Redbridge election candidates quizzed at Barkingside 21 hustings

More than 100 people were at the local election hustings hosted by Barkingside 21.

More than 100 people were at the local election hustings hosted by Barkingside 21. - Credit: Archant

Local election candidates from across Redbridge answered questions on the future of Oakfields, their plans for potholes, and how they are going to tackle crime in the borough at the Barkingside 21 hustings last night.

More than 100 people were at the local election hustings hosted by Barkingside 21.

More than 100 people were at the local election hustings hosted by Barkingside 21. - Credit: Archant

The public submitted their questions before taking a seat and listening to the heated debate in the Fulwell Cross Library.

Candidates from the Green Party, Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats were all given the chance to put across their views before the upcoming local elections on Thursday, May 3.

The candidates were Councillor Gwyneth Deakins, leader of the Liberal Democrat Group in Redbridge, Anita Boateng - who is standing in Bridge for the Conservatives, David Reynolds, of the Green Party - who was their candidate for Ilford North in the 2015 general election - and Councillor Farah Hussain, from Labour who is the current representative for Valentines ward and is cabinet member for housing.

The first question from the floor was “How do you ensure young people have opportunities to take part in sport in a local level?”

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Cllr Gwyneth Deakins said that she wants to see more support for the local teams in the borough, and wants to make sure sport in local schools is a priority.

Conservative, Anita Boateng said that a new art complex to replace the Kenneth More theatre in Oakfield Road is top of her list of ways to encourage sport in young people.

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“Giving young people things to do - places to go - whether it is sport or any other activity” was the view of Green candidate David Reynolds.

While Cllr Farah Hussain emphasised that she was particulary proud of the outdoor gyms in the borough, and said that she oftens sees groups of women exercising on them in her ward.

Another hot topic in Redbridge has been an increase in crime, and candidates gave their views on how they are hoping to lower crime in the borough.

Anita Boateng said that “dramatic” action will be taken and added: “this is not a game, we’re going to save money and prioritise bringing back the community policing team”

Cllr Farah Hussain said: “We’re plugging the gaps of a Torie austerity Britain” and said that the Labour party were committed to investing £1.5m in CCTV and automatic recognition cameras.

David Reynolds said that he doesn’t believe CCTV is the way forward, and said that it doesn’t prevent crime.

He was an advocate of more officers on the stret and said: “You need somebody to turn up to stay with you and give you the confidence once they’ve gone”

While Cllr Gwyneth Deakin said she wanted to boost and support the local neighbourhood watch.

Next up were questions about potholes, car parking charges and how could candidates ensure the safety of pedestrian on cycle paths.

Lib Dem leader, Cllr Deakin said that the borough needs more cycle paths - and that Redbridge needs to be more clever about applying for funding and grants for these.

“The best way to stop people cycling on pavements is making sure they feel safe cycling elsewhere” was the view of David Reynolds.

Anita Boateng said that her party will make a £10m pothole budget, before she was heckled from the crowd asking what cuts she will have to make to make to make this happen.

In response to the question Cllr Hussain directed her response to the Anita Boateng and said: “They want to work with the people they are deriding in this room and have no respect for the staff that run the council”

“This is austerity Britain under a Tory government”

Each candidate was then given the chance to give a closing statement giving the reasons why they think that people should vote for them in the May election.

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