Firstly, I would redefine what we mean as “affordable”. 80% of market rate is not affordable in London. I would also push the Council to be bolder and braver when doing deals with the Developers. The Council has a role in getting the best for all its residents. Not getting the most out of Section106 commitments or turning a blind eye to London Plan requirements is changing the fabric of London. We can not continue to allow developments across London to be exclusively marketed and sold to high net worth investors often based overseas while ordinary Londoners are priced out of the market.
The area needs to have more housing for sale and rent so that those in both socially rented homes and private homes can have access to a secure, safe place to live that is truly affordable.
The Green Party policies to bring the 35 000 empty homes back in to use, build 500 000 socially rented homes and reform the private rented sector by introducing a ‘living rent’ tenancy (including five-year fixed tenancy agreements), smart rent control that caps annual rent increases linked to the Consumer Price Index, security of tenancy and local not-for-profit letting agencies, and abolishing letting agents’ fees and insurance-based deposit schemes should help tackle some of the supply side housing issues in the area.
2. Local business
How will you support local businesses in the area? What type of new developments should be allowed? Do you think local businesses should be given more encouragement than high street chains?
The key issue that local businesses have raised with me is the fact that they are being priced out of the high street by large chains who can pay huge sums for the rental of premises.
I support local businesses having access to affordable premises so that the nature of the high street is not warped by the major chains. I would also encourage the Council to use its significant purchasing power to favour local procurement of goods and services.
I would allow new developments that would provide positive social, environmental and economic benefits to the majority and not just the few.
The culture created by the over testing and current style of OFSTED visits does not appear to be conducive to the greater experience of learning. Teachers often feel overwhelmed with bureaucracy and constrained by the way they can get the best out of their pupils.
Every child should have access to a good, quality education where class sizes are small, the curriculum is broad and interesting and the teachers have the freedom to develop the passion for learning in each child.
I would fight tooth and nail to keep all our libraries across Lambeth open and ensure that are our parks remain well maintained free spaces for all to enjoy. The recent Culture 2020 consultation that Lambeth Council carried out seems to imply that many services that are crucial for health and well being and the development of social, leisure and cultural opportunities will be cut or made “affordable” as opposed to free.
What do you think should be done to improve the high pollution levels in the area?
We need electric buses, more electric car charging points, the extension of the Mayor’s low emission zone and safer cycling.
Segregated cycle lanes are critical if we are going to encourage families to use cycles on the school run, or increase the number of people commuting to work by bike.
We also need better monitoring of the situation. It is rather poor that Lambeth only has 3 air pollution monitors even though it is one of the worst performing boroughs.