Ward matters speech at full council
08/12/2015 09:56:00......Posted by Michael Neal
Thank you madam Mayor
The free green garden waste collection introduced by Cllr Thomas under the Conservative administration is to be abandoned by this Labour Council and replaced with a £60 charge. Residents are extremely unhappy at this proposal. A letter sent out signed by an officer of this council suggesting that Government cuts are to blame is misleading. I do question why an officer signed the letter and not the Cabinet member responsible.
Surely this is a political decision?
As Croham residents have pointed out Labour have a “choice” to either secure money for this popular service or to spend money on pet projects, such as the fairness commission. It’s all a matter of priorities, this Labour Council has abandoned this principle and expects the residents of Croham to shut up and pay up.
There is no doubt that charging for collections would end up costing the council more. Why should residents pay more for this this “green tax” when they already pay for this service through their council tax?
Introducing an additional charge would see most of our green waste end up in landfill bins or dumped on the street. Lots of people – won't be able to take it to a recycling Centre.
So, not only will the council pick up the bill with increased landfill costs, but it will also have to pay to clear a massive increase in fly-tipping.
According the Advertiser Cllr Collins admitted charging for collections would likely increase fly-tipping but could not quantify how much the extra cost would be.
At present over 10,000 people have signed the petition against the charge, a testament to the strength of feeling.
The consultation over Labour’s Local plan has stirred residents into action;
Some of the local plan we welcome but Croham residents have made it clear to us that they oppose a gypsy and traveler site in Conduit lane, and they oppose a gypsy and traveler site at Coombe Farm in a Green belt next to Lloyd Park
Residents are also concerned over the proposed secondary school on Coombe playing fields in a green belt with poor access to sustainable transport.
We have already seen in Croham the return to building on back gardens or any green space through developers pressurising home owners through garden grabbing
We oppose the loss of green belt status for areas such as Croham Hurst and the loss of areas of Special character protection for roads such as West Hill, Dornton road and Campden road.
The consultation events have taken place with many residents attending, some have come away perplexed and angry, One resident claimed “How can this Labour Council state that this consultation is open and transparent when so much of the detail is hidden in the documents”
Residents and residents associations are keen to take part in the consultation, and I know that many are registering their objections to some of the proposed changes that affect their area.
I urge all residents to make their views known by responding to the Consultation by the 18th December
Another factor which affects many in Croham is the Closure of Fairfield Halls for 2 years, families are wondering where they will be able to take their children to Christmas pantomime, and the schools are concerned that they will not be able to use the halls for the foreseeable future along with many Croham residents.
Simon Thomsett, CEO of Fairfield Halls said he welcomed the plan but reiterated that closing for such a long period of time would be a "mistake".
On this side we all agree with the CEO that a phased approach would allow the Council to continue to provide a cultural offer. It would allow us to hold on to the professional expertise that exists in the charity and reduce the risks. There are 70 permanent and 150 contract and casual staff employed by Fairfield. They are all potentially set to lose their jobs.
The cost and the impact on the business of a two year closure would be considerable.
Although the refurbishment has been approved - and design work started – the Labour Authority do not know how the new Fairfield will be run, or who will operate it or exactly what the building will be used for.
Cllr Newman has indicated that the £30 million refurbishment will be paid up front then the money recouped by selling flats built as part of the wider development of College Green. It has been noted that the authority had yet to decide whether to pay for the refurbishment itself or find a development or finance partner.
Surely Labour are playing with our cultural heritage to the detriment of Croydon.
Sign our petition and object to this closure