27 October 2016
For the past forty years politics in Greenwich has been done the same way. Labour controls the Council and focuses on maintaining its huge majority. A small group of Conservative councillors criticise every decision. This short-sighted, adversarial approach doesn’t serve our Borough well - residents feel far removed from bi-partisan decision making, which all too often harms our community.
The Green Party offers a real democratic alternative. We want local government to empower, rather than to depress. By working together we can ensure that resident’s voices are heard when decisions, large and small, are taken which effect Eltham. Together we can press for better rail services, secure cleaner air, green our streets and support our thriving local arts scene.
If elected in in the Eltham North by-election I will fight for this vision of what Greenwich Council can be – an enabling force for good that works with residents, unlocking the potential in our community to improve the lives of all.
My manifesto for Eltham North
Greater Democracy - A number of Councils, including Southwark Council, have in recent years created ‘community councils’, designed to take decision-making out of the town hall and put it back into the community. Each Community Council represents a different part of the Borough concerned, and meets five or so times a year to discuss local issues and allocate money for local projects and activities, allowing residents to have a direct say on how money is spent to help their neighbours and improve their area.
We are calling on Greenwich Council to establish Community Councils across the Borough, including a Community Council for Eltham, to give residents more control over the future of our area, and on how money is spent on it.
Better rail services – As adaily commuter into central London, I know the problems with the South Eastern franchise we currently all rely on. There are proposals to hand the franchise to Transport for London (TfL) in 2018, which could really improve services from Eltham Station. Within a year of TfL taking over former Greater Anglia Services in North London (2015) customer satisfaction increased and delayed journeys reduced. Talks over a TfL takeover of our Eltham line have stalled – if elected I will press heard for the takeover to be agreed, to benefit Eltham commuters.
Cleaner Air – Eltham has a large amount of road traffic going through it, and this can mean that there are days when the streets are heavily polluted, well above legal levels. This is not acceptable. I will fight to ensure that local air pollution is monitored and properly publicised, so that people can better protect their health, and well as supporting the efforts of the wider London Green Party to introduce a higher congestion charge for all but the cleanest vehicles in central London. This would create a Very Low Emission Zone, making the air cleaner for all of us.
Greener streets – Eltham is known as a lovely green suburb within Greenwich – we can make it even more so! If elected I will fight for increased tree planting on our streets, and for Eltham’s first ‘pocket parks’, landscaped green spaces for the use of the community on street corners and other patches of land. Eltham has a great micro-pub, why not also have a micro-park or two…The London Green Party is working to ensure that half of London is green space by 2025. Here in Eltham we can lead the way.
Support for the Eltham art scene – We are blessed with a range of creative societies in Eltham, from the artistic to the historical. If I elected I will work hard to support this thriving creative scene, and to help it grow. Securing low cost venues for societies to meet and exhibit, and discounted advertising for events, is really important, and I am keen to explore how Council properties and communications can help with this. We also need to press for more funds from new developments to be spent in Eltham, to provide support for local arts groups and projects.
I was born and brought up in South London, and have lived in Greenwich since 2013. I am passionate about community empowerment - for my day job I work for an engagement company that helps residents to work with councils and private companies to make new developments work for them.
I haven’t always been a Green (I worked in the House of Commons for a Conservative MP for four years) – but then I came across the Party and was struck by its focus on working with communities, to build the brighter, more sustainable future we need. I gave the Greens a chance and it was like a breath of fresh air. I hope you will too!
Follow me on twitter at @MattRCBrowne or email me at email@example.com
Please feel free to comment or suggest other ways in which you think we can make a difference in Eltham North together.