A RESIDENTS' association has welcomed the news that two Green councillors will stand down at the next election.

Husband and wife councillors Alex Phillips and Tom Druitt, who represent Regency ward on Brighton and Hove City Council, announced they will not stand as candidates in the election next year.

Founder of the Old Steine Community Association Gary Farmer described their announcement as "good news".

However, he said that he expects the new Green candidates for the ward, Kahini Bouhassane and Tom Pashby, will "continue with their destructive ideological policies".

He said: "After years of neglect in Regency ward by councillors without genuine interest in the community and businesses they were elected to represent, it is good news to hear of their departure.

"The Green Party is hoping that, by fielding new candidates in 2023, the residents of Regency ward will forget the lack of accountability and representation on a local level and the damage caused to the economy and environment.

"I expect they will continue with their destructive ideological policies, but the people of Brighton and Hove will not ignore these failing on our local issues."

Cllr Phillips and Cllr Druitt had faced questions in reports by The Argus over childcare expenses claims and time they spent in France at the start of the pandemic.

Cllr Phillips, who currently works in the House of Lords for crossbench peer Lord Bird, also served as mayor of Brighton and Hove in 2019-20 and as a member of the European Parliament.

She said she has chosen not to re-stand to "focus on my work with Lord Bird on the Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill".

She also thanked residents for "putting your trust in me over these years" and wished the new Green candidates for the ward "the very best for the future".

Cllr Druitt, who also serves as chief executive of The Big Lemon bus company, said it had been a "huge privilege to serve the residents of Regency ward".

He said: "It's been a rewarding experience, especially helping residents navigate the system and getting action on the issues most important to them.

"Some of the highlights have been supporting residents dealing with anti-social behaviour issues in local green spaces, working with residents to stop Temple Street being used as a dangerous rat run, working with colleagues to get a winter night shelter set up for rough sleepers and supporting local businesses with a range of issues to help them stay in business – before, during and after the Covid-19 lockdowns."

Their announcement comes after Cllr Druitt said it was “not for other people to judge” expenses claims made by his wife totalling nearly £1,500 to pay for childcare during online council meetings during the pandemic.

Cllr Druitt told The Argus last year that his family were “perfectly entitled” to receive expenses, and said the use of the dependent carer’s allowance has “nothing to do with your financial circumstances”.

The couple also faced criticism for spending four months at a French holiday home while Brighton and Hove battled Covid. Cllr Druitt defended the trip and said they did not expect their trip to be affected as “it was still very much a Chinese problem” when they left for the Alps in March 2020.

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