Islington elections: Conservatives make astonishing pledge to relocate primary schools on main roads

Edward Waldegrave, left, and fellow Islington Conservatives on the doorstep ahead of the May 3 local

Edward Waldegrave, left, and fellow Islington Conservatives on the doorstep ahead of the May 3 local elections. Picture: Islington Conservatives - Credit: Archant

Ahead of the local elections on May 3, the Gazette is bringing you the manifesto pledges from each of the main parties. After hearing from Labour, the Lib Dems and Greens already, James Morris spoke to the Conservatives ahead of the party’s manifesto launch today.

Islington Conservatives have made an astonishing pledge to relocate every Islington primary school on or close to main roads.

It’s a key policy in the party’s manifesto for the May 3 local elections.

The ambitious plan is to protect children from poisonous fumes.

However, there’s no further detail in the document. In a briefing with party leaders on Friday, the Gazette asked for information on which schools the party is targeting, how it would be done and how it would be funded. They promised the manifesto would contain this when it was released yesterday. We were left disappointed.

Edward Waldegrave, who is standing in Barnsbury, said in the briefing at Costa in Chapel Market: “There are five or six schools. It would take two terms – eight years – but rather than arguing about measuring air pollution, it’s obvious primary schools shouldn’t be by main roads. It’s the worst age to be breathing in these fumes.”

As well as promising no more council tax rises – imposed by Labour because of Conservative government budget cuts – Mr Waldegrave also rounded on the housing repairs system.

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He said: “We’ve seen how many tenants are in badly insulated, badly heated and badly maintained Victorian and Georgian terraced housing. Money isn’t being spent on them and tenants have to pay a huge amount of money on energy bills.

“We know poor quality housing has a big impact on mental health, which is a big issue in Islington. We need a radical upgrading of council and social housing stock. I saw that only 85 per cent of council repairs are successful first time round and that’s not good enough.”

Mr Waldegrave, meanwhile, is bullish about his party’s chances: “We have a reinvigorated Conservative Party in Islington. We have a lot of members joining, but people are also much more involved than in the past. The political landscape has been friendlier than it has been in a while.

“It’s only the second time we are running a full slate of candidates, and many are in their 20s. We have real diversity and energy in our party.”

To see the full manifesto, visit