York Green Party has ambitions to more than double its councillors at the elections in May.
The Greens have run City of York Council in coalition with the Liberal Democrats for the last four years, despite having only three councillors.
And, as the deputy leader of the national Green Party visited the city today (Monday), the group expressed the hope for a stronger mandate in the vote on 4 May.
Green Party deputy leader Zack Polanski was in York to launch the city election campaign. He told YorkMix that the York Greens had “a big record of achievement”.
“There’s a record of achievement in terms of housing – around 600 affordable homes being built.
“On transport, there’s a story around the electric bus fleet, about traffic reduction measures about making sure that essentially, transport is sustainable and accessible.”
He said the York Greens were “making sure that roads are safe to walk, that when people are cycling things are safe, that we’re making sure we’re protecting services for people who are disabled, places are still accessible”.
On that point, he defended the party over the decision to ban Blue Badge drivers from the York footstreets, which disabled campaigners have said effectively bars them from the city centre.
“Ultimately, this is an issue for the local council,” he said. “But what I’m really proud of is that the Greens have put in their manifesto that they would prioritise a review of this.
“The approach to this – to make sure that they’re meeting with disabled communities and are listening to them, and they’re also balancing that with the needs of police and security – is a really important grown up way of doing politics.”
Leader of the York Green Group on the council Andy D’Agorne said: “We certainly are expecting to win more seats.
“Talking to people on the doorstep, a lot of people support what the Greens are doing, and recognise that despite being a junior partner in administration we have managed to get many of our objectives carried through into the policies.”
The party says it has scored a range of environmental successes including electric park and ride buses, new dial-a-ride minibuses, very low energy affordable new housing, a pollinator strategy with a council commitment to phasing out of chemical pesticide sprays on our streets, £7m-8m of funding so far for retrofitting existing homes to cut energy bills.
Cllr D’Agorne said: “We have policies in place to actually tackle climate change, to make sure that we provide affordable housing, we provide the transport networks people need.
“If we have more councillors, we’d be able to push the agenda much further forward.”
Cllr Denise Craghill, who has been the council’s lead on housing, said the Green Party would introduce policies to see more affordable homes built in the city if they were returned to power.
This would come through working with developers, shared ownership schemes, working with social landlords and accessing more government funding for the affordable homes earmarked on strategic sites in the upcoming Local Plan.