The Greens gained new territory in the borough elections on Thursday 3 May, with Hal Brown capturing an Earlswood & Whitebushes seat from the Conservatives.
He defeated sitting councillor Rita Renton, who was a member of the council’s executive, by just 17 votes.
Giving his reaction to his victory, Cllr Brown said, at the count on Friday 4 May: “It was close. I’m honoured to be elected and I thank residents for voting for me.”
“My plan is to work for all the residents, not just the ones that voted for me – and to work hard on their behalf.”
Asked about local issues in the election he said: “Children’s centres are under threat due to cuts, so my aim is to campaign to keep the Earlswood Children’s Centre open.”
“That was one of the key issues – because Earlswood has a lot of young families, and from what I know, people do decide to move to Earlswood because it is family-friendly,” he added.
(Surrey County Council is looking at the way children centres operate across the county, with a view to savings: a consultation is to follow.)
The Green Party’s two other councillors are based in Redhill East, so Earlswood & Whitebushes is a new area for the party in terms of electoral success.
Cllr Brown said: “Although we came fourth last time, we thought we had a very good chance of improving this time, so we did target the area.”
“We campaigned hard, we talked to people, we listened to people – that was key and we realised that yes, we could improve our vote count.”
“But I’m delighted today that I won, it was so close.”
Cllr Brown, who works in nursing, joins two other councillors in representing the ward: Barbara Thomson and James Durrant, both Conservatives.
Reigate & Banstead councillors are elected by rotation, in thirds, with an election taking place in three out of four years. Next year all seats will be contested, because of the boundary review process, before the normal rotation resumes.
Results for Earlswood & Whitebushes
|Name||Party||Votes||Share||PARTY +/- since 2016|
|Hal Brown||GREEN||760||32.8||+ 18.2|
|Rita Renton||CON||743||32.1||– 2.3|
|Toby Brampton||LAB||505||21.8||– 0.7|
Note: the percentage point change shown is against the last election in the ward in 2016, rather than the same seat four years ago, and is the party figure – candidates may have changed.