Camden and Primrose Hill election candidates vie for residents’ votes
Crime, HS2 and fireworks are the big topics shaping the by-election
All four candidates standing in the by-election, due to be held on May 3, have raised serious concerns over the rail line, which under current plans will run underneath Primrose Hill and terminate in Euston.
They claim the number of homes that will need to be demolished to make way for the line is too high a toll to pay for faster rail journeys.
The by-election was triggered by the resignation of Labour Cllr Tom Neumark, who announced in February he was standing down to spend more time with his wife in the United States.
Other key issues raised by the four candidates hoping to replace him include fears about pubs and clubs flouting licensing rules and persistent anti-social behaviour in Camden Town.
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And in a pledge that will prove popular with long-standing residents who mourned the decision to scrap Primrose Hill fireworks display, Green Party candidate Peter Lyons promised to fight to revive the popular November 5 display.
“People loved the fireworks, but they were abolished on health and safety grounds,” he said.
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“Residents would love to see them revived.”
As Camden braces itself for a month of political canvassing, Ham&High reporter Kate Ferguson asked the all-male shortlist how they would improve the ward if elected. The Green Party
Peter Lyons, 68, is a father-of-two who has lived in Primrose Hill for nearly 40 years. He used to work in education, advising schools on how to use new media to enhance their teaching.
He was involved in setting up the Castlehaven Community Association and is a member of Camden Keep Our NHS Public.
* Opposes High Speed 2 (HS2) rail link, which the government wants to run underneath parts of Primrose Hill.
* Has pledged to fight for more financial support and training for volunteers taking over Chalk Farm Library in Primrose Hill.
* Wants to revive the Primrose Hill fireworks display, which he says is a great way of uniting the community.
He said: “Primrose Hill and Camden Town is a very mixed ward, but there are several issues which residents feel strongly about. I will campaign strongly on the HS2 route. The destruction of homes is awful, and we have no idea where all these people are going to live.”
The Conservative Party
Nigel Rumble, 55, is a management consultant and father-of-one who has lived in Camden since he was a child.
A former Liberal Democrat activist, he left to join the Conservatives in 2009 and lives with his six-year-old daughter in Primrose Hill.
* Wants greater and more transparent consultation on the HS2 rail link.
* He was spurred to campaign for extra school places in Camden after his own daughter struggled to get a place at a primary school.
* Has pledged to campaign against council funding cuts, arguing that instead greater efficiency savings can be found.
He said: “I’ve lived in Primrose Hill for 40 years and it is a very important area to me and my family. I have been a vocal campaigner in the area for years and will continue working for residents whether I am elected or not.”
Chris Richards, 25, lives in Camden Town and works in policy at the Institution of Engineering and Technology.
He stood for the same ward in the 2010 elections and is a governor at Hawley Infants School.
* Wants the HS2 rail link to be re-routed so trains run underneath existing rail lines and not underneath Gloucester Avenue.
* He has pledged to continue to campaign for changes to developers plans to overhaul Hawley Wharf.
* He has said he will harness powers under the new Localism Bill to create community plans to protect independent high streets and community assets.
He said: “I have stood for election before, know the area very well and have been campaigning on these issues for many years. I have the knowledge and expertise to tackle them.”
Lazzaro Pietragnoli, 42, is a journalist who lives with his wife and son in Primrose Hill.
He has been active in the Primrose Hill Community Association.
* Is campaigning against HS2, which he says places national economic questions ahead of the needs of Camden residents.
* Instead of terminating at Euston, Mr Pietragnoli wants it terminate on the outskirts of London.
* He wants to improve security, and tackle anti-social behaviour in Camden Town.
He said: “I’m not a professional politician, I’ve never run for the council before and I think I will be an honest voice for the local people.”