Doors open at 6.30pm at the Pennefather Hall, Christ Church, St Albans Road, for what the Society promises will be an exciting evening – and hopefully a chance to hear some forthright answers on topical issues of local interest.
With elections to Barnet Council only a few months away – to be held on Thursday 3 May – there could hardly be a more opportune moment to get up to speed before votes are cast in the key political battleground of the Greater London borough elections.
Barnet Council’s ruling Conservative group is pitching to be re-elected for a fifth term, but they hold office by a majority of only one, and among the 32 London boroughs, Barnet – along with Wandsworth – are the two top targets for a Labour Party take-over.
Councillor David Longstaff, a former Mayor of Barnet. and one of the Conservatives’ three candidates in High Barnet ward, will be among those defending the Conservatives’ record in office.
Amy Trevethan, who is standing for Labour in High Barnet, and who previously served as a councillor in Underhill, will be joined by other Labour Party candidates in making Labour’s case.
Robin Bishop, chair of the Barnet Society, has set out the agenda for an event that he hopes will appeal to residents in the High Barnet, Oakleigh and Underhill wards. He says major changes in the area need to be addressed:
- Declining shops and lost businesses in Chipping Barnet and New Barnet
- Big housing developments at Brook Valley Gardens, Elmbank and off the High Street
- More proposed for Whalebones, Marie Foster Home, Oakleigh and New Barnet
- In the Green Belt, a new academy and increasing pressure to build homes.
What Do Local Politicians Have to Say About These Developments?
Barnet Council is reviewing our Local Plan, and the Mayor of London is consulting on a new London Plan. There are Council elections in May, and the race is close. All these will affect our town and landscape – but we can still influence the results.
This Forum is a timely opportunity for you to meet Councillors and invited representatives of the parties standing for the local elections next May, and to voice your hopes and concerns.
We will focus on three urgent themes:
- Homes – Is the balance between market, affordable and social housing right?
- Transport – How can we travel more easily and sustainably around our borough?
- The town centre – What can be done to revive its economy and conviviality?
Join us for what promises to be an exciting evening!
Car parking and refreshments available.
The full line up so far of candidates taking part in the Open Forum is:
Conservative Party: Councillor David Longstaff, Julian Teare, Lara Akindiji
Labour Party: Ange Balendra, Paul Lemon, Amy Trevethan
Liberal Democrats: Duncan Macdonald
Green Party: Charles Wicksteed, Obi-Raymundo Obedencio
Ms Trevethan stood for Labour against Chipping Barnet MP, Theresa Villiers, in the 2015 general election, gaining over 18,000 votes.
In the 2017 general election, when Emma Whysall stood for Labour, Ms Villiers’ majority was cut to 353 – and Chipping Barnet is now regarded as one of the most marginal constituencies in London.