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Katie Dawson for Highbury West

Islington Green Party is thrilled to announce that Katie Dawson, who served as councillor between 2006-2010, is standing again in the May 6th by-election for Highbury West.  In her four year term, she made a huge difference in Islington including:

  • Introducing 20 mph speed limits on residential streets.
  • Securing Islington’s first secure estate cycle shed (on the Harvist Estate)
  • Funding for new allotments and tree planting
  • Extra funding for renewable energy installations
  • Including plastics in doorstep recycling
  • Saving the Sobell Centre

Writing on her decision to stand again in 2021, Katie wrote:

“I have not been tempted to stand in any council elections since my spell as Islington’s first Green councillor in 2006-2010. However, the Labour Party’s current supermajority on the council (controlling 47 of the 48 seats, until a couple of recent defections) has led to an increasingly top-down approach to decision-making and to an attitude that takes its voters for granted. In order to challenge this I will be standing as the Green Party candidate in the forthcoming Highbury West by-election.

Local democracy needs lively debate and a range of voices in order to remain healthy and reflective of the people it serves. Instead, we have a council of nodding yes men and women, where dissent is stamped on, and the result is a series of heavy-handed, ‘we-know-best’ decisions.

The recent introduction of the LTN in Highbury West is a case in point. I strongly support the aims and objectives of LTNs, but to impose them without taking people with you actually reduces their chance of success.

A lack of both consultation and transparency ahead of its introduction and a notable lack of listening once it was in place means it has been met with resistance by a lot of residents, many of whom would have been supportive if it had been handled differently.

Similarly, the council’s current policy of eyeing all gardens and green spaces on estates as fair game for new building is undemocratic, uncaring and completely at odds with its declaration of a climate emergency.

The outcry over the recent destruction of a beautiful community garden beloved by the residents of Dixon Clark Court, as well as the felling of the ‘little forest’ intended to protect those same residents from the chronically congested Highbury Corner, has not given them pause for thought. On the contrary, they now intend to wreak the same destruction on many other estates across the borough, including Aubert Court in my own ward of Highbury West. This high rise estate was built with green space and trees as an integral part of the design. The architects understood that gardens and nature are not a nicety, but an essential element of human wellbeing. But if you dare to oppose their felling of mature trees and their concreting over of beautiful gardens you will be attacked and smeared as ‘anti-homes’ or even ‘anti-people’.

Controlling 47 out of 48 seats on the council for so many years has led this council to think it doesn’t need to listen to people. It has led it to ignore or insult those who disagree with it. And it has led it to become increasingly high-handed with the residents it is meant to serve.

If elected, I will tackle this this attitude head-on. I will stick up for Highbury residents and challenge the council to start making decisions WITH us, rather than heavy-handed actions that do things TO us.”

The Highbury West by-election is happening on May 6th at the same time as the London Assembly elections.