Local residents in Plumstead are putting up an independent candidate in a Greenwich Council by-election to show their anger over what they say is the borough’s neglect of the area.
Ebru Ogun is running in the Glyndon ward by-election on 5 May – the same day as the London mayoral and assembly poll – against candidates from the five major parties.
The poll has been called following the resignation of low-profile Labour councillor Radha Rabadia. No reason was given for the resignation of Rabadia, known for her loyalty to the council leadership.
A public notice of the poll was only published in this week’s edition of council weekly Greenwich Time – despite the fact that many residents did not receive the paper until Thursday, the same day nominations closed.
Glyndon ward stretches from Plumstead Common down to Thamesmead’s Broadwaters estate. It’s a rock-solid safe Labour seat – the Greens came a very distant second in 2014, getting a quarter of the Labour vote.
But Ogun is the frontwoman for a number of Plumstead residents who feel their area is neglected by the council. Issues such as the state of Plumstead High Street, arson attacks on Plumstead Common, cuts in funds to the Plumstead Make Merry festival, the ruling Labour group’s support for the Gallions Reach river crossing and plans to demolish the interior of Plumstead Library as part of a revamp of the facility have raised the ire of local people in recent years.
While the council has responded with a scheme to rebuild the library as a “district centre”, many locals still feel patronised and ignored by the council leadership – a feeling many outside the main centres of Greenwich, Woolwich and Eltham will share. In Plumstead, the feeling is exacerbated by the area not having a single MP – the wider district is split between the Greenwich & Woolwich, Eltham and Erith & Thamesmead constituencies.
Ogun says: “Having lived in Glyndon for over ten years I am passionate about our area and the well being of its residents.
“If, like me, you care about Plumstead and want your voice heard please vote for me. I will do my best to raise your issues, represent all individuals and make Glyndon and Plumstead a happier place to live and work in.'”
Ogun and her fellow residents will face the might of the local Labour machine as it fights to win the London mayoralty for Sadiq Khan, with the party likely to concentrate its resources there to get the core vote out in a City Hall poll where every vote counts. But they are hoping for a strong vote to tell the council to up its game in the area.
Anyone who wants to help with the campaign – whether they live in the ward or not – can email ebru4glyndon[at]gmail.com to offer their services.
Labour is putting forward “mumtrepreneur” Tonia Ashikodi – also known as Tonia Tiel-Ash – as its candidate.
The Greens, Tories, Ukip and Lib Dems are also putting forward candidates along with the All People’s Party, a group set up in 2014 by disgruntled Labour members in Southwark, which is making its debut in Greenwich politics. The party, which is also fighting for London Assembly seats, is fielding Plumstead-based youth leader Abiola Olaore.
GLYNDON WARD BY-ELECTION CANDIDATES – 5 MAY
Tonia Ashikodi, Labour Party
Matt Browne, Conservative Party
Stewart Christie, Liberal Democrats
Dan Garrun, Green Party
Rita Hamilton, Ukip
Ebru Ogun, Independent
Abiola Olaore, All People’s Party