On behalf of everyone at Brighton and Hove Conservatives we would like to wish Councillor Vanessa Brown a relaxing and well deserved retirement, your work and dedication to residents and the Conservative Party is an inspiration.It is now time for you to spend some quality time with your family and friends!
We were very fortunate to be able to speak to Councillor Vanessa Brown recently about her time as a well loved and respected Councillor, in her own words she sat down to give us one last interview, thank you.
After 28 years as a councillor and fighting 8 elections I have decided not to stand as a Councillor in the forthcoming elections. I was first elected to represent Westbourne Ward on Hove Borough Council with Audrey Buttimer and Brian Oxley in 1995. We then joined with Brighton to become a Unitary Authority in 1997. I soon transferred to Hove Park or Stanford ward as it was called then as it is where I live and I have been lucky enough to represent the Ward ever since.
The Conservative Group came to power in 2007 until 2011. Mary Mears became Leader and I was one of her deputies. I was also Chairman of the Children, Families and Schools Committee and oversaw the setting up of the Brighton Aldridge Academy and began the work to set up the Portslade Academy. During those years I also opened a number of new Childrens’ Centres, Connaught Road Infant School and several school extensions as there had been a boom in the birth rate. Now the number of children in the City has dramatically fallen and we have too many spare places!
I have sat on many committees over the years including Environment, Transport and Sustainability, Tourism, Economy and Culture, Health and Wellbeing as well as always being on the Childrens’ Committee which is now called Children, Young People and Skills. As I was previously a primary school teacher this committee has always been my greatest interest . I have learnt a great deal by being on different committees over the years and I have been fortunate enough to meet many interesting people.
In many ways I will be sorry to leave and I am sure I will miss my colleagues and all the challenges the role brings but I have decided that the time is right to spend more time with my family and maybe have a few more holidays! Another reason for retiring now is that Hove Park Ward is being enlarged to become Westdene and Hove Park and it would mean getting known in a whole new area. We will need three councillors for the Ward now, not two. I wish my colleague Samer Bagaeen and our new prospective candidates Emma Hogan and Ivan Lyons, who both live in the enlarged ward, every success in the forthcoming elections. I know that if elected they will work tirelessly for all the residents.
I have very much enjoyed my time as a councillor . Sometimes the work can be very frustrating but at other times very rewarding. I would like to thank the many residents of Hove Park who have helped and encouraged me and all the voluntary and community groups who give freely of their time to make the ward a better place to live.