NEW council leader Nancy Platts wants to bring politics back to the people by creating a “can do” approach.

The newly elected Labour boss of Brighton and Hove City Council said she wants to tackle homelessness, the climate and emergency and more in her new role.

She said: “When I became a councillor in February 2018 I made a conscious decision in what I was going to be all about, representing people and advocating for them.

“Actually trying to get things done for people.”

Cllr Platts said her new role had come as a surprise.

She said: “I was not expecting the position of leader to come up.

“The opportunity arose so I thought I would throw my hat in the ring and people voted for me.

“It’s a fantastic honour and now I’m here I’m really determined to do a good job.

She outlined the type of council she wanted to lead.

Cllr Platts said: “It would worry me if people felt fobbed off by the council.

“If they felt they were not able to break through the system.

“I want to approach things in a very can do way, and I want all my councillors to be can do in their approach.”

Cllr Platts, who sits in the East Brighton ward, believes many people feel distanced from politics and she wants to make it a “safe space” again.

She said: “I think a lot of what people see of politics is people shouting at each other across the chamber in Westminster, scoring political points or saying unpleasant things about each other.

“I think that does put people off engaging with politics.

“But politics is about what is around us in our everyday lives, whether or not schools are up to standard, if the streets are clean or if transport is working.

“It’s the mechanism we have for creating change.

“I want to create a space for people to have a conversation and find solutions.”

Cllr Platts said she wanted people to feel they could “come in and talk to councillors, whatever political colour”.

She also sent a message to constituents of her East Brighton ward.

She said: “I became a councillor to be a representative for thepeople and get stuff done in East Brighton.

“It’s an honour to be leader of the council, but I also want to reassure East Brighton residents that I am still always there for them, and will be available every Friday at my roving surgery.”

Previously Cllr Platts has fought two general elections as a Labour Party candidate in Brighton as well as working as Jeremy Corbyn’s trade union manager.

She said her experience had given her something to bring to local government.

Cllr Platts said: ”You learn how to organise and get things done across party, and that’s very important.

“I have never been particularly tribal about my politics. In my work and political life I have had to work cross party.”

The idea of working together with political parties, particularly the Greens, is one which Cllr Platts said had received a lot positive feedback on.

She said: “People often feel things move quite slowly.

“I’m champing at the bit to get things moving more quickly, to cut through bureaucracy and red tape to make things happen.

“We are working closely with the Green party.

“We sat down after the election and looked at our two manifestos and there was such a large similarity between them.

“So we are focusing on our similarities and have set out four target areas, housing, the climate crisis, austerity and Brighton’s status as a city

of sanctuary, but we are working very closely with them across all committees.

“What I want is to work together from the outset and develop policy together, rather than trying to amend things in committee.

“That gives us a majority of 39 councillors, who will hopefully support new ideas that we want to put forward.

“This would bring the experience of 39 people together, each with different skills, knowledge and experience, which is very valuable to bring with us and make something happen.”

Tackling Brighton and Hove’s housing crisis was identified by Cllr Platt as her top priority as leader.

She said: “Homelessness is very visible in Brighton and it’s very central to resident’s concerns.

“Are people going to have a safe and secure place to live?

“That’s all we want, somewhere to call our own and go back to at the end of the day.

“If people have not got that then we need to do something about it.”

To achieve this, Cllr Platts said she was keen to press developers to meet council expectations of 40 per cent affordable housing.

She also said that affordable housing, defined as 80 per cent of market rates, should instead reflect

the average income of people in the city.

She said in her time as council leader she wanted to make great strides towards the party’s pledge of making the city carbon neutral by 2030.

Cllr Platts said that she was particularly honoured to be sitting as council leader in Brighton and Hove.

She said: “I love being near the sea, it’s a really beautiful place to be.

“My two favourite things to do are to find a quiet place on the beach and read a book, and to get the 79 bus up to the Downs with my partner and walk across to Lewes.”

She revealed why she was so fond of the city.

Nancy said: “It’s a city that is vibrant and colourful.

“There’s always something

going on and it’s a really exciting place to live.

“I have found the people here to be lovely and really friendly.”