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Liberal Democrat Party candidate Kuldev Sehra on why he wants to be Ealing and Hillingdon London Assembly Member

London gets to vote for the Mayor and London Assembly Members on the Greater London Authority on 2 May 2024. EALING.NEWS has asked all London Assembly Member candidates for Ealing and Hillingdon 7 questions about who they are, what they hope to deliver and why they want residents in Ealing to vote for them.

Kuldev Sehra standing for the Liberal Democrats answers the 7 questions:

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and why you want to be the next London Assembly member for Ealing and Hillingdon?
I’m currently a Councillor in Richmond and represent the Liberal Democrat party who have been the majority administration in the borough since 2018. I have a vast number of friends and relatives in Ealing and Hillingdon.

Very many of the people I know have told me that they are really concerned about the local issues that have been affecting them for many years. They feel neglected and let down by their local Councils. Residents despair that their votes are being taken for granted. The people of Ealing and Hillingdon want their Councils to listen to them and fix the issues that have made their lives a constant struggle for so many years.

They’ve turned to me because in a recent survey by Rightmove – published in the Independent in January this year – the London Borough of Richmond topped the survey as the “happiest place to live in Britain”. My friends know of my achievements and my work ethic as a local LibDem Councillor. That’s why they have encouraged me to stand in this election to represent them because Ealing and Hillingdon residents deserve so much more. I pledge to do all I can to make things better for those living in both these boroughs.

2. What is your own personal connection to either Ealing or Hillingdon or both?
I have strong family links and very many friends in Ealing and Hillingdon. I lived in Hayes for several years up until late 2021. I know Hayes and the surrounding areas very well. That’s why I am very fond of this part of West London and really care about it. Southall is famous for it’s community vibe and uniqueness. I frequently visit the local places of worship there and take part in their community events. I also support local charities in Southall and work closely with a number of local organisations.

Having worked as a financial adviser in West London for over 30 years, I have a vast number of clients across most of Ealing and Hillingdon who have also become close friends. I spend a significant part of my week in Ealing catching up with friends and associates.

In my view both boroughs are rich in their history, culture and diversity. The boroughs have an immense opportunity to fulfil their potential. I am a British Asian from a Sikh background. I was born in Mumbai, India and lived there for the first ten years of my life. I’m fluent in Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu. That’s why, I can relate to and understand the issues that are important to people from different races and religions.

Overall, I would like to do my best to help this part of London become one of the most sought after places to live and work.

3. What do you consider to be your three top political achievements and what impact have they had?
I have had several successes as a Councillor. Although one of them has had the most noticeable positive impact to improve the lives of a very substantial number of residents : A small part of Richmond used to blighted by crime and anti-social behaviour. I joined together the local police’s Safer Neighbourhood Team, the relevant housing association and the most influential residents of the local area. It took considerable planning, determination and vision to tackle the issues one at a time. I’m pleased to say that we now have a local community there that is happier, more engaged and empowered.

In another part of the borough, some residents had taken advantage of certain local alleyways that were out of sight and dimly lit. The area had become a hot-spot for littering and fly-tipping. So I started a programme of community engagement and followed this up with a range of initiatives to tackle this challenge. These included instructing council officials to patrol the area regularly as a deterrent, installing better lighting and CCTV cameras along with extra facilities for local residents to dispose of domestic waste legitimately.

One of the most recent successes that I’m most proud of relates to how I organised comprehensive improvements to a private road that that been in disrepair for over a decade. As it did not belong to Richmond Council, I negotiated an agreement between two organisations – Network Rail and the Rugby Football Union – to collaborate, finance and implement the entire project. These improvements have substantially improved the lives of local residents many of whom are frail and elderly.

4. What do you consider to be the top 5 challenges Ealing faces and how will you as the London Assembly member address them?
Cost of living and housing – Soaring energy bills, food prices and housing costs are overwhelming families and pensioners in Ealing and Hillingdon. I will stand up for the local people and businesses of these boroughs for more financial support.

Cuts to frontline local services provided by local Councils – The populations of Ealing and Hillingdon have been increasing over the years but local residents have seen a vast number of cut backs in services being provided to them. I will prioritise improving this situation by fighting for more funding.

Tackling crime an anti-social behaviour – There is a very noticeable lack of adequate policing in both boroughs. This has had a wide range of negative social, behavioural and financial impacts. I will be the strong voice in calling for better policing to reduce the crime and its causes.

Physical and mental health – The NHS has faced enormous funding cuts. Our hospitals are severely under-funded. Doctors, nurses and care workers have been working under very challenging conditions – especially since the pandemic. I will make the strongest case possible to address these.

Sense of community engagement – As a result of all the issues Ealing and Hillingdon have had to face the boroughs have lost the spirt of cohesion. I will introduce service models and for the young and old to share their time and skills so that we achieve better collaboration, consultation and communication.

5. What do you love about the borough of Ealing?
The fact I love most about Ealing is the people. It’s the local residents that make the place so special. Ealing is one of the most diverse parts of London. This makes its culture ethnically rich and full of potential to become a place where people from all over our city to want to come and live, work and shop here.

Ealing already has an impressive selection of local amenities and is well-connected to the rest of London. It is also close to the M4 and Heathrow making it a convenient location for travelling to other parts of the UK and the world !

Ealing has something for everyone : from libraries to parks and open spaces. It has local walking routes and historical walking guides. I enjoy exploring the local area on foot and often discover a different side to the borough. As a self-confessed foodie, I think Ealing has some of the best restaurants and places to eat compared to anywhere in London.

The borough is famous for its broad range of shopping choices made up of local independent,
national and international retailers. I know many people who visit Ealing from far and wide just for the shopping experience.

The Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery are well worth a visit where they showcase a range of historical and contemporary exhibitions. The Gunnersbury Park Museum brings to life the history of Ealing and Hounslow history with its grand Victorian manor house.

6. How accessible will you be to Ealing residents and how can they get in contact with you now and if elected how will you ensure you are accessible to them in the future?
Ever-since I became a Councillor, I made it a commitment to be as approachable as I could. That’s why I openly give out my personal mobile number so that residents can contact me if they have any issues. I also respond to emails as quickly as I can.

I hold regular monthly meetings – often called a ‘surgery’ – at a local library so that residents can discuss things that matter to them in person. Very often when the situation requires it I also meet up with local residents on-site to fully be able to appreciate the challenges they face.
It is my express intention to replicate all this for the residents of Ealing.

7. If elected, will this be your full time job or will you maintain any other paid for jobs or public offices?
Other than being a Councillor in Richmond, at present, I do not have any other paid job so I would envisage serving the residents of Ealing and Hillingdon as something of key importance.

I would strive to devote as much of my time and attention as I possibly can to the best in my role as the GLA Assembly Member (AM) and a Councillor. In fact, the roles have a considerable synergy and I know of other London AMs who perform both roles. There are often best practices in one borough that can be replicated in another. And as Ealing and Hillingdon are geographically quite close to Richmond, I can anticipate a promising and exciting future for both.

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