Leader to go after 16 years at County Hall

17/4/13- Councillor Peter Jones, retiring as leader of the East Sussex County Council after 12 years
17/4/13- Councillor Peter Jones, retiring as leader of the East Sussex County Council after 12 years

ONE of the longest serving leaders of East Sussex County Council will retire from office at next month’s elections.

Peter Jones, who lives in Denehurst Gardens, will step down on May 2 after 16 years working at County Hall in Lewes.

Since 2001 he was worked as leader of the authority, a position he says he will miss.

“There will be some tears,” said Mr Jones. “I made a lot of good friends and will miss the staff. But I feel it’s time to move on.”

Mr Jones started out in local politics in 1997 after retiring as a stockbroker in the City at the age of just 51.

He was asked to stand in the Northern Rother division covering places like Rye, Peasmarch, Robertsbridge, Bodiam and Sedlescombe.

He was heavily involved in regeneration issues and worked to bring investment to Hastings.

In the Queen’s New Year Honours in January he was made a CBE for his services to regional government.

“My proudest achievement was the Hastings university building,” he added. “I wanted to get a university centre into the town and Brighton University agreed in 2001.

“I’ve worked hard to develop a five point plan. This included raising education and skill attainment to make sure young people can get into good

employment.”

It was in the Spring of 1997 that he started campaigning to raise standards at Thomas Peacock secondary school in Rye.

He won his seat and within a few years was being seen as a potential leader.

He added: “I was cajoled into it but I had the time on my hands. I had a few ideas and always set myself high targets. It was a just a natural progression to leader.

“When I walked in to the leader’s offices in 2001 the chief executive came over and said don’t worry we’re not absolutely bust.

“When we took over there was just a few hundred thousand pounds left over in reserves. They were very tough times, the worst that I had seen.

“But we got through them and we will get through the current economic challenges.”

Keith Glazier, who represents Rye and Eastern Rother and lives in Pett, will take over as leader providing he wins his seat at the county elections next month.