Holborn and St Pancras: Tory candidate warns of ‘stinking wealth rubbing up against deprivation’
PUBLISHED: 16:24 26 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:51 26 May 2017
A man who started his first business at the age of 14 and who has dedicated his life to entrepreneurialism is hoping to turn Holborn and St Pancras blue.
Cambridgeshire-born Tory Tim Barnes, 42, has lived in Bloomsbury since studying at UCL 24 years ago and has run his own businesses as well as advising local and national government about start-ups.
His primary concern is to battle rising inequality in a constituency containing “some of the richest and some of the poorest areas in the country”.
He said: “How do we create opportunities in work and in housing in an area where such relatively stinking wealth and huge deprivation are rubbing up against each other?
“You see it, for example, in air quality – with some of the worst air in Europe further south and then up near the hills and space of Hampstead it’s a bit better.”
He said he would like to see “meaningful solutions” to such problems, including changes to vehicles if necessary.
On housing, he said there is “lots of room” in Holborn and St Pancras to build – but the question of the corresponding infrastructure is more difficult.
“I’m not convinced we should be sacrificing the Green Belt to expand London outwards or sacrificing the green space in Camden for housing,” he said.
He said using firms like Urban Intelligence, which looks at unused land potentially available for development, could help the area “find out what the capacity is”.
Mr Barnes, who helped set up pro-Remain group Conservatives In, said it was “clear” the UK voted to leave the EU and that the country should focus on opportunities rather than dwelling on referendum.
He said: “Rightly or wrongly, a significant part of the country thinks too many people have come in, that anyone can come in and that there are too many scroungers,” adding: “But I don’t think that.”
Mr Barnes also said he would like to inject aspiration into young people by employing programmes like Citrus Saturday, which gives students a chance to make their own lemonade and sell it at a stand. He also praised the Camden Highline project.
He added: “They get to be proactive, to earn some money and buy a bike, get up and do something about their lives – it changes aspirations.”
On terrorism, Mr Barnes said it was a “particular problem” for places like Camden because it has “critical infrastructure, cultural institutions and religious communities” that could be targets.
He added: “It’s a shocking thing to see soldiers outside a building you walk past every day, but you’d have to be very naive to think that things are going to go back to how they were before [the Manchester attack].
“It’s not something I like, but it is at least temporary.”