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New District Council Administration Alliance for Wealden


A joint press release from Wealden Liberal Democrats & Wealden Green Party

Today, Green and Liberal Democrat members on Wealden District Council are pleased to announce they have reached an agreement to form the Alliance for Wealden, a cross-party co-operative group that will run the council for the next four years.

The recent local elections on May 4th ended 50 years of near-continuous Conservative control of the District Council, though gave no party an overall majority. However, the Liberal Democrats won 13 seats, making them the largest party on the council, while the Green Party won 11 seats. Discussions have been taking place since, which the two leaders, James Partridge for the Lib Dems and Rachel Millward for the Greens, have described as “amicable, brisk and business-like”, and which have led to an agreement to form a cabinet, consisting of four (4) members of the Liberal Democrats and three (3) members of the Green Party.

Liberal Democrat group leader James Partridge will become the new Leader of the Council, with Green group leader Rachel Millward becoming Deputy Leader. The leadership post will then rotate annually between the two group leaders.

This marks an historic change for Wealden, with the Wealden Conservatives having been reduced from a comfortable majority of 28 seats to just 9. Another historic first for Wealden was the election of two Labour District Councillors, both in Uckfield. There were also a total of 10 independents elected.

Liberal Democrat Group Leader and new Leader of the Council James Partridge spoke with optimism and enthusiasm about the newly formed working alliance with the Greens, saying:

Wealden District Council configuration following the May 4th 2023 elections
Wealden District Council configuration following the May 4th 2023 elections

“We are absolutely on the same page about all the important local issues, and thus were able to quickly reach an agreement to form a combined team that will ensure competent and effective governance over the next four years. Our focus is to bring about the changes for which the majority of the Wealden electorate voted. I am really looking forward to leading that team for the next year.”

Rachel Millward, Green Party Group Leader, added:

“Residents made it clear at the ballot box that they are desperate for change. We are delighted to bring in a new era of collaborative local politics to better serve our residents, and better protect nature. Change takes time, and we won’t be able to achieve everything we’d like to due to central government restrictions. But we will be working hard, together, to improve Wealden for all.”