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Islington Tribune - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 12 June 2009

CLLR Terry Stacy
We will lead the borough out of this time of economic crisis

Residents and businesses will face unprecedented challenges in the months ahead, but the council is committed to tackling them head on, writes its new leader Terry Stacy

I LOVE Islington. I love the people and the places and the feeling you get when you come to the borough after being away. It’s my home, and has been for over a decade now.
It’s also without doubt a better place than it used to be. Gone are the days when we were in the headlines for all the wrong reasons – streets awash with rubbish, housing services some of the worst in London, if not the country, and the borough being a byword for incompetence and mismanagement.
Instead, this year the council got the highest possible rating for our services from the independent Audit Commission. But there’s still more to do to make us excellent in the eyes of our residents.
Despite the national media’s portrayal of Islington as full of “cappuccino-slurping yummy mummies in 4x4s”, the reality is that we’ve got some of the worst economic and social conditions of any inner city borough – now made even worse by the current recession.
Residents and businesses want to see us as a council providing even more value for money than usual while taking real action to help people find jobs, stay in their homes, and get the advice and support they need. That’s my challenge for the year ahead.
I’ve always been in public service of one kind or another since my early days as a councillor in east London – where I grew up – when my day job was working in housing here in north London.
I’m still a tenant and have been nearly all my life.
I appreciate the role good quality housing has to play in giving people a better start in life. So in the year ahead, working with housing partners, we will be starting to build more council homes to help those families living in overcrowded conditions.
Residents tell us that their number one concern is crime and anti-social behaviour. Being a magistrate I see how this affects communities, especially the victims.
Tackling knife crime is high on my agenda, and I’ll continue to fight for more police on our streets.
Residents also tell us that they want cleaner streets, and we’re currently testing a new machine that will help us do this even more effectively. We’re continuing to make recycling easier, so we can further reduce reliance on expensive and limited landfill – making Islington greener and cleaner as well as reducing waste.
As a tiny, densely populated borough we have some of the least open space of anywhere in the capital.
But this doesn’t mean that we can’t “green the grey” with floral displays on our streets – as well as encourage residents to do their bit.
Our parks are already benefiting from some of the biggest investment in decades, and iconic buildings like the art deco Town Hall Assembly Room and Britain’s oldest Turkish baths at Ironmonger Row are getting some long overdue TLC.
The country is experiencing the biggest economic downturn since the last world war. Thousands of residents are already feeling the pinch so we are redoubling our efforts to provide practical help to those already in debt, advice to stop people falling into financial trouble in the first place, and support to get our local businesses and high streets through these difficult times.
We’re also making sure we put the council’s assets to best use – selling redundant properties to invest in frontline services like housing, schools and leisure.
I believe that this council is up to the challenges we face over the coming months, and I look forward to being judged at next May’s elections on our record of action.

• Terry Stacy is the new leader of Islington Council

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Islington Tribune, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to Deadline for letters is midday Wednesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld . Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.

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