'We don't have confidence': Camden hustings hears from residents

David Stansell, Cllr Georgia Gould, chair Amanda Bowman, Cllr Oliver Cooper and Cllr Tom Simon at the Camden hustings

David Stansell, Cllr Georgia Gould, chair Amanda Bowman, Cllr Oliver Cooper and Cllr Tom Simon at the Camden hustings - Credit: Nathalie Raffray

The 02 Centre and Murphy's Yard plans, cycle and school schemes, and "pointless consultations" were up for discussion at an electoral hustings.

Camden's four main parties went head to head on Tuesday evening at JW3, in Finchley Road, ahead of the local elections on May 5.

On the panel was Labour leader of Camden Council Cllr Georgia Gould; Conservative opposition leader, Cllr Oliver Cooper; Cllr Tom Simon for the Liberal Democrats; and David Stansell, Highgate candidate who replaced Green Party leader Sian Berry, who has tested positive for Covid.

They all agreed that changes have to be made to the 02 Centre redevelopment plans.

Camden Council leader Cllr Georgia Gould at the Camden Hustings at JW3

Camden Council leader Cllr Georgia Gould at the Camden Hustings at JW3 - Credit: Nathalie Raffray

Cllr Gould said the council would be "pushing the developer" as the current plans on affordable housing and green spaces were "not good enough". 

Cllr Cooper said he stepped down from the planning committee in order to oppose the applications.

Labour had "behind the scenes co-designed the 02 development with Landsec", he added.

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"To say labour is demanding better is not true," he said. "We do need to demand better. We need to stop high rises in low rise areas, full stop."

Cllr Simon that if the council cannot get improvements from the developer then the application "needs to be rejected".

Opposition councillor Oliver Cooper tells Camden hustings the local Conservatives are not the same as the national party

Opposition councillor Oliver Cooper tells Camden hustings the local Conservatives are not the same as the national party - Credit: Nathalie Raffray

The Labour leader was challenged on the 68% of opponents to the cycle lanes on Haverstock Hill, which she said was "a trial".

The issue led to a question about consultations. 

"We don't have confidence because we don't believe that you listen to what we say," a woman said.

Green candidate David Stansell said 'no-one tells us what to do' like the other parties do, at Camden Hustings 

Green candidate David Stansell said 'no-one tells us what to do' like the other parties do, at Camden Hustings - Credit: Nathalie Raffray

Mr Stansell said he was "dismayed about the ongoing centralisation of power, particularly the cabinet system".

"We're not a fan of that centralisation of power. We're a fan of bottom up governments driven by the community," he said.

Cllr Simon said: "If [consultations are] just being used to justify a predetermined action it's not good enough."

Cllr Cooper said they should be treated as "marching orders". 

He said: "They are not requests they are instructions because you are the bosses and we the representatives are your servants."

Cllr Gould said some schemes had been "transformed" because of the views of residents. 

"We need to find different ways of bringing people into decision making because we have so many voices that aren't part of that decision making." 

The hustings was held with the London Jewish Forum, Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council.