Lib Dems hoping to stop Labour dominance in Merton’s Cannon Hill by-election

The Liberal Democrats are hoping to secure victory at a hotly contested Labour-run Merton Council by-election this week following the resignation of Labour councillor Mark Kenny last month.

Former Labour member turned Liberal Democrat candidate Jenifer Gould, 54, of Mossville Gardens believes she can win the third Cannon Hill council seat on Thursday.

A Cannon Hill resident for eight years, Mrs Gould and her husband Mike, 43, have four children aged between eight and twenty-five.

She claims some of the most pressing concerns in the area are crime and school road safety.

“There’s been a lot of burglaries in this area recently. I’m quite surprised about the number of people I know and have spoken to who know someone who was burgled,” said Mrs Gould.

“They break in through the patio doors and one of my neighbour’s dog was drugged. It’s obviously an organised group doing this.

“I’m confident we can win. It’s time for change and a fresh start with the Liberal Democrats.”

Mrs Gould, pictured above wearing white dress, said fortnightly waste collection and privatisation of previously free leisure amenities by management services company Idverde, who also serve the borough of Sutton, are additional concerns.

With 71 recorded incidents, Metropolitan Police figures show burglaries were the second highest type of crime in Cannon Hill after violent and sexual offences, between May 2018 and April 2019.

A Hillcross Avenue resident in her 40s who wants to remain anonymous, was burgled last April while away on a family trip in Norfolk.

Alerted by neighbours who were also burgled on the same day, she returned immediately to find her home ransacked.

She said: “I look at people very suspiciously now. I’m still very worried and there was no follow up by the police because they felt we had insurance and could just claim everything back.

“The burglars took my son’s Xbox, laptops, jewellery, money and my husband’s work iPad.”

After living in the area for ten years with two primary school-aged children, she now has security cameras inside and outside her house.

“There was a lot of damage because they thought there was more jewellery and this burglary happened in broad daylight,” she added.

“We need more police patrolling, especially during school holiday times.”

Merton Liberal Democrats are publicly petitioning and proposed having two police constables in Merton for an additional three years, during a council budget meeting on March 6.

Other candidates eyeing victory in the by-election include Ryan Barnett (Labour), Andrew Mills (UKIP), Susie O’Connor (Green Party) and Michael Paterson (Conservatives).

Former councillor Mark Kenny announced his resignation in a statement through the Wimbledon Labour Party on May 15 after just over a year in the job.

He said: “Being a councillor involves long hours and hard work, often unseen, and the job has taken its toll on my health.

“It is not a decision I have taken lightly or without a great deal of discussion with my family.”

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