Charith Gunawardena - Southgate's Green councillor
Charith Gunawardena has been an Enfield councillor since 2018, when he was elected to represent Southgate ward. In May 2021 he joined the Green Party, becoming the borough's first Green councillor.
Why I joined the Green Party
Championing the wellbeing of people and the environment: If not now, when?
It has been an honour and a privilege to represent residents of Southgate ward in the London Borough of Enfield over the past three years.
I will continue to serve Southgate, but now as a councillor representing the Green Party, whose policies for a sustainable society incorporate key principles to tackle the climate crisis and deliver social justice. These are things I campaigned for and will continue to defend on behalf of Enfield's residents. I strongly believe this to be the best way to serve my constituents.
Unfortunately, I have recently felt restrained from championing the core needs of local residents as a Labour councillor and have decided to resign the party whip and to leave the Labour Party.
Enfield faces significant financial, housing and environmental challenges.
Enfield Council is under enormous financial pressures due to government funding cuts, the consequences of the Covid-19 crisis, a projected £2bn peak-debt burden and many irresponsible political choices.
The borough is trapped in an increasingly damaging housing crisis. There are not enough genuinely affordable homes being built (especially family sized homes), there are high levels of overcrowding, long waiting lists and too many people living in temporary accommodation and/or in poor-quality homes.
The borough must also play its part in responding to the environmental crisis, which will only successfully be achieved by offering considered, meaningful and evidence-based responses and policies.
Locally, Southgate ward residents have been raising concerns about the deteriorating town centre, rising crime, fly-tipping, traffic congestion causing delays and air pollution, and other issues.
Under these challenging circumstances, there is an urgent need for an inclusive political culture supporting open, honest and transparent policy discussions to reach solutions that benefit residents across the borough.
As a member of the Green Party, I will be better placed to scrutinise and challenge decisions that will have a lasting environmental and social impact in the borough for decades to come, and defend processes essential for preserving strong local democracy.
The Green Party is a grassroots democratic party, where activism is encouraged and where members with ideals and principles are valued. Very importantly, members are genuinely empowered to decide policy. I am looking forward to making an impactful contribution and working with all residents, ward councillors and council officers for a better Southgate & Enfield.
I would like to thank the campaigners, members of the Labour Party (past and present) and residents who helped to get me elected and who have continued to support me.
Local Councillor, Southgate Ward