Posted: 03.05.21 at 10:43 by Kurt Robson
The people living in Balham and Tooting’s Bedford ward will be going to the polls on the 6th May to elect a new councillor for the area.
The local by-election is being held on Thursday, May 6 following the resignation of former councillor Fleur Anderson.
Voting will take place on the same day as the Mayor of London and London Assembly elections.
Nub News invited all of the candidates for a Question and Answer session.
Here is our interview with Hannah Stanislaus. The Labour Party candidate.
1. WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU AS A LABOUR PARTY COUNCILLOR WILL BRING TO THE BEDFORD WARD?
As a Labour party Councillor, I will bring a unique and diverse insight that no one else can bring to Bedford Ward.
Going through certain challenges and struggles in life, has enabled me to have empathy not sympathy. I want to help others as I was helped. People need a hand up, not kicked back down.
After years of working outside the system, through my church, with the Labour party and voluntary organisations such as Little Village, Be Enriched and Dons Local Action. I am now ready to work within the system to help people.
I am able to listen and will work hard for every single person, regardless of who they are or who they voted for and I will proudly be a voice for all of my constituents, when I am inside the Council chambers.
2. WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE MAIN ISSUES FACING TOOTING AND BALHAM RIGHT NOW?
Residents are worried about their safety, due to high levels of vehicles using their streets for rat running. Also, there is never-ending confusion around the St Anselm's school street.
Children getting to school safely should not be a game. As I parent, I know how it feels to worry about my daughter’s safety and I will work with my future ward colleagues Cllr Clare Fraser and Cllr Hector Denfield, plus the hardworking staff and frustrated residents, for the right outcome for everyone.
Residents were relieved to see that the 4 additional toilets on the Common. However, these need to be situated around the Common, accessible to everyone. For example, as a parent who uses the playground, they are too far for a 4-year-old to walk to, nor is it a suitable place for disabled service users, such as wheelchair users. Tooting Common should have a Changing Places toilet, so no one is excluded from using the Common.
Many residents have also mentioned the large amount of rats on the Common and are concerned about the lack of adequate bin facilities for the high levels of waste.
I have been on the Tooting Common Management Advisory Committee (MAC) for one year now. TCMAC is working with the Council urgently on these issues. Once elected, I will keep residents posted on all Commons matters through www.becandbalhamlabour.org/contact-us
Another major concern for residents is housing, specifically the lack of adequate social housing in the area. Hundreds of residents were horrified to learn about the Carnie Lodge mother and baby unit. 4 years ago, I fled domestic violence and I approached Wandsworth Council for help. I ended up in Nightingale Square and in 17 months, I never saw any of the 3 Conservative Councillors personally.
My daughter is one of the nearly 3000 children in temporary accommodation. She is one of the lucky ones. The majority of those children live in substandard and disgusting conditions. Should I be elected, I will stand up for those still in the cycle of abuse and be there with empathy, not sympathy.
I have met with a large number of residents that live in high priced, low quality HMOs. There has barely enough room to call it a proper home. Land is being sold to property developers and so-called affordable housing is NOT affordable. Home owners are concerned that Council Tax will rise and that services need more funding but the Council refuse to discuss the options they are looking at.
3. OBVIOUSLY, A VERY POLARISING ISSUE, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF LTN'S AND HOW THEY WERE IMPLEMENTED INTO THE AREA?
The LTN schemes placed in Bedford ward were botched, rushed out and badly communicated. People woke up to a barrier at the end of their road and nothing from the Council to explain it. Six separate LTNs were designed in Tooting.
LTNs work for everyone when there is one design done across an entire ward, with a full understanding of how people can move around. Wandsworth has a number of very popular LTNs that have been in place for years that residents asked for. With the right leadership and intention to do the job well, LTNs can be part of a range of solutions to make our streets safer and cleaner.
4. WHAT DO YOU THINK THE GOVERNMENT AND THE MAYOR OF LONDON HAVE DONE WELL/BADLY WITH THE COVID CRISIS?
The Government. Through Borough-wide phone banking and most recently, Bedford ward phone banking, I have spoken to over 280 people personally. There was general dissatisfaction with the government’s handling of the pandemic.
The furlough scheme was considered to be the only good thing that the Government did get right during the crisis. Since then, we have seen the Government’s buying up the vaccine for everyone BUT the incredibly successful rollout of the vaccination is down to our wonderful NHS and health care staff, not Boris Johnson. I was blessed to get my jab early as I am the sole carer of a child with Special Educational Needs (SEN).
The Mayor. I think Sadiq got this right. He advised people not to take public transport early and he was quick to advocate mask wearing. He promoted the lockdown rules widely with television adverts and an excellent social media programme.
As a former bus driver, I know that TFL has been under immense pressure during Covid. Sadiq has kept London moving in these times. He could have moved sooner to protect front line staff but this was remedied as soon as it was clear that they needed more protection. He will continue to do an incredible job for every Londoner when he is re-elected on May 6th.
5. WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT TOOTING AND BALHAM?
For me, as a child playing after school and going to the cafe and now taking my daughter there, it has to be Tooting Common. I have used it for 30 years and hope I'll be around to see my grandchildren playing on it.
But also the community in Bec and Balham, that I have grown up in. From going to Lighthouse fish bar, to Deelight Bakery and to all those other wonderful local, independent shops. I know many many people and look forward to representing them.
6. ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD?
I will be celebrating my daughter's 5th birthday on May 3rd and that is the biggest event for me in May. Oh, and being elected on May 6th, to become Councillor Hannah Stanislaus.
Nub News will be releasing interviews with every candidate who responded to our interview request.