Friday, 9 May 2014

Meet The Candidates (Green)

Party: Green
Ward: Old Malden (RB Kingston)
Name: Lucy Howard

Biography
I have lived in the Borough for most of my life; I was born in Kingston Hospital, grew up here and I now live in New Malden with my family. I have worked for 8 years as a secondary school teacher and have a first class degree from Oxford University. I am passionate about improving the environment for future generations and particularly in reducing local air pollution and improving our parks and green spaces. I'm driven by a desire to bring our children's health and quality of life into the centre of the debate.  Having seen my parents battling with the bureaucracy of the care system when my grandparents were extremely old and frail, I would like to see the council adopt a more human face towards those people who are in the greatest need.

Traffic and Transport
There are two issues here: we need to ensure that people are able to get from A to B (for example, through maintaining driver services for the elderly and disabled) but we also need to address the problems which heavy traffic causes. Our air pollution in Kingston is at illegally high levels and we have one of the highest rates of asthma in London as a result. We urgently need to look at ways to reduce traffic through incentivising car sharing and public transport use. The news that Kingston has been chosen to develop cycle lanes is excellent and we need to plan these carefully and consult with residents and commuters to ensure that the money is used in a way which encourages more cycling.

Housing and Planning
The Green Party has put housing for London at the forefront of its policies. All too often, including in our own Borough, new buildings are being planned for private rental, using our taxes to benefit the landlords rather than families who would prefer to be able to buy their own home. We don't want young people to be priced out of the area, and the high prices of privately built student accommodation is something I'd definitely want to address. With 300 homes currently empty in the Borough we need to look first at getting needy families housed in these, before getting involved in costly and unpopular new developments. Building lots of new flats in areas which don't have the local infrastructure to support the residents is a recipe for disaster and I would like to ensure that the planning takes place before the buildings go up.

Rubbish and Recycling
Along with three other councils, Kingston Council has given the go-ahead to a huge South London Incinerator. There has been little public consultation about this development which is going to increase our already high levels of air pollution and traffic and one of my first priorities would be to support the campaign against the incinerator. In general I feel the council is doing pretty well with recycling (apart from the annoyingly flimsy food waste bags!) but there needs to be clearer information about where exactly our waste goes once it has been collected. We also need to address the issue of unsightly bags of rubbish left out in High Streets all morning for the business bin collections which makes our streets unattractive, smelly and difficult for some to navigate.

Children and Education
Improving child protection in the Borough needs to be an urgent priority. We need to support the work of our excellent Children's Centres and ensure that more parents know about them and are able to seek help when they need it. We need to start planning now for how the baby boom of 2009/10 will affect secondary school entry, while continuing to work to improve capacity at the most popular primary schools. We should use our green spaces more imaginatively to help our children get active outdoors; for example for minimal cost we could have a space in local parks so that children who didn't have gardens of their own could grow plants with the help of volunteers.

The Local Economy
The Green Party believes strongly in promoting the living wage and we should start off by making sure that the council pays the living wage to all its employees, if necessary reducing the pay of its highest earners in order to do so. We need to regenerate our High Streets by promoting and supporting independent shops and markets. I'm not a business woman myself, so rather than assuming I had all the answers I'd want to listen carefully to the concerns of local traders and use their input to help with planning, while looking carefully at successful models of regeneration in other parts of the country for example local reward cards or loyalty schemes. Thank you for reading this far and if you would like any further information on Green policies please see http://www.greenparty.org.uk/


Promoted by Tariq Shabbeer, 52 Dukes Avenue, New Malden, KT3 on behalf of the Green Party


15 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

Jeff said...

You will never win power or influence because you hate cars (whilst everybody else loves their convenience and safety) and want us to all ride bicycles. Try doing a major shop at Tesco and riding home on a bicycle and no I don't choose to shop at local independent shops because they are prohibitively expensive and offer a very limited range of goods).
You think it excellent that Kingston town centre is going to be converted to a cycle friendly zone. However that means more accidents and injury to Kingston residents because cyclists ride through red lights, ride on pavements (which are for pedestrians) and ride at night without lights. (Of course they do, you see them doing it each and every day). They don't have to pass a cycling proficiency test, they're not insured and they don't pay vehicle tax. Cycling should be seriously discouraged in busy city centres for these reasons and they should be heavily fined for riding through red lights etc.
The high asthma rate in Kingston isn't because of car exhausts as you claim, it's because we are in the footprint of aircraft coming in to land, and taking off, at Heathrow Airport - aviation fuel exhaust is the problem not cars.
What we need is for parking charges in Kingston to be cut in half and the council should stop deliberately making box junctions so as to make huge revenue by persecuting motorists who stop for a few seconds in a box junction - we are among the top 4 councils in the U.K. for fining residents for minor traffic offences.
I note you say nothing about Kingston having the highest Council Tax in the UK so presume this does not bother you.

Gino said...

I think Lucy has some valid concerns and she also shows courage and conviction by presenting her intentions.
Lucy has also shown respect for the community by not being blog shy like some.

adrianshort said...

You can get your shopping delivered at home by the supermarket for £260 a year (£5 a delivery/week). That's a lot cheaper than running a car.

Gino said...

And the fuel wasted when the engine is left running whilst parked delivering could run many cars.

adrianshort said...

Interesting. Run how many cars for how long, do you think?

Jeff said...

You fail to realise that during the past 50 years a social transformation has taken place whereby our daily lives are built around car usage and you can't put the clock back: we no longer work locally, the local cottage hospital has been relaced by a large hospital many miles away, we no longer do our big shop in the local High Street due to high prices and limited range - we go to big supermarkets miles away, schools are no longer just round the corner - schools are bigger and some distance away etc...and doing our shopping hunched up over a laptop will never replace the pleasure of shopping in person. It's a case of "GET A LIFE - GET A CAR!" You're living in a dream world if you think we're going to get rid of our cars and use bicycles and buses just to keep the Greens happy, I give you my personal guarantee it's not going to happen.

Guest D said...

Gino,


I hate to disillusion you but the supermarket delivery vans normally need to keep the engine running to keep the refrigerator running in the chilled goods compartment they have. Turn it off for too long and the battery would be flat when they got back, also it wastes fuel stopping and starting a standard diesel engine.

Gino said...

Yes I know about diesel and its impact on the environment.
However left running fumes emitted . Waste is waste.
We are at pains to explain the definition to the Libs too.

Guest D said...

Jeff, you make a valid point but we are into a new social revolution brought about by the internet, where increasingly people in office jobs don't commute but work from home.


For example one company I consult for in Docklands has a staff member working from a ski lodge in Colorado and another in Malmo. I know that this is at the moment an extreme way of retaining good staff, but I think it will become the norm certainly in the next 50 years.


This is also born out by the drop seen in commuting by car between the 2001 and 2011 censuses.


Yes people will want to shop by car, but if too many people shift to using the internet and having their shopping delivered the large supermarkets will go as they will become too expensive to open for the few that use them and they will be replaced with warehouse setups as Amazon have, who by the way are considering breaking in to that market.

Nichu said...

I've cycled home with my shopping. It's not difficult and you don't have to mess about parking. It can be a little difficult though turning right down Green
Lane on the way back from Worcester Park when there are so many motorists running red lights. I'd happily pay a 'vehicle tax' but I believe it's based on emissions. I try my best, but my emissions whilst on my bike aren't particularly noxious so the fee would be zero.
There has been a further social transformation within the last 20 years and it's known as the internet. You can get someone else to bring your shopping to you, it's free from Waitrose and Ocado.
I don't begrudge other people using cars but would like to point out that since I've started cycling I've saved loads of money and find it difficult to put on weight, despite my best efforts.

Bexx Bissell@aol.com said...

I'd be interested to know that too. Perhaps when Gino's completed his calculations he would be good enough to post the results here.

AlanRogers1 said...

Do they actually hate cars? I assumed that they think we should have a better choice of alternatives in order to reduce car useage. This would be a good thing as it would reduce the traffic on the road and make it easier to get around in your car when there is no better option

kd said...

just to add a point re shopping delivery. if you pay £10 a month to ocado, you can have as many deliveries you like that are £40 of shopping or more. so that's just £120 per annum. much cheaper than running a car

Jeff said...

Anybody who does a major shop and then tries to ride home with it on a bicycle as Nichu suggests is a major accident waiting to happen. It's good to buy some things online but when it comes to fresh food most people want to smell the cheese. So there will always be large supermarkets.
What the Greens and some people on this thread want people to do is pay a fortune buying a car, insuring it, taxing it and servicing it - then leave it at home and catch a bus or ride a bicycle. This is what Alan Rogers calls "a better choice of alternatives in order to reduce car usage." You'd have to be mentally defective to go to all that expense and then hop on a bus. It's just airy-fairy politically correct thinking that will never happen.
There have been 5 deaths of cyclists killed by HGVs in central London this year. Clearly either cyclists or HGVs have to be denied access to central London. Sorry cyclists! Next nobody should be allowed to cycle on public roads without passing a cycling proficiency exam. And riding through red lights, riding on pavements, riding without lights and riding without a cycle helmet subject to heavy fines. A better way for Councils to earn revenue than fining drivers who momentarily stop with their back wheels on a box junction.
Cycling is seen by politicians, specially the Green Party, as politically correct and to be encouraged. In fact it's anti-social, a danger to other road users and inconsiderate. Start compulsory Proficiency Tests for cyclists now!
Guest D's idea that we're all going to work from home online will never become a major factor in the work place because esprit de corp and work team morale are generated by physical presence and close physical contact of the team.

AlanRogers1 said...

Forget the better choice of alternatives. Let's all drive more then. That will solve everything. I clearly don't know what I'm talking about though as I own a car but I sometimes walk, get the bus or train or perhaps cycle. Therefore according to Jeff I am mentally defective.

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