Following the sad death of Councillor Clarence Barrett I’m honoured to be standing for the Green Party in the Cranham by-election on 9th May. Here’s a copy of a letter to local residents:

Dear Cranham Resident

I would like to introduce myself as your Green Party candidate for the Cranham by-election.

I’ve lived in Cranham for 55 years, attended The Bell & Coopers Coborn schools, work part time in my small business based in Purfleet and am an author of local walking and travel books. As member of Upminster Methodist Church I’ve run or helped with youth clubs for more than 30 years.

As I’ve talked to Cranham residents several issues have been repeatedly raised and I’d like to take this opportunity to set out how I would deal with these.

Green Spaces – We value our green spaces and the countryside that adjoins Cranham but time and time again see these under threat. Until recently it seemed that we were able to stop the most harmful developments but now the Council have taken part of Upminster Park and want to build on the miniature golf course. I spent many hours on the pitch & putt as a child, took my children there and one day hope to take grandchildren. The facility is financially viable but has been deliberately run down by the Council. I submitted my personal objection to its sale and another on behalf of the local Green Party, and would fight to save this and all our valued green spaces.

Climate Change & The Environment – It has been heartening to talk to so many people who care about what is happening to our planet. Many watched David Attenborough’s recent programme and fear for the world’s future. We simply have to act. Individuals, companies, local authorities and governments can all make a difference and we must all do so. If elected I would aim to have a Climate Emergency declared in Havering with appropriate action taken to reduce our impact on climate change.

Crime & Policing – There is understandably much concern at the spate of street attacks, often on children. Action must be taken but the government’s huge cuts in police numbers are having a real impact. Whilst Havering Council have limited say in policing, Green Party policy is for greater community involvement with our police service. Too many officers are being diverted to major events in London. We must also look at the causes of crime and be proactive in working to provide role models, youth facilities and to divert those who may be led into offending. 

Parking – Whilst the Green Party seeks to encourage use of public transport, cycling and walking, we appreciate that there is a need for some people to be able to drive to our town centres and that increased car parking charges will have a negative impact on our high street traders. High parking charges will result in more people driving longer distance to out of town centres, with a greater environmental impact. I would therefore fight to reverse the parking charge increases and ensure that there are reasonable initial free periods

Save Our Trees – It seems that long established trees are being treated with reckless indifference. Where simply trimming or removing a branch would suffice, whole trees are being cut down by the Council’s contractors, often with no consultation with local residents. Our trees are vital in helping to limit climate change and a crucial part of the beauty and character of our towns. We should be planting more trees and unless there is very good reason, keeping all of our beautiful mature trees.

Consultation & The Council – Many people have expressed dissatisfaction or even anger that we have a Conservative led council as a result of ‘independent’ councillors either switching to, or supporting the Tories. I can assure everyone that I would put the interests of Cranham first and that if you elected me as a Green Party councillor you would get a Green Party councillor. Living in the ward and active in the community, including on social media, I would be accessible to all residents and would seek the views of the people of Cranham before voting on matters affecting our town.

The Green Party – Whilst the environment is at the forefront, The Green Party has a broad spectrum of policies, promoting social justice, equality, grassroots democracy and a fairer society. Green councillors across the country have been successful in working closely with local residents and holding councils to account. The Green Party has stood at every Cranham Ward election since 2002 and I have been the candidate for the last three elections. Often behind the scenes, we have been actively campaigning on local issues such as air quality, the Lower Thames Crossing and the pitch & putt.

Time for a Change – Talking to residents, many agree that it is time for a change and that we should elect a councillor who lives in the ward and fully engages with the people of Cranham. I would be honoured to represent you and to put the people of Cranham and our environment first.

Yours sincerely

Peter Caton