussex countryside. I enjoy gardening and my husband and I grow a lot of our own fruit and vegetables on our allotment.
Hartfield: Vania Phitidis
Vania Phitidis has lived in Wealden for just shy of 20 years, where she and her husband brought up their two daughters.
Her big questions are: what drives the disconnection that has human beings behave in such a way that we bring harm to other people and the planet - and - how do we, as a population, reconnect with our intrinsic values so that we act in a way that is for the good of all?
Things she loves (apart from her nearest and dearest): humanity, the quiet, simplicity, fresh air, generosity, kindness, cooperation, fresh salad from Tablehurst Farm, a really good homemade brownie and her toy poodle (not necessarily in that order) - and about a million other things.
Things she'd rather didn't exist: greed, wastefulness, pollution, profit before people and planet, self-interest, the first-past-the-post electoral system and elitism.
Vania served as a Wealden District Councillor from 2007-2011 and was instrumental in delivering a Sustainability Strategy, Climate Change Policy and Action Plan.
Herstmonceux & Pevensey Levels: Eve Ashley
Horam & Punnetts Town: Cornelie Usborne
I’ve lived in Maynards Green on and off for over thirty years.
Now semi-retired from teaching history at university I’m keen to take a more active part in the local community. I am a proud member of Heathfield Choral Society and co-organiser of Horam/Maynards Green Community Speed Watch.
My priorities are:
• safer roads
• protecting our AONB: preserving green spaces
• sustainable well-designed new housing which includes genuinely affordable homes for local families
• increasing recycling
• better opportunities for young people
Maresfield Ian Tysh
I have lived in Nutley for almost six years. I retired from working as a solicitor in 2017. I wrote the bulk of Wealden Green Party’s comments on the draft Wealden Local Plan, in which we particularly criticised the hopelessly inadequate provision for affordable housing, the lack of interest in improving public transport and the outdated idea that providing more retail shopping units is a viable route to prosperity. I want the council to declare a climate emergency and commit to eliminating its own carbon use as soon as possible; provide more affordable housing; and campaign to increase government funding.
Mayfield & Five Ashes: Jeff Bolam
South Downs: Mark Poland
Mark Cameron Poland has a deep connection with East Sussex, having grown up in the county where he continues to live with his family.
Mark is trained in psychotherapy and is part of a movement, and a contributor to, a growing body of evidence regarding the benefits of natural spaces on our wellbeing.
Mark's professional experience in facilitating change originates from his need to be curious, to base decisions on evidence, and to make an impact by creating positive change.
Stone Cross: Charlotte Cumber
Hello, my name is Charlotte and I have lived in Stone Cross for 19 years now. I have worked in retail management for 13 years with a degree in the Arts. To me, the most important part of my job is establishing great relationships with my team and encouraging a fun, productive environment that fosters growth. My interest in the council comes from years of volunteering among different charity groups. My priorities revolve around protecting and promoting our environment, developing sustainable habits, improving public services and providing better opportunities for our youth whilst celebrating diversity and inclusion.
Uckfield New Town: Melissa Petty
Melissa has lived in East Sussex for six years since graduating from university. She lives in Uckfield with her husband and works as a Physiotherapist for the NHS. Her priorities for the District Council are:
•protecting natural spaces
•improving access for all to leisure activities, to help with both physical and mental health
•providing energy efficient housing for all
•pushing for Wealden to declare a climate emergency, to ensure all decisions are made in the best interests of our future generations.
Uckfield North: Simon Harriyott
Uckfield Ridgewood & Little Horsted: Toby Quantrill
I have lived with my family in Sussex since 2000 and have spent most of my career working with large environmental and international development charities, as well as a brief spell working for a UK organization supporting refugees and asylum seekers.
I joined the Green party a few years ago, when it became apparent to me that it was the only party that was thinking seriously about the interactions between the social, economic and environmental challenges that we face, and prepared to contemplate the depth and breadth of change required.
I am a season ticket holder at Brighton and Hove Albion and in my spare time I enjoy throwing myself off Beachy Head (and other local hills).
Withyham: Keith Obbard
Keith Obbard was born and bred in Sussex. His interests have always been in sustainability and rural affairs and he spent 25 years running the successful Cherry Gardens Farm at Groombridge with his wife and family, the fourth generation to do so.
Keith has two grown-up children who were both educated in the local schools, and two grandchildren.
Now retired from full time work, Keith works part-time with his daughter gardening for local people.
He is an active member of the local Beekeepers Association, Community Speedwatch, and is a Parish Councillor for Withyham, where he has worked to make our roads safer, and to keep our countryside safe from unwanted development.
Wealden Green Party wants Wealden District Council to change. We want our local council to be a place where positive-thinking people come together to find solutions that improve our communities and make them better places to be.
We are realists, we know money is tight. But we also know that people in Wealden are suffering because of cuts imposed from above, and our council’s weakness in the face of corporate greed and government austerity.
Green Councillors are independent. Unlike Councillors from other parties, Greens are beholden to no-one apart from the residents they represent. Green Councillors listen to residents and trust local people. Greens believe local people have the power to transform their lives and the places they live in.
Here are the changes we want to see in Wealden:
Climate emergency.We don’t have long. The UN’s 2018 report warns that we have 11 years to take emergency action to prevent catastrophic global warming. Across the country, councils are declaring a Climate Emergency and taking action. We will work with residents to show Wealden DC how to declare a climate emergency and act to preserve our future.
Lower rents on Wealden’s social housing.In Brighton and Hove, thanks to the Greens, social rents are now pegged to local incomes, not local house prices. We want to do this in Wealden so a family on below average income can afford to live in a new council house.
Housing that local people can afford.We all know what happens. A housing developer promises Wealden DC they will build affordable housing. They start work, they do a deal with Wealden DC, they build huge, unaffordable houses that locals can’t afford. We don’t accept that this is OK because we believe that everyone has a right to a home, not just the rich. We want to see more truly affordable housing, and more social housing, and we will fight for it.
Traffic speed.All across Wealden, residents tell us how dangerous and polluting the traffic is in their area. We will work to establish 20 mph limits in villages and towns to keep us all safe and make our air cleaner.
Local, democratic power.Does your Councillor listen to you, or to their party? Many major decisions are taken by a small band of councillors in a cabinet, with no reference to the wider council – we say this is undemocratic. With a Green Councillor you know your voice will be heard, and we will push for all decisions to be made openly and democratically.
Recycling and waste.We have just lost the recycling centres in Forest Row and Wadhurst, thanks to Wealden DC’s short-sighted attempts to save money. In Wealden we recycled 51.9% of our waste beforethe closure of these sites – yet the best performing councils recycled 65%. What were they thinking? The rest of our waste, including – shockingly – our food waste, goes straight to the incinerator. So those Conservative claims of 1% of waste going to landfill don’t tell the whole story – we burn almost half of what we throw away, and that is not good for our environment. We are not winning the war on waste in Wealden, and we need to do far more.
Preserving green spaces.In some parts of Wealden there is huge pressure on green spaces from housing developments and road schemes. In the south, there are plans for the A27 to be turned into a far wider, faster highway, devastating the communities along its length, and the beautiful and important landscape it would cut through. There are powerful profit-driven forces behind this, and it is vital that we oppose the plan and keep our landscape, environment and people safe.
Fracking. The geology of the Weald means we can’t ignore the threat of fracking here. Greens have been on the front line campaigning to stop fracking and the damage to our environment and future. We say Wealden DC should only approve fracking applications that can prove they will have net zero carbon emissions. Kirklees Greens led the way with this – we need to do it here too.
We are extremely happy to announce that Patricia Patterson-Vanegas is our candidate in Forest Row for Wealden District Council.
Patricia lives and works locally, and is actively involved in the village. She is working hard to bring back the recycling centre, and has been asked to join the Waste and Recycling Group. She is campaigning to make sure that any new housing in Forest Row is affordable - which we desperately need, but which Wealden Distruct Council has no plans for. And she is working with Parish Councillor Tony Lewin to slow down traffic in Forest Row, bringing in a 20 mph limit to make our roads safer and less polluting.
Patricia will be a strong, independent voice for residents, fighting hard for the village, and holding the Council to account. Unlike the Conservative councillors who dominate the Council, she won't have to toe a party line - she will always act in the best interests of the village.
If you have a problem you think Patricia can help with or needs to know about, you can contact her at PatriciaPV@wealden.greenparty.org.uk
In the last election in Forest Row, for the County Council, the Green candidate was a hair's breadth behind the Conservative. This time, we know we can win a council seat, and begin a positve change in Wealden. Patricia has been meeting people across Forest Row, listening to their concerns, and hearing how much they want a new voice speaking for them. Join Patricia for a change!
If you would like to help Patricia win this seat, please get in touch with her at PatriciaPV@wealden.greenparty.org.uk
Well, we didn't win in Uckfield North, but we send our congratulations to Daniel Manvell of Labour - he's 18 and before the election sat on the town council as a non-voting youth member. The 'independent' candidate, who sought to join all the other 'independent' councillors in Uckfield stood no chance against Daniel's vigorous, lively campaign.
Thank you for voting for Pam. We enjoyed meeting people in North Uckfield and hearing about the issues that really concern you. We'd love to hear from you if you'd like to know more about the Green Party - Pam is our secretary so do get in touch with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pam Tysh lives locally and works in Uckfield as a support worker for people with disabilities. She has worked as a sixth form and adult education teacher, and as a housing suport worker with young and homeless people.
Pam is married, with two adult daughters, and though she grew up in South London, she has lived in the area for over 20 years. You may even have seen her picking up litter as a Green Party volunteer on the Uckfield by-pass.
"I care about social justice and will stand up and speak for everyone in North Uckfield. I won't allow anyone to be discriminated against because of their income, age, disability, or any other kind of prejudice. We should all have an equal share in power.
I believe that our communities can be a force for good where kindness and care shape the way we live together.
The environment is precious and vital for us all. Our physical and mental health depends on our surroundings. We must consider the impact of our daily lives and policies on the long-term health of our habitats and planet."
Pam's commitment to you:
I offer my time - to listen, to attend meetings, to represent, to question and to organise.
I offer my personal integrity - to seek answers to difficult questions about austerity.
There are two polling stations. One is at Manor Primary School in Downsview Road. The other is at the Cardal Hall in Belmont Road. To check which polling station you need to go to, click here.
Polling stations are open from 7.00am to 10.00pm. You don't need a polling card - none are being issued!
Here's how close we came in 2017 to winning a seat on East Sussex County Council: just look at this tweet from BBC Sussex's politics reporter Ben Weisz!
In 2017 we stood candidates across Wealden in the County Council elections.
Keith Obbard stood for election to the Forest Row and Groombridge ward, and came within a whisker of winning the seat from the Conservatives.
Thank you to everyone who supported our campaign, and who voted for Keith. We're determined to give the people of Wealden a Green voice on our local councils!