Friday, 26 June 2009

Boris Backs Braun for By-Election

In a meeting in the Mayor’s Office at City Hall, your Nonsuch by-election candidate Georg Braun discussed local issues with Mayor Boris Johnson.

Local man Georg looked at problems in the Nonsuch Ward with the Mayor, including the traffic lights in Central Road, Worcester Park. They also examined the parking issues on London Road that have seen many residents getting caught out with penalty tickets due to misleading signage.

The Mayor has thrown his weight behind Georg saying that he understands the issues facing the area, and that he is determined to take positive action because he lives there.

Polling day is on Thursday 2nd July.

The Mayor has gone one step further and has written directly to residents in the Nonsuch Ward explaining his enthusiastic backing for Georg’s campaign to make a positive difference to the area. Boris has welcomed Georg’s campaign for more police powers to tackle antisocial behaviour in areas like Fairlands Park; his calls for long-term solutions to the traffic problems in Central Road; concerns over the need for more school places and better healthcare provision, and his backing for the local ‘Freeze The Tax’ campaign (

Boris Johnson backed Georg for Nonsuch by saying: “Georg knows that more needs to be done to tackle antisocial behaviour in Fairlands Park, traffic problems in Central Road and the lack of school places and healthcare provision across the area. Why? Because Georg Braun lives there too."

Boris says: “I'm pleased that Georg Braun is running in the election to become your Nonsuch ward councillor.”

Councillor Paul Scully, Leader of the Opposition Conservatives on Sutton Council, commented: “Nonsuch residents have been telling Georg that as a local man, his priorities are their priorities. Boris has recognised Georg’s commitment to the area and his written directly to local people explaining why he backs Braun for Nonsuch.

“Residents can have their say on Polling Day, on Thursday 2nd July.”

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Our Area Needs Effective Youth Policies, Not Expensive Ones

Nonsuch by-election candidate Georg Braun has been speaking to local Conservative parliamentary candidate, Philippa Stroud, about effective ways of providing youth provision in our local area.

Philippa runs the influential ‘Centre for Social Justice’ think-tank which aims to provide effective solutions to the social problems affecting Britain today. Philippa’s work has helped to shape dozens of David Cameron’s policies to fix Britain’s ‘broken society’.

Georg and Philippa are concerned that Lib Dem-run Sutton Council is spending £8.5million of taxpayers’ money on a nearby controversial project called ‘The Sutton Life Centre’.
Georg supports Philippa’s work in getting national voluntary sector charities to establish real and effective youth work in the Borough. They both believe that the Sutton Life Centre will not provide the effective youth work local young people need.

Georg wants to use Philippa’s expertise nationally to address issues in the North Cheam and Worcester Park areas locally.

As a small businessman, Georg knows that the most expensive solutions are not always the best ones. Georg says: “Like Philippa, I think it’s not right that two youth centres and a number of voluntary sector youth groups have been axed to pay for the controversial Sutton Life Centre.

“I’ll be working with Philippa to find better youth provision solutions for our area. Residents can have their say on the expensive Life Centre and youth issues on polling day, which is on thursday 2nd July."

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Georg Braun: Real Help Needed From Sutton Council As Jobseekers Double In Sutton During Recession

The number of Sutton residents claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance has virtually doubled during the last calendar year according to figures obtained by Nonsuch by-election candidate, Georg Braun, and the local Conservative team. Out of all of the 33 London Boroughs, Sutton has seen the 5th highest increase with the amount of claimants doubling at 111%.

Georg has joined Conservatives on Sutton Council by saying that these figures are a partial reflection of how badly the recession has hit the area. This is because the figures do not show the amount of self-employed residents who may have fallen on harsh economic times since March 2008.

The London Boroughs with higher increases in jobseeker applicants include Havering, Kingston upon Thames, Bexley and Richmond upon Thames – which are notably all Outer London Boroughs.

Local man Georg Braun who runs his own small business in Surrey sends out the following message: -

"The sharp rise in unemployment shows our community to be highly vulnerable to the recession. It may be a global recession, but there are practical actions we can take here and now to support affected households and local businesses:

"1. Freeze the Council Tax, following our campaign at

"2. Look for practical measures to support local businesses and maintain employment.

"3. Review the effectiveness of planned expenditure now (such as the controversial £8.5million Sutton Life Centre) to ensure that the Borough has the fire power to do what is right for its community."

Do you agree with Georg Braun when he says Lib Dem-run Council should take more positive action, like freezing the council tax, to help local people cope with the recession?

If you do, have your say on Polling Day on Thursday 2nd July.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Dangerous Pothole In Church Hill Road Sorted But More Action Needed From Sutton Council

A dangerous large pothole has been repaired in Church Hill Road. Georg Braun, your Nonsuch by-election candidate, is pleased that the Council has taken action to rectify this dangerous nuisance.

Georg is now backing Conservative efforts to get Lib Dem-run Sutton Council to sort out the remaining potholes on the borough's roads, following damage caused in the heavy ice and snowfall in February this year.

Throughout the campaign for the by-election (polling day is one Thursday 2nd July) Georg has been calling in blocked drains and potholes for attention by the Council.

He's hit the ground running, tackling positive action.

Earlier this year, after pressure from Conservative opposition councillors, the Council's administration coughed up £250,000 for a pothole repair fund, but only after the Council's Lib Dem highways chief was found red-faced after backing cuts of thousands and thousands of pounds to highways repair budgets. This embarassing move came days after the worse snowfall in decades.

A few months on itt seems the money has been run out and that many potholes remain unfilled and hazardous to motorists and cyclists.

For the amount of council tax we pay (which is at an all time high, see:, Georg and the team do not think it too much to ask for potholes and other dangerous nuisances on our roads and highways to be given proper attention by the Council.

Unlike the Lib Dem candidate, who did not attend a single meeting of a committee set up to tackle local issues when he was a councillor, Georg will fight for safe well-kept roads if elected to Sutton Council.

Good weather or bad, our highways need to be safe for motorists and cyclists.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Saving Cheam Baths – We’re Nearly There!

Today’s Sutton Guardian reports that your Nonsuch by-election candidate, Georg Braun, is pushing for that final guarantee from Lib Dem-run Sutton Council that our local leisure facilities will be safe on the Malden Road site in North Cheam. For the story, follow:

As a local campaigner Georg knows that the facilities need to be updated but he also knows how local schools rely on swimming services on that sight for lessons.

Like many other residents Georg enjoys the Baths with his family and just like his neighbours he is fed up that our local area is always at the back of the queue for help from Sutton Council, making the North Cheam and Worcester Park areas the forgotten part of Sutton Borough.

On Tuesday 8th June the Council’s Lib Dem leisure boss confirmed that he plans to shut down Cheam Leisure Centre in the not too distant future.

Although he has finally agreed with our campaign for fair leisure access in the west of the borough, he won’t give the much-needed promise that the site will not be handed over to developers.

Georg and your local Conservative team want to see the Malden Road site guaranteed for local leisure provision. This forms a central part of Georg’s campaign for the by-election (polling day is on Thursday 2nd July) and he will continue to fight for our local area to put back on the Council’s agenda.

Together, we’re fighting to protect our area’s valued local services.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Answering Your Questions - Part 3

What are you going to do to redevelop the eye sore that the run-down North Cheam crossroads has now become?

Chris Dunlop, the Councillor for our area to date, had worked for many years to encourage the owner of Victoria House to develop the site. Planning permission was given in October 2006 but is due to lapse shortly. Originally there was a problem with ownership of part of the site. As part of their manifesto development, the Conservative party is seeking professional advice from a leading real estate advisor on landmark buildings such as Victoria House. This is the first thing that visitors to Sutton see when they come along London Road and it needs immediate action. However, it is privately owned. This means that we need to work with the site’s owner to piece together a solution that is acceptable to all.

What are you going to do to stop big corporate organisations such as Sainsburys, MacDonalds and Tesco taking over our local high streets?

My first real encounter with the Council was when I led a group of residents in objecting to Sainsburys locating in Central Road. I addressed the planning committee, predicting the effects of increased traffic and local traders. Although the store is convenient, many of these predicted knock-on effects have come to fruition. These conglomerates come into areas such as North Cheam when there is lack of an alternative vision. If no-one asks residents what kind of area they want to live in, shopping areas build up piecemeal rather than as part of a wider strategy. That strategy needs to be backed up by robust policies that can be relied on when the Council defends Worcester Park against inappropriate planning applications. We need a strong lead on this and that lead comes from the representatives you elect.

What are you going to do to improve facilities for teenagers so they have something to do in the evenings rather than just being noisy, which never really does anyone any harm. Moving the children's swing park and updating it is superb, but does it give teenagers anything to do - No. What about a skate/bike/board park in Fairlands Park?

You are right that the teenagers need something to do. Two of my 4 children are in that age bracket. In the last couple of years we have seen the closure of Club 21, Club Constellation and a number of voluntary sector youth groups. The very expensive Sutton Life Centre is not, in its current format, going to provide the ongoing youth work that our young people need either. Engaging with teenagers as they grow up is not so much about places but a long term commitment to dialogue and activities they enjoy and provided by people they can relate to. As a result, I support our Parliamentary Candidate, Philippa Stroud, as she works with national voluntary sector youth charities to see them establish really effective youth work in the Borough and to ensure that the vision of the Sutton Life Centre is expanded from just a one off experience to being a credible venue where community groups can provide great ongoing weekly activities for our young people.

What are you going to do about the racist element that has crept back into our local community and are now running functions in our local bars under the banner of supporting our troops or celebrating St Georges day? Trust me I'm a staunch supporter of both but I don't have to shave my head and stand with lookalike people to show it.
Sutton’s demographics are very different from some of its neighbours. Sutton is a Borough of contradications. The biggest issue in this policy area is disillusionment of white working-class males. There are increasing numbers of households where there is no-one at work and a worrying number where more than one generation has never worked. The economic climate that we find ourselves in provides fertile ground for racism and extremism. There will be a BNP candidate in this forthcoming election. It is important to get across the message that they are not a normal mainstream party but stand for some sinister values and policies. It is not enough to say “I am not racist but…” The BNP will be defeated on this occasion through their opportunism and lack of substantive local policies but we should be concerned.

So in a nutshell - Why should I change the habit of a life time and vote for a Conservative, why should I vote for you, what difference will it make?

I ask you to vote for me on this occasion because I am a local man, with a passion to improve our area together. I have a track record of action in this regard as a resident. This vote will not change which party controls the Council; This election is about purely our area and which single representative replaces the Conservative councillor Chris Dunlop.

I am aware of the issues that our community faces. I live on a rat-run where people avoid Central Road. I know that recycling and waste collection can be improved further. I do not have all of the answers, but I will champion the area and seek practical, cost-effective solutions.

In all of this, we need to appreciate the values that this community wishes to live by. The hopes we have for people growing up in our area: their education, their rights, their boredom & how that mix expresses itself in “anti-social” behaviour or, alternatively, in opportunities the community could provide.

We need to assess and agree on what we value in our environment in the widest sense & how we seek to influence this, from national chain shops, via run down high streets, to redeveloping Victoria House and retaining leisure facilities in the area. Although I have my views on these as a local resident, it is not for me to dictate to those whom I seek to represent. Communication is vital in working together to achieve change. As well as the normal channels of communication, I have set up a blog at to open up a conversation with residents and to chart my progress over the coming weeks.

Please do let me know if there is anything else that I can help clarify. You will see plenty more of my thoughts as I am sure that you will from the other candidates. I hope that you will be able to put past loyalties aside on this occasion to help achieve more for the area.

Answering Your Questions - Part 2

Why have you pinned your colours to the Conservative party?

I am a local resident who happens to believe that the Conservative party is the closest to my personal values. As a member of your and my community I am keen to be involved with a party that brings new ideas and ambitions to the borough’s outer lying areas such as North Cheam and Worcester Park. And lastly but importantly, when we as residents opposed the planning permission for the Sainsbury Local development in Central Road, I interacted with all our local Councillors and experienced first hand the Conservative Councillors real commitment to the residents they represent.What are you going to do to make a difference?

What are you going to do to make a difference?

I am not a stock politician. I am a Hampton Road resident, I run a local business and have children in several local schools. I share many of your concerns. I believe that a local ward councillor should be a champion for our area in Sutton’s Civic Offices. Too often, politicians become mouthpieces for the Council when speaking to residents rather than the other way around. Taking the correct approach can highlight the real problems in the area and attract attention and remedial action. As part of a resurgent Conservative Council group, I will be able to champion action for our area in their manifesto for the 2010 local council elections.

What are you going to do to enable my wife to drive her small Mini on the streets now that the current council have installed even more speed bumps making it almost impossible for her to go down a street without scraping the bottom of her car?

Speed bumps have long been the default option in the Council’s attempt to slow traffic. The new ramps in Church Hill Road have already been marked where cars have bashed the surface as they pass over. Firstly we need to look at other measures to bring traffic to a sensible speed. We can start removing speed bumps as we resurface roads, if a majority of residents wish us to do so.

What are you going to do to improve recycling collection so it happens more than once every other week?

Recycling is a complicated topic, largely dictated by European and national legislation. Changes were made to our waste collection system last year to try to reduce the amount going to landfill. This is because the council has stringent targets set by Europe and will be massively fined if it exceeds them. Of course, these will be passed on to the council taxpayers. Collecting food waste separately for composting, as is being trialled in parts of the borough, removes this from the brown bins, so reducing smells etc. However, it will be difficult and expensive to increase the frequency of collecting recyclables. One thing that may improve the situation is to introduce more small recycling centres, places that people can walk to and drop off small amounts of recycling. As well as the main centres like the ones at Sainsburys and Staines Avenue, the Council could encourage new developments to include shared facilities. Last year’s u-turn on the £35 per bag green garden waste charge suggested that the council had lost sight of what services residents wanted.

Answering Your Questions - Part 1

As a result of the survey that many residents will have seen, I've had an email from a resident in Marlow Drive asking some interesting questions of me as he decides how to vote in the by-election on 2nd July. I thought that highlights of the exchange
may help:

Should police have powers to move on groups of youths in our parks?
Resident: No - police already have the power to stop unruly behaviour but moving on groups just because they are full of youths is wrong. The park is for everyone.

Georg: You are right that the parks are for everyone. Young people should be able to enjoy our parks as well; most do. However the police need more powers to address antisocial behaviour when it occurs, especially from gangs that come into the area. Dispersal orders in these instances are effective in neighbouring boroughs. Many trouble makers in these places that aren’t simply there to enjoy the facilities, are coming in from outside Sutton.

Do the council pay enough attention to North Cheam and Worcester Park?
Resident: Hard to say - I have had cause to complain on a few recent occasions and the local Lib Dem councillor has always responded quickly. I could comment that the development of shopping areas in North Cheam and Worcester Park doesn't look great, but Sutton town centre is hardly something to write home about.
Georg: Sutton town centre is having £3million spent on it at the moment. You are right that it is hardly something to write home about. However, the state of the roads in Worcester Park are amongst the worst in the Borough, scant attention has been given to the effect that the state of Victoria House has on the wider area and the west of the Borough is under most pressure for school places and health facilities.

Do I get value for money from the Council Tax I pay?
Resident: It's always a lot of money but for the services that it has to provide, it's never enough. I honestly cannot see how a different party leading the council could spend the money any better. It would spend it differently no doubt, but better - who knows.
Georg: One simple example is the controversial £8 million Sutton Life Centre. It will contain a library, but a larger one nearby is being closed to help pay for the project. It will contain youth facilities but a youth club was flattened to make way for the new building. It will teach children citizenship but at three times the cost to parents as the existing citizenship course held at Sutton Junior Tennis Centre. Meanwhile, money has come from council reserves and the schools’ repair budget to fund a scheme at a time of economic crisis. You can see more about this at

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Share Your Concerns With Georg

It is all too common for politicians to lose track about why they sought election in the first place. Your priorities will be my priorities, should I get elected. Please let me know what you think by clicking here to take a survey. There is plenty of work to be done in the ward so let's change Nonsuch and the Borough of Sutton for the better, together.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Georg Backs Local Freeze The Tax Campaign:

Your Nonsuch candidate, Georg Braun, has backed our local campaign to freeze your Council Tax. This is because we believe that Sutton Council should be doing everything is can to ease the burden on residents during the recession.

Georg has given his support to the campaign for a 0% increase in Sutton's Council tax in a meeting with the Opposition Leader on Sutton Council, Councillor Paul Scully (pictured with Georg).

Currently you pay on average more the residents from other Boroughs. Conservative-run Councils have some of the lowest Council Tax in London and the country.

Georg says: "We pay too much Council Tax as it is. I'm proud to sign up to this positive campaign to make life easier for local people during a recession."

Monday, 1 June 2009

Hitting the Ground Running: It's Not Just The Big Things...

Georg Braun, your local Nonsuch council candidate, has hit the ground running. After literally five minutes on the campaign trail Georg found three heavily blocked drains.

He has now called them in to the Council for urgent attention. The gullies had clearly been neglected by Sutton Council for quite some time because they absolutely full of plant growth and soil.

This is not the first time that the Lib Dem-run Council has found itself in hot water over blocked drains. The Council only employs one 'gully-sucker' truck to for the maintenance of over 23,000 drains in the London Borough of Sutton. This means that the sole gully-sucker will have to clean 63.01 drains per day, which is 1 drain every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week just to keep drains and gullies fit for purpose.

Georg has seen firsthand that in heavy rainfall blocked gullies can cause serious damage to businesses and resident property. This happened in July 2007 when hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage to residential and business property was incurred during flash floods worsened by blocked drains.
Georg is campaigning for positive action to be taken so that this fundamental basic council service meets the standards which residents expect and deserve. It's not just the big things that matter in local politics, it's the small things too. After all, this is what we pay our council tax for.