Conservatives, Labour and Residents Associations battled out their political differences at the hustings Tuesday. Held at local Southfield Park Primary School. Candidates for the new ward of Horton each presented themselves for 3 minutes and then opened to questions. The audience may or may not have contained any genuine floating voters. It was difficult to tell.
Mark Todd and Ros Gordon opened proceedings for Labour, followed by Henal Ladwa and Eber Kington for the Residents’ Associations. Kieran Persand and Bernie Muir rounded off for the Conservatives.
The Liberal Democrat candidates did not attend.
The candidates were united in their opposition to the development of Green Belt in Epsom and Ewell, especially on Horton Farm. However, there were differences as to who should get credit for initiating the pause to the progress of the draft Local Plan. Bernie Muir (Conservative) claimed to have written to every other Councillor advising a pause was necessary. Eber Kington (RA) disclosed that he had been pressing for this earlier in emails to fellow RA Councillors and Council officers. It was Cllr Kington who tabled an emergency motion to pause the Local Plan.
A member of the audience highlighted the recent announcement of Sir Keir Starmer Leader of the Labour Party that Labour would reinstate targets and fight nimbyism. Albeit, giving the housing targets to local government to determine.
Mr Kington attacked Labour’s expansion of the ULEZ zone to the London borders of Epsom and Ewell but Mark Todd made no apology for this and maintained it was necessary to protect the health of children.
There were some moments of tension and friction but all the candidates were warmly applauded for the courage of their standing for election and for allowing the public an opportunity to scrutinise them.
The hustings was organised by Epsom and Ewell Times and we thank all the candidates for participating.
Photo credit: Steven McCormick Photography
Left to right: Ros Gordon, Mark Todd, Bernie Muir, Kieran Persand, (Lionel Blackman – Chair), Henal Ladwa and Eber Kington.