Brompton by-election shakes Kensington and Chelsea Council apathy, as fed up Tories vote Labour.
A shock result in the Tory ward of Brompton, covering Knightsbridge and South Kensington, saw Conservatives lose 9.3% of their vote in one year, as some life-long Conservative supporters voted Labour for the first time. This signifies a 4.8% swing from Conservative to Labour in a single year, since the June 2011 by-election.
Labour candidate Mark Sautter met dozens of residents and business owners who are furious at the complacency of the Council and the inaction of their ward Councillors.
As Mark said: “It’s all about local issues. We heard again and again that the Council does not listen to residents’ concerns or take them seriously. The Council paved Exhibition Road with £20m of taxpayers’ money, yet they ignore local concerns. We were totally shocked at some of the stories we heard, where residents had been turned away, ignored, or even felt insulted by Councillors.”
Mark and the Labour Action Team quickly identified several issues that were not being addressed in Brompton. These include:
* Road safety at Exhibition Road and at Pelham Street, where a pizza delivery man died;
* The battle between café owners and casual seating areas near South Kensington station;
* Filthy streets and paving;
* Accessibility for those with mobility or visual problems;
* Anti-social behaviour from clubbers;
* Proposed overdevelopment of the station and its potential effect on Thurloe Square conservation area;
* Very high pollution plus road racing around Knightsbridge and South Kensington;
* Advice for older people in social housing, and for home owners struggling with bills.
Mark added: “We worked in Brompton as we work in any ward. We talk, we listen, we publicise concerns and we act. This is evidently not how Brompton Councillors are used to working. It is lazy to assume that because of the area it is full of very rich people with no problems; this is far from the case and Councillors must reach out to those who need them. Complacency must end here.”
Labour Deputy Leader Cllr Emma Dent Coad, who supported Mark, said: “I know the area well and was genuinely shocked at some of the stories we heard. Several life-long Conservatives told us it was refreshing to be able to air their views, and that they would vote for Mark as the ‘listening candidate’. Cllr Barkhordar has a lot of work to do if he wants to impress his new constituents.”Other news from Kensington and Chelsea Labour