UKIP not a spent force, its leader insists, as he expresses concern over Adur housing developments

UKIP's Geoff Patmore
UKIP's Geoff Patmore

Adur residents will go to the polls on May 3 to elect their latest batch of district councillors.

The Herald has spoken to figures from every party fielding candidates to get their thoughts and priorities ahead of next month’s election. A new interview will be added every day – and today (Monday, April 23) by virtue of a random draw, UKIP has its say.

See this piece for a link through to the other party statements. Tomorrow, the Green Party will be the last to be featured.

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UKIP will back residents in opposition to controversial housing developments that will ‘destroy’ Adur.

“If (residents) want to see their villages destroyed then vote Tory,” said Geoff Patmore, who has led UKIP as the official opposition for the last year.

“If they want some chance of pulling back this massive overdevelopment then vote alternatively.”

UKIP councillors were among the 11 to vote against the adoption of the Adur Local Plan in December, a legal document which outlines a vision to deliver a least 3,718 new homes up to 2032.

While this figure is just over half of the district’s government-assessed housing need, Mr Patmore argued the plan pushed through by the Conservatives would still have a devastating effect.

“I believe that the Tory council should listen to the electorate and not listen to the Government and they should challenge it far more robustly,” he said.

Plans for 600 homes and an IKEA at Lancing’s New Monks Farm have dominated recent political debate.

But while UKIP has been viewed as a single-issue party nationally in terms of Brexit, Mr Patmore denied New Monks Farm was its only concern in Adur. He noted pavement parking, A27 and A259 gridlock, environmental issues like air pollution and flooding and potholes as among the problems UKIP was pushing to address. UKIP may face a challenge to its status as the largest opposition party, with Labour pushing for gains.

The party lost all of ten of its seats in last year’s West Sussex County Council elections, mirroring a collapse in its national vote.

Despite this, Mr Patmore said UKIP could still thrive in Adur, noting its control of Lancing Parish Council.

He said: “We are very hopeful. I think we have proven that we can certainly represent people. UKIP is not led by party-political dogma. It is an independent party and its sole purpose is to represent the voters without influence from dogmatic principles. We support referenda and we support the views of the people.”