Local Election: an opportunity for CJAG?

Author: Cyril Richert

Photo of the Green Party leaflet endorsed by CJAG (or vice and versa)

The Clapham Junction Action Group (CJAG) has been helping the local community since 2008. We prevented a plan to erect two 42-storey skyscrapers on top of the station (see HERE).

We constantly campaign to support local residents on their planning issues, inform on the latest consultations and key social issues, participate in workshops and forums, work with other community groups… Just browse this website and you will find +700 articles!

With this background, being represented in the Council and standing as a Councillor is a natural extension of our dedication to improve the area where we live and help the community.

It is the possibility to bring our expertise to the Council, share ideas and experience to make impact and changes, listen and learn from other councillors with cooperation at the heart of our project. But this is also the opportunity to get better access to the Council resources, engage directly with officers and get more help and support for residents and local communities.

With the Local Election on 5 May 2022, there is an opportunity to raise attention to the local residents. At this occasion (and because CJAG is not a charity nor a registered organisation currently), we took the opportunity to run with the Green Party, which not only shares and support fully our campaigns, but can provide us with the necessary knowledge and help during the electoral process (as I said, it’s about cooperation!).

In the different leaflets that we have been distributing, we concentrate on 3 areas:

  1. Planning Reform: Giving a better voice to the local community
  2. Safer Streets and Environment: Promote Cycling and Pedestrianisation
  3. Better Services: Work with community groups and stakeholders to improve services.

Planning Reforms Proposals

Meaningful public consultations: No more tick-box consultations to be ignored. Many residents have lost faith in the fairness and impartiality of the planning procedures used by Wandsworth Council. The Council should have a duty to restore the confidence of communities in them stating how consultations will be considered. It will run ballots on regeneration schemes.

Planning Committee representation and transparency: Unlike in most other Councils, local residents, groups or societies are not allowed to make representations before the Council. We need public representation of organised community groups for large schemes/ level of responses.

Local plan properly non-ambiguous and enforced: The favourite catchphrase used by the Council to allow any big developments in breach of their own planning policies: “On balance, benefits outweigh harms”! Benefits for who? For the Council coffers in property tax? The Council should have non-ambiguous policies, enforce them through planning decisions and prevent breach of policy.

  • Back in 2018, the Clapham Junction Action Group published a list of aspirations for planning reforms to be discussed. In drafting those pledges/aspirations, we have consulted with resident associations, community groups and Societies in the borough. We listed 9 areas of improvement in 3 larger categories: Meaningful public consultations, Planning Application Committee (PAC) representation and transparency, Local plan properly non-ambiguous and enforced.
    Last December, Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council gave his view on planning reforms. He said (verbatim): “New approach to planning? My ass!”. You can watch the video HERE.

Safer Streets: Promoting cycling and walking

Consultation, collaboration and working together is always at the heart of our action. That is why we have worked with Wandsworth Living Streets for years and they helped in shaping our proposals (yes, cooperative work in practice!).

Protected Cycle Lanes: Push for proper provision for people cycling: Lavender Hill, which is a road managed by the Council, should have a better protected cycle lane, not just a bike painted on the side of the road. Paint does not protect people!

Improved Crossings: Recognising the importance of crossing facilities for people walking, and make it easier and clearer for residents to request new crossings at specific locations

Better Pavements & Better Streets: Promote an annual programme to upgrade poor quality pavements, with a separate budget and annual report on expenditure. Making it easy for residents to put forward suggested streets, including cycle parking and tree requests.

See some articles:

Better Services

Better Recycling: Promote free bulk item collections (especially now that the recycling centre is within the ULEZ area) to discourage fly-tipping, improve the appearance of our streets and encourage people to use the service and recycle. Encourage better management of rubbish collection and cleaning, especially when parks are used during warm weather to avoid over-spilling waste bins.

Improve children’s services working with schools, social workers and parent’s representatives. Increase engagement and consultation on social service delivery.

See some articles on schools:

Partnership with community: Forum on Health & Wellbeing services and continued commitment to public health programmes.


All materials for this election campaign have been promoted by Roy Vickery on behalf of Wandsworth Green Party, 9 Terrapin Court, Terrapin Road, London, SW17 8QW. 

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