A NEW council leader says her administration will “creatively” tackle housing, the environment and antisocial behaviour.

Lewes District Council leader Zoe Nicholson, who heads a “co-operative alliance” of Green, Lib Dem, Labour, and independent councillors, said her council was “above party politics”.

“We’re a council, not Westminster,” she said.

“There is a real willingness to compromise.”

The Green-led alliance took power in Lewes last week when it voted out the Conservative cabinet.

Now Ms Nicholson said her council will focus on building affordable housing and tackling antisocial behaviour.

She said: “We have to get things right the first time. We’re really focused on what the residents want and getting the basics right for people.

“We are really focused on driving forward housing developments.

“During the local election I met so many people wondering about how their children and their grandchildren would be able to afford to live across the district.

“They can’t afford to rent or buy.”

One development Ms Nicholson hopes to bolster is the North Street Quarter project, which will provide 400 more homes for Lewes residents.

The Green leader originally criticised the

Conservative-run council for allowing 200 affordable homes in the project to remain outside council control.

Though refusing to commit to buying up the homes, Ms Nicholson said her council wanted to “pull it off”.

She said: “The council is looking into how it would be possible to get this land.

“We have to make sure all the housing we build going forward is affordable and allows us to hit our targets of net zero CO2 emissions by 2030.”

When quizzed on what her council will do about Lewes’s suffering high street, Ms Nicholson said she was encouraging residents to give their views on East Sussex County Council’s planned parking fees rise.

She said: “We are looking at innovative ways to stimulate the local economy to respond to what people need.

“There is the possibility of the Government giving us more of our business rates instead of sending them to other councils.”

But Ms Nicholson worried for the council’s finances amid Government funding cuts for councils.

“We need to think very creatively about how councils generate revenue funds and save on costs,” she said.

“There are some programmes that could have better value for money or may not be as necessary.”

The new council leader also pledged to tackle antisocial behaviour in the district.

The Green said: “We’re investing in sports facilities and community facilities to tackle the root causes so residents feel safe.”

Ms Nicholson’s new leadership team has already set out its stall despite its short term in office.

On July 15, the day when the alliance took power, councillors declared a climate emergency.

Councillor Matthew Bird, in charge of environmental policy, said climate change was “the most serious and urgent challenge” facing Lewes.

He said: “The council has recently carried out some work in considering the impacts of climate change and commissioned some modular housing.

“However much more urgent action is needed to keep temperature rises to 1.5C and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

“Action needs to be consistent, resourced, co-ordinated, robust and above all measurable.”

The new council leadership has also launched Homes First, a housing team in partnership with Eastbourne Borough Council and Eastbourne Homes.

The partnership was designed to cut costs and improve services.

Housing chief Councillor Ron Maskell said the initiative would put “residents first”.

He said: “I am delighted that we are launching Homes First which will enable us to run stronger and more efficient services.”