First in is a statement from the Labour Party in response to my offer to local parties with candidates standing in the election to provide a statement. It’s gone over the word limit, but I don’t have time to edit – word limit is therefore extended for others to same as below:
Labour’s candidate team for Caledonian is Paul Convery and Rupert Perry (who have represented the ward since 2006) and community activist, Una O’Halloran.
Until Labour took control of Islington Council in May 2010 the Council pretty much ignored Kings Cross and its very challenging economic, environmental and social problems. So, in the past 4 years we have:
- Begun to change the face of the neighbourhood north of Kings Cross – championing the Cally Festival, steering the Cally Plan to revive the area and helping to boost local business. We even got the Cally bridge repainted and secured £1m for local road safety improvements.
- Successfully campaigned to make TfL begin removing the entire traffic gyratory system around King Cross. Previously this was dismissed by TfL as “impossible”. We have taken the first steps to return to 2 way traffic the section from Wharfdale Road to Caledonian Street (which is not a TfL road).
- Ensured the Kings Cross area is a “saturation zone” which means that new applications for alcohol licenses will normally be refused and we are strictly enforcing existing license conditions. Most bars, pubs and restaurants in our area are pleasant and well-run. But a small minority cause trouble including those selling contraband goods or alcohol to under 18s.
- Secured new affordable homes in the area despite the acute shortage of suitable sites and sky-high land values.
- Tackled the handful of rogue landlords in the area, bringing aggressive enforcement action against some of the more notorious. In one case, we secured the highly unusual outcome of complete demolition of an unauthorised development.
- Closed-down all the sex shops and vice venues in the area, especially those where exploitative prostitution happened.
Over the next 4 years, we will continue to be effective community leaders and champions to:
Cut crime, especially drug-dealing and anti-social behaviour, to make the Kings Cross area one of the safest places in London
- Cut the dangerously high levels of air pollution, particularly around Euston Road, York Way and Pentonville Road
- Build new (genuinely) affordable homes throughout the area, negotiating deals with commercial developers and finding suitable Council owned sites
- New cycle routes through the neighbourhood – bypassing the dangerous Kings Cross junction – along with safe routes to our local schools
- Work with Camden to ensure the new businesses and housing in the Argent Kings Cross development are better integrated with the existing commercial and residential community on the Islington side of York Way
- Reduce youth unemployment by guaranteeing all young people in our area a job, an apprenticeship or place at college. We will secure jobs and apprenticeships on the Kings Cross development site (in Camden) and with employers on the Islington side
- Reduce health inequalities across the neighbourhood: we want to reduce the extraordinary situation that a man living west of Caledonian Road has, on average, 10 years less life expectancy than a man living east of Caledonian Road.
- Raise aspirations and achievement in the area’s community schools, such as Winton and Copenhagen, so that our kids get the very best start in life