In our latest councillor’s column, Southgate ward member Stephanos Ioannou discusses the big issue on the minds of residents
When I was asked to write this column, my thoughts went straight back to the campaign pledges made back during my election campaign.
I thought about the 20mph speed limit for Walker Primary School, having Chase Side full of shops, fixing Southgate Underground Station, and getting our old library building back open. All these pledges have been fulfilled, but now we face an even more pressing and looming decision – on the future of Southgate Office Village.
Residents have poured in both their comments and emotions to fight this planning application, and I have been part of that journey. It seems a bit like David and Goliath with residents taking on the big developers. The mayor of London has his eyes on a 16-storey development in Southgate simply because it is located next to a transport hub. This is not logical, this is not fair, and this is not an ethical approach to reaching housing targets.
We are not and won’t ever be Elephant and Castle or Vauxhall, with 20-plus storey buildings – we are a London suburb. It is for that reason, and for the defence of Southgate’s character and charisma, that I have been against these proposals from the start.
On other issues, the main task for a Southgate councillor I believe is to make sure Enfield Council don’t forget about us (seriously!). It’s hard to grab attention when you’re so close to the Barnet borough border, and that’s why my daily drive through Southgate, picking up on the items that need to be fixed, helps make sure that the main centre remains clean, tidy, and that everything is generally maintained. I believe that residents simply care for the ‘bread and butter’ issues in Southgate, and basic tidiness is one of them.
My final objective is to see through the re-installation of hanging baskets for Southgate, something I have been campaigning tirelessly for. I am also exploring other avenues for giving more ‘green’ to our Southgate Circus area. I believe that a green and lush centre is the key to increasing footfall and raising the general profile of your area.
In the meantime, I’m continuing to deliver food parcels. Covid-19 has taken over most of the usual responsibilities of us councillors, but we can’t wait to get back to those normal day-to-day issues.
Conservative Stephanos Ioannou is one of three councillors serving Southgate ward, alongside Labour members Derek Levy and Charith Gunawardena.
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