Claudia Riley-Hards is the Conservative candidate for Long Ditton in the Elmbridge Borough Council elections on 2 May.
Claudia was born in British Guyana and has been living in the UK for 40 years. She has been a Long Ditton resident for the last two decades and advises councils on economic development and regeneration for a living. If elected a Conservative councillor on 3 May she is keen to play a role in making the local authority more efficient and prosperous. She holds a degree in Business Studies and a Masters in Marketing.
She is conscious that the Liberal Democrats, who ran Elmbridge Council with the Residents' Associations Group from 2016-18, had floated the idea of building thousands of homes in the green belt, including on land near Squires nursery in Long Ditton. Claudia comments: “It was a fantastic response and caused the administration to think again, although I note they have not ruled out sacrificing our precious Green Belt. If I am elected I will strongly defend the Green Belt. The need for new houses has not gone away. I will argue for building on brownfield sites and for increased density in our town centres.
Claudia will also campaign for more school places for local children and will support shops and businesses as the lifeblood of our community. She will actively lobby for grants and other help for them to thrive. Claudia first stood for election in 2018, coming within 8 votes of gaining the seat from the LibDems, and is standing again in 2019.
Key issue: Long Ditton's Green Belt
Protecting Long Ditton's precious Green Belt and open spaces is my top priority. When the Liberal Democrat coalition ran Elmbridge Council from 2016- 18, it consulted residents on building homes over our Green Belt.
Fortunately for us, a Conservative administration was elected last year which instructed council officers to draw up a new Local Plan where housing needs will be met in existing built-up areas and brownfield sites. I brought the then Leader of the Council, Tim Oliver, to Long Ditton to see our Green Belt and hear directly from local residents. I have recently done the same with our new Conservative leader, James Browne, and Conservatives are committed to safeguarding Long Ditton’s Green Belt.
Claudia's 6-Point Plan for Long Ditton
- Protecting our Green Belt. We need more homes for our young people and key workers, but these MUST be in existing built areas and NOT on our precious Green Belt.
- Putting Long Ditton first. I will be YOUR Councillor – accountable to you, vocal and active on your behalf. I will keep you informed and fight for Long Ditton at Elmbridge Council.
- A safer Long Ditton. The Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner has pledged to recruit 100 new officers. I will press for more visible policing locally to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour.
- Support for our shops. Local businesses are the lifeblood of our community. I will tirelessly support and assist them, actively lobbying for grants and other help for them to thrive.
- Better roads and transport. I will work with Surrey County Council to improve our local roads and hold public transport operators to account to reduce overcrowding at peak hours.
- A cleaner Long Ditton. After the mess created by last summer’s Traveller encampments, Conservatives secured a 3-year injunction to remove trespassers within 24 hours. I am proud to join the Long Ditton litter pickers in cleaning-up our area.