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May 4th Icon

Julia Hilton standing as candidate in the East Sussex County Council Elections

After many conversations with various local campaigns, it is clear that we will only get Green policies on the map if we have representation on East Sussex County Council. This is why I am standing to be our candidate in Old Hastings/Tressell division.

 

I have lived in Hastings for almost ten years and have been secretary of the Hastings Green Party since July 2015. I joined the Green Party just before the General Election in May 2015 because I felt it was a party I could campaign for and that did politics differently. I am a landscape architect and an artist, and believe I could make good use of those skills as a Green Party councillor.

 

Last winter I helped start the Transition Town Hastings Warrior Square station garden. I am also very involved in FossiFree Hastings, which campaigns to get the East Sussex Pension fund to divest its fossil fuel holdings. Thanks to our work, their Investment Strategy Statement now acknowledges that climate change poses material financial risk to the fund. This is a first small step towards full divestment.

 

Recently I have been asked to be on the committee of the Hastings Greenways group, aiming to provide safe, accessible walking and cycling routes to all corners of Hastings. I am also a member of Hastings Urban Design Group.

 

I think we should be looking at our town starting with very different basic assumptions. How do we make a place that prioritises the needs of walkers, cyclists and users of public transport? In Hastings, 33% of households have no access to a car – the national average is 22%. Perhaps because of this, Hastings has over 25% more road deaths than the UK average [1].

 

There are already some great campaigns on these issues in this town, but they struggle to find enough traction to be taken seriously. Currently East Sussex County Council (ESCC) has access to £6m to spend in Hastings on walking and cycling, but is ignoring local input when it comes to where to spend that money.

 

If we want to get more people walking and cycling, we need to make Hastings' roads safer for everyone. This means urgently addressing speeding cars and ensuring that potholes and cracked pavements get mended fast. 

 

We have a fantastic seafront that could be so much better with a design-informed vision. There have been countless seafront strategy documents but they have mostly been written by planning consultants with no design expertise, and they have been acted on in piecemeal fashion. What about exploring the idea of a car-free seafront or, for a start, a car-free day? What about having little electric shuttles travelling up and down the sea front connecting St Leonards to the Stade and the Old Town? 


[1] According to figures researched by Hastings Urban Bikes

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