I brought Boris to Carshalton High Street a few days ago. We discussed the contrast between the village feel of Carshalton and the different types of problems that we face here compared to Zone One.
You may recall that local business owners and residents had complained about underage drinking and vandalism in and around the High Street and the two parks. Shopkeepers articulated their concerns whilst appreciating that not all young people hanging out around the canal were looking for, or causing trouble.
Victor Eve collared Boris to highlight the bleak future for patients of Malvern Ward in Sutton Hospital, a specialist Alzheimers unit which is earmarked for closure. The owner of Village Bathrooms bemoaned the fact that since TfL had taken control of the High Street as a red route, getting anything done was both time consuming and costly. Even seeking permission for decorations at Christmas was proving to be a headache.
Finally we rested the campaign-weary feet at Harry Brooks' coffee shop where Boris chatted with John Faulkner, Chairman of Woodstock Road Residents' Association and Steve Mendat, a local Neighbourhood Watch Street Co-ordinator and caretaker at All Saints School. He also had time to spend a few minutes giving an interview to Lisa Williams of the Sutton Guardian.
I was determined that Boris would not simply be surrounded by the party faithful, instead meeting "real" residents of the village such as John and Steve who could tackle Boris on issues that concerned their friends and neighbours rather than pushing an election message to them. We have a long way to go before the result of this election is known. However, if and when Boris enters City Hall as the new Mayor, I want him to know exactly where Carshalton is and what he can do for us. Time and time again since being selected as the Conservative candidate, Boris has given me confidence that he will not ride roughshod over areas such as ours, instead seeking guidance from those who know the area best including our hard-working London Assembly candidate, Steve O'Connell. I'm looking forward to the refreshing change.