With the upcoming Council Elections on May 3rd, Valley Hill Hub invited all the candidates standing in Charlton ward to send us their three main priorities, should they be elected. So far we’ve had responses from 5 of the 11 candidates, with at least a couple more promised.
The priorities sent in are listed below in the order that I received them (which seemed fairer than alphabetical or any other sorting method) and I will add any new responses as they come in. Feel free to ask questions in the comments below, which candidates may or may not see and choose to answer.
Don’t forget, there is a Charlton Ward Hustings, organised by Valley Hill Hub’s Andrew Donkin on behalf of the Charlton Society this Saturday. More info here.
On May 3rd, you can find out where your local polling station is here.
Pamela Ritchie (Women’s Equality Party)
A new housing policy
We need a housing policy that recognises the hidden homeless and provides a secure and consistent pathway for women fleeing domestic abuse. The councils current target of 35% affordable – 25% social rent, needs to be more ambitious. New housing also needs the social infrastructure planned alongside; schools, doctors and transport networks must accommodate all residents.
Valuing carers, protecting family services
We need to value carers, whose vital and economically undervalued work is the lifeblood of our community. Child poverty rates in Greenwich & Woolwich are at 36%. We need to be protecting vital services for families. I would champion preventative approaches to mental healthcare and loneliness maximising use of communal spaces, such as Charlton house, that are safe and available for everyone.
Combating toxic air
Toxic air is recorded at illegal levels across Charlton, harming the health of all our residents, but especially those who spend more time outdoors in green spaces – namely, the children and predominantly female carers who are looking after them. The council needs to take this seriously when commissioning development.
Charlie Rome (Liberal Democrats)
Improve air quality
Air pollution in SE7 is a threat to every resident’s health and wellbeing, especially the young and old. I stand against the Silvertown tunnel as well as current plans for Enderby Wharf. I call for continuous air quality monitoring outside schools in the ward and for the LEZ in East Greenwich to be expanded to Charlton.
An accessible councillor
I will hold regular, publicised surgeries, moving around the ward to ensure they are accessible to all residents. I will maintain a website and make use of social media to encourage local participation and engagement, as well as posting regular updates on my work.
Challenging a hard Brexit – Send a message to the two main parties:
Whilst this may seem out of place, I strongly believe Brexit is a local issue. The terrible uncertainty of EU27 citizens, the inevitable hit to the economy, particularly the finance industry, and reduced central Government funding to councils all hurt local people. An Anti-Brexit vote sends a message to the two main political parties.
Gary Dillon (Labour Party)
Regeneration / Local Developments
We need closer scrutiny of development proposals and there collective effect. Accessing the long term impact on the local community and infrastructure, finding a good balance between community needs and regeneration . I would also work to ensure that full quotas of affordable and social housing are reached and supplied quickly.
Traffic & congestion
Traffic & congestion is the major contributor to air pollution. I have a number of ideas to reduce traffic congestion, and I would also encourage greater use of public transport through the continued improvement of our transport links and infrastructure.
As a Parent Governor I am committed to ensuring that all our children have access to a good standard of education. I would also highlight the pending shortage of secondary school places in the locality.
Relevant links: You can learn more about Gary from his post on the WhoCanIVoteFor website.
Ian Gerrard (Liberal Democrats)
Enforce speed limits more effectively especially near schools through the use of pinch points or chicanes.
Use existing planning laws to force developers to include a higher proportion of genuinely affordable properties for both sale and rent. On a wider scale, I am very concerned about the risk to our air quality from not just the proposed Silvertown Tunnel but also the Cruise terminal, if there is no onshore power facility available.
A fair share for Charlton
Make sure that all available funding for the ward is spent effectively and that Charlton gets its fair share, especially compared to Greenwich and Eltham.
Relevant links: You can find Ian on Twitter.
Clare Loops (Green Party)
Reducing air pollution
Charlton residents have measured and recorded dangerous levels of air quality across the ward. To improve air quality, you need to focus on the major causes, such as road traffic congestion. Better public transport connectivity, safe and legible walking and cycling routes and a fleet of electric buses and a local cycle scheme for Greenwich are a part of the solution.
Improving the Public Realm
A neglected public realm, litter, dog fouling and potholes, directly impact our well being. Local Charlton groups are doing wonderful things in our public spaces but Councillors must work in partnership with them to be most effective. We can halt the deterioration of Charlton Village through a local action plan, agreed by the Council, residents and businesses.
Ensuring new housing meets people’s needs
It is important to ensure that, through an open and inclusive planning process, new development creates housing that is truly affordable for residents and also provides different types of homes so that we have a choice, particularly for young people, families, and seniors.
Gary Parker (Labour Party)
Regeneration & Community Wealth Building
We need to ensure in the next administration focuses more on people centred programmes to regenerate the area and RBG – local skills development, local procurement and support for local social enterprises, co-operatives and small businesses, community wealth building in short. We need community led regeneration not developer led regeneration.
A More Sustainable Environment
We need to build on recent work and the successful accessing of funding from the Mayor to improve air quality and avoid schemes and developments that add to or cause further air pollution. Your ward councillors used the ward budget to provide additional local monitoring of air quality in the Charlton area.
A Stronger Community
Levels of poverty are rising across London, we have to take measures to implement the finding of the councils Fairness Commission and support those impacted by Universal Credit locally. We need to maintain the quality of our excellent local schools and resist further academisation
Maya Mann (Conservatives)
Air quality problems
Like a lot of residents I’m really concerned about air quality. The Labour Council are supporting the Cruise Liner Terminal at Enderby Wharf with no on-shore power, which will make this even worse. Labour also voted for IKEA, even though local people didn’t want it. This isn’t good enough – we need to stop this approach to development.
Cleaner and greener environment
There’s more we could do on the environment in other ways too – it sounds a small thing but litter is a big problem, and street cleaning isn’t always good enough.
An independent voice on the Council
Greenwich has been run by the Labour Party for nearly 50 years, and the Conservatives have been the only Opposition in the Town Hall for the last few years. We need a strong Opposition to give residents an independent voice, and stand up to the Council when they do the wrong thing.
Relevant links: You can read the Conservatives manifesto for this election here.
Gakuru Macharia (Conservatives)
Air Improvement measures
- An increase in the number of public transport especially electric and hydrogen powered buses
- More cycle lanes
- Campaign to bring Boris bikes in Greenwich – Charlton – Woolwich areas
- Encourage ‘Green walls’ towards Blackwall Tunnel – more trees along approach from Kidbrooke Interchange
- Campaign against major projects that have no green agenda in their planning
Community involvement in decision-making
- Regular surgeries – suggesting twice a week whereby I’d ask for peoples suggestion and their input in issues that affects council decisions
- Open peoples forum
- Sharing information through newsletter / blogs / website
- I would propose a policy that will enable people to vote on the council’s approach to development in Charlton
- Encourage them to be socially responsible by volunteering in various organization locally and internationally
- I’d encourage them to get them involved in politics by having local debate clubs and inviting local political leaders to address them and get involved in sports
- Increase areas of play for children / young adults
- I’d let the youth have their own voice by asking for their suggestions and organize youth forums
Relevant links: You can read the Conservatives manifesto for this election here.
Rebecca Ireland (Liberal Democrats)
Community involvement in future vision for Charlton
I feel that the community should be consulted more widely on how the village could develop. All too often, consultations on future developments happen when plans have already been submitted and it is then a question of adapting developers’ visions. Residents may like to have more input, earlier in the process, on the prospect of mixed-use developments, independent shops, enhanced access to the river and new green spaces created.
I would work with TfL to ensure that greener buses are gradually rolled out to Charlton; that new, improved cycle paths are introduced and that we explore new approaches to reduce people’s reliance on car journeys. The LEZ should also be extended to cover Charlton as soon as feasibly possible. I would also like to ensure that Charlton gets its own Thames Clipper stop.
Continuing to fight any form of Brexit
I strongly believe that Brexit is a local issue as well as a national one and that any form of Brexit will lead to a sudden drop in GDP and less money for vital public services.
To this end, I will continue to work closely with Greenwich for Europe and Open Britain Greenwich to ensure that local residents’ concerns are heard.
Relevant links: You can find Rebecca on Twitter.
Catherine Latham (Conservatives)
Opportunities for children and young adults
I volunteer for a charity working towards a brighter future for young women, and I’m passionate about education and opportunities for children and young adults. If elected as a councillor for Charlton I’d make this one my top priorities.
Improvements for commuters
We don’t have as many transport links as other boroughs and we need big improvements for Southeastern commuters in particular. With other local Conservatives I will campaign for control of Southeastern to be handed to Transport for London – we have waited long enough.
Involving residents much more
If elected I will keep in touch with residents by delivering newsletters at least four times a year, and make sure they are aware of council meetings they can contribute to, and how to take part in the local democratic process. Residents need to be more involved and its not good waiting for that to happen – it should be up to our councillors to make sure they are.
Full list of candidates (alphabetical)
- Gary Dillon (Labour Party)
- Ian Gerrard (Liberal Democrats)
- Rebecca Ireland (Liberal Democrats)
- Catherine Latham (Conservatives)
- Clare Loops (Green Party)
- Gakuru Macaria (Conservatives)
- Maya Mann (Conservatives)
- (Cllr) Gary Parker (Labour Party)
- Linda Perks (Labour Party) – No response
- Pamela Ritchie (Women’s Equality Party)
- Charlie Rome (Liberal Democrats)
About the Valley Hill Hub
The Valley Hill Hub SE7 is a digital community hub created to serve a small area of Charlton. It covers a diamond shape as defined by Charlton Lane (as far as the roundabout), Thorntree Road, and Pound Park Road. The roads inside include: Coxmount Road, Hasted Road, and Wolf Crescent. If you live on, or near, those roads, and wish to join the mailing list, let us know via the Contact page.