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Election Hustings for Southall

Tue 06 Jun 2017
The Southall Faiths Forum in conjunction with Featherstone High School hosted the Election Hustings for Southall.

The meeting was hosted and well managed by Revd Mark Poulson, the Convenor of Southall Faiths Forum and the associate vicar of St John’s Church, Southall.

It was held on Monday 5th June at 6pm at Featherstone High School and all six candidates were present. They candidates are Virendra Sharma (Labour), Fabio Conti (Conservative), Nigel Bakhai (Liberal Democrat), John Poynton (UKIP), Peter Ward (Green Party) and Arjinder Thiara (Workers Revolutionary Party).

Each candidate made a short speech explaining why residents should support them. This was followed by questions to all candidates from the audience. Finally each candidate was given a minute to summarise his pitch.

There was a one silence at the start of the proceedings in remembrance of the victims of the latest terrorist attacks.

This was meant to be a debate about the national elections but the questions were mainly about local issues. The subjects raised were:

  • Why are the streets STILL littered with rubbish
  • Why is there is a lack of public toilets (especially for visitors)
  • Why are council officers not responding to residents letters/concern
  • Who is going to fight the closures at Ealing Southall
  • Who is going to stand up to the disposal of Southall Town Hall
  • Who is going to tackle the anti-social behaviour around Southall Broadway, especially against women at night time
  • What about people in need of affordable housing

Fabio Conti pointed out that Ealing Hospital is NOT going to close and that services provided to residents would improve . Others whose children were born at Ealing Hospital or who were grateful for treatment received at the hospital pointed out that Ealing Hospital will no longer be an acute major hospital with the removal of so many services.

The maternity unit was closed in July 2015. It catered for 3,000 births each year. How will travelling further away provide better services? The space has been rented out to a film company.

The inpatient children's ward, the Charlie Chaplin ward, closed in June 2016. The children's specialist Accident & Emergency care was stopped in July 2016. How will that help local people?

The other unmentioned fears were:

  • Won’t children be put at risk by delays by going to other hospitals?
  • Won't parents of patients have to travel further?
  • Will there be room at the other hospitals and will they be able to cope?
  • 500 to 600 hospital beds will be lost due to the closure of Charing Cross and Ealing as a major acute hospital. How will that improve services?
  • There will be thousands of job losses. How will that improve services?

Janpal Basran of the Southall Community Alliance asked if the candidates were aware that Southall Town Hall may be sold off and would they fight to keep it open?

If you missed the debate, you can watch it here.

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