Residents tell me we need more affordable housing in our area. We also need to help private renters so they live in good quality housing with restrictions. As MP, I would put pressure on Lambeth Council to drastically improve their negotiations with private developers. Currently the number of affordable homes built in mixed developments is very low. I would also ask the Council to review their decisions for estates such as Cressingham Gardens and shortlife housing where tenants are getting a very bad deal. The Lib Dems have pledged to introduce a ‘Rent to Own’ scheme where your rent buys you a share of your property and a new government loan scheme to help with a deposit.These are both critical for young renters and buyers in London where prices are higher than the rest of the country.
2. Local business
Small, local businesses that serve the community are so important to our area. I would support small businesses by exempting them from EU legislation; improving transport so customers are able to access their services and reviewing business rates. New developments should be allowed but only with full consultation with local people and businesses – I am against the way that Network Rail has gone about the renovation of the arches. Those businesses should be given first priority once the arches are available for use again.
We need a mix of small and high street chains in our area, as that is what most residents wants. But local businesses should not be pushed out to accommodate high street chains. Our area is multicultural and unique. We need a balance which retains that character whilst giving local people access to the sort of shops they need.
Education is critical for success. I am very proud of our local teachers in the work they have done to improve standards. But there is a capacity issue – we have many families in the area and soon, we will not have enough quality school places to accommodate them all. One of my top three priorities is to work with local organisations and government to open up more secondary school places.
We can maintain local libraries and parks if Lambeth Council makes better use of the money it has available. Why is the Council building new offices for itself at a time of cutbacks and austerity? This is at a cost of 50m. If I were MP, I would encourage them to put this money into services for local people rather than spending money on itself. Unfortunately money mismanagement is what we have come to expect from Labour administrations.
Improving transport is critical to reducing current high pollution levels. I would work for a tube or CrossRail2 station in Streatham. This will ease congestion and reduce journey times on the High Road. This leads to cramped services and congestion during rush hour in Brixton too. I would also encourage the building of an alternative safer cycling route to central London from our area.