Home-start Croydon's 30th birthday
06/03/2019 15:36:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
Earlier today, it was a pleasure to join in the 30th birthday celebrations of this very worthwhile local charity. It offers a unique service to families by recruiting and training volunteers, who are usually parents themselves, to visit families at home who have at least one child under 5. The volunteers provide informal, confidential and friendly support, particularly at times of stress. During the AGM which was held in the Council chamber, we heard a heart-warming story from a wheelchair-bound mother of triplets who explained with great passion how the availability of support from a skilled Home-start volunteer at a critical time had made such an enormous difference to the family's well-being.
Walkabout at Partridge Knoll, Purley
06/03/2019 07:48:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
Yesterday, I met the tenancy officer for this estate on-site, and we spent a useful hour checking its general condition. There were some rusty railings needing maintenance, and we noted an abandoned truck which hopefully will be removed shortly. We also toured each residential block and picked up several minor issues such as broken drainpipes and doors; we were also concerned that some items were being stored in the public passages where they could constitute a fire hazard in the event of any emergency. Offending residents will be reminded by letter that all public areas MUST be kept clear, and we'll check on progress at the next inspection.
Purley surgery followed by an hour at Rotary Swimathon
03/03/2019 19:32:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
Yesterday I held our normal monthly surgery at 36 Brighton Road opposite Tesco, and one couple and their child came to see me to discuss an employment/redundancy problem. Normally I refer such cases to our MP Chris Philp, but in this case I was pleased to be able to provide direct help because I knew some of the companies involved.
In the evening I was one of the team of five members of the BID team in the Purley Rotary Swimathon fundraising event which finished last night. The nominated charities this year are End Polio Now, The Purley Food Hub and the Firefighter's charity, and we were delighted that we managed to swim 92 lengths between us, thus raising several hundred pounds for this very worthy cause.
Selection of Conservative candidate for Croydon/Sutton GLA constituency
01/03/2019 10:12:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
Last night all Conservative party members in Croydon & Sutton met at the Grand Sapphire Hotel off Purley Way. Croydon to select our candidate for the GLA election scheduled for 7 May 2020. He replaces Cllr Steve O'Connell of Kenley ward who after 12 successful years in the role has decided not to stand again. About 90 people originally applied to be considered; a committee whittled the number down to four excellent candidates (three from Croydon and one from Sutton), who were all asked to attend the selection meeting. Each spoke for three minutes, then answered a set of standard questions and finally took questions from the floor.
We used a series of elimination ballots, in which the person with the lowest vote dropped out, and after three rounds, Neil Garratt who is currently a councillor in Belmont ward, Sutton emerged as the clear winner in a closely fought contest. In his acceptance speech he committed to making himself available to all wards in both boroughs, so he'll certainly have his hands full! He has already started in his new role by helping us campaign for Tirena Gunter who is our candidate in the forthcoming Norbury & Pollards Hill by-election, and we look forward to seeing him around Croydon much more in the future.
Croydon's support for small businesses
27/02/2019 16:06:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
I went to a meeting this morning which was aimed at Croydon's very large SME (small and medium enterprises) community, which constitutes 99% of all businesses in the UK. SMEs are the lifeblood of every community, yet their voices are often drowned out by the large businesses who tend to dominate the headlines. Local organisations such as Purley BID, Croydon Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses have a key part to play here, and we should also be grateful to Chris Philp MP for his part in successfully lobbying the Chancellor to reduce the business rates burden for all business with a rateable value of less then £51000.
The meeting heard how there is a large number of special incentives ranging from loans and grants, special deals on business rates and apprenticeship schemes; I hope that local businesses needing any sort of help will contact the Council direct, or via me.
New Tree Preservation Order (TPO) for Monahan Avenue
22/02/2019 12:05:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
Amid the flurry of totally inappropriate planning applications which have afflicted Purley recently, it's good to report one small piece of good news.
A few weeks ago, several trees which did not have TPOs were felled around 34-38A Monahan Avenue, possibly in anticipation of a planning application for yet more blocks of flats. Following a request from local residents, I asked LBC's trees officer to investigate, and I'm pleased to report that a temporary TPO has just been issued for an area which includes these four addresses. This lasts for six months during which a more thorough survey will be undertaken, and permanent TPOs will then be issued for those individual trees deemed worthy of preservation.
Please contact me or my colleagues if you believe that trees which currently enhance the local fabric of Purley are under threat from possible planning applications, and we can ask that the Trees Officers undertake a similar investigation.
New “Iron Horse” art installation will celebrate Purley’s proud past
16/02/2019 18:19:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
Every resident of Purley knows that the town is a great place to live – but few appreciate the proud part it played in helping Britain transform from an agricultural economy to an industrial power-house.
All this is about to change thanks to the commissioning of a new world-class art installation in Purley’s Rotary Field which has been funded in part by the five local Conservative ward councillors. Professional artist Alan Potter has won a competition to design and install an art installation in Purley. His ‘Iron Horse’ design will celebrate the heritage of the Surrey Iron Railway which was one of the very first railways anywhere in the world. The railway was established by Act of Parliament in 1801 and opened in 1802/1803. It was a toll railway on which carriers used horses to draw laden wagons most commonly full of coal, building materials, lime, manure, corn and seeds. From 1805-1837 the track ran all the way from a river dock in Wandsworth through Mitcham, Croydon and Purley to Merstham & Godstone, and parts of it are still visible in Rotary Field.
The sculpture is subject to modification depending on consultation with the local community, but is likely to comprise a series of life-sized cast iron ‘relief panels’ of a dray horse pulling loaded wagons on an iron rail. The installation will symbolise the dramatic transformation from agriculture to industry that the Surrey Iron Railway helped to facilitate.
Many residents are unaware of the pivotal role of the Surrey Iron Railway and it is hoped that the new installation will inspire the town’s residents to find out more about Purley’s vibrant social and economic history.
The competition for the new art installation was launched last year out of a recognition that Purley carries little reference to the town’s long and proud history. Artists were invited to respond with details of how they would capture the town’s exciting history through art and create an installation that would contribute to the area’s attractive surroundings. No less than 23 people applied, and Alan Potter was chosen because of the strength of his idea and his commitment to using this opportunity to develop and encourage local art groups and to help nurture a culture of creativity where he works.
The photo was taken on the site of the railway with a remnant of it in the background. From
Left to Right:
Diana Phiri-Whitty, LBC Purley Regeneration manager
Simon Cripps, Purley BID
Alan Potter, sculptor
Andrew Pickering, Purley Rotary
Cllr Simon Brew
Yet ANOTHER large family home bites the dust - this time in Riddlesdown Road
15/02/2019 18:23:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
I'm a reserve on the Planning Committee, which means that I'm asked to sit on it occasionally when one of the regular members is unable to attend. I'm often at planning committees but usually in the role of making a speech objecting to an inappropriate planning application in my ward; this time I was participating in the decision-making process.
The application concerned 98 Riddlesdown Road, which is in the neighbouring ward of Purley Oaks & Riddlesdown; as has become routine, it was yet another application to demolish a large family home and replace it by another block of nine flats. I listened carefully to the arguments put both ways during the debate but in the end decided to vote against the application. I considered that the cumulative impact of about 20 blocks of flats all being built within a few hundred meters of each other, and including one right next door at 96A, constituted overdevelopment of the area, particularly given that the Council's own planning document DM10 states that the Council "will take account of cumulative impact". if this isn't cumulative impact, then what is?
Sadly the six Labour members of the committee voted in favour of the scheme, thus outvoting the four Conservative members who all opposed the scheme, so it was approved. This was another sad example of the way in which Labour is changing Purley's leafy character for ever.
Fish & Chips in Selsdon
12/02/2019 18:11:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
There's certainly plenty of variety in the role (I hesitate to say job) of being a councillor! Earlier today I went to a delicious Fish & Chip lunch at McDermotts in Selsdon. It was organised by the Mayor of Croydon in aid of her nominated charity Cancer Research UK; the venue was absolutely packed, and attended by a few mayors of neighbouring boroughs. There was also a raffle with lots of generous prizes, including a meal for two with wine which was kindly donated by Purley's own restauranteur Cllr Badsha Quadir. I'm delighted that these mayoral charity events manage to raise so much money - about £30-40000 per year - for such good local causes.
Another decent family home bites the dust.....
01/02/2019 09:41:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
At last night's planning committee meeting a local resident and I both spoke passionately against yet another planning application for the demolition of yet another large family house & garden in the Selcroft/Oakwood/Purley Hill area, but of course our views were gleefully ignored by the Labour-dominated committee. This application, 18/05009/FUL is for the demolition of 55 Selcroft Road and its replacement by another block of 9 flats; it's particularly egregious because it is the FIFTH similar application with a 50m radius of four others which have all been approved. Some 100 residents will soon be living in a concentrated area currently occupied by about 20 residents, and in an area where public transport is virtually inaccessible; this is particularly a problem for the disabled, who will therefore need cars for which there is inadequate parking provision.
Croydon local plan policy DM10.1 says that "the Council will take account of cumulative impact", so if this fifth local application doesn't have a cumulative impact, then what does? Labour's mantra that "Croydon needs more homes" is of course true, but why destroy so many decent family homes when far more new homes could be created by imaginative re-use of brown-field sites such as the Royal Mail sorting office by East Croydon station which has been derelict for nearly ten years?