Sunday, 15 April 2007

About the election.

Many people aren't familiar with the roles of the different councils in the area - particularly if they've come from areas with a unitary authority.

There are three levels of local government here, represented by Lewes Town Council, Lewes District Council, and East Sussex County Council.

Lewes Town Council covers just the town of Lewes. It has quite a limited role, but looks after some important local amenities, such as the Town Hall, the All Saints Centre, allotments, and so on. Councillors are elected from three wards, Priory, Castle, and Bridge, which each elect six councillors. Each elector gets six votes, each of which can be given to a single candidate. The Liberal Democrats currently have 15 of the 18 seats. There's an overview of the Town Council functions on their web site. The Town Council has a budget of about £800,000

The District Council covers an area from Seaford, Newhaven and Peacehaven on the coast, extending inland through Lewes up to Ditchling, Chailey and Newick. This map shows the boundaries, as well as the rough locations of the various wards, and who the current councillors are. The town of Lewes has three wards, which are the same as for the Town Council. Priory ward has three councillors, but Castle and Bridge have two each. Priory ward electors get three votes in the District Council elections. The District Council has 73,000 electors and a budget of about £12 million. The Liberal Democrats currently have a small overall majority on the Disctrict Council (26 of 41 seats), including 6 of the 7 Lewes based councillors.

The County Council has one and a half wards in Lewes - One covers Priory and Castle wards, and the other covers Ringmer and Lewes Bridge ward. Each of these returns just one councillor to the County Council. The County Council is run by a Tory administration, though the Liberal Democrats return most of the councillors from this end of the county. There's no election for the County Council this year.
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