A LONG-STANDING political activist for the Liberal Democrats has announced he intends to run for election at Hastings Borough Council.
Nick Perry, who is the party’s parliamentary spokesman for Hastings, said there were local and national reasons for his decision.
He is putting himself forward for the Castle ward seat, the ward where he lives.
The news comes after the recent announcement by veteran LibDem councillor Richard Stevens that he intends to step down in May after 30 years as a councillor.
Mr Perry, a mental health social worker, said: “The failure of Labour councillors to secure the future of St Mary-in-the-Castle as an arts centre, the unbelievably poor treatment of the fantastic Barbara Rogers, and Labour’s lack of a credible and integrated tourism strategy for Hastings and St Leonards number among the local reasons.”
Mr Perry lives on the West Hill with his family and has been involved for a number of years with ward-based organisations like the Castle Ward Forum and West Hill Against Communal Bins (WHAC).
He said: “The council leader takes no responsibility whatever for Labour’s failure in Government. He blames the Coalition for a reduced central grant, and by extension the borough’s failure to improve its position in the deprivation league tables.
“I am determined to do all I can to expose the control-freak tendencies of the Labour leadership on the council. The recent decision to get rid of the chief executive and give the Leader more power should have been a decision for the full council, not just Cllr Birch and his cronies.”
Cllr Birch said Ms Rogers had done a ‘great job’ running St Mary-in-the-Castle.
He added: “We all owe her a real debt but I don’t see that the council has done anything that has not been completely upfront and open. Barbara has kept this important facility going while a longer-term solution was found, and that was always the deal.
“Mr Perry is a supporter of the Government, which is freezing salaries of council workers while sitting back and allowing bankers’ bonuses to go through the roof. Hastings people are much more concerned about issues like that rather than whether the council has a chief executive or not.”
Cllr Birch said Hastings was suffering from much bigger Government cuts to the central grant than anywhere else in Sussex.
He added: “That is what the Coalition has meant for Hastings and anybody who stands under their colours has to answer to the people of Hastings for the extra cuts being imposed on a poorer town.”