I have just returned from a press photoshoot in Rotherfield Road with the Rotherfield Road Action Group (RAG). Since the third application for sheltered flats in the road has been rejected, the focus of the Post has turned to the wider issue of development in the village, something that I concentrated on in my election campaign.

In May, I drew together residents in pockets of the ward and brought their attention to each development. It is vital to see the wider picture, that it is not just the odd application taken in isolation, but a systematic change that will alter the character of Carshalton and indeed the Borough forever.

There are two things that we can do. Locally we need the very strongest protection. We have an opportunity to acheive this in a document called the Local Development Framework which is being compiled now. This replaces the UDP and will dictate planning policy in the Borough for the next three years. It is important that Rotherfield Road is brought into the conservation area and that places like the Poets’ Estate are given special status.

Secondly we can rip up central government’s housing targets for the South-East. It is madness to increase London to the size of Mexico City whilst housing is being torn down in Manchester and Liverpool. We do not have the infrastructure to cope.

I’ll leave you with one fact to consider. The South-East of England has less rainfall per head of population than the Sudan. Go figure.