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

Fairfield Halls Closure in July - for ever??
29/04/2016 17:55:00......Posted by Simon Brew

Together with several other Conservative councillors, I attended a packed public meeting of about 300 people at the Fairfield Halls on 6th April. It had been convened by the SaveOurFairfield Campaign (@saveourfairfld), and a series of experts in their fields gave convincing presentations on the current situation. The Labour Council leader Tony Newman and cabinet member Tim Godfrey had both been invited but neither turned up, and there was a poignantly empty chair on the stage where Cllr Godfrey should have sat.

Everyone agrees that the halls badly need refurbishment, so the issue is whether it’s better to keep the venue open and upgrade the facilities bit by bit (concert hall, then foyer, then theatre for example) or to close the entire site for two years (or more) while it is upgraded.  Labour plans to close the venue on 15th July 2016 and hopes to reopen in September 2018, but at the meeting, we heard a long list of good reasons why a staged upgrade would be far preferable. The most important of these include:

·         Many staff and apprentices and the loyal corps of volunteer stewards, some of whom have served for over 20 years, will be able to keep their jobs by switching roles within the site as the upgrade continues.

·         Keeping the venue open maintains Fairfield in the public eye as a premier venue for Croydonians and visitors at a time when upheaval in the town is imminent due to the forthcoming Westfield Hammerson development.

·         Access to professional performing arts facilities is maintained for the dozens of local groups and schools that currently use its facilities.

·         The venue will maintain its position on the professional comedy, musical and theatrical touring circuits, thus avoiding the expense of having to re-establish itself after a 2year closure.

·         Events are typically booked up to 18 months in advance, so new staff and a marketing team will need to be recruited no later than Christmas 2016 if the planned reopening date is to be maintained.

·         As yet, there is no detail on timescale or an operational or business plan, or even a designated site operator.

·         The expertise of the current venue operator and loyal staff, who between them have decades of experience in operating the site, will be maintained.

·         At the time of writing, planning permission for the building works has not yet been granted, so it seems extremely premature to close the whole site so soon.

·         Phased refurbishments are common in the industry, and have been completed successfully for example at Bristol, Newcastle and Eastbourne, so why not in Croydon?

Labour seems determined to close the venue completely for two years or more because they claim that it would cost an extra £5M and take longer to complete. I don’t deny that it might take longer and might cost a bit more to undertake a phased upgrade, but the important thing is that the venue would remain open, many jobs would be saved, and the continuity of bookings would generally be maintained. In any case, the total cost of closure and re-opening does not seem to have been fully or publicly costed, so all financial figures are open to variable interpretation, depending on the point you wish to make.

At the full Council meeting on 18th April, the Campaign presented two petitions containing a total of 11000 signatures which called for the upgrade works to be phased; there was a lively debate with four excellent speeches from Andy Hylton and my colleagues (and three more from Labour). At the end of the debate, Labour councillors voted to disregard the petition, even as boos echoed round the chamber. It remains to be seen whether the administration will take any notice of the strong expression of public feeling on this issue.

Cllr Simon Brew, April 2016

 
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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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