DELIGHTED Green Party members say the group is a “rising force” in Colchester’s political landscape after securing their second seat on the council.

Steph Nissen stormed to victory in Castle ward, beating nearest rival Fabian Green (Con) by just over 150 votes.

Ms Nissen is now the second Green Party councillor in Castle ward and the second in the borough.

History teacher and Colchester Green Party leader Mark Goacher won against then Tory leader Darius Laws back in 2019.

Following her victory Ms Nissen said it showed Mr Goacher’s victory “wasn’t just a fluke”.

“I feel absolutely delighted because we have been working so hard in the last couple of years since Mark was elected,” she said.

“It shows the people of Castle are committed to the climate emergency and to making the area as great as it can be.

“It demonstrates Mark’s success wasn’t just a fluke and we are building a grass roots movement locally in Colchester.

“We hope there are more great things to come.”

She added: “I am really really grateful to the residents of Castle ward for their support.”

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The Greens’ success in Colchester is set to be mirrored across the country with the party making gains in other areas like Newcastle.

Mr Goacher said the party was a “rising force” in Colchester politics as well as across the country.

He said: “We haven’t been able to canvas for chunks of the lockdown, it has only been since the rules were relaxed.

“It has been difficult because we have not been speaking to residents face to face as we normally would do through the year.

“It has been difficult to gauge what has been happened in terms of the national political landscape too.

“But this win shows people value what we are doing and that there is a rising force in politics in Colchester.

“Another councillor will make a real difference to the Green Party in Colchester.

“It will show me winning wasn’t just a one off.

“It also shows there is part of the population out there who support what we are doing in terms of our core message, which is about taking the climate emergency seriously, but also the work we do locally in the ward.”

He added: “Nationally we are looking like the third biggest party too.”