Battle lines were drawn at the Queens Hotel as The Crystal Palace Chamber of Commerce hosted a cross-borough panel debate allowing election hopefuls to pitch their policies ahead of the vote on 22nd May.
The debate invited residents from four boroughs to question selected candidates about what their position on social, cultural and business enhancement policies will be if elected.
The nine panellists were:
Stephen Carr Leader of Bromley Council, Conservative
Helen Hayes Southwark Labour councillor for College ward and Labour party candidate for Tessa Jowell MP’s seat of Dulwich and West Norwood
Pat Ryan Croydon Labour councillor for Upper Norwood ward, trade unionist (CWU)
Steve O’Connell Conservative councillor for Kenley ward, Croydon council cabinet member for finance and performance management, GLA member for Croydon and Sutton; also Deputy Chair of the planning committee
Tom Papworth Bromley Liberal Democrat councillor for Crystal Palace ward and Group Leader of Bromley Liberal Democrats
Tom Chance Bromley Green Party candidate for Crystal Palace; works for GLA member Darren Johnson
Matthew Bennett Lambeth Labour councillor for Gipsy Hill ward and works for Lambeth South MP Steve Reed OBE
Graham Pycock Lambeth Conservative candidate for Thurlow ward, formerly served as a Lambeth councillor for 12 years
Angela Wilkins Bromley Labour candidate for Crystal Palace ward and Director at Good Governance Foundation
The debate was chaired by Jonathan Croucher a former City law firm partner and now the vicar of Christ Church, Gipsy Hill and Robert Gibson of the Board of Crystal Palace Chamber of Commerce who brought the panel together to address the locals needs.
East London Lines was given permission to record the event.
It became evident that The Crystal Palace Park’s redevelopment scheme is still top of the list of subjects of deep concern for residents who live adjacent to the park.
Steven Carr commented on the developments of the plan:
Another hot topic of debate was the Upper Norwood Library – an independent joint library run by a trust of dedicated librarians and volunteers that serves the five boroughs of Croydon, Lambeth, Bromley, Southwark and Lewisham.
Up until early 2014 it was partly funded by Croydon and Lambeth Councils. Temporary funding is now being provided by Lambeth until a new organisation can take over.
Its financial situation is affecting both the opening hours of the library and its ability to acquire up-to-date media facilities and new titles for its shelves.
The future of the library depends on it receiving either council or commercial funding to sustain the facilities and its traditions.
Councillors can be heard debating the issue here:
Co-operation between the boroughs for a better-shared community infrastructure was also discussed at the debate:
Following on from a 2013 survey showing Croydon will have one of the highest growth in demand for school places in the country by 2016, fear of a shortage of school places is another issue.
Demand for school places sparked a lively debate:
East London Lines managed to catch up with some of the candidates present at the debate along with Robert Gibson.
Hear what the candidates had to say:
Four of the candidates present in panel that we were unable to speak to make their introduction speeches here:
There will be more panel debates on the 14th May in Thornton Heath at Parchmore Community Centre and 15th May in Broad Green at the Christ Church.
Both meetings will begin at 7.30 pm and you will have a chance to ask the individual candidates why you should vote for them.
UKIP, the Communist Party, Socialist Party and the Trades Union also have candidates running in Croydon but did not have any representatives present at the debate, but you can find more information about them here:
For further information about the parties who participated follow these Links:
For a full list of candidates running in the local election click here: