Resident hopes to double the Greens' voice and champion traders' cause
PUBLISHED: 13:00 22 February 2013
The Green Party has pledged to provide greater scrutiny of Camden Council business if it wins the Gospel Oak by-election.
As it stands, there is just one Green councillor sitting on the council, but if Cllr Maya de Souza is joined by Constantine Buhayer at the town hall after the by-election, the party will be granted greater powers to challenge council decisions.
Mr Buhayer, of Rona Road, Gospel Oak, said: “If there are two of us we become a group and as a group we can make leader speeches, put in motions and be consulted on council business, which cannot be done as things stand.”
The 54-year-old, if elected, has pledged to fight for traders around Queen’s Crescent, securing fairer rates for businesses which rent from the council.
He said: “We have to stop selling commercial properties. We need shops with fair rent to allow local people to set up business, especially with changes in the proportion of homes in Gospel Oak which is going to increase incredibly.”
The former University of Westminster lecturer was born in Belsize Park and has lived almost his entire life in Gospel Oak.
Over the years he has noticed a rift open up between the “Chelsea party-goers” in the north and their poorer cousins in the south. One of his election promises is to heal that divide.
He said: “When I was in Gospel Oak when I was younger it was not what it is now. The community was far more united, so to speak.
“There was not this huge disparity.
“Gradually people moved to the area because of prestige reasons who might have a different sense of responsibility because they go on holiday in Tuscany and party in Chelsea.”
He is already working with Camden Town Hall officials to build a community space in Lismore Circus.
Mr Buhayer hopes a project to install an old steam train – without the boiler – and a wagon as a meeting point on the site will create opportunities for youngsters to learn about business.
He plans on opening up apprenticeships in marketing, fundraising, metalwork, woodwork and other skills to people in the area should the scheme get the green light.