East Walworth by-election - the result

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Congratulations to the successful labour party candidate and new East Walworth ward councillor Rebecca Lury. Commiserations to Ben Johnson (Lib Dem) and Stuart Millson (Conservative).

On a cold night last Tuesday around 40 people attended an election hustings two days before polling day. The meeting was organised by Elephant Amenity Network and chaired by Dave Walker, of the Southwark Mediation Centre. It was held at Crossway Church by kind permission of Rev Peter Stevenson.

The three youthful candidates – Stuart Millson (Conservative), Rebecca Lury (Labour), Ben Johnson (Lib Dem) – presented themselves and their arguments well. Transport, road safety, shops, open space, home care provision were all discussed, but the Elephant regeneration, Heygate redevelopment and affordable housing provision were the main topics of debate.

Unsurprisingly, candidates stood by their party positions on these issues – Ben Johnson supported the demand for 35% affordable housing in all East Walworth developments; Rebecca Lury thought 25% was the best to be got on the Heygate for the moment, but hoped it could be improved over time; Stuart Millson, made the case for cheaper free market rented accommodation.

Questions from the floor were informed and to the point. All three candidates gave their support to a proposed neighbourhood plan for East Walworth and to making the notorious ‘finanancial viability assessments’ more transparent; these secretive reports determine how much affordable housing can be built in a development.

The clip below gives a flavour of debate at the meeting. Ben Johnson speaks first followed by Stuart Millson and then Rebecca Lury. The question they are answering is "will they support the financial viability assessments for the Heygate redevelopment being made public?" Apologies for the poor sound quality.