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

Countdown to Christmas
24/12/2014 16:20:00......Posted by Simon Brew

 
 

It's been another busy month.

On 1 December, I returned from a short break visiting relatives in Germany, so unfortunately I just missed the last full Council meeting of the year. I gather from colleagues and the Croydon Advertiser that it was a fairly rowdy affair, partly because of Labour’s policy statement (which was subsequently withdrawn) that the usage of playing fields in some of Croydon’s schools would be reviewed. There are plenty of other blogs on this topic, so I’ll move on.

Later that week, I participated in a really useful and enjoyable training session arranged for members and reserve members of the Licensing Committee. We held a dummy application hearing for the fictional Bar-a-cuda club which wished to extend its hours of licensing. The case study was led by a practising QC who specialises in this field; it was built from several real life cases and incorporated some tricky issues for the committee to deal with, as well as lots of irrelevant material which we had by law to ignore. To make it even more challenging, members of the committee played various roles, as applicant, objector, rival business, committee member and several others. The evening was entertaining and instructive at the same time.

The next day, I attended my first planning committee meeting as a contributor; I was there to offer my support to some local residents who were concerned about some aspects of a Purley development. There are many common elements in the assessment of Licensing and Planning applications, and it was interesting to see how the legal framework and Croydon’s local policies are applied in practice.

The political composition of all Council committees, such as Licensing, Planning and Scrutiny is determined by the election results, so the ratio of seats allocated to each party broadly reflects the political makeup of the Council (which is currently Labour 40: Conservative 30). As the election approaches and particularly at weekends, most councillors spend a lot of time and effort out on the streets in their own wards and also in the Borough’s marginal wards, trying to persuade just a few hundred voters to accept their irresistible argument as to why they should vote for a particular party. It’s hard work, but then no-one ever entered politics for an easy ride (or for the rewards!). On 6 December as an example, I joined many Conservative colleagues out on the streets for four hours, and then helped to staff a Conservative stall at Coulsdon’s Yuletide festival in the High Street in the evening; it was a bitterly cold day and we were frozen stiff by the end, but the stalls selling hot food and drinks did a roaring trade!

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without pantomimes, and I greatly enjoyed this year’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; the latter were all played by adult actors who had dwarfism and they brought the story to life very effectively. The dashing prince was none other than Gareth Gates, and of course no cast is complete without a wicked witch and a male pantomime dame wearing ever more outlandish costumes. I haven’t been to a pantomime for about 40 years so it was fun to relive my (and my kids’) childhood again. Later that week, I also attended the Council's Christmas celebration event which included good misical and choral performances from some of Croydon's children.

The bad news of Purley Pool’s potential closure broke during w/c 8 December, so I and my Conservative colleagues launched a campaign and petition, which has already attracted over 1000 signatures; further details are in one of my earlier blogs. It was particularly unfortunate that this news broke just as the Purley Business Improvement District (BID) team heard that they had secured funding from the GLA to take the concept further. Croydon’s BID has been running successfully for several years and is one of the largest in the UK, so as a Purley councillor, I’m delighted that Purley now hopes to follow in its footsteps.

I did my usual two hours IT buddy stint at the Whifgift Foundation's Carer Support Centre in George Street on 11 December, and the next day all helpers were kindly invited to an enjoyable Christmas dinner with a difference - a carry-out curry which was delivered piping hot to the office! It was good to meet the other volunteers in an informal setting and to swap notes.

I was delivering Neighbourhood Watch leaflets recently and unfortunately slipped and sprained my ankle on some steps. I needed physiotherapy and bandages etc, but my wife also persuaded me to try acupuncture and I have to admit that I was impressed at the speed of my recovery using a combination of ancient and modern healing techniques… and it wasn’t painful!

There were just two Council meetings in the final full week before Christmas; one was a regular planning meeting while the other was a full Scrutiny meeting; the closure of Purley Pool was not explicitly on the agenda but it was inevitable that it would feature prominently in the debate, with a large number of Pool supporters patiently waiting in the wings for a chance to speak. Unlike full Council meetings, there is no official speaking slot in Scrutiny committee meetings for members of the public or indeed councillors who are not members of the committee, but the Labour chair Sean Fitzsimons gave Fred Wallis the chance to speak, and he did so eloquently. Of course I’m biased, but I think most independent observers would say that Fred had the better of the argument in his exchanges with the Labour Council leader Tony Newman.

Last week, I and two other councillors were invited to see the Council's secure CCTV centre in action on one of the busiest nights of the year, and it was interesting to see how the staff use about 90 remotely controlled cameras actively to monitor what's going on in the town centre. In one case we saw someone trying to hide something in his shoe after being ejected from a club and the CCTV staff were able to help the police to find vital evidence when they conducted a search of the suspect. We asked lots of questions and really appreciated the opportunity to hear at first hand about the challenges of keeping Croydon's streets safe for its citizens.

And so to Christmas, and a break from blogging..
.. but I’ll be back in the New Year, no doubt with plenty to say as the race towards the General Election hots up!

With best wishes for a Happy Christmas and New Year..

Simon Brew

 
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Supporting Purley Baptist Church Easter party
02/04/2018 16:39:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

 
 

With my colleague Cllr Badsha Quadir & a member of Purley BID, I joined Purley Rotary in supporting the Church's annual Easter Saturday party which was held in Purley High Street. It was bitterly cold and wet, but that didn't dampen the spirits of those who participated!

 


 

Purley BID conference at Christ Church
25/03/2018 16:25:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

The Purley BID has been going strong for two or three years now, and the CEO Simon Cripps recently invited me to their conference. We heard several presentations about how much progress has been achieved towards the goal of making Purley a place of destination rather than of transit. The businesses are achieving so much more through cooperation on issues of common concern, such as the business rates increases which have hit Purley particularly hard, the improved signage, security & parking, and the spectacular new posters surrounding the Purley Baptist Church Island Site. All best wishes for the next two years, until the businesses vote again on whether to continue their support for the BID. 

 


 

Coffee morning at Carriages, 840, Brighton Road
24/03/2018 16:15:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

Carriages is a residential block of flats for sale at the junction of Brighton Road and Christchurch Road Purley which has just opened following conversion from an office block. At the moment, the owners are keen to increase its profile in the area and invited me to an open coffee morning where prospective buyers can come and look round, and meet a few of the new residents. One of Carriages' attractive features is a large roof-top sun-lounge and bar area where residents can congregate; this is a really good idea, and in my experience is very unusual in residential blocks. 

 


 

Croydon "Local Plan" approved at Council last night
28/02/2018 18:37:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

It's disappointing to report that the Labour administration voted trhough the Local Plan last night despite its many flaws. There are two major issues so far as Purley is concerned

1) Owing to Labour's mismanagement of the review process, planning protection has been removed from about 30 green spaces across the Borough, and one of those spaces is Rotary Field. This does not necessarily mean that building will start tomorrow, but the removal of the protection means that there would be fewer hurdles to jump in the future if the Council was minded (as the Conservatives are certainly NOT minded) to build all over this treasured green space.

2) The Planning Inspector chose to ignore the strong evidence which was presented by local councillors and a group of concerned local residents that placing a gypsy & traveller site right next to the Purley Oaks Recycling centre was a bad idea. The Council still has to apply to itself for planning permission to convert the site, but it is unlikely to refuse such an application. If the Conservatives form the administration after the elections in May, you can be sure that every element of the local plan will be reviewed extremely carefully; just because something is in the Local Plan does not mean that it has to be implemented. 

 


 

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 simon.brew@croydon.gov.uk, 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? 

 

 


 

Delighted to attend Purley Mosque Open day
19/02/2018 16:07:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

 
 

Yesterday I was delighted to join my colleague Cllr Badsha Quadir and Mrs Helen Redfern in attending the Purley Mosque Open day.  We heard a short presentation about the origins of Islam and the interrelationship it has with other religions, and were then treated to some delicious sweetmeats. Finally all visitors were presented with a beautifully-decorated copy of the Koran, to aid our understanding of the religion.

 


 

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.

 


 

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 Older Blog Posts
24/01/2018
Croydon Community Consortium meeting
20/01/2018
Croydon Conference on causes/solutions for homelessness
18/01/2018
Purley Skyscraper "Mosaic Place " enquiry
20/04/2017
Montpelier Rd / Kingsdown Ave development approved..over-development, and destruction of open land :-(
29/03/2017
Development threat to Sanderstead Road car park
25/02/2017
The Lord Roberts Post Office will re-open on 23 March :-)
22/02/2017
Purley is identified as a "Dementia-friendly" town
25/01/2017
WARNING: Council tax refund scam
20/01/2017
How to object to the 20MPH zone – deadline 15 February 2017
05/01/2017
20MPH speed limit across the South of the Borough?
05/01/2017
Strong local opposition to plan for 34 dwellings at jct: Montpelier Rd/Kingsdown Avenue
14/12/2016
Purley BID seeks an ambassador - interested?
13/12/2016
Croydon's Digital Inclusion project and the Carer Support Centre
03/12/2016
Busy Purley surgery this morning
28/11/2016
Why so many tree stumps on Purley's streets?
27/11/2016
34 new dwelling planned at junction Montpelier Rd / Kingsdown Avenue
17/10/2016
Council meeting on 17/10: My speech on Local Plan's impact on Purley
16/10/2016
"No thanks for Trick or Treat" poster
13/10/2016
Fed Up with Trick or Treating at your front door?
06/09/2016
Local Plan Consultation period is now open. Concern re proposed Gypsy & Traveller site at Purley Oaks.
23/08/2016
Closed Fairfield Halls still owes £4500 to Croydon Dance Group
07/08/2016
Purley Baptist Church development – Mayor of London requires changes.
30/07/2016
Grass too long on roadside verges? Here's how to report it.
29/07/2016
Ginger Bread House parking application approved
22/07/2016
The new Montpelier Road Residents’ Association is formed
13/07/2016
Croydon Local Plan update: a Gypsy & Traveller Site in Purley?
13/07/2016
GOOD NEWS: Two Purley Car Park lifts to be restored
13/07/2016
Possible new development at junction of Montpelier Rd & Kingsdown Avenue, Purley
28/06/2016
Review of Croydon's ineffective licensing scheme for all private rented properties
23/06/2016
All in a day's work...
 
 
 
 
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