While they may have lost the battle at the ballot boxes on Thursday the local Green party are happy that they are poised to win much bigger prizes locally in the future.
Old Hastings had been identified as a seat that the Greens had a chance of winning and they threw everything they had at that ward, even bringing party co-leader Caroline Lucas to the town to help with canvassing,
In the end in Old Hastings Julia Hilton pushed the Labour party hard and came was just 29 votes short of winning what was considered to be a safe Labour seat. She said she was “extremely pleased” with the result.
The Greens, she said, tripled their vote, overtook the Conservatives, and showed that the Green Party is a real political movement in Hastings.
Julia told Hastings In Focus: “We’ve had a huge number of conversations on doorsteps over the past few months, and people have told us that they really want to see more diversity on Hastings Borough Council, which is heavily dominated by one party.
“We also found enormous concern about the harbour proposal, with many people telling us that they would not vote Labour because of the party’s perceived support for the idea. We hope that our role in highlighting resident’s concerns will have shaken up Labour’s thinking about the destructive harbour project.
“That is what Greens do best, being a voice for local people, challenging complacency and the status quo.”
And she took a swipe at the current electoral system; “We note that Labour won 50 per cent of the overall Hastings vote, but 75 per cent of the seats, and we will continue to work towards a system of proportional representation in which everyone’s vote counts.”
As for Labour, group leader Peter Chowney sees the result from Thursday’s elections as an electoral endorsement of what the Labour controlled council has been doing in Hastings.
“Labour gained one seat on Hastings Borough Council, matching the number we won in 2014 and 2016, and the largest number of seats Labour has ever held on Hastings council.
“We hadn’t targeted to win more seats, so we’re happy to have maintained our high point. Local issues played a significant part, but we got 50 per cent of the vote across the borough, which is a clear mandate for us to press ahead with our manifesto, and shows support for our record of achievement over the last eight years.”
For the Liberal Democrats who cherished ambitions of winning in Castle ward the elections were a bitter blow, Nick Perry was more than 200 votes adrift of managing the win he would have so dearly loved to achieve. Twenty years ago the party was in control of Hastings but on Thursday they sank to fourth place behind the Greens, many Lib-Dem candidates failed even to reach total votes getting in to three figures and of those that did many got there by the skin of their teeth.
It was a quiet night for local Conservatives they lost one seat, in St Helens and gained one in west St Leonards so still have eight seats overall on a council made up of 32 councillors.
At the final council meeting before the elections there was talk about bringing greater diversity to the council and in the campaign both the Greens and Liberal Democrats spoke about a need to increase the political breadth of Hastings Borough Council which was, they said too narrow, both Greens and Liber-Dems criticised the Conservative group for not providing a strong enough opposition.
At the end of the day though despite each of the four parties banging on lots of doors, delivering hundreds of leaflets and speaking to thousands of local lectors not a lot has changed.