VANESSA ROWLANDS - Liberal Democrat District Council candidate for the Wealden ward of SOUTH DOWNS
Vanessa Rowlands has lived in Litlington, in the Cuckmere Valley, for the past 16 years, so has established deep roots in the area and become an active member of the local community. "It's where my husband and I have brought up our three children," she says. Before moving to Sussex and starting a family, Vanessa worked in the music industry for over ten years, and now plans to start an MA in Heritage, a subject she is passionate about, at Sussex University in the autumn.
If elected, Vanessa says she hopes to get all the parishes within the South Downs ward working together to tackle their shared problems, such as with local traffic management. "A whole valley-wide strategy needs to be adopted that is sympathetic to our historic villages and provides attractive access to visitors," she says. "We have seen a surge in cycling throughout the valley in recent years, which is fantastic, but we must keep them safe by reducing speeds. The junctions on the A27 coming into the valley must be made safer, particularly the junction at Wilmington, which sadly sees many fatalities. It must have at the very least a dedicated waiting area for vehicles intending to turn right into Wilmington, such as they have at Firle & Charleston Farmhouse, which would make this turning a lot safer. Sadly a motorcyclist lost his life there earlier this month."
Vanessa also points out that the Cuckmere River is supposed to be maintained by the Environment Agency but someone needs to ensure that this is actually happening as it should. "The mouth needs to be dredged regularly, so that flood water can drain out of the valley," she explains. "If the river levels are too high, the sluice gates can't open and so flood water can't flow back into the river and ultimately leave the valley."
As District Councillor, Vanessa would also lobby the South Downs Park and other organisations to manage Tourism to the area better. "We have many educational groups come to view the Seven Sisters and the Cuckmere meanders," she says. "We need to keep them safe, especially when crossing the A259 at Exceat and East Dean."
An advocate of renewable energy and doing everything possible to limit climate change, Vanessa says, "As custodians of this land we owe it to future generations to do everything we can to leave the area in better shape and an authority such as South Downs National Park should be leading the way."
For more information on Vanessa Rowlands, including contact details and her campaign in the ward of South Downs, please click HERE TO DOWNLOAD A PDF OF HER RECENT LEAFLET