Conservative mayoral candidate will help ‘rip out’ his local LTN if elected – as he vows to scrap traffic scheme

Conservative mayoral hopeful Simche Steinberger. Photograph: Julia Gregory

A controversial traffic reduction scheme would be scrapped immediately if Hackney elects a Conservative mayor next month.

By-election candidate Simche Steinberger has been outspoken about the network of low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) introduced by the Labour administration.

Steinberger, a councillor for Springfield, said: “If I become mayor, I will go down with officers and rip out the LTN in my ward at Mount Pleasant.”

He said LTNs, which shut roads to motor vehicles, “cause traffic elsewhere” and make it harder for residents to cross.

Steinberger supports encouraging children to walk or cycle to school but thinks LTNs are not the solution.

He pointed to the closure of the Narrow Way in central Hackney, and the congestion on nearby roads.

“It makes journeys so much longer,” he added.

An emergency budget is also a priority if he wins the by-election on 9 November.

“I believe there are millions of pounds just chucked down the drain.”

He said his local party’s alternative budgets always find ways to save money and cut council tax.

“It’s residents’ money,” he said. “We must look after it.”

The council’s freesheet Love Hackney would be scrapped to save money, he pledged.

Steinberger also noted problems in administering housing benefit and council tax after the criminal cyber attack on the Town Hall in 2020. He thinks “using the hacking attack as an excuse is unacceptable”.

He wants to see more neighbourhood forums to give residents a stronger voice, and he would hold mayoral surgeries.

An overhaul of planning could be on the cards to help tackle overcrowding.

“We talk so much about people not having social housing,” he explained. “If we help people extend their own homes that would solve part of the problem.”

Steinberger also supports the Morning Lane People’s Space campaign, whichis calling for more affordable homes near the town centre Tesco.

A Steinberger mayoralty would bring back weekly dustbin collections and scrap parking charges for motorcyclists.

He also opposes the planned closure of two primary schools and merger of four others because of falling school rolls.

He has worn a “Save Colvestone” T-shirt at council meetings in support of families from the Dalston school, which is likely to shut.

“If we are building more flats and more houses, there will be more children,” he said. “I look at the parents of this school, and it is just wrong.”

He would also lobby for funds for free school meals for all children – currently, 8,500 pupils at faith schools in Hackney are missing out.

He would not be afraid to challenge the police as mayor, but said the force needs support to do its job.

“I just believe that the police are not being helped.”

The office of directly elected mayor could also be for the chop.

Steinberger backs calls to change the way the council is run, especially as there is no mechanism to remove a mayor.

This came into sharp focus after calls for the resignation of the last mayor, Labour’s Philip Glanville, who quit over his association with a former councillor.

“The mayoral system is not working,” said Steinberger.

“I just feel that it’s more like a business. We have got two deputy mayors and cabinet members. The whole system is not right.”

The candidates standing for election on Thursday 9 November are: Zoë Garbett, Green; Caroline Woodley, Labour; Peter Smorthit, Independent; Simon de Deney, Liberal Democrat; Simche Steinberger, Conservatives; and Annoesjka Valent, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).