The Stadium is a bit of a metaphor for my time as a councillor.
L&Q bought it in 2008. And just before it closed, I actually ran a fundraiser there for the London Election campaign, with Boris Johnson! But when I got elected as a Councillor in 2012 it was going to the Planning Committee for approval to demolish most of it and build 296 homes.
Consent was granted and I spent a good part of the next four years supporting residents with the inevitable consequences of a major construction project on their doorsteps. Little did I know what was to come!
Like many buildings of its age, some of the cladding was deemed to be unsafe after the Grenfell tragedy. To be fair to them, L&Q acted quickly to replace it.. However, the build quality is appalling and after many years of fighting them, together with my colleague, Cllr Catherine Saumarez, they have started a major re-fitting exercise at a cost of £16m.
Of course, I deal with all the enquiries that come from being a councillor. And my Council is developing a new Local Plan, which most of the residents of Chingford object to vehemently. Translating that anger into planning-specific arguments for a better outcome has been an interesting exercise!
I have no other ambition but to be a good councillor. I did my time on the Candidates’ List and stood for Parliament and the London Assembly. Now, I just want to help get more Conservative councillors elected!