Islington Green Party launches 10 pledges

13 April 2018

Islington Green Party kicked off their election campaign this week with 10 key pledges, focussing on what a group of Green councillors would do if elected.

Greens campaigning

Greens campaigning in Highbury

The headline pledges are:

  • Making the council more democratic and accountable
  • Ensuring the council is a better landlord
  • Tackling air pollution and making Islington a great place for walking and cycling

In 2014 Islington elected only one opposition Councillor, despite 46% of voters voting for parties other than Labour. Caroline Russell, as the sole opposition Green Party Councillor, has worked hard to get the voices of all residents heard. Caroline has successfully:

  • Drawn attention to delays to regular estate repairs and chronic problems with damp and black mould. She helped residents stop the council from demolishing two homes on Park View estate, getting the plans for new homes redesigned before they went to planning.
  • Helped residents and campaigners bring petitions and questions to the Town Hall to get action on their issues. Users of the older people’s day centre at Sotheby Mews earned a twelve-month reprieve to the proposed closure of their centre after triggering a debate in the Town Hall.
  • Secured a proper community consultation process for the redevelopment of neglected buildings on Highbury Fields (The One O’Clock Café and the Bandstand).

With more Green Party Councillors, Islington Green Party would build upon Caroline’s hard work and prevent Islington becoming an unaccountable one-party state. In 2014 the Green Party came second in over half of all Islington wards (nine) and came second across the borough by securing almost 20% of the vote. The Green Party are best placed to provide an opposition and bring a better balance to the council.

On making the council more accountable Caroline said “I don't think our council systems and processes are set up for such a lack of balance with just one opposition councillor. The last four years have seen some awful examples, including where the chief executive has invited all councillors to a meeting to discuss emergency budget cuts, only to uninvite me saying it was a Labour group invitation. I’ve also faced council lawyers wrongly trying to gag me over speaking out on the closure of Fabric nightclub."

"I’ve focussed on bringing residents and campaigners to join me in the Council Chamber. I’ve helped residents across Islington bring their issues to the Town Hall to raise attention and get action: Barnard Park football pitch, Sobell Centre, Parkview Estate, Highbury Quadrant Estate, Sotheby Mews Day Centre to name a few."

Greens opposing community assets being closed

Greens campaigning with local residents against destruction of Sobell Centre sports hall and Barnard Park football pitch 

"Residents tell me repeatedly they feel unlistened to by the council, if I’m re-elected, I’ll push for webcasting of meetings so residents can help check what the council is doing more easily and keep pushing the council to allow residents’ voices to be heard early enough in any project to be able to contribute and make a difference. I very much hope I will have Green colleagues to help with all this”.

On the council’s status as a bad landlord, Green Party candidate for Finsbury Park Nafisah Graham-Brown said “Across the borough the council is late with the regular seven-yearly repairs”

“We can reveal from a Freedom of Information request that 39% of estates in Islington have had delayed repairs, at least by a year. In some estates like the St Luke's Estate in Bunhill, the Shaw Court Estate in Tollington and Parkview Estate in Highbury there are blocks where repairs have been delayed by three years or more. Adding to that, residents are not updated about these delays or expected timescales well enough.”

Greens protesting Parkview damp homes

Greens joining residents campaign against damp homes on the Park View estate

“The uncertainty and delay is frustrating for residents and there are concerns that delays mean eventual repairs are more expensive. Furthermore, we’ve found too many residents living in damp, poorly heated homes. We need to see the council communicating better with residents about delays to their repairs, delivering cyclical maintenance on time, and finding a solution to condensation, black mould and damp homes.”

On tackling air pollution Green Party candidate for St George’s ward Natasha Cox said, “Our filthy air is making us unhealthy and making breathing problems worse. As a parent I’m acutely aware we need to act now to protect the health of our next generation. In too many instances Islington Council has ignored Councillor Caroline Russell’s calls for action and only more elected Greens can make a difference.”

“Children and older people should be able to make local journeys safely and conveniently on foot and by bike. We need proper investment in protected cycle lanes, low traffic liveable neighbourhoods and reductions in extortionate cycle parking costs. Making our borough safer for walking and cycling will clean up our air and make our borough healthier.”

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