Neil is the Wealden District Councillor for Hailsham North West, having beaten the Tory incumbent to win the seat in May 2019. Since being elected, Neil has worked tirelessly to address residents' concerns.
In addition to advocating for constituents in his own ward, Neil has successfully done battle on behalf of those in neighbouring wards too, working together with other councillors from all parties and none. He has therefore quickly gained cross-party respect, and a well-earned reputation for being unafraid to speak truth to power, and for getting things done. "I am always driven by the exact same thing that made me stand for election in the first place - doing the right thing by the people of Hailsham," says Neil. "After all, unlike most of the Conservative councillors in this area, I'm also one of them!"
Last year Neil spent months speaking up for residents of a new development in Hellingly, who were living with the nightmarish situation of raw sewage contamination in an open pond right on their doorsteps. After pressuring the developer, the water authority and government inspectors - including having to intervene to stop the water being pumped into a nearby fresh water stream - the problem was finally dealt with, although the waste water had to be trucked miles away for disposal due to local treatment plants being over-capacity already, highlighting the urgent need for new infrastructure in the Hailsham area.
A former member of the Armed Forces, Neil saw active service overseas with the Queens Regiment. He went on to serve as a dog-handler with the Civil Service before his post was discontinued due to funding cut- backs; so he retrained, changed career and he is now a self-employed plasterer/ decorator living in Hailsham with his partner and family. He loves the town and surrounding area with a passion, not least because there are plenty of activities to get involved with, and a variety of green spaces to walk his two dogs. Neil is also Vice Chair of the Hailsham Bonfire Society, raising money for the Town Bonfire and the various charities that the group supports.
With the flood of unpopular new planning applications continuing unabated - a direct result of the failure last year of the Wealden Tories' Local Plan - Neil is determined to keep challenging developers (and their supporters) in the Hailsham area. Despite being one of only four Liberal Democrat District Councillors, the efforts of Neil and his opposition colleagues are yielding positive results, such as the recent defeat of a recurring development application to build in the small rural village of East Hoathly that local residents are completely opposed to. Neil says his main focus is on trying to stop any more approvals for unsuitable developments, whether because the site is a known flood zone, or because essential infrastructure - from GP clinics to sewage systems - is not yet in place. "It's an outrage that so many unsuitable new developments in this area have been approved so fast, ignoring not only the protests of local residents, but the obvious lack of basic essential services," he says. "This is one of the reasons I decided to stand for election to East Sussex County Council - I will continue to do everything I can as a District Councillor, but the infrastructure decisions are taken at County level."
Neil can be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at: 07811689186
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