Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Election Day!!

We have finally arrived at election day. As a reminder, everyone has four votes--three for your local councillors and one for your MP.

As a summary of our campaign, I copy below a letter we delivered ahead of the election. It sets out our three key promises for this election.

Whatever the result, it has been a pleasure meeting thousands of you over recent years. North End is a special area, and it deserves a Council that truly puts its residents first. We feel that the promises below demonstrate that Labour wants to put local residents first.

"Dear North End Resident,

As we enter the final days of the election, we wanted to write one last letter to you summing up our three, key promises for the area. We have been speaking to residents for several years now, and we developed these promises during those conversations. We have made sure that each promise is included in the local Labour manifesto.

Crime and anti-social behaviour: Despite being elected in 2006 under a mandate to cut crime in the Borough, the Tory administration has not delivered on their promises. Crime in your local ward was up 2% in 2008/09 compared to the prior year. This compares to a decrease in crime in London and the UK overall. The Tory Council has failed to put extra money into policing for North End throughout the whole of that last 4 years, and they have voted against Labour proposals to do so on 4 occasions. We have promised to invest in 24/7 police patrols for North End. This is a proven way to reduce crime and is being done elsewhere in London.

Gibbs Green and West Kensington Estates: For a number of years, Labour councillors accused the Tory Council of trying to sell off the Gibbs Green and West Kensington Estates to developers. After years of stonewalling and denial, the Council has now confirms that this is the case. We are worried about the future of the families who live there, over 80% of whom signed a petition opposing the demolition. We are campaigning to make sure their interests are protected. We are also worried about the impact of the redevelopment on your local area, which would face years of construction noise and other nuisances. The Council and their property development partners want to triple the density of occupation in the area of the estates. The impact that would have on already overcrowded roads and services would be catastrophic. We promise to halt these plans and end the Council’s unhealthy relationship with developers.

Match Day Parking: Chelsea match days see much of the ward flooded with non-resident parking that can make life a misery for locals and their guests. We wrote to residents in March letting them know that we had secured the inclusion of this issue in the local Labour manifesto. We were pleased to see that the Tories later sent a similar letter in April, but we are worried that after four years in charge of local parking they are not treating the issue with sufficient urgency. We promise to urgently review match day parking with a view to improving conditions for local residents. This problem has been allowed to continue for too long.

Our manifesto promises to achieve these measures while still supporting Council Tax cuts. We will fund this by selling the Council’s costly propaganda organ, H&F News, cutting other Council publicity and ending the vain £34m plans to refurbish the perfectly adequate Town Hall.

Kind regards,

Max, Matt and Daryl"

Monday, 3 May 2010

3 days to go

We are in the last day of a very busy long weekend campaigning around North End, with three days to go until election day. It is clear that there are still many undecided voters, and this is looking like it will be the closest election for decades, at the local, parliamentary and indeed national level. This is making the campaign very interesting, and the large number of new volunteers to help in these final days is evidence that the close election is grabbing peoples' attention.

While campaigning yesterday, our canvass team saw the police make an arrest on Barons Court Road. In addition, in the past month one of our activists has seen two attempts to steal his bike foiled only by good fortune. This is a reminder of one of the key promises of our campaign. Crime in North End was up over 2% in 2008/09 compared to the year before. North End needs investment from the Council for 24/7 police patrols to combat these rising numbers of crimes. Our manifesto has promised these in the North End area and all the other wards in the borough. The cost of these can be met by cutting Council waste, most notably the shameful Council propaganda organ that your Council Tax pays for. We feel that extra police is a better investment of your hard-earned money than Council self-promotion.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Cabinet Minister visits West Ken and Gibbs Green

Yesterday evening, the three Labour council candidates and Andy Slaughter gave Shaun Woodward, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, a tour of the West Ken and Gibbs Green estates. We are pictured to the left in Dieppe Close.

Shaun spent an hour knocking on doors with us, talking to residents on the street and in their homes. As you would expect, most residents expressed their concern over the future of the threatened estates and asked for help in their fight to save their homes from demolition.

Shaun was visibly moved by the situation. In particular, he noted the discord between national Tory promises of a "Big Society" with inclusive government, and the hard reality of working families being displaced by a Tory Council against their will to make way for luxury flats and office blocks.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Campaign Update

We are a little over half-way through the official campaign period, with less than two weeks until the council and general elections on 6 May! The Labour candidates have been out every day talking to voters, and we have been encouraged by their response so far. Many people have reacted well to our three local promises:

1. Invest to stop the increase in crime experienced in North End. We feel the Council should invest in 24/7 patrols for the area. Many other areas in London have these, and they are a brilliant way to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.

2. Halt plans to demolish the West Ken and Gibbs Green estates. We want to do this to protect both the homes of the 800 families on the estates and the quality of life of those in the area, most of whom don't want to have front-row seats to a mega-construction project that will stretch over many years.

3. Urgently review parking arrangements to end the inconveniences experienced by local residents on Chelsea match days.

We developed these promises after spending the past few years talking to local residents, and we are proud that they are all contained in the Labour manifesto for Hammersmith and Fulham, launched earlier this week. With only 12 campaigning days to go, we still hope to cover a lot of ground and speak to as many of you as possible. We hope to see you soon.

Max, Matt and Daryl

Monday, 19 April 2010

West Ken & Gibbs Green Redevelopment Plans

This weekend we delivered another letter to the ward, this time focusing on the effects of Tory plans to demolish the West Ken and Gibbs Green estate and build luxury flats and offices. As the letter explains, we are worried this will have adverse consequences not only for those on the estates, but also for those who live in the surrounding area.

Dear North End Resident,

For a number of years, Labour councillors accused the Conservative Council of trying to sell off the Gibbs Green and West Kensington Estates to developers. After stonewalling and denying, the Council has finally confirmed this is their intention.

We are worried about the future of the over 800 families who live on the estates, the overwhelming majority of whom recently signed a petition opposing the demolition. We have campaigned to make sure their interests are protected. We have promised in our manifesto not to demolish these estates. The Council says it will rehouse displaced tenants in the local area, but social housing is already oversubscribed, and it is unclear where space for new housing can be found.

We are also concerned about the impact of the demolition plans on the surrounding areas, which would face years of construction noise and other nuisances. The Council and their development partners want to triple the density of occupation in the area of the estate. That would have a catastrophic impact on already overcrowded local roads and underfunded local services.

The Tory Council’s management of large construction projects to date is not impressive. Our colleagues in Shepherd’s Bush report waves of local anger over the Council’s failure to manage the Westfield project. Mercy Umeh reported at the time, “The construction has generated amazing levels of dirt and noise. The area is continuously dusty, getting into people’s homes, onto their belongings and covering their windows. At one point rats, escaping from a demolition on the site, ran openly down Wood Lane and into the surrounding streets.” Shepherd’s Bush tube was unilaterally shut down for 8 months at short notice. Problems did not end after construction was completed. Many North End residents rightly complain of parking problems on Chelsea Match Days—near the Westfield centre, similar parking headaches are now experienced seven days a week.

Unfortunately, the Tory Council has a record of serving developers instead of residents. Consulting firm London Planning Practice (LPP) even boasts on its website that it has “achieved significant reductions in S106 contributions” that the developers it was working for had to pay to the Council for local services.

We think it is time for the Council to break free from this unhealthy relationship with developers. If elected, we promise to truly put all residents first, and not sacrifice their interests to the demands of property developers. Decisions should be weighted in local residents’ favour and only reached after extensive and meaningful consultation.

Kind regards,

Max, Matt and Daryl

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Chelsea match day chaos

While out talking to residents last night, the Labour candidates captured on camera the parking and traffic chaos caused by Chelsea Match Days.

Over the past year of campaigning, many residents raised this issue. In autumn 2009, we asked the local Labour party to include a manifesto commitment to review this problem with a view to quickly protecting the ability of local residents and the visitors to park. This was agreed and is a manifesto promise, as we confirmed in a letter to residents in the worst hit streets in March.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Sign the petition!

Two weeks ago we mentioned the success of the Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle's switch to a free format. In the past few weeks, it has ran a growing campaign to demand that the Tory Council shut down their propaganda mouthpiece, H&F 'News'.

The Labour team in North End supports this call for the Council to stop their Soviet-style attempt at massaging news, using spin doctors instead of journalists. Our election manifesto calls for the paper to be sold off. We will also cut back the huge sums currently spent by the Council on promotional advertising. We think the Council should spend money improving services, not telling residents that they are improving services.

We urge you to join us in signing the petition. You would be horrified if the national Government ran its own newspaper filled only with favourable stories-- you should be equally horrified that the Tory Council is spending your council taxes to do just that at the local level.
Promoted by James Goldstone on behalf of North End Labour Candidates at 28 Greyhound Road, W6 8NX.