Charlie Zahra – Labour candidate for White Oak District & Town Council

I wish to stand as your Labour councillor to help give a voice to those marginalised in our community. To understand and help those whose voices are silenced in the pursuit of profit.

This can only be achieved through Labour councillors in Swanley, standing up for those whose voices are not always heard and encouraging younger people, the next generation, to participate in politics for the many, not the few.

I’ve been living in Swanley for close to 25 years now and been a Labour member for the past 4 years. At 28 years of age I feel I am ready to become active in my local community and bring added energy to a debate that seems to be lacking in young voices. Particularly when we consider the average age of councillors in Swanley at present. It is clear that we need a younger representation of people within our community on the council.

I staunchly oppose ALL austerity measures laid down as a political choice from this disaster of a Tory government that has seen a rise in relative poverty across the UK since 2010. This can be rectified by learning from examples set down by the Preston Model whereby encouraging public sector buyers to offer contracts to local businesses. This can drive new jobs for local residents and help put money straight back into the local economy. With connections I have made with people from the Preston area, I feel I can learn directly from their experience and hope to implement those learnings in Swanley and Sevenoaks.

This shambles of a Tory government have presided over the lowest level of housebuilding since the 1920s and the lowest level of social house building for two decades. We now live in a society where millions of people like myself, simply cannot afford a home, where others own multiple homes generally dormant, while some are forced to live on the streets. This is an area I believe we can encourage younger people like myself to become interested in politics, as so many my age are still stuck living at home whilst our parents’ generation had mortgages long before.

Housebuilding and redevelopment is a concern facing Swanley in the near future as plans have been approved for landowners U & I to build a new multi storey complex of 303 homes. I will fight tirelessly to support Swanley Labour’s policy of promoting Eco Housing and Refurbishment to help ensure that any new homes built in Swanley are built standards set out in our policy. This would include the latest innovations in solar panels, wind turbines, insulations, and water drainage. Most importantly ensuring that all housing is affordable for local people on an average household income. This will be an important challenge as private investors look to eek out as much profit as possible from projects like these at the expense of local residents.

Healthy communities are happy communities. I plan to try and implement a solution to loneliness and a lack of community based activities for our elder community and those suffering with mental health issues. Fighting for affordable spaces where we can host regular community activities and ensuring there is a voice to speak out against creeping Tory privatisation of our NHS.

Finally, plans are in place for a new White Oak Leisure centre. Unfortunately, the centre will not be like for like, whilst the plans may be larger in size there will not be enough space to house all current facilities and clubs that use the space which according to reports could see some clubs go out of business. Also the plans include no flumes, no dive pool and the pool will see a near 30% decrease in overall size. I will be further investigating these proposals when they become available to the public and will champion the best and biggest eco facilities for the new build and the local area.

By Charlie Zahra
Labour Party candidate for White Oak, District and Town council

“Promoted by Ian Rashbrook, on behalf of Charlie Zahra, all at Corner House, London Road, Swanley BR8 7QD. Hosted by David Carr, https://swanleydistrictlabourparty.org/ and contact@swanleydistrictlabourparty.org

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