It is the geographical and financial epicentre of the City, and now the Ward of Cheap needs a new leader. A whopping seven candidates are vying for the aldermanic position, soon to be vacated by Lord Mountevans, Jeffrey Evans at the election on 5 July. Meet them below.
Cheap voters can cast their ballot between 8am and 8pm at the Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers, Court Room, 6 Gresham Street EC2V 7AD
Andrew Heath-Richardson says his interest in the City was sparked (pardon the pun) shortly after completing his electrical apprenticeship when he was asked to install lights on a Christmas tree in Guildhall Yard.
In the years that followed, he found himself working closely with the City Corporation on a number of large-scale redevelopment projects throughout the Square Mile, more recently as director of development for Canary Wharf Group and of the City Property Association. Seeing an opportunity in Cheap, he decided to take his first leap into local government.
“I looked at the Ward of Cheap and saw a location that married well with my all round experience with a mixed set of occupiers and retailers and some livery companies,” he says.
“I really want to be the voice for the people of Cheap, and of the City of London in general as a normal man from humble beginnings aspiring to do well and be able to give something back to society.”
To Andrew, giving back in Cheap, means the provision of more post offices in the City – including potential for services at Guildhall and Metro Bank branches – and generating more opportunities for regular engagement between elected representatives and the City’s retailers and workers.
He is also calling for tighter controls on planned road and utility works.
“We are building the buildings that companies want to occupy and that UK and overseas investors want to invest in and we need to better control the infrastructure and plan to have less disruption to the city commuters, office occupiers and retailers,” he said.
And the ambition doesn’t stop there: “I aim to win in the Ward of Cheap and prove that background, schooling and wealth should not be a barrier to an East London apprentice – now a 54 year old director of development looking after assets of over £2.5bn – becoming an alderman and progressing on to become a sheriff and ultimately Lord Mayor of this great City of London.
Richard Hills has chosen a hot-button issue upon which to build his manifesto – redressing the gender balance in the City’s elected representatives.
But the investment management consultant and ambassador to Board Apprentice, an organisation that works to increase diversity on boards, believes he can deliver on a pledge to increase the number of women on the Court of Common Council by more than 10% over the next six years.
“If we want more diversity then we must encourage and support women to come forward and stand for election. Companies I have spoken to are enthusiastic to help address this imbalance and offer support to their candidates, but they need someone to co-ordinate the effort.”
Richard has outlined a strategy to encourage more participation from women in local politics by asking for nominations from the CEOs of City businesses, and establishing an assistance and mentoring programme for prospective candidates.
He also has his sights set on capping business rates for small retailers and tackling air quality and traffic congestion with greater investment in infrastructure and electric vehicles, and says he is the candidate with “the time, experience and a creative plan” to address issues facing the ward.
“Air quality, traffic congestion, commuter comfort are some of the main factors that affect our working environment,” he said.
“The Corporation has plans in place to deal with these problems but they need to keep pace with the changes going on around us.”
What do a classical singer, a barrister and a City alderman have in common? Communication and a love of people according to Tim Becker, who already has the first two titles on his CV and is hoping for the third when Cheap voters cast their ballots on 5 July.
“I believe members of my Ward would find me a person they can approach to address their problems and find me personable enough to want to share them with me – an advocate for all,” he says.
Tim says it has “long been an ambition” to be elected to the Court of Aldermen, and that Cheap’s relatively small geographic area with a concentration of corporates and the shops and restaurants that service them would enable him to get to know the electorate.
Unsurprisingly, given his artistic endeavours, the Culture Mile and concert hall proposed for the current Museum of London site are top priorities, as well as traffic management to support the movement of pedestrians and cyclists through the City and promoting the work of the livery companies.
“I have been a liveryman of the Horners Company for 30 years. My great grandfather was a benefactor of the company in the 1930s and my father and grandfather past masters.
“I was actually apprenticed in the Horners and whilst I cannot make items out of horn I know that the various apprentice schemes run by the livery companies offer real educational opportunities to its younger members.
Tim says that it is also education that will open future elections up to a more diverse range of candidates.
“I think it is the case that most city workers would think that the City is governed by some social elite to which they are excluded,” he says.
“I would wish to throw open the doors of city governance and demystify how the City is run and focus on how anybody can get involved at whatever level they want.
Strolling into Guildhall for a meeting of the Court of Common Council will be nothing new for Robert Hughes-Penney if he is elected on 5 July.
The Rathbone’s investment director spent eight years as a councillor for Farringdon Within, during which time he served on the investment, policy and resources, police and finance committees, so it’s safe to say he is familiar with what goes on beneath those gilded ceilings.
“I have long been interested in financial and political life, and so for me serving in elected office in the City provides a great opportunity to bring these two aspects of my life together,” he said.
“I have received so much from the City: an education at a Livery school; a grant from the Lord Mayor’s 800th anniversary trust for a life-changing mission trip to South America; a stimulating career; and an opportunity to provide for my family.
“Throughout my career I have sought to give back to the City and help it grow and prosper.”
Robert said the City can prosper by setting more rigorous targets for dealing with social and economic development issues and holding itself to account.
“For the last 12 years I have been instrumental in shaping policies around responsible investment and this is an area, through the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which include gender equality, clean energy and sustainable cities, that I would work to see the City adopt more fully.”
He also wants to combine the Square Mile’s combine its strength in financial and professional services with its potential to become a world-leading technology hub and believes networking is the way to make it happen.
“We often need encouragement to meet those working in adjacent businesses, where growth opportunities can so easily exist,” he said. “I would build community and networks amongst workers and businesses for their mutual benefit, via business forums and breakfasts in the Ward.”
In the City of London, elected officials who actually live in the Square Mile are a rarity. In the ward of Cheap, it’s almost unheard of – there are only 12 registered residential voters in this business-dominated constituency to begin with.
But as of January, Tim Haywood has counted himself among them; a move he says has instilled in him an appreciation for what the current councillors in the Cheap ward have achieved, and how he can help.
“As a voter in the Ward myself, I already know our common councilmen and can see the good work they are doing. I can both complement it and add to it,” he said.
“The common councillors are doing a great job according to the voters; what is needed is to augment their efforts with extra impulse on promoting the ward, the City across the UK and the wider world.”
But, Tim hastens to add that it isn’t just his home address that makes him right for the role.
More than two decades in various senior positions at global fund managers, including his current investment director business unit head at GAM Investments, and a long history with the local livery companies has also equipped him with the knowledge of what matters to voters.
“As a full-time senior officer of a fund management company for two decades and counting, I understand the current hopes and fears of a variety of financial services industries – the most important sector to Cheap in particular and the City as a whole,” he said.
“Making sure that such clusters of expertise thrive across the City is key to its long term success. To attract and retain such firms and their people requires world class infrastructure and pleasant travel, working and living environment.”
Anthony Samuels already holds one role in public office; he is the conservative representative for Walton South & Oatland and the vice-chairman of Surrey County Council.
But rather than stretching himself too thin, he believes the position will serve him well as a City alderman, particularly when it comes to Brexit, which is top of his agenda if elected to represent the Cheap ward.
“Companies are concerned about jobs, loss of business, depreciation in share value and long term viability,” he said.
“I have been a county councillor in Surrey for many years and the two MPs in my constituency are the chancellor of the exchequer and the minister of housing, whom I see at least once a month.
“I’m standing to act, not talk and I have the business and political experience to back it up.”
The former solicitor, who sold his practice in 2006, says his local government credentials have equipped him with the knowledge to “make savings without compromising public services”, an approach he plans to apply to address traffic flow in the ward.
He also describes himself as a “serial networker”, and promised that the Cheap ward would have “access to my address book for free”, if elected.
But the former East London boy, who ran unsuccessfully for the aldermanic role in Portsoken last December, maintains he isn’t one to rest on societal graces.
“The aldermanic role comes with a tuxedo, I prefer rolling up my sleeves and putting in a shift,” he said.
“Yes, I enjoy the occasional black-tie dinner but I much prefer meeting, greeting and networking and I have a record that endorses my business and public service credentials.”
There are 455 business voters in Cheap (outnumbering residents by nearly 40 to one) and Andrew Marsden believes he is the best placed to represent them as one of the only candidates with a business based in the ward.
The business management consultant operates from offices on 107 Cheapside and is promising to throw open the doors for a weekly surgery each Thursday for voters raise everything from transport right through to Brexit.
“I intend to use my global marketing experience to help promote ‘Brand UK’ and the positive story of
London’s financial and professional services to the world and for these sectors to recruit the best
talent from wherever in the world,” he said,
“Major business and community leaders, who have seen me in action, are lending me their support…as Chair of the Financial Services Group of Livery Companies, who advise the Lord Mayor on professional issues, I can help firms get their messages heard at the highest levels.”
He also believes the extra face-time will help reach a broader cross-section of people in the City to ensure all voices are heard.
My weekly surgeries will provide a means for everyone to connect with the City of London and the Court of Aldermen,” he said.
“I will reach out to diverse groups across the City to ensure they know they have a place to discover more – and mentoring if they want to pursue this further.”