1. It has been calculated that the budgets of the London Boroughs will be cut by between 20 and 25%. How do you plan to make these savings?
That is probably too big a question for me to answer at this stage without a proper overview, I would though tirelessly scrutinize the figures in excel, and ask for different professional and local opinion - but what I can say is that by voting for me as an independent resident, I will make sure that any cuts will be subjected to proper review. I will not be be put off asking all the uncomfortable questions, as a councillor , that I can. I will be making a noise where it most effects local needs.
2. How do you intend to stay engaged with all the Harringay issues you say are of such importance to you between now and May 2014 ?
My father has been a councillor for twenty five years in Australia and has maintained his integrity, I will be taking a leaf out of his book, by remaining informed and talking to every body, to get the real view - I love speaking to people about Harringay on the streets, in the pub etc. I will also keep an eye on HoL and the regular surgeries as I mentioned in my interview, (surgeries the 1st of every month, much easier to remember.)
I have provided my number on my leaflets, and have set up a web site mattcuthbert.com with contact details and feedback options where I can be kept up to speed, I intend to do urban design studies locally, where I will need local dialogue to discuss local issues, so this contact will be ongoing as my 9-5.
3. Will your party continue with the current system of Area Assemblies as the principal way of engaging with residents? If no, what would you replace them with? If yes, what measures would you take to energise them, make them better attended and more accountable (including ensuring that minutes are posted in full and soon after the event and not currently in a piecemeal fashion)?
I am not in a party - I am independent so I can remain autonomous and be more reactive to local needs, I would certainly make Area Assemblies more focused, and the minutes would follow within a week - if not I will chase it up. Meetings would remain topic based, and planning for real workshops would help to record local ideas- such as Birdy's discussion, how would you rework the Ladder traffic flows?
Council walkabouts have also been positive , I would like to roll that practice out to consider traffic lights and planning enforcement issues, and local sports and parks provision.
4. Minutes for certain meetings in the wards such as the Green Lanes Strategy group and the police ward panel are currently unavailable to the general public. Would you be willing to see these minutes posted online in their full form (and not via the current system of newsletters) - see excellent model from British Transport Police.
Yes - both HoL and electronic newsletters, twitter (and group texts for a brief summary.) to keep people engaged.
5. Some officials have said that "Harringay" only refers to the ward. Other people feel that Harringay refers to the neighbourhood including Green Lanes (N8 & N4) and the residential streets to either side. There is also a view that getting agreement on the notion of the neighbourhood of Harringay and its rough boundaries is a critical issue to encouraging a sense of belonging and so supporting the development of our neighbourhood. Which view do you take and what area does Harringay describe for you?
I prefer the wider definition - but I am not sure boundaries are all that important - it is how you perceive where you live, and a desire to improve it that counts?.
I have lived in the Gardens , St Ann's and the Ladders, I have only moved 8 blocks and have never felt I have left Harringay. We have two railway stations, and two tube stations which is the real gateway to Harringay?,
there aren't other web portals for other areas so people will adopt HoL as there own especially as it is so effective.
6. Will you introduce a 'no casino' clause into LBH's gambling policy, immediately?
If there is enough evidence of locals objecting, then perhaps a decision should reflect the residents call.
I am sensitive to the larger impact on community, and potential for gambling addiction (I have seen with senseless roulette machines in betting agencies.)
7. What are you going to do to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in Harringay? By this I mean a range of issues such as littering to more serious crimes like rape. Will there be a more visible police presence on our streets?
Yes - more visible police presence and community support officers - I would also propose a wider remit for traffic wardens, to get them away from just posting parking tickets. Probably not permitted under national legislation but worth a re-think. Its all to do with enforcement - if the traffic wardens could fine for dog fouling that would help - they would hang around the passage then! They might also be able to enforce against speeding - see below.
I am also campaigning for a night patrol to allow women to come home safely from work in the dark.
8. Will you support a 20mph speed limit for Haringey?
Levels of traffic in the Ladder roads have been increased by decisions taken by the Council over the last ten years. A traffic survey has been discussed as a prerequisite to any changes. Will you commit to repairing the damage to quality of life caused by the increase in traffic. Will you commit to a two stage plan which in the first instance distributes traffic evenly across Ladder roads and as a second stage distributes it evenly across the whole neighbourhood of Harringay?
Surveys of traffic are a useful starting point - but also surveys of car ownership and car use by residents. I also think we should use speed cameras and raised tables at crossing points and at the ladder rungs ends and the passage - not humps all the way up and down. Surely we can work towards an average speed limit camera system in such a small area. I am not convinced that the Gardens should be reopened to through traffic but I do think there is a good case for Hermitage Road to re-open, these are ideas that I would put to my ward to consider, before making a firm decision.
9. What will you do to increase the poor levels of re-cycling in Harringay?
Publicity campaigns and bigger recycling boxes/bins and smaller waste bins as an option.
10. A question for candidates with children or plan to have children, do you have confidence in your local schools and will you be endorsing that by using the local nurseries, play groups, primary schools and secondary schools? *
The nursery and infants schools have been what kept us in the ward - Woodlands Park Children's centre is an oasis. SHINS also has a great caring environment, and we love to walk to school. The secondary schools need language and educational mentors and good PSA support and cooperation from Head teachers to move schools forward, together with proper funding to meet local needs. Proper planning for infrastructure is needed providing for 5-10 year projections, otherwise people will continue to leave the area.
11. How would you improve the ratios of life expectancy between the west & east of Haringey borough?
Better parks, sports participation and mentoring for a start - sport and exercise help health and well being.
We need to provide Hospital facilities that are fit for purpose, and a better investment in health care training and facilities generally.
12. Which option of the 7 Acute Reconfiguration Scenarios proposed by North Central London NHS do you support?
That's an excellent question, and I will interrogate that sector until I am able to answer sufficiently, both from a planning infrastructure perspective, and the impact on Harringay to provide adequate care within reasonable proximity to residents.
13. What are your views on the proposed re-development of St Ann's Hospital which, given that part of the site will probably be given over to housing, is likely to result in a reduction in local health services?
Professionals I have spoken to say it is hugely inefficient and not fit for purpose. A new build at a higher density, but no more than four stories, could re-provide the services and allow the vast site to be used for mixed use, housing and education - see my web site - mattcuthbert.com. My main concerns firstly are what the NHS plans are for the two secure psychiatric wards, and what provision will be provided for mental health for the area, it is also a prospect that the site could provide for a larger hospital, if population growth forecasts are true, so we need to look at what pressure all these schemes would put on local infrastructure.
Hope these answers help set out my position - by the way please vote on the 6th. And vote for the candidate not just a blanket vote for a party regardless of the individuals standing. Try to meet them and judge them on their merits and ability to relate and ability to be straight.