Council Leader's comments about Coulsdon are an insult to the residents and traders who make it their home, says Coulsdon West councillor Mario Creatura.
On Friday, the Croydon Advertiser reported on the recent collapse of the Lion Green Road development. You can read the article below:
Leader doubts traders' claims
Council leader Tony Newman said he "doesn't buy" Coulsdon traders' claims that businesses was hit by the closure of Lion Green Road car park.
In the weeks after the closure the Advertiser reported how businesses in the town reported 50 per cent falls in trade and footfall.
But Cllr Newman said: "I don't know why their business would have been affected. There's plenty of parking opportunities in Coulsdon.
"Some of the local traders have actually said to us they saw the Waitrose store as a potential rival.
"You can't have it both ways. You can't say if there's a supermarket 'that's going to affect our trade' and then when there isn't one say 'that's going to affect our trade'."
"Sometimes I think in Coulsdon there's an obsession with the motor car that rather takes us back to a bygone age.
"In many other places people are walking and cycling and I would encourage local people, and many of them do, to do that as well."
On many levels Cllr Newman's comments are outrageous. To claim that traders in Coulsdon Town are lying about the impact of the closure of the car park on their businesses is not worthy of a man purporting to be the Leader of Croydon Council. To suggest that businesses in my ward aren't to be trusted when it comes to their judgement about what is positively and negatively impacting their livelihoods is at best disrespectful and at worst dismissive of their entirely legitimate concerns.
But it's his penultimate comment that really insults the intelligence of all in Coulsdon: "Sometimes I think in Coulsdon there's an obsession with the motor car that rather takes us back to a bygone age." If he’d have spent any time in Coulsdon then he would have experienced the pressures on car parking. Cllr Newman's denial that there is a problem and his blasé comments smack of someone who very rarely travels to our part of the borough.
Cllr Newman’s subsequent suggestion that Coulsdon residents who own cars should stop using them is nonsensical. He is a driver himself, would he be happy to forgo his car to get to Croydon Town Hall every day? Would he be willing to sell his car if congestion in his area continues to deteriorate? What's good for the goose evidently isn't good for the gander!
I have been contacted by many businesses and residents utterly insulted by his comments, and rightly so. Should Cllr Newman want to revise his out-of-touch comments, then I’m sure the people of Coulsdon would be more than willing to listen.