Cllr Susan Hall is the Leader of the Conservative Group on Harrow Council.
If you can forgive being reminded of the old Ferrero Rocher adverts, I think it’s fair to say that Zac really has been spoiling us in Harrow. This week he will make his fourth visit to the borough since the start of the campaign. He also launched the first of his successful ‘Town Hall’ events in Stanmore – taking questions directly from interested voters. He has been warmly received on the doorstep and particularly by local businesses – indeed, we were fortunate enough to introduce Zac to people working in my own ward of Hatch End. He has also seen for himself the damage being caused by the local council’s Labour administration, and has supported our campaign against their introduction of an unfair £75 garden tax on waste collections.
Harrow is, in some respects, a perfect snapshot of London. It’s prosperous, diverse and growing in size, but this brings various challenges: the demand for more housing, better transport and the need to remain a safe place in which people choose to live and work. Harrow needs more housing. However, with dozens of parks and open spaces – not to mention working farms and valued rural areas – it needs this housing in the right places, which is why Zac’s plan to protect the green belt with his Green Space Guarantee is so important.
Tens of thousands of Harrow residents commute every day into central London, and thousands more who use our extensive bus network. What they don’t need is Sadiq Khan slashing nearly £2 billion out of the transport budget.
While Harrow is a low-crime borough, the fear of crime remains high – so Zac’s enthusiastic support for neighbourhood policing will be crucial in this respect. Harrow residents want a Mayor who is thinking about what London needs now, as well as what it needs 10, 20, 30 years down the line – so they know their children and grandchildren will have a future here, and can continue to live in the borough they call home.
Electorally, Harrow should be a good borough for Zac. Boris won Harrow twice, two of our three MPs (Bob Blackman and Nick Hurd) are Conservative, and at the Council level we’ve actually won more votes than Labour at every election since 2002, with the ward boundaries unfortunately working in Labour’s favour. However, turnout is going to be crucial, both in Harrow and across the rest of London, which is why so many of us are out drumming up support for Zac and our GLA candidate Joel Davidson – who faces a tough battle against the ineffective Labour incumbent, Navin Shah.
The London ‘doughnut’ is thought to be crucial to the outcome of this election, so if Zac wins Harrow he will have taken a very significant bite out of it in his quest for City Hall.