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Election 2018: Green hopefuls eye Dalston for party’s first ever seats in the ward

PUBLISHED: 12:02 19 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:02 05 April 2018

Green Party candidates for Dalston ward, Alex Armitage and Dan Thompson at the launch of their campaign in Ridley Road

Green Party candidates for Dalston ward, Alex Armitage and Dan Thompson at the launch of their campaign in Ridley Road

Green party

The Green Party has launched its campaign to win a seat at the May elections in Dalston, where members feel they have a “real chance” of getting their first councillor in the ward.

Green Party candidates for Dalston ward, Alex Armitage and Dan Thompson at the launch of their campaign in Ridley Road Green Party candidates for Dalston ward, Alex Armitage and Dan Thompson at the launch of their campaign in Ridley Road

In most ballots, Green Party candidates are considered “outsiders” – but the party is encouraged by results in the 2015 elections in Hackney, where it was the second most popular party after Labour.

Despite not having mounted any sort of campaign in Dalston, Dominic Court was just 403 votes behind Peter Snell, who racked up 1,063 votes.

“You’d think that with a sustained period of campaigning and getting our message out and telling people it’s not a wasted vote, there would be a big chance of winning,” candidate Alex Armitage told the Gazette.

He and Dan Thompson, the other Green hopeful for Dalston, have now erected a large sign next to the TFC supermarket on the corner of Ridley Road and St Mark’s Rise to promote their manifesto.

Green Party candidates for Dalston ward, Alex Armitage and Dan Thompson at the launch of their campaign in Ridley Road Green Party candidates for Dalston ward, Alex Armitage and Dan Thompson at the launch of their campaign in Ridley Road

One of their big campaigns in the ward will be to protect the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden.

Alex, an A&E paediatrician, said: “Our manifesto is about thinking about the environment in its broadest sense. Not just the natural environment, but the built environment and our social and cultural environments.

“We feel that’s under threat from developers at the moment. Historic buildings are being torn down to make way for flats, and there’s a lot of gentrification going on which we don’t think is necessarily a bad thing. But the dark underside is social cleansing, so people on lower incomes who have lived here for a long time are being priced out.”

The pair would hope to gain seats on the planning committee and have an “influential voice” if they win in the elections on May 3.

Green Party candidates for Dalston ward, Alex Armitage and Dan Thompson at the launch of their campaign in Ridley Road Green Party candidates for Dalston ward, Alex Armitage and Dan Thompson at the launch of their campaign in Ridley Road

Air pollution is another hot topic.

Alex said: “As a doctor, part of the reason I want to be a councillor is because I’m passionate about public health. The rates of childhood obesity are huge, and the air quality is poor which is linked to poor health. There’s a lot more the council can do.

“One of the biggest threats to health is people having access to private cars, and one of the things I’d want to do is to take measures to influence walking and cycling, and reduce car ownership.”

Dalston’s current Labour councillors are speaker of Hackney Cllr Soraya Adejare and Cllr Peter Snell.

It is thought the Greens have had three councillors in Hackney in the past - Chit Chong, Mischa Borris and Paul Thomas.

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