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 The Purley & Woodcote Blog
Cllr  Simon  Brew
Oni  Oviri
Cllr  Badsha  Quadir

It's all go!
10/11/2014 18:21:00......Posted by Simon Brew


On 28 October, I went to the AGM of the Asian Resource Centre Croydon. It was good to hear how they continue to deliver valuable services despite difficult financial times. Later that week, I was back at the Whitgift Carer Support Centre in George Street providing IT support and advice to carers of all ages and skills; some bring in their own laptops for a check-up while others just need general advice and guidance.

All medical practices are currently gearing up for a mandatory requirement from April 2015 that they establish Patient Participation Groups or PPGs. These groups consist of representatives of the practice’s patients plus one or two staff members; they meet a few times every year to arrange informational sessions (for example on First Aid or Healthy Living), or discuss practice admin (such as the appointments booking process), or make recommendations for improvements in the ways in which practices generally engage with their patients. I’ve been the chairman of the PPG at my local practice since before the elections in May 2014; so far, we’ve organised three public meetings and we held a committee meeting last week to plan a fourth. We are also pleased to see the increased role of the public in guiding other NHS institutions such as Croydon’s Clinical Commissioning Group, which is now recruiting members of the public to join its Patient Reference Group; two members of our PPG will attend that meeting later this week.

I recently went to an interesting training session on the finances of local authorities and how to understand statutory accounts. The training was given by the Council’s auditors (Grant Thornton); it was especially useful for councillors who like myself were elected for the first time in May 2014, and for those recently appointed to the Council’s General Purpose and Audit committee.

Purley councillors have long had a close relationship with local residents’ associations, so I was pleased to be invited recently to a committee meeting of the Purley & Woodcote Residents’ Association. We discussed several contentious planning applications and, because the floods earlier this year are never far from our thoughts, we also reviewed progress on the Bourne flooding prevention works along the Godstone Road. There’s also a short-term flooding problem in Dale Road, because at times of intense rainfall, water pours down Downs Court Road and the Godstone Road into Dale Road, and the gullies sometimes cannot cope; my fellow councillors and I are currently pursuing this issue with the Council’s Environment department.

I enjoy going to the Mayor’s fund-raising events, and this year the nominated charities are Macmillan Cancer Care & Age UK. It was a pleasure to dine with friends last week and enjoy a good meal in the Braithwaite Hall, which provides a magnificent Grade 2 listed backdrop to any cultural event last week; everyone enjoyed the authentic Indian costumes, music and dancing.

No blog would be complete without mentioning the regular canvassing and literature deliveries which all councillors are expected to undertake for their political party. It’s an often-heard but unjustified complaint that candidates only canvass when they want your vote! We actually canvass all wards all the year round, but given the limited resources available to us, we inevitably concentrate in pre-election periods on those marginal wards where we believe that an extra few votes really will make a difference to an election outcome… It’s only six months till we will find out whether our efforts have actually made any difference!


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Purley needs YOU for an interesting Community project
27/02/2018 15:21:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

As one of Purley’s local councillors, I’m keen to launch a new initiative which is principally aimed at improving Rotary Field, and there are other local projects which also would benefit. There’s a Council-funded scheme which I hope will provide the required kick-start: it’s called Community Empowerment & Devolution (CED for short), and Purley is one of the three pilot wards which have been selected across the Borough – the others are South Norwood & New Addington.

Many local people and organisations including councillors, Purley Rotary, Purley BID (Business Improvement District), the PWRA, Purley Baptist Church, Christ Church and Purley Festival all agree that Purley’s local civic infrastructure badly needs improvement. Rotary Field is our only green space and the community is very grateful that it was donated by Rotary International in the 1920s, but it’s now obvious that it needs some TLC. Previous ideas have included making use of the derelict toilet block to establish a café and/or community shed, and we would like to make more imaginative use of the space we do have, though, for example, establishing some flower beds. There’s also scope for improving the range of the children’s equipment by installing a large rope pyramid climbing frame.

Apart from Rotary Field, Purley is home to another neglected relic of history: the Purley fountain, which sits outside the children’s library. It was commissioned in 1901 to celebrate the long reign of Queen Victoria; the fountain has been moved once or twice in its long life, and in the past it has operated as a fountain. It’s unloved and ignored in its current position, but it and Purley would benefit hugely if it were moved to a much more prominent position elsewhere in the gyratory, and made to operate again.

To make improvements to Purley such as those described above obviously requires money, but it’s actually more difficult to establish a viable management organisation. This needs to define the town’s priorities and a viable timeframe in consultation with local organisations, and then develop a plan to implement them. The CED scheme could provide up to £20,000 funding to get this organisation off the ground, but to do so, we need to find several local people to form a committee, and particularly to fill the key roles of manager, treasurer and secretary, and it’s possible that people could be paid for the time they devote to this project.

The purpose of this blog is to encourage a few individuals who are committed to Purley’s future to form a management committee to take this project forward. If you’re interested, please contact, or call me on 07803 618096.



Purley BID Board meeting
24/02/2018 18:53:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

Last week I attended another Purley BID Board meeting which was kindly hosted by Tesco. We heard of the good progress being made on many fronts as part of a long-running campaign to make Purley a destination of choice rather than just a place to commute to, from, or through. We heard of exciting new art projects and of other campaigns to increase Purley's profile across the board. We are trying to extend the hours of operation of the lifts now that they have been re-furbished as part of a £200k re-furbishment project, and this should be of great benefit to residents and businesses alike. 




Visit to Purley Mosque
23/02/2018 16:05:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

All over the country, mosques opened their doors last weekend to visitors and I was delighted to spend spent about an hour listening to an explanation of the key tenets of Islam, and seeking answers to several questions about it which have always puzzled me. It was an excellent opportunity for an informal chat with several leading members of the Muslim community, which of course includes my coleague Cllr Badsha Quadir. In case you're not aware, the mosque is in Whytecliffe Road South, opposite the network rail car park. 

Maybe some of the local churches could also organise open days in a similar style? 




Purley & Woodcote RA committee meeting
08/02/2018 21:35:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

It's always a pleasure to attend these committee meetings becasue they're a good opportunity to take the temperature of the local community, and to pick up vibes about issues which are or will soon become very important. 

At the last committee meeting we debated the likely impact of the Croydon Local Plan which is very likely to be accepted at the next full Council meeting on 27 February 2018. The three key Purley issues in the plan are the incorporation of the Purley Baptist Church development and the Purley Oaks Gypsy & Traveller site into the final plan, together with a much longer term (20 years?) possibility of up to 900 (yes 900!) flats on and around the Purley Tesco site. It's not at all clear where these 900 residents would park their cars while leaving spaces for Tesco shoppers. 

The voting members of the committee (not I) also decided whether they wished the PWRA to support, comment on or oppose various local developments which are currently going through the planning process. 



NWOW in Planning
07/02/2018 20:32:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

NWOW is short for New Ways Of Working for the Counil's Planning Department. I joined many representatives from Residents' Associations across the Borough at a recent meeting organised by the Council's planning department. They now process about 5000 planning applications per year and to keep the wheels turning, they have had to introduce several new processes. Applications are now processed and validated by the same officer rather than different departments as previously, and they will stop displaying notices on lampposts for every minor application, because it's now relatively easy for members of the public to get automatic notification of all relevant applications online. If anyone wants to know how to do this, pleae get in touch.



Holocaust Memorial Day 26 January
29/01/2018 15:24:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

I attended a moving event last week in the Town Hall Chamber where we heard several moving speeches commemorating this awful stain on humanity; the highlight, if that's the right word, was a presentation from a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, where so many Jews perished in their thousands. Her extraordinary ability to recount these awful events so many decades ago really brought home to me the horrors of those years... which sadly are being repeated even as I type this, in countries such as Syria, Iraq, and Myanmar. Sadly, it's beyone the scope of a Croydon politician to resolve these intractable conflicts, but we can at least support the peace efforts of others. 



Croydon Community Consortium meeting
24/01/2018 20:33:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

This is a little-publicised Croydon-wide Community Group which aims to distribute information about local events through meetings roughly every two months, and I attended the recent one at St Michaels' church, Poplar Walk. There were discussions about several planning issues and the 20MPH zones, but the main inspirational presentation was by Katie Rose, who is the principal organiser of the Festival of Peace which will be held during w/c 16 June 2018. There will be several concerts and other themed events in two of Croydon's parks and I'm sure the event will be massively popular.



Croydon Conference on causes/solutions for homelessness
20/01/2018 17:05:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

I was delighted to attend a conference yesterday which was sponsored by Evolve London, which is one of London's largest Housing Asssociations. We heard about a new iniative which aims to get people off the streets without pre-conditions, and then work with them to solve the underlying problems such as mental health, substance misuse or domestic violence which has probably casued them to be homeless in the first place. This is quite different from many other initiatives which usually require people to prove that they have solved their underlying problems before being accepted onto recovery programmes. However, if their problems are too serious in the first place, they'll never be able to take that first step.

I was really pleased to attend, and I suggested that Evolve might be able to acquire some old laptops from the Council, to help train their clients in basic office skills. I strongly support this excellent iniative. 



Purley Skyscraper "Mosaic Place " enquiry
18/01/2018 19:22:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

Following lobbying from Chris Philp MP, the Secretary of State Sajid Javid decided to "call in" the Purley Baptist Church planning application for the 17 storey skyscraper and an independent inspector was appointed to hear all the evidence afresh. The hearings took place across 6 intensive days: the Council & Church presented their application to him using the services of one of the best known planning barrister QCs in the country, while Chris Philp MP, seven local Residents' Associations (though not the PWRA), and dozens of local residents presented their case against the development. The inspector was even-handed, painstaking and courteous; he will now make a recommendation to the SoS who will make the final decision, but we're unlkely to hear any news till after the Local Elections on Thursday 3 May 2018, because of "Purdah" rules. 



Montpelier Rd / Kingsdown Ave development approved..over-development, and destruction of open land :-(
20/04/2017 22:10:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

Together with representatives from MAKRA, Chris Philp MP and about 60 concerned local residents, I attended Planning Committee this evening to speak against the appalling development of 34 dwellings which is planned at the junction of these two important roads. Between us we raised all the important issues:

·         Too much intensive development in an area already heavily congested and with inadequate parking.

·         Despite doing seven traffic surveys (which is apparently a record), the applicant failed to pick up the traffic congestion at the times when it really matters – rush hour and daytime parking

·         The dangerous junction, greatly exacerbated by siting one of the new buildings right on the corner

·         Serious loss of green space and play area, especially at the junction

·         Loss of 49 trees including the beautiful flowering cherries

·         Loss of the attractive views across the valley

·         Buildings on plots A & D1 are too tall for the area.

·         Design is to some extent a matter of taste, but many were appalled by the cubist design of some buildings which looked more like prison blocks than anything else.

·         Serious impact on some neighbours.

Sadly and predictably, the final vote was along Party lines, with the six Labour members (who all live nowhere near this site) voting in favour while the four Conservative councillors all voted against.

This is the first of many applications being submitted by the Council’s own development company Brick By Brick Ltd (BxB). One of the applicant speakers has a day job as a Council employee, so granting planning permission was perhaps a formality.

The outcome of this BxB planning application sends a strong warning that Labour councillors seem hell-bent on pushing through any and every intensive planning application, especially those in the South, which are sited far away from their own wards. 



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 Older Blog Posts
The Lord Roberts Post Office will re-open on 23 March :-)
Purley is identified as a "Dementia-friendly" town
WARNING: Council tax refund scam
How to object to the 20MPH zone – deadline 15 February 2017
20MPH speed limit across the South of the Borough?
Strong local opposition to plan for 34 dwellings at jct: Montpelier Rd/Kingsdown Avenue
Purley BID seeks an ambassador - interested?
Croydon's Digital Inclusion project and the Carer Support Centre
Busy Purley surgery this morning
Why so many tree stumps on Purley's streets?
34 new dwelling planned at junction Montpelier Rd / Kingsdown Avenue
Council meeting on 17/10: My speech on Local Plan's impact on Purley
"No thanks for Trick or Treat" poster
Fed Up with Trick or Treating at your front door?
Local Plan Consultation period is now open. Concern re proposed Gypsy & Traveller site at Purley Oaks.
Closed Fairfield Halls still owes £4500 to Croydon Dance Group
Purley Baptist Church development – Mayor of London requires changes.
Grass too long on roadside verges? Here's how to report it.
Ginger Bread House parking application approved
The new Montpelier Road Residents’ Association is formed
Croydon Local Plan update: a Gypsy & Traveller Site in Purley?
GOOD NEWS: Two Purley Car Park lifts to be restored
Possible new development at junction of Montpelier Rd & Kingsdown Avenue, Purley
Review of Croydon's ineffective licensing scheme for all private rented properties
All in a day's work...
Are some Council-owned sites in Purley earmarked for housing?
Impact of street trader licence fees
Purley BID holds very successful festival in the High Street
Royal Russell School hosts an unusual sports event
Traffic chaos at Purley Oaks Recycling Centre: petition to extend opening hours
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