- I have a track record of achievement from my earlier period as a Councillor in the City (for the Ward of Farringdon Within from 2011 to 2017). Those achievements include:
¨ Working with fellow Common Councilman Henrika Priest (a current member for Castle Baynard) to make life better for residents in Carter Lane and its environs by getting licensed premises to respect the terms of their late-night licences, agreeing MoUs between licensees and residents, and facilitating effective two-way communication.
¨ For several years I chaired and helped organise a Community Police Forum, involving representatives from the Ward policing team and residents and workers from the three adjacent Wards of Castle Baynard, Farringdon Within and Farringdon Without. Although the shape of Ward policing has changed since then, I will, if elected, seek to reinstate regular meetings of this Forum, in order to ensure effective face-to-face communication between the City of London Police and the communities they serve.
¨ As Chairman of the Hampstead Heath Management Committee, getting the City Corporation to listen to local feeling and to reverse its policy on new café leases – see https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/apr/10/cafe-serves-another-day-protest-hampstead-heath-benugo – and working with officers to develop a better system of genuine and effective consultation.
¨ Working with residents and business owners to prepare objections, based on solid planning grounds, to mitigate the negative aspects of major developments in the City and improve overall schemes wherever possible.
¨ Being Chair of Governors of the City Academy Hackney, a school which is achieving some of the best results in Hackney and which is justly proud of the safe and stimulating environment it provides for its students.
¨ Overseeing the successful resettlement of residents at a sheltered housing scheme (Mais House), prior to its redevelopment to provide more units of affordable, general needs, housing.
- Having been a Common Councilman, including being a Committee Chairman, means that I can start acting effectively on constituents’ behalf as soon as I am elected. I know who to go to within the City of London Corporation to get residents’ and workers’ voices heard and I don’t have to negotiate a steep learning curve; but neither will I make unrealistic promises.
- I work as Clerk to a Livery Company, the Worshipful Company of Builders’ Merchants, based at College Hill near Cannon Street Station – so I understand what it’s like to work and move around in the City, and am close at hand.
- I know the Ward of Castle Baynard well from having represented its neighbouring Ward of Farringdon Within for 6 years, and from having worked closely with several existing Castle Baynard Councillors.
- I’m also a writer and historian (specialising in both Russian and London history) which has given me plenty of experience in public speaking and in presenting an argument succinctly and persuasively. (You may have heard me recently on BBC Radio 4’s Great Lives, for instance, talking with Matthew Parris and Barbara Stocking about the life of Catherine the Great.)
- I’m also a good listener. I believe the best results are achieved through mutual respect and a willingness to understand other points of view, while not being afraid to express, and stand by, one’s own.
The by-election to elect one Common Councilman for the Ward of Castle Baynard will take place on Tuesday 9th October at the Shoe Lane Library, Little Hill House, Little New Street, London EC4A 3JR, from 8am to 8pm.
On the day before the election, Monday 8th October, at 6pm, a Ward Mote will be held, also at the Shoe Lane Library, when electors will be able to ask questions of the candidates.
[Promoted by Virginia Rounding of 4 College Hill, London EC4R 2RB]