Lewisham Council is currently holding by-elections following the resignation of two councillors in Evelyn and Whitefoot wards. To help voters in Evelyn make their decision we profile the candidates for Evelyn ward before tomorrow (Thursday May 2)’s election.
The by-election was triggered after Evelyn ward’s Labour councillor Alex Feis Bryce resigned to pursue a career with a national human rights charity.
Lionel Openshaw is one of eight candidates running for the vacant Evelyn ward.
In Openshaw’s manifesto, he pledges to oppose any housing developments which don’t meet the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s 50 per cent target of affordable homes.
Openshaw also promises to support educational provisions and nurseries in the ward.
Openshaw says he will tackle youth crime and violence by embracing a public health approach.
He also insists in the face of austerity that he will campaign for the Council to actively resist cuts to the public services.
As for the environment, Openshaw says that he will be tackling pollution and helping to revitalise green spaces.
Openshaw said to Eastlondonlines: “As your Labour councillor, I will engage with the Evelyn community, listen to local people, fight austerity and ensure the council delivers.”
The Green Party was the runner up behind Labour last year, and the same candidate, James Braun, is standing in this by-election.
Braun and the Lewisham Green Party believe in building new council and social housing as well as pushing for rent controls on private landlords to protect tenants from unaffordable rent increases.
They want to reduce traffic to cut pollution and introduce a default borough-wide 20mph speed limit to make the streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
The Green Party also believes in setting up green energy co-ops, re-instating the tree-planting budget and encouraging more community gardens and local food growing.
Braun is also calling for all local employers to pay at least the London living wage, an end to zero hours contracts and tough action on racism and discrimination.
The Liberal Democrats were the third most popular party in Evelyn last year and Bunmi Wajero is the candidate.
Wajero says she is concerned about local air quality and highlights 200 projects in the ward that she has campaigned for which have seen more trees planted.
Wajero been a critic of Lewisham’s Labour-led council. She said to Lewisham Liberal Democrats: “The Evelyn ward is going through a lot of change but it feels like something that is imposed on the community, rather than designed with it. I will put the community in Deptford first, not the interests of the Labour council group and their deals with developers.”
“The new Mayor came in promising to sort out housing so that everyone could get a look-in. But the latest figures show Lewisham only built one home for social rent in the last year. I’ve seen how little challenge Mayor Damien Egan gets from councillors.”
“It’s time to have a voice of opposition for Evelyn, standing up for the most vulnerable in the community and holding the Council to account on their promises on housing.”
The Conservative Party were the fourth most popular party in Evelyn last year and Eleanor Reader-Moore is party’s candidate.
The Conservatives in Lewisham have criticised Labour for failing to meet their affordable homes target.
Reader-Moore and the local Conservatives have pledge to help solve crime by pushing for the campaign to save Catford and New Cross police stations from Labour’s police cuts.
The completion of the Bakerloo line extension to Catford and New Cross is also of key importance to the local Conservative Party.
Lewisham People Before Profit
A new party for this by-election is Lewisham People Before Profit, who have recruited Joyce Leicester Jacca. Jacca ran independently last year, receiving 348 votes – four per cent of the vote.
Jacca expresses in her manifesto that too much money has been given to building homes in the borough but not enough action has been taken to populate them.
Jacca also claims that the Labour-led council’s approach to education is very much towards that of prioritising money, and is against Labour’s Private initiative scheme.
She believes the council should employ people locally and have apprenticeships for school leavers, which would help keep money in the local economy.
On the topic of climate change, she says Lewisham Labour cannot be trusted as she points towards them announcing a climate emergency on the same day they destroyed Tidemill Garden in Deptford.
Richard Day is standing for UKIP in Evelyn ward.
Day says identifying empty properties should be a priority. Local people should be given a greater say on major housing development via binding referendums.
Day spoke to Eastlondonlines about his plans to tackle crime. He said: “A knife crime epidemic has taken hold all over London. Bringing specific Ward Officers to Evelyn would help reduce all crime including anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping.”
He said of education: “UKIP would create more grammar schools as a route to higher education. I would encourage the promotion of traditional family values in schools and discourage political indoctrination.”
He also spoke out about green taxes, saying: “Climate change theories continue to be debunked. Green taxes, however, are very real. Green levies on energy bills are set to rise to a staggering £12.6 billion by 2020. The rate of VAT on energy bills is set by the EU. This could change when democracy prevails and we actually leave.”
Day said: “I feel I would make a suitable councillor for Evelyn as I was brought up on a council estate in a working-class area of London. I’m familiar with many of the problems people face living in the area and how important it is for them to have a point of contact when they need to be heard.”
Democrats and Veteran Party
Another new party option this year is the Democrats and Veteran Party Matt Jenkins is their candidate.
The Democrats and Veteran Party say in their local manifesto that they will tackle employment by pushing for further apprenticeships.
Jenkins and his party also promise to tackle environmental issues through plans such as toughening up penalties for littering and banning plastic products where there is a clear economic alternative case for it.
Jenkins also stated that he and his party will look into increasing the capacity of the road network, widening main single carriageways to dual-carriageways and concentrate planning to ensure roads are faster-flowing. The aim of this is not only to reduce travel time but also to deal with traffic congestion and improve air quality.
Nicke Adebowale, the candidate for Women’s Equality Party, was unavailable for comment.
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