By Sarah Sharp, Green Party city councillor and candidate for Chichester South
Currently, one party has a majority in excess of its vote. This has led to many unchallenged decisions without regard to the bigger picture.
With Council Tax and Homelessness relentlessly rising, we can’t justify purely cosmetic changes - city-centre signage, bike racks, park railings and statues.
We have congestion problems, we should not be cutting funding for buses.
And with closed Law Courts, many claimants, witnesses and defendants have to travel long distances. This adds to congestion and hits the poor particularly hard.
The Greens offer a fresh vision. One which is more holistic, reduces inequalities and prioritises well-being and quality of life.
To support our City Centre we propose reduced business rates for small businesses. Using council-owned properties, empty for years, we can support fledgling local entrepreneurs - pop-up shops, a local food hall and repair shop.
We unashamedly prioritise the planet. We tackle global issues locally. Green jobs in renewable energy and recycling can provide secure futures for our children. Solar panels on car parks and roofs can preserve our fields for food and quiet recreation. Safe pavements, protected cycle routes and clean public transport deliver alternatives to the car. Councils are currently simply monitoring pollution, without action. We want clean air, facilitated by people-centred spaces, School Streets and Anti-Idling Zones.
We prioritise food-waste recycling, shared compost bins (for people without gardens), and reduction of single-use plastics.
Older housing needs better insulation and new housing must be built to higher standards and be safely accessible on foot and bike. The necessary infrastructure must be delivered early combined with tree planting and more green spaces to preserve biodiversity and hedgerows.
Putting people’s well being and the planet first is the golden thread running through our vision to make Chichester a safer, healthier, community-centred place.
This piece is part of a series where all the major parties were invited to share their priorities for the district in the lead up to the Chichester District Council elections.
Polling day is Thursday May 2.