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James Partridge - Crowborough North & Jarvis Brook

James Partridge

While he's always been active in his community, James Partridge says he can pinpoint the exact moment he felt compelled to get more involved in local politics.

"It was the Grenfell Tower tragedy in June 2017," he explains. "It really shocked me, and made me realise how decent people are betrayed by those in positions of power."

Having recently retired as a senior partner in the world's oldest law firm, James joined the Liberal Democrats, determined to channel his time and energy into opposing the policies of increasingly right-wing national and local governments. He joined his local party's Executive Committee last year, and is currently Chair of the Wealden Liberal Democrats.

James Partridge

"Even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, right wing politicians at all levels of government were betraying the poorest in society, over and over again," he says. "I was increasingly appalled and felt I couldn't continue to just watch from the side-lines."

James is also well aware that heartfelt, ambitious words mean nothing without results. In addition to his professional career in corporate and commercial law, he served in the Territorial Army for three decades, rising to the rank of colonel. His extensive experience in both these fields has equipped him with valuable expertise in finding common ground amongst people with wildly different viewpoints and backgrounds and uniting them towards achieving a mutual goal.

Having lived near Crowborough for over thirty years, James is passionate about the area. He and his wife Sarah brought up their two now-adult children here, and enjoy daily walks with their dog, Hazel, in the various parks nearby, as well as the largest local green space, the Ashdown Forest.

James is concerned about how much is being built on greenfield sites and that there are no plans to improve public infrastructure and services, like our roads and care for the elderly and young people. Crowborough Town Centre is a particular interest and James is pleased to see so much local support for our fantastic independent shops and restaurants during the pandemic. He believes that this is an ideal time to boost investment into the town and so, if elected, he will be fighting to get support for the town equal to what has been spent elsewhere.

LibDem candidates Lucy Buck and James PartridgeWith this in mind, James recently ran a survey aimed not only at those in his East Sussex County Council division of Crowborough North & Jarvis Brook, but everyone who lives in and around the wider Crowborough area, regardless of political persuasion.

"We are all one community," says James, "and so it's essential to listen to everyone and find a way to address everyone's concerns - this is where finding common ground is so important. All too often those in power only seem to care about the people who voted for them - which, thanks to our FPTP voting system, is usually a minority. In my opinion, that is a dereliction of duty - being voted into government office is a privilege, and every elected councillor should be serving the interests of all of their residents, regardless of which candidate they voted for."

James Partridge with his dog, HazelJames says the response from residents has been really helpful and in many cases quite enlightening, and has afforded him a much better understanding of local people's priorities and main issues when it comes to planning and housing. "I got involved in politics partly out of frustration that the views of local people are ignored and that there is no locally agreed plan for Crowborough's future," he says. "Things we say are important are not dealt with, such as: safe roads; parking; protecting our green spaces; maintaining Ashdown Forest; the future of the town centre; the climate emergency.

"Instead, decisions are imposed from above, like housing policies which won't provide the homes which local people really need (and can actually afford!) or the infrastructure to support the ones which do get built. Crowborough should have a strong advocate, someone who is independent of the ruling party and will fight for this area's interests and represent all of its residents."

James Partridge says his focus will be on:

If you would like to volunteer to help with James' campaigning, we'd love to hear from you! Whether you can spare a couple of hours a week or would just be willing to make the odd phone call or put up a stakeboard, there are many ways to be involved - please contact James' agent Stefan by email at: stefan@wealdenlibdems.com or by phone at: 07770-328387 Crowborough LibDem team practising COVID-safe campaigning Oct 2020

James can be emailed directly at: jamespartridge@wealdenlibdems.com

You can also follow James on Facebook and/or on Twitter: