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 The Coulsdon West Blog
Cllr  Jeet  Bains
Cllr  Luke  Clancy
Cllr  Mario  Creatura

Speech on Croydon housing
17/10/2016 21:38:00......Posted by Mario Creatura


I spoke against our Labour Council's debate motion at tonight's Council meeting. Their moton was:

'This council calls on Gavin Barwell MP, the Minister for Housing & Planning, to show his commitment to affordable council housing for local people by: 

  • Removing the artificial borrowing cap on the HRA to allow councils to borrow funds to enable the delivery of more affordable housing
  • To stop the enforced sell off of high value voids meaning this council would need to sell off desperately needed family homes and hand the income over to central government
  • To end the unfair 'Tenants' Tax' on working households which could force families from their homes
  • To end the enforced 1% rent cut, costing this council £31 million over the next four years, reducing services to tenants and affecting our ability to build new council homes'

You can watch my response here or read the transcript below:

"Thank you Mr Mayor. There is a well established convention in the Council Chamber that we do not attack those who are not here to defend themselves. This Labour motion is a direct and unwarranted partisan attack on Gavin Barwell, unable to speak for himself. The administration should be ashamed of themselves. 

But it’s worse than that, because this debate motion is a fundamental attempt to mislead the public. In putting forward this motion, Cllr Butler has revealed a shocking lack of even the most basic knowledge about the housing situation in Croydon: 

She asks for the government to remove the artificial borrowing cap on the HRA. 

There is nothing “artificial” about the cap. It is there to control the level of government borrowing. We know that debt in Croydon is already spiralling out of control, and as usual Labour are calling for more spending financed by debt, money we don’t have, that the next generation will have to repay. In 2014 - after Labour took control of the Council - the Government made available £300 million of additional borrowing to support new affordable homes. What did our Labour administration do? Absolutely nothing. You didn’t submit a bid. You want more money, but when it’s offered on a plate you do nothing. 

You ask for the Government to stop the sell off of high value voids but if you understood the policy, you’d know the Council would be able to keep enough money to replace the homes in question. The money that goes to the Government is being used to fund the Right to Buy for housing association tenants. We Conservatives want to help people fulfil their dream of owning their own home; quite simply Labour don’t – indeed your party recently announced that not only does Labour oppose giving housing association tenants the Right to Buy, you would deliberately suspend it for council tenants. Utterly shameful. 

You call on Gavin to end the higher rents on working households. Again, you’ve misunderstood the policy. The Government believes that tenants on higher incomes, initially over £40,000 a year, should pay higher rents - why should the wealthier receive the same level of subsidy as poorer tenants? I thought that Labour would share our view that those who are better off should contribute more - evidently not! 

That said, it’s important that people aren’t penalised for working hard so there’s a 15% taper meaning that for every additional thousand pound of income a household has above £40,000 a year, they will pay an extra £2.88 a week in rent. Nationally, more than 90% of households living in council properties will be unaffected by the policy. 

You ask for the Government to end the 1% rent cut, you say it’ll cost this council £31 million over the next four years. This highlights perhaps the starkest difference between Labour and the Conservatives: Labour always think of the bureaucratic Council, we think of the tenants. This policy is saving tenants money and also taxpayers by reducing the Housing Benefit bill a bill that’s risen by a quarter over the last decade to £13.2 billion last year. 

In conclusion Mr Mayor, this debate is nothing more than politically motivated Punch and Judy politics. Poorly researched and poorly understood. It’s a shocking indictment of an administration failing to get a grip not only on Croydon’s finances, but on the simplest of facts. Croydon deserves better. 

I oppose this motion." 

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Fire safety in Croydon Council buildings
16/06/2017 17:00:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

Following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in west London, the Council wants to reassure residents that Croydon Council accommodation meets standards on fire safety. They carry out regular fire risk assessments on all of their blocks, and all these are up to date.

From 2009 to 2015 Croydon invested over £10 million to improve the fire safety of its blocks, including renewing both communal and front entrance doors to flats, protecting internal stairwells and other areas. 

They also regularly advise residents about ensuring that fire routes and communal areas are clear of obstructions, such as rubbish, bicycles and mobility scooters.

As a result of the fire Croydon Council has launched a further full review of all their housing blocks. This will involve independent testing, both external and internal, and comprehensive safety tests.   

We know that many of you will want to offer your support to the victims of this terrible tragedy. A fundraising page has been set up for those who would like to make a donation at 

Statement by London Fire Service

At this stage we do not know yet what caused the fire.  We do not know where it started and we do not know why it spread in the way that it did.

If you live in a high rise property you are not at more risk of a fire starting.  Our advice is that people who live in high rise properties/purpose build flats or maisonettes, aside from having a smoke alarm and taking fire safety precautions, is to make sure you know the escape route and what to do if there is a fire inside your home or somewhere else in the building.

The fire and rescue service works with local authorities, developers, and tenants to help ensure that the fire safety arrangements in high rise accommodation is safe and appropriate.

The advice provided by fire services is based on effective fire safety arrangements that are required, proposed, and then provided in the building – these will include compartmentation of the building and means of escape.

If there is a fire inside your flat or maisonette our advice is to alert all the people in your flat and leave, closing your doors behind you.  You should follow your escape plan and if there is lots of smoke, crawl along the floor where the air should be clearer.  Always use the stairs rather than the lift and call 999 as soon as you are in a safe place.

If there is a fire elsewhere in the building then the structure of the building – walls, floors, doors – are designed to give you a minimum of 30-60 minutes’ protection from a fire to enable you to remain in your flat whilst it is dealt with by the Fire Service. If there is a fire elsewhere in your building then you are usually safer to stay in your flat unless the heat or smoke from the fire is affecting you, in which case you can leave via the stairs if safe to do so.  If it is not safe to leave and you do remain in your flat call 999 and tell them which flat you are in.



Meeting HH Pope Tawadros II
24/05/2017 23:20:00.......Posted by Luke Clancy


I was delighted to be presented recently, along with my fellow Coulsdon West Councillors Jeet and Mario, an icon by the Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II, the 118th Pope of Alexandria and 117th successor to Saint Mark.

It was his Holiness's first pastoral visit to the UK in a difficult year for Christians in Egypt who are subject to ongoing violence. The occasion was the consecration of the altar at St Mary & Shenouda Coptic Orthodox Church on Rickman Hill.

Our thanks go to the Clergy, the Church Council and the congregation, for the opportunity to attend the consecration prayers led by HH Pope Tawadros II, Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark.



Manchester and security in Croydon
24/05/2017 13:03:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura


Following the tragic attack in Manchester on Monday evening, the Prime Minister announced last night that the UK threat level has been raised from Severe (attack highly likely) to Critical (an attack may be imminent).

We know that some in our community may concerned by this. Please rest assured that everyone in Croydon Council and the local police are doing all they can to ensure we remain safe. Borough police across London are engaging with their local stakeholders and through their local networks, providing support and reassurance to vulnerable communities, with the business community, schools and faith premises.

  • Safer Schools officers will be reaching out and available to reassure pupils and answer questions they have.
  • As well as reaching out to reassure local partners and communities, local police are actively monitoring community tensions.
  • The Council encourages all residents to report any hate crime to police. We will not tolerate hate crime and the police will investigate all reports that are made to them.

If you notice any suspicuous activity, please do report it using the following:

  1. To report suspected terrorist activity please call the police anti-terror hotline on 0800 789 321.
  2. To report hate crime please call 101 or via      
  3. You can also report hate crime anonymously via Crimestoppers - 0800 555111
  4. You can report graffiti to
  5. In an emergency always call 999.

Further information regarding the threat level can be found here:

If you have any other questions or concerns, do contact myself or my fellow Coulsdon West councillors using:



The Pope visits Coulsdon!
09/05/2017 13:27:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura


I was delighted today to join key figures in the Coulsdon community this morning to celebrate the consecration of an altar by Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.

This was a true honour for our community as Pope Tawadros held a service at St Mary and St Shenouda’s Church in Coulsdon during his first UK visit.

He came to pray with Reverend Kyrillos Asaad of the local church and met the Mayor of Croydon, Chris Philp MP and a number of other spiritual and community leaders.

Coulsdon is a vibrant and diverse community, I'm truly grateful to have the opportunity to represent our residents at such an important event. Many thanks to St Mary and St Shenouda for inviting myself and my fellow councillors along - a truly memorable day.



Planned Lion Green Road parking spaces upped to 80, but falls short of demand
03/04/2017 21:45:00.......Posted by Luke Clancy

I’ve just returned from a Coulsdon member briefing where the future of the Lion Green Road site was discussed again.

Brick-by-Brick, the Council’s arms-length in-house development company, delivered a presentation on this important site. 

It is welcome that Brick-by-Brick intend to increase parking spaces a little from previous estimates but more provision should be made to serve the town centre's uses.

Whereas we had previously been told the Lion Green Site would deliver only around 50 car parking spaces, this has now been upped to 80. However, this still falls far short of the expectations of local residents and businesses. In our recent survey they expressed the view that 100 parking spaces is the absolute baseline that should be considered; 19% would like to see between 100 and 175 parking spaces, and the majority (56%) would like to see at least 200 spaces.

Any less and this would deal a serious blow to the viability of the town centre.

The development would also see around 105 flats built on the site (which themselves would share 55 separate parking spaces) in a 3-7 storey development organised in five ‘pavillions’.

Public consultations are due on the sites in late-April, with full planning applications submitted from Brick-by-Brick at the end of May.




Permits at tip needed from April 2017
10/03/2017 16:04:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura


The Council has surprised residents right across the borough with the news that from 3rd April 2017 everyone will need TWO forms of ID to be able to take rubbish to the borough's tips.

The news came as a story in the Croydon Advertiser and not announced in consultation with Residents' Associations despite every house receiving communication about the 5% increase in Council Tax within the last week.

If you go to any of the Croydon tips after the 3rd April you will need to take two forms of identification from the list below. It is entirely possible that this will serve to increase queuing the already long queues at the tips and many residents will be turned away despite waiting for a long period of time as they will not have been told about the new rules. Please leave good time if you are to use the tips after 3rd April.

You can read the full story on the Croydon Advertiser website.

Your document must be current and valid.

  • Passport (EU or Non-EU)
  • Full or provisional UK Photocard Driving Licence (paper licences not acceptable)
  • EU Photocard Driving Licence
  • National Identity card (Non-UK nationals)
  • Electoral Identity Card (Northern Ireland)
  • Address ID group
  • Your document must be in date as shown below.
  • Full or provisional paper UK Driving Licence (if issued before 1998)
  • EU Photocard Driving Licence
  • Utility bill (dated within last 3 months) (not mobile phone)
  • Bank or building society statement (dated within last 3 months)
  • Council tax bill (dated within last 12 months)
  • Mortgage statement (dated within last 12 months)
  • Benefit statement or letter e.g. Pension, Child Benefit (dated within last 3 months)
  • HMRC document (not P45 or P60)
  • Electoral identity card



Supporting Purley Youth Project
09/03/2017 13:57:00.......Posted by Luke Clancy


The 3 Cousldon West councillors pictured with volunteers from Purley Youth Project - to which we made £1,000 contribution from the Community Ward Budget this year.

The Purley Youth Project is a charity that was set up by 6 local churches in the Purley and Kenley area in 1987. It is open from 5.00pm until 7.00pm every Wednesday and during the school holidays at the youth centre behind Purley United Reformed Church in Brighton Road.

Through discussion, informal education and activities, the project aims to meet childrens' social, personal and spiritual needs, whilst helping them contact and develop relationships with young people in central Purley and throughout the borough

At the time of our visit the centre was very busy with 85 kids all enjoying themselves and letting off steam outside of school.

Those interested can find out more here:



Fairfield Halls planning concerns
03/03/2017 14:11:00.......Posted by Luke Clancy

Reports have been run recently relaying that the Conservatives opposed the Fairfield Halls planning application last week so I would like to put on record some of the concerns I had with the development to put the issue into some context and explain why I cast my vote in the way did.  

Whilst I supported the objective of developing the entertainment offering and financing this with some enabling development, the scale (over 2,200 homes) is I feel cramming too much in. The density is too high and I’m concerned that daylight and sunlight conditions for some homes are well below the recommended standards.

In terms of the theatre offering, there are misgivings the future offering has been decided on without necessary input from potential theatre operators – most notably there was highlighted a number of perceived flaws in the design of the ‘Get In’ that could hamper efforts to book the best and biggest acts.

Then there is the level of reduction of educational floorspace by what could be more than half. This is despite the acknowledged ambition to allow the College to further develop its university offer. The two objectives seem at odds and counter intuitive.

The design of some of the residential blocks is a little uninspiring. Pre-cast concrete? It sounds like a return to the 1960s, and the type of design palate that the town has suffered from for half a century.

In College Green I would like to see more thought given to how this area may be used for outdoor activities and by spectators.

I also think the significant reduction in public car parking provision will be to the detriment of the Halls and the wider town centre; 243 commuter parking spaces would be displaced. These are the regular visitors to our town who spend their salaries in local businesses. I would like to welcome the creation of a two thousand square metre art gallery but I do worry it is a folly at the expense of essential car parking.

Additionally, I deplore the destruction of the Arnhem gate - at the very least it should be mitigated more meaningfully than putting some lighting along the Park Lane frontage.

[It should be noted on the same night there was also an application for an infill site in Coulsdon West in The Avenue. This got approved despite it feeling like an over-development. Worryingly, however, my colleague Cllr Jeet Bains was denied the opportunity to speak against the application, even though the agenda listed him as the referring councillor and so his referral was the reason the application was being heard by committee. Cllr Bains was denied the opportunity to speak by on a technicality - that he had not registered in time to do so. This feels profoundly undemocratic and I do not recall a similar instance of referring councillors being denied speaking time when the Conservatives were the majority group on that committee].



Lion Green Road to be slashed to 50 parking spaces
03/03/2017 14:11:00.......Posted by Luke Clancy

Last night I received a Coulsdon member briefing where the future of the Lion Green Road site was discussed.

The biggest piece of news is that Brick by Brick, the Council’s in-house development company is planning to deliver only around 50 car parking spaces on the Lion Green Road site (as well as c. 100 residential units).

That is well short of expectations of local residents and businesses expressed in our recent survey and would deal a serious blow to the viability of the town centre.

In our survey, asked how many car parking spaces they thought should be accommodated on the Lion Green Road site, a majority (56%) would like to see at least 200 spaces. A total of 18% of respondents would like to see 100 parking spaces, while 19% would like to see between 100 and 175 parking spaces, and only 7% would like less than 100 spaces. The preference of most respondents was that a substantial proportion of parking spaces should be long term (in excess of 7 hour stay).

This is the second successive Coulsdon member briefing meeting that Brick by Brick has offered apologies for, and instead sent a series of bullet points detailing its latest plans. It is a real shame that they don’t feel they can face us to explain their plans.

Options to combine residential development with a relocation of the Library as well as the Community Centre in Barrie Close to the former CALAT site remain in principle on the table (although we were told the Community Centre is resisting because the facilities and parking spaces would not be replaced on a like-for-like basis).

Public consultations are due on the sites in mid-April, but Brick by Brick has already begun pre-application discussions with the Council.



Surgery this Saturday cancelled
02/03/2017 14:16:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

Sadly neither myself nor my two Coulsdon West councillor colleagues will be able to attend our normally monthly surgery this coming Saturday morning (4th March) in the Coulsdon Community Centre.

Normal service resumes on 1st April. 

If you have any issues that you need support with, please do contact us using; and and we'd be more than happy to help.



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 Older Blog Posts
How many Council tenants have made 'disrepair' claims?
Objection to the 20mph zone consultation process
Lost revenue from 1 hour free parking?
How should Coulsdon police communicate with you?
How do we build schools for the future?
Empty units in Croydon Town Centre
How do Emergency Placements for vulnerable children work?
The future of Coulsdon Community Centre
How will 20mph be enforced?
Why won't Croydon Labour support making London a National Park City?
How many children are currently missing in Croydon?
Why the welcome u-turn on free parking?
Welcome u-turn from Labour on 1-hour free parking in Coulsdon Town
Housing for veterans in Croydon
YBS in Coulsdon Town to close in May
Question to the Council on pub closure policy
Survey: Vast majority want no housing on Lion Green Road and at least 200 parking spaces
Cleaning up Coulsdon with youth group
Extra help if there’s a power cut
SURVEY: What do you want on the Lion Green Road site?
Old Lodge Lane Closure starting November 21 until January 9.
Speech on Croydon housing
Update: highway maintenance, Brighton Road Coulsdon
Creative accounting masks Labour's £7 million overspend?
Altering Traffic Management Control 10th – 24th October: Brighton Road, Coulsdon
Lord Roberts shop and Post Office
'Phantom' development at 45 Woodcote Valley Road revealed as bogus
Police patrolling Chipstead Valley and Woodcote Primary School
Extra police in Coulsdon West
Cane Hill reserved matters
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