With upcoming Kingston Council borough elections set to take place in May 2022 Kingston residents said they are likely vote for the Liberal Democrats again but that they want to see a change within the local community.
Kingston and Surbiton’s constituency has a large Liberal Democrat majority, however, some Kingston residents don’t seem all that happy with the Liberal Democrats council.
In the last local election, 2018, the Liberal Democrats took the lead with a 21 per cent difference between Lib Dems and the Conservatives and a 40 per cent difference between Lib Dems and Labour. The Liberal Democrats won 39 seats in comparison to the Conservatives’ nine seats and zero for Labour.
Local Resident Richard Atkinson said he would vote for the Liberal Democrats again. He said even though they made a mess of the Kingfisher project and brought traffic to a standstill with a vanity of cycle lane projects he is still reasonably happy with the council.
Atkinson did, however, have ideas of ways that the council could improve, saying it should focus on the housing crisis: “Rather than building for students [they should] sort out those in temporary accommodation,” he said.
Some residents said they were dissatisfied with the way the council is run. Susan McDonnell said: “I voted Lib Dem last time and I am extremely disappointed with the shambles going on at the council under their direction.
“[They] have issues surrounding honesty, I wouldn’t trust them as far as I can throw them.”
A few residents said they believed that the Liberal Democrats council was not doing a good enough job for its residents. McDonnell said she was disappointed with their “nanny state approach”, as to how the council is being run and that a lot of people would not vote for them in the next election.
Councillor Jon Tolley quit the Kingston Liberal Democrats in September 2021 after saying that he had serious policy concerns and differences in opinions with the party’s leadership. Tolley took to Twitter saying: “I think the Transformation Kingston plans – specifically on the Kingfisher – are not the right decisions, not deliverable and dishonest.”
Some residents are disappointed with the way that the council is handling issues such as cycle lanes, the selling of Guildhall, and the housing crisis/appalling conditions that some residents are living in.
“I’m going to vote another party… never have before… But a plague on both their houses, Lib Dems and Conservatives,” said Sharon Zeqiri.
Zeqiri said she was not happy with the council. She said that their actions on the environment were coming from the people who were “awful” in the last administration.
On the other hand, other locals said they supported the council. Resident Sebastian Monblat said he was happy with the current council and that he would vote for them again, however, one thing they could improve on is countering unjustified political attacks more effectively.
Kingston council recently welcomed Andreas Kirsch as leader of Kingston Council following the resignation of Caroline Kerr.
Cllr Kirsch said he was honoured and humbled to be the new leader of the Kingston Council and he is very proud to have been selected “to lead our council on the next step of its journey.”
He said: “I am particularly excited to take on this role as I am passionate about doing all we can to create a more inclusive borough, and ensure we continue delivering for all residents.”