Voters at next month’s council by-elections are being encouraged to end the Town Hall’s unfunny double act, reports WALTER CRONXITE, political editor
The Green Party has accused the political duopoly which dominates Croydon politics of becoming “lazy”, with Tories and Labour relying “on you just voting the same way you always have”.
The Greens have today named their five candidates for the council by-elections on May 6. Two of those by-elections are being held following the resignations as councillors of Tony Newman and Simon Hall, part of the discredited leadership that has bankrupted the council and caused a national scandal over the appalling conditions of flats in a council block.
“Voting Green this time will show that you can’t be taken for granted and will force all the other councillors to put more effort in if they don’t want to be voted out next time,” said Peter Underwood, the Green candidate in Woodside, Newman’s old ward.
Woodside is the ward which is also represented by Hamida Ali, the current council leader, and Paul Scott, one of the most controversial councillors in the borough because of his work on planning issues.
“It’s time we had councillors that actually listen to residents,” Underwood said.
All candidate declarations have to be submitted to Croydon Town Hall by tomorrow. The Greens’ paperwork was lodged yesterday, and in addition to Underwood, they are standing the following candidates:
Kenley – Esther Sutton
New Addington North – Tracey Hague
Park Hill and Whitgift – Catherine Graham; and
South Norwood – Ria Patel
Sutton, a pub landlady, and project manager Hague are, like Underwood, experienced election campaigners and all three have stood for their party in previous council and parliamentary elections.
Underwood is facing a busy month ahead – as well as his work managing The Conservation Volunteers in the borough, he is also standing as the Green candidate in the London Assembly elections for the Croydon and Sutton constituency.
Patel is a first-time candidate for public office and is standing in the ward where she has lived and which includes the Regina Road flats which featured on national television last month because of the flooding and mould running through them – long-standing problems and serious risks of causing ill-health which were ignored by council officials and the political leadership.
A student activist, she has established a campaign for migrant justice at King’s College London, while locally she and her mother set up a covid mutual-aid group last year.
“I believe that Croydon needs a new Green approach,” she said.
“From affordable housing that’s fit to live in and fighting cuts to the public services, to helping ensure bins are collected and fly-tips are cleared, every act of service helps to create a more welcoming community.
“I will fight to save the services we all rely on and work to create an even better future for the next generation.”
In announcing their candidates today, the Croydon Greens said, “Labour has completely lost its way. They have failed to manage our finances, our services and shown a complete lack of sensible leadership.
“The Conservatives have just sat back and let them get on with it. They have failed to challenge Labour’s mistakes and even voted for their budgets.
“We need Green Party councillors who will shake up this failed old system. Green Party councillors are not forced to play petty party politics – they are free to stand up for the people they represent.
“If you vote for the same old parties, then you will just get the same old politics.”
Standing in New Addington North – the council’s discredited former finance chief Hall’s long-time sinecure – Hague will be confronting the toxic legacy of the Labour council’s failed Brick by Brick housing company, probably the single biggest cause of the council’s financial collapse, but which delivered just three purpose-built council homes in five years.
She said, “People are fed up with the town being run by two parties who care more about fighting with each other than they do about families struggling just to keep going.
“As the Brick by Brick situation showed, the old parties cared more about making money from building unaffordable flats than keeping the green spaces we enjoy and our kids play in.
“If they are going to build, then they should be building the family houses Croydon has needed for decades and the nurseries, doctors’ surgeries and other infrastructure to support these families.”
Read more: ‘Council flats crisis has been heartbreaking, and cruel’
Read more: Tories include a proven liar among by-election candidates
Read more: Candidates’ tough task to shake off Labour reputation
Read more: New Addington independent could fry Fish’s chances
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