To give a sense of what the full manifesto will look like, below are just a few issues and ideas that have emerged so far – most of which I’m already working on. (Full manifesto due out in April – if you wish to input into it, please do! Click here for further info on that.)
And above all this, it’s not just what I’ll do, but how I’ll go about the work. So as your councillor, I will do the following… Make myself available to you, my fellow local residents. Listen to you. Be totally open with you about any decisions or votes I make. And work with you to make our communities and our city better. This kind of positive local politics is sadly lacking at the moment in this ward – but we urgently need change, and that’s why I’m standing in this election.
- Campaigning with local residents to have the trolleybus re-routed to avoid the Whitfield estate in Hunslet – and if possible review the whole (very costly and controversial) project. The current councillors are very much in favour of the trolleybus, including the plan to run it through the Whitfields. (Info here.)
- Demand more, better cyclepaths for south Leeds, and better walking routes into and out of the city centre (I’m leading on the Holbeck viaduct scheme, and I am talking with those behind the Hunslet Stray initiative).
EMPLOYMENT + ECONOMY:
- Developing a major new local employment scheme, possibly through the creation of a dedicated social enterprise, to train up and employ teams of south Leeds residents people to install water meters across the area.
- Setting up a commission on the future of town and city centres, against the very real backdrop of ever-falling figures for high street retail.
- Actively supporting independent retail and catering across the ward, including the Dewsbury Road shopping area (where I’m already working to support the Town Team of local businesses) and Kirkgate Market.
- Helping to develop a coalition of local residents, to enter into collective bargaining for cheaper gas and electric bills (as shown here.)
LEISURE, COMMUNITY + PUBLIC SPACES
- Working with residents to fight for a community green space to be included in the new housing development on the Garnets in Beeston Hill. The current councillors have publicly stated their resistance to the residents’ wishes. (Info here.)
- Upgrading and developing more playgrounds, and leisure and sport spaces, across the ward – including the city centre.
- Planting orchards and/or edible gardens within walking distance of every resident. I’m already on with this, in partnership with groups including Beeston in Bloom and Feed Leeds.
- Taking action on litter and dog fouling – including stronger enforcement, and helping to generate community-led conversations on the issue.
- Supporting the creation of street art in public spaces, especially across the city centre. The current councillors have previously demonstrated strong resistance to street art.
- Further developing the micro grants scheme (which I and council officers dreamt up and piloted last year), for local people to improve their neighbourhood environment.
- Looking to refurbish and restart the iconic St Mary’s clock tower in Hunslet.
- Resisting planning permission for any further HMOs (Houses of Multiple Occupancy, ie bedsits) in Beeston Hill, and fight to hold bad local landlords to account.
- Resisting any further demolition of old houses, especially the Victorian terraces, but instead working with local housing charities like Canopy and LATCH to develop locally-led green refurb schemes like the ones in east Leeds, to include skills and employment opportunities for residents here.
- Re-instate the annual Leeds Lord’s Mayor’s Parade, as a major event to bring the city’s communities together.
- Working with residents to host ‘Love Your Neighbourhood’ local clear-up days.
I could go on, but that’s quite enough for now! Full community-led manifesto due out in March…
(Top image courtesy of Jon Dorsett, from the Leeds Den Building Festival – a major city event which I led on organising in summer 2014. This was one of the winning dens, created by a Beeston Hill family.)