CROYDON COMMENTARY: Local election candidate PETER UNDERWOOD, pictured, says that next week’s visit to the polling station is your opportunity to vote for change
A week on Thursday, you will elect your local councillors to sit on Croydon Council for the next four years. This is your chance to change Croydon for the better by electing Croydon’s first Green Party councillors.
We deserve better than the stale, old, Punch and Judy politics we see in the Town Hall. We need fresh ideas and we need local people to be actively involved in making decisions that affect their area. Our commonsense policies will make a real difference to your life and make Croydon a much better place to live.
At the moment we have the wrong sort of properties being built in the wrong places. We need to take back democratic control over planning and building in Croydon. We will insist that developers use existing built-on sites before even considering releasing green sites. We will demand that family-sized properties are built to meet the real housing need in Croydon. And we will push for an increase in properties available at a genuinely affordable rent for people who can’t afford to buy property at current prices.
As the population of Croydon increases we need to make sure that traffic doesn’t just grind to a halt. We cannot keep building more roads, and so we have to make the most efficient use of the ones we have. We will make it safer to cycle in Croydon, encourage more people to walk short journeys and make it easier to use public transport.
Reducing the number of cars on the road will cut air pollution, improve people’s health, and it is the only realistic way we will keep Croydon moving.
As we saw with the collapse of Carillion and the threat to the borough’s public libraries, handing over our public services to private companies leads to disaster. The businesses running our schools are building up massive debts and the other private companies running council contracts are cutting corners and reducing services. We will push to bring schools and other public services back under public control to ensure their focus is public service not private profit.
We need to support local businesses and so we will appoint one of our councillors to focus on the needs of small businesses and make sure their needs are represented on the Council.
We will reduce recycling charges for local small businesses and when the council does give out contracts to business we will give them to local firms instead of multi-national corporations. We will also ensure that all council contracts only go to businesses that pay the London Living Wage.
Overall we believe that politics shouldn’t just be about taxes and spending promises. We want people to enjoy living in Croydon. We want well-maintained parks and green spaces for people to enjoy. We want more opportunities for people to express themselves and to enjoy the vibrant cultural explosion going on in Croydon. We want people to feel safe: in their homes; enjoying a night out in town; or just walking to school or work.
We will ensure that people are actively involved in how their area is run; generating new ideas and taking ownership for improving their area. We want to make Croydon the happiest borough in London.
We know that we may not win control of Croydon Council this time but – as has been shown by Caroline Lucas in parliament, by Sian Berry and Caroline Russell on the London Assembly, and by Green councillors across the country – having a Green voice in politics makes a massive difference. We will work with other parties when they are improving life for residents and we will hold them to account when they are not. We will make sure our residents’ voices are heard and we will make real progress on the issues that really matter to you.
Our Green Party candidates are people who are already working to make Croydon better. They are on your residents’ association. They are involved in your local community groups. They are already campaigning on your behalf to improve our public services and defend our rights.
So if you want a local councillor that you know will fight for you in the town hall, vote Green on May 3.
- Peter Underwood is standing as a Green Party candidate in his home ward, Selsdon and Addington Village. For the full listing of Green Party candidates in the Croydon local elections on May 3, click here, and click here
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