Independent candidate Franca Oliffe wants to go “back to grassroots” and be an “advocate for residents” if she wins a seat on Barnet Council next week.

Standing in Hendon, a Conservative stronghold, Franca pledged to be a voice for residents whose concerns she feels are being overlooked.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Franca said the controversial Hendon Hub scheme – a council-led plan to build student flats and facilities for Middlesex University in The Burroughs – was one of the factors that prompted her to run for election on 5th May.

Claiming the council had not listened to residents’ views on the development, she said local people might have backed a scheme that did not “overdevelop” Hendon and would enhance the area.

“My job as an independent is to challenge decisions and make sure we are making good decisions for Barnet and the Hendon ward,” Franca explained. “I want to make a noise and shake things up, and ask ‘why are we doing that?’

“I think that is really important.”

Part of her job would involve holding the council to account on its spending plans to ensure residents are getting value for money, she said.

Franca believes councils sometimes get “carried away” focusing on the “massive picture” and overlook day-to-day concerns that affect residents. She explained: “One person says, ‘I just want some more bags to help me’ because they do voluntary work on litter collections. For them, that would be a massive difference.”

Now retired, Franca previously worked as an assistant director in the Metropolitan Police’s legal department. Having worked for the Met, she says she understands the importance of diversity and the way different communities work.

“I am a one-man band,” Franca said. “But I really do want to make a noise and work for the community.”