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People standing for both Wealden District Council and local Parish Councils can contact us here with their public statements.

To Editor

As the elections for Parish Council draw nearer I thought I would just write something about myself and my reasons for standing as a Councillor in Westham to give a little insight into who I am and just how strongly I feel about the Village in which I live. Thank you

My name is Joanna Belcher and I am standing for election in the Westham ward of Westham Parish Council on May 2nd.

At the grass roots—preserving the village life we all treasure
Joanna Belcher

I grew up in Westham and went to Pevensey and Westham School, as did my children after me. My parents also live here and I am fortunate enough to also run my own business in the center of Westham high street.

I am passionate about the village and being a businesswoman now for 5 years in the centre of Westham, I have a good understanding of the village and agree with many of the parishioners concerns affecting the village and surrounding area. Many a discussion has been had in my place of work discussing good and bad issues of village life and looking into ways of resolving issues where possible.

My family have farmed the marshes around here for many generations and I am passionate about our rural countryside and preserving it the best we can so as to not lose rural skills and countryside pursuits. My husband and I belong to the Westham Conservation group as we believe greatly in protecting wildlife and preserving natural habitats, where possible, so we will have countryside to pass down to future generations.

I believe I have good knowledge of this area and I feel I would be able to bring fresh ideas to the Parish Council as I keep up to date with issues arising on a daily basis in the village with Parishioners of all ages. I am not frightened to ask questions or speak out if I feel unsure about a situation, I am a good listener and when given a task to do, I remain focused and determined.

If I were to be elected as a Councillor my priorities would be:

  1. To enable Parishioners to understand the hows and whys of Parish Council work and the decisions they have made.
  2. To communicate clearly through either the Parish notice boards with any up to date issues and events, or on social media/website which is a powerful positive tool which can allow a more inclusive feel to the Parish Council for all Parishioners and help with rural isolation.
  3. To be transparent to Parishioners on financial issues such as tender processes etc and to always make sure best value is met.
  4. To be looking at a long term plan for the village including making sure Village assets have appropriate budgets and maintenance programmes. I would like to do this by asking Parishioners what matters they would like covered and what we could work towards together .
  5. To be constantly vigilant on any building works and to listen to peoples’ concerns.
  6. To be very aware that local people are made aware of affordable housing schemes in the area using Parish notice boards media releases etc.
  7. To continue to monitor and look at parking issues and look at how other Parishes have dealt with these matters.
  8. To promote the fact that we live in an area of historic interest and to celebrate this with information boards and be proactive about tourism by working with the local tourist board and information centres and maintaining a visually appealing village presence by keeping the area clean and tidy.
  9. To be constantly vigilant over our village litter issues. For example, I would like to see bins around the pond with secure protected lids to prevent rubbish being pulled out by gulls and foxes.
  10. I would like to see social events for all ages taking place in and around our village.
  11. I would like to see our lanes protected for people to enjoy the peace of the countryside and the sheer pleasure of being able to walk, cycle or ride in relative safety from speeding vehicles.

Voting in the Parish Council elections is about the grass roots. It is about where you live and how you would like where you live to be.

Parish Councillors put themselves forward because they care about where we live. I truly care for Westham and this is why I would like to stand as a Councillor.

I believe that as an open listening council, looking to work with parishioners in a partnership, we can move forward into a positive future whilst preserving the village life we all treasure.

Please support me. Thank you.

Jo Belcher