In the penultimate of 853‘s series of articles from local parties ahead of the Greenwich Council elections, ALISON MILLER sets out why, if you live in Glyndon, Plumstead or Shooters Hill wards, you should vote for the Plumstead Party this Thursday.
The Plumstead Party is a new residents’ group which is contesting the 2018 Greenwich Council elections on May 3rd. We are free of any ties to traditional, national political parties – our members and candidates come from all political colours and none.
This isn’t about where you stand on Brexit, Donald Trump or the NHS. This is about local issues, Plumstead and having our voice heard at the local council and Woolwich Town Hall.
Residents’ associations are feature of local government elsewhere in the country and successfully allow local people to determine for themselves where money and services should be directed.
We believe local politics and services should not be under the control and vested interests of national political parties. Too many of our council meetings are dominated by party political themes and policies over which the council has no control – our councillors should represent Plumstead at the town hall rather than being the town hall’s representatives in Plumstead.
We aim to represent all residents, whether they are lifelong locals or recent arrivals, to get the best deal for Plumstead and everyone who lives here – not a pressure group for either gentrification or the status quo.
Plumstead has been ignored for far too long and we need an independent, constructive and, most importantly, local opposition.
Our local area needs urgent investment – money raised here shouldn’t be spent on pet projects elsewhere in the borough. Where investment is promised, we believe it should happen after proper consultation with local residents.
When elected, we will hold regular open meetings alongside our surgeries to discuss relevant local issues with everyone in the community, not just party activists as happens now.
We intend to provide proper representation for all local residents and every area of Plumstead. We will seek to provide greater transparency and proper consultation on plans for the development of the Plumstead Library, the White Hart Road Power Station and changes we desperately need to our area.
On the library – costs have escalated from an original £12m to £16m, and are apparently set to rise further. These plans will squeeze the facilities of the closed leisure centre into the footprint of the library, resulting in the loss of many services – three badminton courts, the only indoor bowling centre in south-east London and exercise rooms.
Reneging on promises, the library will also close during development and re-locate to Abery Street with a significant loss of high street parking.
Where investment is promised, we will insist that it must happen after proper consultation with residents. Monies from the housing development in Kings Highway intended for public realm improvements in Plumstead were used in Cutty Sark Gardens, Greenwich instead. TfL money to improve our streets remains unspent.
We will work with local business to improve the economic health of Plumstead High Street in readiness to embrace the opportunities of Crossrail.
A first step will be working towards the creation of a Plumstead High Street Traders Association to address the historic neglect of the high street and – listening to residents’ wishes – to strive for public realm improvements to make the high street attractive and accessible to shop in and to encourage businesses to thrive.
On the environment, the area by Plumstead station is one of the worst for pollution in the borough with almost three times the legal limit of NO2 air pollution. We would look at this as a matter of urgency and press the council to act on plans to change the layout of the Pettman Crescent gyratory and, going further, commission a study into traffic and ways to reduce through traffic on Plumstead High Street.
We are also acutely aware of the lack of spending within Glyndon ward. The Polthorne and Glyndon Estates have been neglected for many years. This lack of maintenance of council-owned estates is a disgrace and we will demand money is spent to bring this area up to a decent standard.
We would also deal with the current lack of enforcement on parking and flytipping issues around our area. Rather than costly PR campaigns and street banners, we would deal with the issue at source and demand more resources for parking attendants and environmental enforcement officers. These would quickly pay for themselves and funding is available from precious local
developer income which is currently squandered on schemes to the east of the borough.
Unscrupulous developers of houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) remain a problem. The council has delayed schemes to regulate these for far too long compared to other areas, exacerbating the problem here.
We believe the current plans do not go far or quickly enough and we will push for greater regulation, like other boroughs. Again, with developer money available to fund the planning department more resources should be used for enforcement.
We’re realistic about what we can do as backbench councillors but know that, free of the constraints of national party policies and the local cabinet whip, we can make far more of a difference than the incumbents.
If you live in Glyndon, Plumstead or Shooters Hill wards please make a positive difference to our area and vote local on May 3rd. Vote Plumstead Party.
Alison Miller is standing in Plumstead ward for the Plumstead Party. To read its manifesto, visit the.plumstead.party.A viewpoint piece from Labour will follow to complete this series.
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