UPDATED: Green Party wins Ardingly and Balcombe by-election
The Green Party now has another Mid Sussex district councillor following a by-election win on Thursday (July 8).
Jenny Edwards has been elected to represent Ardingly and Balcombe, finishing ahead of the Conservative and Lib Dem candidates.
Ms Edwards polled 452 votes, ahead of Conservative Lorraine Carvalho, who received 409 votes, Lib Dem Ben Jerrit, who polled 340 votes and Independent Carole Steggles, who finished with 23 votes.
She is now the fourth Green councillor at Mid Sussex District Council after the party picked up three seats at the 2019 election.
“It has never been my plan to run for office, but I was honoured when asked to stand in the recent by-election and delighted to win,” said Ms Edwards.
She said she is glad she moved back to Sussex nearly 30 years ago and is happy people voted for the Green Party and what it stands for.
“The beauty of the countryside, and the innate charm of the villages and towns is very precious to most Mid Sussex residents, and the results of this election reflect our desire to protect everything which remains special about this area,” she added.
Ms Edwards said she wanted to stop more of the environment being ‘concreted over’ by ‘inappropriate development’.
She said: “The continuing shadow cast by proponents of fracking is also an issue of great concern, and the one which got me involved in local politics in the first place five years ago when I joined our local Parish council.
“Everyone recognises that we need houses, schools and the supporting infrastructure but it feels as though the concerns of existing residents are given scant consideration, and this result shows that people have had enough of being ignored.”
Ms Edwards added that her priorities will include sustainable housing development and the retention and protection of green space for agriculture and wildlife.
She said the pandemic has highlighted the importance of accessible open spaces for residents and that it is essential to take this into account before further development takes place.
“Mid Sussex District Council remains firmly under Conservative control,” said Ms Edwards.
“We Greens are under no illusion about the need to work with our fellow councillors as much as we can. But a few patches of green in the dark blue mix will provide some balance, a challenge to the status quo – and a reminder that, for everyone’s sake, we need to start thinking differently about the environment in which we all live.”
“Thank you for giving me this opportunity to be a part of that,” she added.
The by-election was called after the death of Andrew MacNaughton, who served on the council for 34 years.
The turnout was 24.8 per cent.