The road beside a polling station in Streatham was heaving with traffic all morning on May 6 as locals voted in the London mayoral and assembly elections.  

Unsurprisingly, big issues for voters at the Spires Centre in Tooting Bec Gardens were transport, pollution, and reducing traffic.  

Wandsworth Times:

Throughout the day millions of voters across the capital have been and will be going to the polls to elect a new London Mayor and 25 London Assembly Members.  

The Spires Centre polling station is located in St Leonard’s Ward in Lambeth, which has three Green councillors. Close to many voters’ hearts was improving the environment and making London greener.  

Another key issue for people was reducing crime in the area, which residents felt has been left unchecked.

Wandsworth Times:

One elderly couple when asked what was important for them in the election simply said “crime, crime, and crime”.  

Daryl, who has lived in the area for 15 years, said the key issues for him were transport, crime, and the economy.  

“Transport is a disaster. London is a horrendously large city and sadly the incumbent Mayor does absolutely nothing about it. 

“On crime, the police station moved to the High Road, but then contrary to what all the politicians said – they said it would stay for seven years – the following summer it just vanished. Our nearest police station is Brixton and then it’s Croydon.  

“We had so much trouble as soon as the police station went. There are too many people candidly mucking around and some of it is actually fairly serious.  

“Under the current Mayor the attitude is turn a blind eye […] he doesn’t take responsibility for anything.  

“He won’t talk about anything that actually points the finger back at him.  

“I’m certain, because we’ve got so many candidates, that he will get back in. It’s sad to say but it’s a tribal vote.  

“Economically I don’t know what he can do - I don’t think he’s capable, I don’t think he’s intelligent enough. Having said that, if you look at the other contestants … golly gosh.” 

Wandsworth Times:

Some voters were more focused on parties than individuals.  

Mike Leedham said the Conservative Government is underfunding councils.

“This doesn’t affect me but one of the biggest issues is the level of deprivation within the community. You can see it everywhere.  

“I’ve been here six years and it hasn’t improved, the foodbanks … it’s outrageous.  

“My feeling is that many of these issues, that should be addressed by the Government via the council, are always hived off to charities and volunteers to make up the gap. 

“The Government underfunds the council and then Boris will go around saying ‘oh, if you vote Conservative your council tax won’t go up’... how does that work? 

“If you’ve got to make the choice between the funds that pay for social care or fixing the pavement, well the choice is obvious.  

“I’ve got this horrible feeling that a lot of people will decide who to vote for based on not getting their bins emptied twice a week. Seems to be a rather self-centred priority to have,” he said.  

One couple said their key issue was “defeating the Conservatives” after being life-long Conservative voters (until Boris Johnson was elected).  

One father said his priorities were the “same as always” - transport and housing.  

“You hear of a lot of people being against the LTNs. I think that they’re such a great idea that I really looked out for candidates that were pro-LTN,” he said.  

Local resident Sam said the environment was the main issue for him in this election.  

“And getting the economy going after coronavirus. [Addressing] climate change, particular in the city.  

“There’s been quite a good start on moving towards public transport, but the amount of traffic is still crazy, so continuing to pedestrianise more areas is important to me,” he said.  

One woman backed the current mayor on what he’s done so far for the environment.  

“For me it’s always the environment. Sadiq Khan has stepped up on things like congestion, pollution, transport, but achieving carbon neutral is the challenge for everybody at local, national, and international levels,” she said. 

As well as improving public transport, reducing its cost was raised by many voters. 

One woman, with her partner and teenager daughter, said: “The biggest issues for us are housing, transport, and health. I hope they keep transport cheap for young people because it’s too expensive. 

“I do think we have a good service in London though,” she said.  

The mum added that she “really hates the LTNs”.

A host of low traffic neighbourhoods,  funded by the Government’s emergency active travel fund in a response to the pandemic, have been implemented in the last year.

The schemes, which have been very divisive, work by closing off certain roads to through-traffic.

She said: “It’s an absolute disaster.  

“You can’t stop people driving because people need to make local trips.  

“If you’ve got little kids and you’ve got someone going to school, someone going to ballet - I’m not in that position anymore but I was and couldn’t have done without a car,” she said.  

You need to do sensible things to encourage people out of their cars, rather than stopping people using their cars with the LTNs

One couple said they voted for Green candidate Sian Berry.  

The woman said: “She’ll be the best for the environment and hopefully policies which enable people to use public transport more economically, because at the moment it’s just too expensive.  

“You need to do sensible things to encourage people out of their cars, rather than stopping people using their cars with the LTNs.  

“They’re divisive and get people worked up because they seem to favour some people and not others. It needs to be a policy that’s for everyone, not just for some people. Not everybody will be able to use public transport.” 

Her partner said: “I tend to go by the personalities. Personally, I don’t like a lot of Sadiq’s policies, and I don’t like the man either.  

“I always vote Green. It would be really nice to have another party in, we’ve got three Green councillors here. I think it’s about time someone else had a go.  

“I can’t stand Shaun Bailey, I think he’s an idiot.” 

Mr Manley, 74, said the main issue for him in this election was “Sadiq Khan, without a doubt”.  

“He’s crucifying pensioners, he doesn’t want us to drive on the roads, he wants us on the buses. We don’t want to know about buses – you can’t get everywhere on a bus and neither of us can walk properly. I’m hoping he’s out today.”