New Lewisham mayoral candidate wants to battle “wasteful spending”

London borough, Lewisham. Pic; Madeline White

Not only does Ross Archer, prospective mayoral candidate for Lewisham 2018, want a cleaner Lewisham, he is also questioning affordable housing and the controversial Millwall CPO.

At present, he has scrutinised Lewisham’s current mayor, Sir Steve Bullock for not meeting with Mayor of London, Sadiq Kahn or his predecessor, Boris Johnson regarding the Bakerloo line extension.

Ross Archer is running for Lewisham Mayor. Pic, Ross Archer.

Chairman of Lewisham Deptford Conservatives, Archer is a long shot no doubt. The last Conservative win for Lewisham was back in 1968, when the party won 41 out of a possible 60 seats. Lewisham has been a Labour-led borough for 12 out of the last 14 elections, with an overwhelming Labour majority in the last vote in 2014. Mayor Steve Bullock won 53 out of 54 seats, with the remaining seat allocated to the Green Party.

Current Lewisham Mayor, Steve Bullock. Pic; Flickr

Bullock, 64 was the first directly elected Mayor of Lewisham in 2002 and is now in his fourth term of office. The north Yorkshire born leader previously served as Chair of University Hospital Lewisham NHS Trust prior to his mayoral duties.

According to London News Online he will not be running for another term and it is not known who might step up for Labour candidate. Bullock said: “Local government is changing at a rate not seen for a long time, because of austerity. It is affecting everything the council does. That will accelerate. After 16 years leading an organisation, it becomes hard to be the agent of change. That is what drove me most of all.

“I am at the age where I should be thinking of doing something else.”

The Liberal Democrats and Green Party representing Lewisham were contacted for comment but were not available. They have no known candidates who are running at present. The Green party do however, have Councillor John Coughlin elected to represent Lewisham ward, Brockley.

Coughlin was elected in the 2014 local elections and retained the seat previously held by Green Partys’ Darren Johnson, so he could be a potential candidate. Providing the only opposition to Labour in the council, EastLondonlines previously reported his focuses being: “Housing, equality, safer streets and protecting the environment are the key issues we are facing.”

Archer has also criticised the “botched” Millwall compulsory purchase order as Eastlondonlines reported previously. This has seen £500,000 of taxpayer’s money invested into an inquiry to probe the housing renewal plans that surround the Millwall FC stadium. Lord John Dyson, former head of civil judiciary in England and Wales, will lead the investigation set to begin in April.

Labour councillor Alan Hall, chair of Lewisham overview and scrutiny committee, told Southwark News: “Over the past five years Renewal’s original outline planning application has fallen apart in slow motion in front of our very eyes.”

Archer sent a statement to EastLondonlines, saying: It is a huge honour and a privilege to have seen selected as the Conservative candidate for Mayor of Lewisham. I am excited to hit the campaign trail and meet many more residents and hear their views and concerns. I am really proud to be a Lewisham resident and I want the best for our borough.”

He spoke of his life in the borough: “Lewisham means a lot to me. When I first moved to Lewisham I couldn’t read, it was a Lewisham school – Elliot Bank – that taught me to finally read at the age of eight and Lewisham has been my home ever since.”

The Sydenham resident who is running for candidacy has lived in Lewisham for 21 years now.

Labour won the last election and based on history are likely to win the next, but only at the local government elections taking place May 3, 2018 will the outcome be known.

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