Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Some days ago we invited members to submit questions to the candidates. We have just sent those questions to the candidates by email and have invited them to respond online, in itself a great test of their willingness to engage with residents on our terms rather than theirs.

We have reproduced the questions below.

Rules of this thread

Most room in this thread is for candidates. We've asked them questions, let's give them room to answer. so:

1. This thread is not for discussion.
2. Members may ask follow-up questions, but any comments on candidate answers or discussions must be taken to a new thread. If necessary, you can start a new thread.
3. Any postings made which don't follow this guidance will, we're afraid be deleted.

Questions

Finance & Service Delivery

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?


Democracy

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 ?

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)?

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.


Community

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?

6. Will you introduce a 'no casino' clause into LBH's gambling policy, immediately?


Crime

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?


Traffic

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?


Environment

9. What will you do to increase the poor levels of re-cycling in Harringay?


Education

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? *

*I do understand there are no actual secondary schools within Harringay (town not ward)


Health

11. How would you improve the ratios of life expectancy between the west & east of Haringey borough?

12. Which option of the 7 Acute Reconfiguration Scenarios proposed by North Central London NHS do you support?

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?


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Replies to This Discussion

Simon Hester, candidate from St Ann's Ward has sent us the following replies:

Finance & Service Delivery

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?

This is a good question as not one of the main parties is being honest about the level of cuts they will impose. I am standing on a very clear platform of opposition to cuts in jobs and public services. Britain is a very rich country with plenty of money to safeguard education, health and all public services. There are more millionaires than ever before and the Sunday Times reported last week that the wealth of the richest 1,000 individuals has risen by 30% over the past 12 months alone – no recession for them! The civil servants’ trade union, PCS, has calculated that if loopholes were closed and all corporations and rich individuals paid the correct tax then the government’s income would increase by £120 billion every year. And, of course, there are billions to be saved by ending the war in Afghanistan, scrapping Trident and scrapping ID cards. I therefore utterly reject the logic of cuts to public services and I will oppose any budgets that include cuts to jobs or services. Furthermore, elected or not, I will campaign strongly against cuts. A vote for me is a clear vote to resist cuts – this is precisely why I am standing as councillor for St Ann’s ward.

Democracy

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 ?

I have been engaged with local issues since I moved to Tottenham 20 years ago and will continue to be engaged – elected or not. With proposed cuts of 20-25% there will be plenty of issues to organise around.

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)?

Area Assemblies are currently little more than a tick-box exercise in ‘community consultation’ by the council. If elected as a councillor for St Ann’s ward I would organise public meetings to resist the cuts as they are announced – as I did around the proposed privatisation of the Laurels Health Centre. My strategy would be to organise maximum unity in defence of any services or jobs under threat – and encourage as much energy, initiative and activity as possible. An elected councillor has little power as an individual, especially in a ‘minority’ party. My role would be to act as megaphone for the anger of local residents which is inevitable as the cuts bite, and to seek to link up with other campaigns and movements opposing the cuts. Newsletters, petitions, leaflets and public meetings will all play a crucial role.

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 modelfrom British Transport Police.

Yes

Community

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?

Harringay is a wonderful, vibrant multicultural community and a great place to live. To me it is more of a cultural concept than a geographical patch – much, much wider than the ward alone. I support all attempts to foster a neighbourly sense of belonging and have a record of doing so, including helping with the festivals in Chestnuts Park which rapidly became too big to handle (!) and with regular street parties where I live.

6. Will you introduce a 'no casino' clause into LBH's gambling policy, immediately?

Yes – I am opposed to all casinos, especially the financial spivs in the City of London.

Crime

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?

I am not convinced that more police on the streets reduces crime and anti-social behaviour. Unfortunately too many public jobs have been removed from public spaces, increasing the fear of crime by vulnerable people. I will campaign for the return of full-time park keepers, bus conductors, tube guards and others. The key factors to reduce crime are a) jobs, especially for young people, b) meaningful education (not YTS style “apprenticeships” on £2.50 an hour) and c) proper long term youth facilities, not short term ‘projects’ which solve nothing but look good for government or council targets! The most common cause of burglary is drug addiction, especially heroin and crack, which is why I support the decriminalisation of drugs and regulated drug provision under the supervision of health professionals.

Traffic

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?

I have campaigned for years for traffic calming measures and fully support a blanket 20mph speed limit on every road in Haringey (and London, for that matter). I do not know much about traffic on the Ladder (I do not live there) but support all measures to reduce speeds, congestion and pollution. I cycle 15 miles to and from work every day and demand proper facilities for cyclists, especially fully defended cycle lanes. I fully support pedestrianised zones and car-free Home Zones in local neighbourhoods. In case anybody is wondering I also own a (very old) car.

Environment

9. What will you do to increase the poor levels of re-cycling in Harringay?

I support the recycling of waste. I prefer the re-using of products – eg, better to re-use milk bottles than recycle the glass or the cartons. I do not know the best way forward and am will seek advice from local campaigners, the real ‘experts’, on these questions. I do not believe that a strategy based mainly on changing the behaviour of individuals is sufficient. We need to restrict the waste endemic to big corporations. I believe that there is an urgent need for massive structural economic changes to combat climate change effectively. For example, a massive programme of free house insulation, drastic reductions in packaging, infrastructure investment (eg, eliminating pipe leakage) etc.

Education

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? *

*I do understand there are no actual secondary schools within Harringay (town not ward)


My daughter is enjoying Year 7 at Park View Academy. She attended the excellent Chestnuts Primary, where I was a parent governor for a couple of years. My stepson also attended PVA and is currently at Haringey 6th Form Centre studying A’Levels. I strongly believe in comprehensive education and therefore oppose league tables, and the chaos and divisive nature of so-called ‘parental choice’ of schools. I have long campaigned against SATs and believe in progressive education that seeks to broaden minds and develop critical thinking in all our children. I hope that eventually my (future?) grandchildren will go to local schools!


Health

11. How would you improve the ratios of life expectancy between the west & east of Haringey borough?

The ultimate solution lies in a successful battle for social justice and equality. The widening gap between rich and poor has to be reversed. Interim measures include accessible health services, protecting green spaces, playgrounds including exercise equipment for adults and the elderly, far more allotments. The key to longevity is happiness and well-being – not unemployment and cuts in wages, pensions and benefits.

12. Which option of the 7 Acute Reconfiguration Scenarios proposed by North Central London NHS do you support?

As the government has been forced by mass pressure not to close the A&E at the Whittington my understanding is that none of the seven options now apply (I could be wrong). But we know that they still want to cut £520 million from the budget. I oppose all cuts and, just as importantly, I oppose the Darsi Plan for NHS London, and the privatised alternative Andrew Lansley will come up with. I want an NHS run by health workers for the benefit of ordinary people – free of privateers.

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?

St Ann’s is already being run down without any consultation. I explicitly demand a full consultation on the future of St Ann’s with the health unions, service users and the local community. The hospital clearly needs major refurbishment and investment. I fully support calls to increase the services on offer at St Ann’s. I would also like to see an increase in public green space through the site. I am not opposed to more quality social housing. But in reality I suspect we are going to have a major battle just to keep St Ann’s as a hospital in the NHS. Get ready for a serious campaign!
Answers by Kerry Smith-Jefferys Green Party Candidate for Harringay Ward

Finance & Service Delivery

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?

Across Britain Greens will be fighting for a Green New Deal, we need innovation and government investment in the future of Britain, creating jobs and simultaneously moving towards a sustainable zero carbon economy. Here in Haringey Greens would seek to maintain key front-line services, especially for the most vulnerable including children, the elderly and the disabled and we would fight across London to try to ensure that the cuts are kept to a minimum. In relation to cuts we would:

- preserve the jobs and salaries of front line staff (working also to introduce a living wage of £8.10 an hour), rather than managers
- bring in measures to reduce waste of public money
- reduce energy costs in council buildings
- not rule out increasing some charges like parking charges for non-residents (who are not providing a service like carers and builders)
- oppose privatisation and outsourcing which would save money in the long run.

Democracy

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 ?

There are a number of ways to stay in touch and we hope to take advantage of many of them, or at least experiment and then evaluate what methods are working best with the residents. It is crucial that as a council representatives we work hard to hear and understand the issues the residents are facing as individuals and communities, but also to include them in taking forward solutions and make sure they know what progress is being made. On a personal level, although I currently work full time I would go down to part time work to make sure that I can be effectively engaged in the issues that are of concern to residents and to me.

Representation is a two way street involving gathering information and sharing information - being engaged means being up to date and available to listen. To try to ensure this I would hold 2 surgeries a month, one in a fixed location and with the other experiment with mobile surgeries in various locations and street surgeries to ensure that as many residents as possible can meet me face to face, including those who are home bound. I would also fix regular times for live online discussions in sites such as HoL and engage in non-live discussions on a frequent basis. Residents groups are also an excellent way to engage with and follow up on action taken on behalf of people in the ward and I would aim to attend local resident groups meetings as often as possible. Finally there are also the tried and tested methods of communication through letters, information sheets, email and the telephone.


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 think that area assemblies do represent one of the key methods of engaging with residents, although as I have show in the above answer not the only one - direct and confidential discussions with residents are also important. However I think that we do need to improve engagement in and ownership of area assemblies by residents. As a green councillor I would work to persuade as many new people to engage in the next area assembly on 16 June as possible - hopefully bringing a new energy to the meeting. I would aim to strengthen the role of residents in planning the agenda for the area assemblies and also work towards (if residents are willing) the introduction of a co-chair policy, that is that a resident should be elected to co-chair the area assembly and have the same resident representative for all posts on the area assembly (such as secretary, etc..) as well as in the working groups. This would help make area assemblies much more responsive to local residents, residents would also feel much more ownership of the process and this would help to ensure that minutes and action points are quickly and reliably posted and followed up on.

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 (http://www.harringayonline.com/forum/topics/pact-meeting-minutes-1) from British Transport Police.

Yes - I feel that it is important to open up records, meeting notes and records of decisions by public authorities for public scrutiny as this is essential in making sure that local serivce provision is transparent and can be held to account by local residents. I think the methods used by Heather Brooke, the journalist who spent years trying to expose MPs expenses through the use of the Freedom of Information Act are a useful point of reference.

Community

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?

Personally I have always felt that Harringay describes the neighbourhood around Green Lanes and not just the ward (having leaved on Beechfield Road N4 as well as now on the ladder), but this to me also encompasses much of St Ann's Ward. However it is a difficult issue and honestly I will not say that I have a formed view on which approach would best support our neighbourhood without dividing us from our neighbours. Residents in St Ann's Ward do feel that their issues are not taken into account as much as those expressed by Harringay Ward. If we did take a neighbourhood approach much work would need to be done to ensure that more 'vocal' ends of the neighbourhood do not silence the rest. The Greens are committed to makings sure that which ever approach is taken everybody in the area feels they have a voice and are heard.

6. Will you introduce a 'no casino' clause into LBH's gambling policy, immediately?

Yes

Crime

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?

There are a range of measures that need to be considered when tackling crime and anti-social behaviour, the Greens are committed to bringing effective measures in and are also willing to consider models of success from other parts of the country and abroad where relevant:
- we would push for friendlier less lonely public places. For instance we would push for park keepers, better policying of police stations and encourage people to walk rather than drive
- encourage police to travel by foot and bike more - ensuring a greater presence on the streets
- we would improve youth services providing activities for girls and boys
- we would strengthen mentoring and counselling services for at risk youth
- increase facilitation of and encouragement of street parties and part festivals bringing people together to ensure a great sence of 'local' ownership and pride
- strengthen the Council's Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy to deal with alcohol and abuse
- develop licensing polices to discrouage excessive drinking
- build better links between shopkeepers and police
- working for fair policing and stamping out racism


Traffic

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?

Yes we support a 20mph speed limit for Haringey, we want to prevent and repair the damage caused by traffic and would commit to working towards decreasing traffic and distributing in more fairly. Neighbouring Islington's one Green councillor, Katie Dawson, has just had a 20pm limit agreed for all residential streets in the borough, making it the 1st local authority in the country to bring this in. Greens would work for:
- safer walking and cycling to encourage people to use the streets
- stronger enforcement of the laws against bad and dangerous driving
- better cross-borough bus routes and greater reliability
- traffic calming and greater pedestrian space
- the council should also reduce vehicle use and use more fuel-efficient vehicles

Environment

9. What will you do to increase the poor levels of re-cycling in Harringay?

We need to help make the recyling sytem more comprehensive and clearer to encourge people to re-cycle. Greens would:
- ensure facilities for all residents to reclycle all their waste and separate each type of material
- have a public awareness campaign about recylcing in resident's main languages
- have more free collections of bulky items to help reduce dumping
- promote harringey freecycle and other schemes
- campaign to reduce packaging by local businesses starting with plastic bags

Education

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? *

Yes I do have confidence in my local primary schools and nurseries. First, however we need to acknowledge that there are not enough spaces in child centres in the ward and borough to accomodate the need of working parents. My own experience of applying to 4 child centres in Haringey and 3 others nearby Finsbury Park demonstrates the difficulty in getting a place locally. I feel strongly about local authority engagement in all stages of child care and when I finally my daughter was accepted for a community nursery on Crouch Hill I took it without question. I found no local community nurseries in my research and this is something that I would like to see if there is appetite for amongst the local residents and across the borough.

I hope that the same problem will not arise for primary school. My child will also be going to one of the local secondary schools - fingers crossed, as there are problems with accessing spaces as demand far exceeds supply. The Greens will work to
- strengthen local and democratic provision and supervision of schooling
- ensure that budget cuts don't cut the quality of education
- support the Fair Deal for Haringey Children campaign to get haringey schools the 'inner city' level of central government fuding.

*I do understand there are no actual secondary schools within Harringay (town not ward)


Health

11. How would you improve the ratios of life expectancy between the west & east of Haringey borough?

Greens have been active in local campaigns against NHS cuts and privatisation. The life expectancy ratios can only be improved through a fairer and more equitable distribution of resources and services. We would campaign for a living wage of £8.10 but we would also press for:
- more preventative health-awareness work on issues such as obesity and diet, excercise, alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse.
- preventing illness thoruhg health environment, that is by provding good quality housing and tackling pollution and excessive noise
- reinstatement of lcoal baby clinics and health visitor services (life expectancy indicators begin in the womb) and pilot a re-introduction of school nurses.

We would also improve services for mothers and babies, and ensure that the east as well as the west of the borough retains local doctor's surgeries so that people can reach a doctor within walking distance.

12. Which option of the 7 Acute Reconfiguration Scenarios proposed by North Central London NHS do you support?

Why do we have to choose one of these scenarios? Campaigning on the closure of Whittington A&E, which many Greens in the area were involved in, shows that we can all influence the choices that are made over the months to come. The greens would oppose budget cuts, privatisation and cuts to frontline services such as hospitals.

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?

I do not know all the details about the proposed redeveloppment. However Greens are critical of how St Ann's has been allowed to run into the ground and become unhabitable. There were 7 hospitals in Haringey in the early 80s - now's there's half a hospital at St Ann's - and no A&E. Several have become luxury housing. St Ann's continues to offer vital services to the local community, particularly under resourced mental health services, and we would fight to retain them. The borough needs a general hopsital as well as an A&E - something Greens will push for .

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.

The following answers from Zena Brabazon:

Q1: 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?

I question many of the assumptions here. To give just one example, we will not be dealing with a percentage cut across the board. All three main parties promise to protect certain front-line services. I also hope that when faced with the reality of cuts, commonsense will prevail at national level and some very expensive Government projects – Trident for example – will be cancelled.

In the past I’ve managed budgets ranging from around £300k p.a (a small voluntary sector agency) to around £8m p.a. I’ve also had to deal with massive cuts - in one case in a service which had its base budget cut from £1.9m to under £1m p.a. We did it without reducing services. How? First, I went out and took a critical look for myself at our services. We then developed a plan to make services more efficient; by having charges which people could afford to pay; and going all out for external funding.

It’s all too easy to defend the status quo even if the provision is not up to par
If elected, I’d expect our officers to go and see for themselves the services they manage and ask what works and what can be changed..

Incidentally, decisions on the Council’s budget are not made by individual councillors just for their wards. They are made by the Cabinet – so effectively by whichever party is the majority group. I’d like to see councillors and the Council agree some guiding principles about what the Council wants to do. In other words, we need to be as clear as possible about we think is important for the borough and which services are our priorities.

The process for reaching budget decisions is crucial. The more serious the impact on our residents, the more all councillors need to be rigorous and far more challenging than in the past. Councillors need to ask tough questions, to find out how departments work and where the money now goes. We should challenge officers and also Cabinet Members about savings proposals. Are they actually deliverable with least impact on local residents and services? I want to see time made to explore fresh and lateral ideas for service delivery. And underlying this whole process, we need to really listen to residents’ views and knowledge when we make decisions about future provision.

Ideally we should stop privatising and outsourcing and develop our own in-house staff where we can. But if services are commissioned we need to be very ‘good clients’ to ensure we get the best deal and that services provided are what’s needed for our communities.

Q 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?

I’m standing in St Ann’s ward which will be my priority. Engaging with residents is fundamental to being a councillor. And while I thought I knew a lot about the area, I’ve learned a massive amount about St Ann’s from knocking on doors and talking to so many people. There are issues which we’ve identified and questions I want to ask about service delivery and resources in the area.

Engagement includes keeping in touch through the local associations, residents’ meetings, HOL, estate walkabouts and other local ways of being accountable. It also means keeping abreast of planning applications; liaising with the Safer Neighbourhoods Team and knowing what local issues are coming up through the different routes in the Council – e.g licensing, parking/highways, environment, social care.

Individual concerns brought to surgeries can also reveal common issues which need addressing.

Knowing what’s happening with the PCT, the Police and other public bodies is equally important. It will help to stay engaged if there are good and open relationships with local people. They often know issues are brewing before councillors and Council officers hear about them. We all need to share ‘intelligence’ and knowledge is shared.

Q 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)?

The Labour Party’s Manifesto takes pride in the work of the Assemblies. My personal view is that we need changes which build on this. For instance, I’d like to see them move away from being ‘set pieces’. A two hour meeting with a long agenda means items don’t have enough time.

Assemblies could develop as an ongoing process as opposed to a static event. They could become an ‘umbrella’ which hosts lots of different events and activities where the Council and residents communicate and work together to debate issues, problem-solve and where people are consulted.

I am in favour of local neighbourhood partnerships where residents and agencies come together to discuss problems, plan services and to set local priorities. I think current service planning is too top heavy, too top down and too removed from local experiences.

Q 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.

As a matter of principle we should always aim to be as open as possible
So things should be public unless there are good legal or other reasons. Some matters do need confidentiality – personal details for example. And Police operational details.

Q5. 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 use “Harringay” when I mean Green Lanes and mainly the Ladder Roads – although there are some problems which residents on both sides share. For example, the impact of the betting shops on Green Lanes, and Homes in Multiple Occupation. I’d like to see agreement on tackling problems like the HMOs, slum landlords, Sainsbury’s parking.

Walking round St. Ann’s I can see it suffers from many of the same problems as Harringay but I’m not sure it has had quite as much attention!!

Q6. Will you introduce a 'no casino' clause into LBH's gambling policy, immediately?

Definitely and without reservation, hesitation or deviation! If I could ban the betting shops and casinos I would.

Q7. 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?

This is a complex question which often gets a glib answer. The Council has to work with many agencies to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour - not just the Police and the Anti-Social Behaviour Team. We need to continue working with HMRC for example, to deal with illegal businesses, fraudulent planning applications and housing conversions. We need to work with Adult Social Care and the Supporting People programme where vulnerable adults are involved.

“More Police on the beat” has become a mantra. I know it makes people feel safer. Though does it necessarily reduce crime? If the police want to catch criminals they often need to be less visible!

So, as well as Police on the street, I’m sure people want more in the Police Station too. Then we all want police available in cars to deal with our 999 calls. And Forensic Officers to follow-up. As a relatively new JP I want Police available in Court!

One of the best things when I worked for Haringey was joint working with our local Police. I have enormous respect for officers I met. And for the way Police worked with the local community. I want this respect for the skills of the Police to extend to trusting them to judge how they deploy their resources.

Dealing effectively with anti-social behaviour needs joint working across many agencies. Plus the staff, resources and the will to make it work. I would like to see how we can work to develop and improve the community justice, community payback and mediation schemes to tackle anti-social behaviour.

I am though, worried about the risk of criminalising young people who are not actually causing any problems – other than just hanging out with friend.

Other candidates have mentioned traditional park keepers. I also share doubts about losing these staff. Theiy had an important role in preventing and managing anti-social behaviour. It’s no good having beautiful well-maintained parks unless people feel comfortable and confident about using them. But I’m open minded about the best system.

Can I mention the very useful and important “designing out crime schemes” developed with the Police. They include improved street lighting, removing “lurking spots”, cutting back high hedges and shrubs, designing in good waste systems and giving people their own green spaces.

Q8. Will you support a 20mph speed limit for Haringey?

Yes. It’s now undeniable that lower speeds save lives and prevent injuries. But we also need public education to try to change people’s behaviour.

Q 9. 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?

I don’t know enough about traffic on the Ladder Roads to make sweeping comments about causes and solutions. In areas of Haringey I know a lot better, a major factor in levels of traffic is the rise in car ownership. And neither Haringey nor Harringay are an island. Much of the traffic in the borough is passing through.

If elected as a St Ann’s councillor, I would support plans which distribute traffic more evenly across the Ladder roads provided – crucially – they have widespread support from residents.

Improving bus services from east to west might help and encourage people to use their cars less.

Q 10. What will you do to increase the poor levels of re-cycling in Harringay?

As a report last year by the London Assembly showed, this is a London-wide problem. The capital as a whole has “a generally poor recycling performance”. There are many practical ways of tackling this. But it needs London-wide and indeed national policies. Because we are trying to change peoples’ behaviour - a medium and long-term task.

Even so, there are things the Council can do in local neighbourhoods. For example, I’d like to see us insisting that landlords whose properties are used by the Council make recycling and proper waste disposal part of their contract.

Recycling should be an everyday activity in every school.

We could have more bins which encourage recycling. Visiting Berlin I was struck by the general availability of standard-coloured bins lids. This includes “Recycling on the Go” – when people are out on the street, or in parks, or at stations. People in Berlin knew what the colour codes meant and separated their rubbish. Our cafes and restaurants could sponsor these and set the example. Maybe bins could be part of the planning permission!

We should encourage and fund greening schemes on those housing estates which are bleak. I’ve seen some great examples of areas which have been transformed, and where local people have really benefited. One was in Salford where an alley was turned into a community garden; another is, of course, the community garden in Doncaster Gardens. One project on an estate in Islington created food growing spaces for people living in flats, and seems to be working well.

Q 11. 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? *

Our daughter went to Haringey schools - nursery through to 6th form. In a borough with such inequalities we need to make sure our early years provision is of the highest quality. All the research shows that having teachers in nurseries and high quality curriculum makes the greatest difference to children who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and of course, benefits everyone along the way! I chaired the governing body at my daughter’s primary school in Tottenham and am now a Governor at Rowland Hill Children’s Centre.

Q 12. How would you improve the ratios of life expectancy between the west & east of Haringey borough?

We need to invest in decent affordable social housing for families – and that requires government investment. We need to make sure private sector housing is up to standard – with energy saving insulation, good heating systems, hot water etc. There has to be a clamp down on HMOs and the exploitation of vulnerable and poor people living in overcrowded and cramped conditions.

Getting people into employment is vital. As is having improved primary health care services in Tottenham.

Tottenham’s parks and open spaces must be maintained properly and be safe to use. This means having staff in the parks, and varied activities so there are always people about. Many areas are experimenting with open air exercise classes for example.

The Wood Green Library currently runs health check sessions for older people and these are very popular. I would like to see these run in all our libraries to encourage greater use of libraries as welcoming community facilities.

But there are major national issues which impact on Haringey and which are outside the Council’s control. Plainly one enormous factor is inequality. The Annual health reports show that the rate of death was higher in the Eastern part of Haringey and especially in the north-eastern wards.

Q 13. Which option of the 7 Acute Reconfiguration Scenarios proposed by North Central London NHS do you support?

I don’t claim expertise about these issues and will need to do some fast learning. In general, I don’t support the closing of any A& E departments, though I think places like the new clinic in Park Road are very good indeed. Our area needs many more primary care facilities and GPs must work from modern well-equipped surgeries.

One big problem is that many people are not registered with GPs and they tend to use the hospitals for all services. This is a poor use of resources – particularly the expensive A & E Departments

Q 14. 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?

About St Ann’s, my head and my heart tell me different things. My heart wants to defend the current site, but my head tells me that we need decisions on services across our area and across London on the basis of need. Resource allocation in health should be a matter for clinical decisions by medical personnel - based on evidence

Managing services over the years, I’ve learned that policies need to start from the needs of service users – and not buildings

I am opposed to the privatisation of health services and I believe that it is vital to invest more in mental health services.

This is a huge and complex issue and needs councillors and Council staff involved with health to investigate and reflect on it.

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