The only Independent candidate standing in this year’s local elections in Harrow said she hopes to represent the people in her community as opposed to a political party.

Niamh McEnery is standing in Pinner ward, an area where she and her family have always lived, and where she has led several community campaigns.

She explained that she decided to run as an Independent because it would free her from any potential shackles imposed by political allegiances.

“Standing as an Independent means I can do what the residents need and not be restricted by a particular party,” she said.

“You can easily get dragged into the pantomime of politics and a tit-for-tat nature which means people aren’t being fed all the information. I want to step away from that.”

This concept of communication is at the heart of Mrs McEnery’s pledge as she believes it is the most effective tool in improving any area.

She expressed surprise and disappointment at the number of people in her ward who were unaware of who their councillors were and called for this to change in the future, whatever the outcome in May.

“Harrow is a wonderful borough filled with passionate people and they deserve the best possible people on their council,” she added.

“If you’re a frontline person you need to be transparent, and you need to engage and communicate with the people you are representing. I will endeavour to do that.”

Mrs McEnery has been involved in a number of campaigns in her area, including starting a petition to save Pinner Memorial Park and raising awareness of parking issues and police cuts.

She hopes to continue this work at a more ‘official’ level in the council and noted housing shortages, fly-tipping and the state of the local retail as key areas of interest.

She appreciates that it will be tough to break into a ward that has traditionally been staunchly Conservative but is committed to representing her neighbours.

“Everybody needs a platform. We have so many voices and not everybody gets a chance to be heard,” she explained.

“I’d hope to represent a unified voice and translate what is going on in Pinner as I’m very passionate about where I live.”

Cllr Paul Osborn, leader of Harrow Conservatives and a representative of Pinner, said he was pleased to see more people getting involved with local democracy.

But he added that, to bring about change, an area needs to a block of councillors from the same party.

He said: “In order to do anything meaningful, you need to have a group of councillors behind you.

“The only way to change things at a large-scale level is to have control of the council, and what happens in Pinner is no different.

“You can try and look at things on an individual basis, but you won’t be able to fix the system, which will only come about with a Conservative council.”