An independent candidate in the south of the borough has won the support of other non-party hopefuls, who have now withdrawn to put their support behind her.

Solène Fabios, a 34-year-old fashion designer, hopes to become a councillor in Lea Bridge ward in next month’s local election.

The designer and mother decided to run after seeing fellow independent Claire Weiss secure 441 votes in last year’s by-election, although she still lost out to Labour’s Jennifer Whilby, who received more than 1,000 votes.

She told the Local Democracy Reporting Service, that residents who speak to her feel ignored over “mass overdevelopment”, loss of green space and strained local health services.

She added: “Local GPs and dentists are completely overwhelmed, our green spaces are at risk of destruction and air pollution is dangerously high.

“And yet, the council has approved massive developments that will increase the ward’s population by half.

“Mass overdevelopment is encroaching on our green spaces that need protecting and impacting our already polluted air.”

When asked how residents can have confidence in an independent candidate, she said the lack of political party control over her is a “strength”.

Solène explained: “I don’t see this election as an opportunity to further my political career and I don’t have to toe any party line. I only answer to the residents of Lea Bridge.”