About the Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity (From the Preamble to the Federal Constitution of the Liberal Democrats)
Some reading matter – On Liberty by John Stuart Mill
About the Wealden Parliamentary constituency
Wealden parliamentary constituency is the northern part of the Wealden District in the County of East Sussex. It stretches from the parishes of Forest Row and Danehill in the west to Wadhurst in the east and Hailsham in the south. At the May 2010 General election new boundaries came into force for the constituency. We lost part of the constituency in the Heathfield area and gained a very small part from the Lewes constituency. The map above shows the new boundaries. Wealden has three main towns, Crowborough, Uckfield and Hailsham which between them house some 55% of the 78,000 voters (based on the new boundaries). Up to now the parliamentary seat has been a safe Tory one.
The north of the constituency is dominated by the Ashdown Forest which is part of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The Ashdown Forest is a Special Protection Area (an EC designation under the Habitats Directive). It is also contains a number of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). These designations impose planning constraints
In Victorian times the area was well served by a comprehensive rail network but this was mostly dismantled in the1960s and 70s. Apart from the London -Tunbridge Wells-Hastings line which clips the north-east corner of the constituency, Wealden is served by a single track branch line (site of Cowden Rail Crash) connecting Uckfield, Buxted, Crowborough and Eridge with Oxted (Surrey) on the Victoria-East Grinstead line. A long running campaign to have this line electrified, doubled and the Uckfield to Lewes section restored has cross party support. Bus services are sparse, slow and expensive
The paucity of public transport and the rural character of the constituency puts great pressure on the road network. Improving this network is constrained by the AONB status of much of the area and the need to conserve the Ashdown Forest. People are increasingly aware of the conflict between their needs as drivers and their needs as residents.
There is a conflict between those who profit by tourism and those who feel it damages their amenity. To a very large extent the problem is not the tourists themselves but their motor cars which choke ‘honeypot’ areas and villages such as Hartfield (home of Pooh Bear).
There is a wide recognition that house prices are rising above the reach of ‘ordinary people’ and an acknowledged need for more ‘social housing’ for local people and their children.
The photographs in the header on our website are:
- Bridge Cottage in Uckfield
- Statue of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle at Crowborough Cross
- View of Ashdown Forest from Crowborough Road (Nutley – Duddleswell)
- Hailsham High Street.