Wealden District Council elections 2023
Do you want to make a difference? What matters to you in your local area? Whatever needs changing in your community, you could be just the person to make a positive difference by becoming a local councillor and community leader. Perhaps you are already involved in local community projects or organisations and want to take the next step, or you may be looking for a worthwhile and rewarding way to help your community.
If elected, you will be in a position to make a difference to the quality of other people’s daily lives and prospects. Although being a councillor requires hard work and commitment, it is a privilege and a rewarding form of public service. This page will help you decide whether to stand to be a councillor at the Wealden District Council elections on 4 May 2023.
Listen to what some of our current councillors had to say when questioned on their role by clicking here.
We need people from all walks of life, with a wide range of experiences to best represent the Wealden community as a whole as a community leader.
If you wish to stand for election you must be:
- A British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of a European state and not require leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom or have indefinite leave to remain.
- 18 years of age or over at the date of nomination.
- Qualified by meeting at least one of the following criteria:
- Included on the Register of Electors for the Wealden District as a local government elector.
- Occupied, as owner or tenant, land or premises in the District for the whole of the 12 months before nomination.
- Worked in the District for the whole of the 12 months before nomination.
- Lived in the District for the whole of the 12 months before nomination.
You cannot stand if:
- You are employed by Wealden District Council.
- You are bankrupt.
- You have been given a prison sentence of three months or more (even if the sentence was suspended) in the last five years.
- You have been disqualified from standing by a court or tribunal.
- You are disqualified from standing by law.
If you are not sure if you are able to stand you should contact your employer (where relevant), consult the legislation or, if necessary, take your own independent legal advice. Wealden District Council staff are not able to provide advice. Prospective candidates and their agents should read the Electoral Commission guidance before completing their nomination papers or starting their campaign.
In order to stand at the elections you must first obtain a nomination pack from the elections office at Wealden District Council, which will explain the nomination process. Relevant forms including a set of nomination papers will be in the pack for you to complete.
Nomination packs for the elections will be available from March 2023. The Electoral Services team are currently accepting requests for packs. Requests should be sent by email to email@example.com with ‘Nomination Packs’ in the subject field and should include the following information:
- Name of requester
- Address for packs to be sent to
- Whether district or parish nomination packs are required
- Number required of each type
Packs are also available on the Electoral Commission website.
Further information can be obtained by visiting the Local Government Association website.
The knowledge and life experience you have gained, both personally and professionally, is important, as is caring about the future of your local community. Although you do not need any formal qualifications to be a councillor, having or being able to develop the following skills, knowledge and attributes will help you in your role:
Being able to listen to and, in turn, express the views of your community, being able to accept and mediate between opposing points of view, being comfortable with public speaking and keeping your residents informed about Council policies and initiatives, as well as using social media to communicate effectively, are all valuable skills.
You will be working with others both out in the community and on Full Council or its committees. It will also be important to complete any tasks that you agree to do on time and be clear on your goals in order to be able to achieve them.
Planning and time management, multitasking, keeping appointments and meeting deadlines, as well as using IT to keep up to date with notifications of meetings and diary management.
The ability to understand the crux of an issue and identify different resolutions is important to the role of a councillor, as well as being able to view things critically.
Engage with your local community
You will need to be accessible through a wide range of meetings, public forums, debates, on the phone, online, face-to-face at ward surgeries, and through various forms of media such as the press and social media. You may also already have experience in dealing with local groups with a specific interest or need.
Once elected all councillors will have access to information, training and support through the District Council to develop these core skills.
There will be induction sessions for newly elected councillors and further training for all councillors relating to the Council’s services will be organised during the year. As well as this the Council will continue to support councillors’ development needs during the term of office and you will be asked to complete a training needs analysis to help shape this process. Councillor support is provided by the Democratic Services team.
Where do I go if I need advice on the Council’s services?
You can receive advice and guidance from a number of sources. You will be provided with contact details for all the Council’s departments and can contact them directly. You can also liaise with more experienced councillors who will be able to assist. Finally, you can always contact Democratic Services who will either provide the advice needed or help direct you to where you can get the information.
Council meetings are held during normal office hours (9am to 5pm). The minimum attendance of councillors is likely to be at Full Council and any meetings of committees, working groups or outside bodies that you may be appointed to.
By law your employer must allow you to take a reasonable amount of time off to perform your duties as a councillor. However, it is advisable to discuss your intention to stand for election with your employer before submitting your nomination form.
You can view the Council’s calendar of meetings here.
You can also watch our meetings online.
No. You can choose to stand as a candidate of a registered political party or as an independent candidate. If you decide you would like to have the backing of a recognised political party you will have to be selected as the party’s candidate for a ward before you can stand for election. Some useful contact details are set out below, however if you are interested in other political parties, please view the Register of Political Parties.
If you chose to stand as an independent councillor, you can submit your nomination papers directly to the Council’s Returning Officer. You might find it helpful to read the Electoral Commission’s guidance for independent candidates.
Uckfield, East Sussex
01273 937 661
Labour South East
Southside, 105 Victoria Street
0118 923 9400
Wealden Liberal Democrats
22 Downsview Crescent
01892 852 507
Wealden Green Party
Cherry Garden Farm
Cherry Gardens Hill
Councillors are not paid a salary but they are entitled to receive a ‘basic allowance’ which is intended to recognise the time devoted to their work on behalf of the people of East Sussex and in connection with Council business. Each council sets its own rate for councillors’ allowances.
Find out more about councillors’ allowances at Wealden District Council.
The Council’s Corporate Plan 2019-23 details the vision for Wealden and sets out the ambitions to continue to meet and anticipate the needs and wishes of its communities as they change and grow.
The Council will listen, learn and lead so that Wealden residents, businesses and visitors can thrive and prosper.
The ambitions will be delivered by the Council being lean, efficient and having firm budgetary control.
View the Council’s Corporate Plan 2019-23 which sets out its direction and priorities.
Wealden is the largest district in East Sussex covering 322.4 square miles (83,502 hectares) and is home to just under 163,000 people (mid-2020 population estimates). Over half (53%) of the District is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, whilst a further 7% of the District is located in the South Downs National Park. There are a total of 41 conservation areas and over 2,250 listed buildings within the District, as well as over 100 scheduled monuments.
In terms of international biodiversity sites, the Ashdown Forest falls completely within the northwest of the District and the Pevensey Levels can be found in the southeast of the District, and it also contains the largest amount of ancient woodland of any district in the country.
Over half of our population (approximately 82,000 people) is located in the five main towns of Crowborough, Hailsham, Heathfield, Polegate and Uckfield, with the remainder divided among the 37 mainly rural parishes. In 2017, just over 70% of Wealden’s residents had either a very strong or a fairly strong degree of belonging to their immediate neighbourhood.
Wealden had 9,365 businesses in 2021. Micro-businesses form a fundamental part of the Wealden economy with approximately 89% of all business units in Wealden employing less than 9 people.
There are two distinct structures of local government:
- Unitary: a single tier structure where an all-purpose principal authority is responsible for providing most of the services such as Brighton and Hove City Council. This may have some town or parish councils providing a lower local tier.
- County/District: comprising at least two levels, often with a third tier of town/parish councils, and found in the remaining shire counties in England.
What do we do?
Wealden District Council is part of a County/District structure and delivers a wide range of services to residents and local businesses itself and in partnership with other organisations. The District Council is responsible for the provision of:
- Planning and Building Control
- Council Tax, Council Tax Benefit and Business Rates
- Environmental Health
- Leisure Services
- Business and Tourism Support
- Housing and Housing Benefit
- Land Charges
- Waste Collection and Recycling
- Car Parking
- Crematorium Services
East Sussex County Council based in Lewes is responsible for the following services:
- Roads Maintenance
- Trading Standards
- Transport and Traffic Safety
- Adult Social Care
- Waste Disposal
- Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages
The Town and Parish Councils usually have the responsibility for the following services:
- Street Lighting
- Bus Shelters
- Play areas and recreation grounds
- Removal of graffiti
- Dog hygiene bins
- Grit bins
To find out which electoral ward you live in, use our online mapping system. Enter your postcode in the search box at the top of the screen and press enter. From the drop-down menu at the top left-hand corner of the screen select ‘Local Knowledge™’ and this will tell you the name of the ward.
Meetings are usually open to the public and are webcast so you can watch them online.
The Cabinet is made up of the Leader of the Council and up to 7 other councillors (including the Deputy Leader of the Council). It can make certain decisions without requiring further approval and some decisions are delegated to individual Cabinet members. Each Cabinet member has a specific portfolio of work that they are responsible for.
Overview and Scrutiny Committee
The Overview and Scrutiny Committee is made up of 12 councillors. This Committee provides a check on the activities of the Cabinet, helps develop policy, carries out scrutiny reviews, challenges Cabinet decisions through the ‘call-in’ process, and provides scrutiny of external bodies.
Audit, Finance and Governance Committee
The Audit, Finance and Governance Committee is made up of 12 councillors. The Committee monitors the Council’s financial decisions including the Council’s budget, borrowing, asset and audit functions.
There are two Planning Committees, Planning Committee North and Planning Committee South, each made up of 12 councillors. These Committees exercise powers and duties relating to town and country planning and building control issues including determining applications.
The Licensing Committee is made up of 12 councillors. This Committee has specific responsibility to undertake all the Council’s functions as Licensing Authority under the Licensing Act 2003. A Sub-Committee is appointed to determine licensing applications.
The Standard Committee is made up of 6 district councillors, 3 parish councillors and 2 independent persons. This Committee oversees the upholding of good standards of conduct by district and parish councillors.
Joint Waste and Recycling Committee
The Joint Waste and Recycling Committee is made up of 7 councillors comprising 2 from each of Wealden District Council, Rother District Council and Hastings Borough Council and 1 from East Sussex County Council. This Committee is responsible for managing and overseeing the waste, recycling, street cleaning and beach cleaning contract.