Dear Wandsworth Living Streets supporters
The May 3 Borough Elections
As you know, Councillors in all the London Boroughs are getting ready for the upcoming elections. In our borough, the current state of the parties is: 39 Conservative Councillors; 19 Labour; and 2 Independents. The Conservatives have run the Borough continuously for the past 40 years – ever since 1978.
In spite of the gap between Conservatives and Labour, there has been speculation in the media that it is just possible that the May 3 election may result in a hung Council, or even a change of political control.
One thing will definitely happen: there will be a large number of new, mainly much younger Councillors elected. With the Conservatives, a dozen of their existing Councillors are standing down. And with Labour, while only one or two of their Councillors are standing down, there are a significant number of new, younger people standing, several of whom look likely to be elected. This partial passing of the baton to a younger generation is something many of us hope will lead to fresh and much bolder thinking about how our streets and residential neighbourhoods need to be transformed, and when we walk or cycle, we become fully recognised as hugely numerous and highly desirable users of our streets, with much more serious attention given to our needs as pedestrians and cyclists.
Election Hustings – do get along to the one nearest you
Hats off, once again, to the amenity societies which are organising hustings. The intention is to ask all candidates in the relevant wards to attend, speak and answer our questions. Do please go along to the one in your area, and ask whatever questions relating to transport, and walking and cycling, you feel inclined to raise.
Thursday, 12 April, 7.45pm – Wandsworth Society – West Side Church, c/o Melody Road and Allfarthing Lane., SW18 2QQ. This will cover several wards in Central Wandsworth and southeastwards.
Wednesday, 18 April, 7.30pm – Putney Society – Roehampton and West Putney – St Joseph Catholic Church, 218 Roehampton Lane, SW15 4LE (opposite the junction with Medfield Street). This will cover those two wards in particular.
Monday , 23 April, 7.30pm – Putney Society – East Putney and Thamesfield – Community Church, Werter Road (20 yards from Putney High Street), SW15. This will cover those two wards in particular.
Tuesday, 24 April, c. 6.30pm (time to be confirmed) – Battersea Society and Katherine Low Settlement – York Gardens Library, York Road Community Centre (easiest to access from Plough Road and through York Gardens). Address: 34 Lavender Road, London SW11 2UG.
Sample questions you may like to ask
Of course, most of you will want to make up your own questions to ask candidates. But if you are short of ideas, here are some ideas of what you might like to ask:
- One-third of Wandsworth’s children leaving primary school (Year 6) are over-weight or obese: what would you and your party do to enable more children to walk or cycle to school, and in their neighbourhood, easily and safely?
- London has an air quality crisis and in Wandsworth, more than 1,000 people are injured on our roads each year. Transport is central to both issues, so what would you and your party do to make our streets safe for people walking and cycling and our air safe to breathe?
- ‘Satnavs’ often prompt drivers to avoid congestion by cutting through quiet residential neighbourhoods: what would you and your party do to stop this so that local residents can enjoy less traffic-ridden, quieter, cleaner air, and safer streets where they live?
- Only 11% of journeys that could be cycled by Wandsworth’s residents actually are, according to Transport for London analyses: what would you and your party do to improve people’s health and reduce the number of motor vehicles on our roads by enabling far more short journeys in the borough to be cycled?
Other actions Wandsworth Living Streets will be taking to raise awareness of the importance of Walking and Cycling issues
- We are seeking to meet the Leaders of each party to discuss transport issues, and press on them the importance of paying much more serious attention to what local people need on our streets when we are on foot or cycling.
- We will send you details of a possible e-action you might like to participate in with a view to getting each political party to commit to constructing a high quality Liveable Neighbourhoods project. See the attachment for further details of what Liveable Neighbourhoods are all about.
With best wishes to you as Spring finally makes its appearance!
(Robert Molteno, Secretary, Wandsworth Living Streets)