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Mill Hill hustings - prospective councillors give their representations
Prospective councillors spelt out why they should be elected to represent Mill Hill residents at a hustings last night.
People flocked to St Paul’s School, in The Ridgeway, Mill Hill, for the event, organised by the Mill Hill Residents Association, which saw six candidates give representations on how they would improve the area.
Speaking at the hustings was incumbent Conservative councillor Sury Khatri, Liberal Democrat hopeful Alisdair Hill, Labour candidate Sian John and Andrew Newby, speaking on behalf of David Williams for the Green Party.
UKIP’s George Jones and independent Rolf Clayton also made speeches and answered questions from members of the public.
Cllr Khatri promised the Tories would impose a two year zero council tax increase, protect the green belt, build more affordable homes, improve schools and save the borough’s libraries.
He told the meeting the recycling system, which was brought in-house last year, had a "tremendous" impact on the amount of rubbish going to landfill.
Mr Hill, a secondary school teacher, promised to "put the community first" if elected by reversing cuts to give people a "greater say".
The party pledges to cancel the one per cent council tax cut, which saves residents 21p a week, and use it to refund some of the services that were cut – including introducing 30 minutes free parking.
Ms John said the Labour party is looking to build a "stronger Mill Hill" by protecting the green belt.
She said they will stamp out fly tipping by introducing free collections and introducing fines and help lines and to bring back cash meters in car parks.
If elected, Green member Mr Williams has promised to champion green spaces, enact a 20mph speed limit in Barnet and help upgrade the Mill Hill East tube service.
UKIP’s George Jones, who has lived in Mill Hill for 40 years, said the party would "put the great back in Britain".
He told the meeting he was in an army band that travelled all around the world, and said: "I am proud to be British. Governments have made pride a dirty word. We don’t want the present generation to forget the sacrifices of our fathers or grandfathers".
Mr Clayton, an independent candidate who has lived in Mill Hill for 40 years, praised Cllr Khatri for standing up against the Tories and the One Barnet scheme.
If elected, he admitted he cannot offer the same services as his rivals as he is not a politician and looks at "every policy on its own merits".
Questions from the public gallery included how the prospective councillors would manage in light of the failures exposed by the Audit Committee, which highlighted inadequate controls of the council’s IT systems under the One Barnet scheme.
The majority of candidates agreed One Barnet was a bad idea and that jobs should be kept locally, and Cllr Khatri promised to help scrutinise the work of Capita more effectively if the Tories are re-elected.
Candidates were also asked how they would best protect the green belt, with Ms John saying Labour would have an "intergrated planning approach".
Mr Hill criticised the multi-storey car park at St Joseph's College, in Beulah Hill, and Mr Jones expressed his anger at the loss of the Pavillion Way Sports Ground.
Other queries centred around the Brent Cross Regeneration Project and the Greens explained they opposed the plans – but given that they have now been passed would try and campaign for better rail connections that would be energy efficient.
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