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 The Coulsdon Town Blog
 
Cllr  Luke  Clancy
Cllr  Mario  Creatura
Cllr  Ian  Parker
 

Favouritism for Labour HQ repeat fly-postering?
27/06/2017 17:45:00......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

I've received an answer back from Cllr Ali who is the Cabinet Member responsible for Council Enforcement on a question about fly-postering procedure.

CQ032-17 from Councillor Mario Creatura to Councillor Hamida Ali

 Can the Cabinet Member please detail the following:

- How many cases of fly-postering have been reported to the Council by residents since May 2014?

- How many cases of fly-postering have been noted independently by officers since May 2014?

- How many of those are 'repeat offenders'?

- How many have resulted in a 'warning' visit from enforcement officers? Please divide these by those highlighted by residents and those noted by officers.

- How many of those have resulted in some form of formal enforcement? Please detail the action taken again dividing between those highlighted by residents and those noted by officers.

 Reply

1.    How many cases of fly-posting have been reported to the Council by residents since May 2014?

748 have been reported and removed across the service. Unfortunately the method of reporting and recording does not allow us to differentiate between residents and other sources.

2.    How many cases of fly-posting have been noted independently by officers since May 2014?

As above these figures cannot be separated as are recorded together. 748 fly post reports have been recorded since 2014.

3.    How many of those are 'repeat offenders'?

From our records we can find only 1 who could be deemed to be a repeat offender.

4.    How many have resulted in a 'warning' visit from enforcement officers? Please divide these by those highlighted by residents and those noted by officers.

The council do not generally visit organisations suspected of fly posting.  The first stage in the process is to try and contact who we think is responsible, advise them that what they are doing is illegal and ask that they remove the posters. This is successful in the vast majority of cases. If they refuse or we get evidence of further incidents the council would then issue a formal written warning.  Our records show that 4 Premises or businesses have received written warnings.

5.    How many of those have resulted in some form of formal enforcement? Please detail the action taken again dividing between those highlighted by residents and those noted by officers.

There has been 1 prosecuted, who were fined and ordered to pay a combined total of £10,230. The level of detail as to who reported the incidents has not been recorded (as a witness to the posters actually being up is not necessary for a prosecution unless a person sees the offender putting them up.)

This answer triggered a number of further questions that I have today submitted to the Council:

'In response to the answer given to CQ032-17 on the subject of fly-postering, the Cabinet Member reveals that using the Council's records they can find only one who could be deemed to be a repeat offender.

On 27th June 2016 I reported to Officers the repeated fly-postering of Croydon Town Centre by Ruskin House on Coombe Road - the HQ of the Croydon Labour Party. These posters were on the sides of buildings, phone boxes, walls and other non-sanctioned locations.The reply on 28th June ensured enforcement officers would look into this and would update me on 'what action is taken'.

On 8th July 2016 I reported to Officers that Ruskin House had yet again fly-postered Croydon Town Centre. That afternoon I was assured the 'NSO team to look at this and update you on what action they have taken'.

On 22nd February 2017 I yet again reported to Officers that Ruskin House had put up posters around Croydon Town Centre. I was assured on 27th February that this would be taken up and I'd be 'updated directly as this is an enforcement issue.' No update was provided.

On 11th March 2017 I reported to Officers that Ruskin House had put up yet more posters around Croydon Town Centre. A more substantive reply came on 13th March. The fly posters in 2016 were dealt with by way of a verbal warning. The individual person that this was issued to is no longer involved with Ruskin House so the Council told me they were unable to follow up with enforcement action. 

Ruskin House has now been issued with a written warning which, if breached, could result in a Community Protection Notice being issued. This would then make them liable to a fine or prosecution.  

My questions to the Cabinet Member are as follows:

1. Why is the system used to record instances of fly-postering not kept up to date accurately by Officers?

2. What processes will she be putting in place to ensure the accurate recording of information for the purposes of enforcement going forward?

3. Will the Cabinet Member ensure that 'Ruskin House' as opposed to an individual is noted as a 'repeat offender'?

4. Is it the practice of this administration to attribute an organisation's illegal fly-postering as the responsibility of an individual or of anyone representing that organisation?

5. Does the Cabinet Member believe Ruskin House has been given particularly special treatment and if so why does the she believe that is the case?

6. Should Ruskin House break the written warning, what does the Cabinet Member believe is proportionate enforcement action?

7. Does the Cabinet Member feel it is acceptable for political parties to fly-poster, sticker or spread other messages through illegal means?

8. Will the Cabinet Member commit to work with colleagues within her party to ensure that illegal political fly-postering will never again take place across our borough?

9. Can the Cabinet Member please estimate a cost for the removal of the Ruskin House posters and the Labour General Election fly-postering/stickers that she will be aware have been distributed across the borough?'

Reply received:

1. Why is the system used to record instances of fly-postering not kept up to date accurately by Officers?

In some cases the posters put up are permitted and are not classed as flyposting under the Town and Country Planning Act. The council has also changed reporting systems and is currently engaged in the roll out of a new database (CRM) to record some instances. Instances are not / were not recorded centrally due to the designation of different posters.

2. What processes will she be putting in place to ensure the accurate recording of information for the purposes of enforcement going forward?

The CRM system should be operational soon, however, repeat offenders can still be identified and issues addressed, especially where an evidential chain can be highlighted and used. Officers have used existing processes to identify several prolific fly posters and one was recently prosecuted and fined a substantial amount. https://wp.croydon.gov.uk/news/council-prosecutescompany-and-director-for-flyposting/

3. Will the Cabinet Member ensure that 'Ruskin House' as opposed to an individual is noted as a 'repeat offender'?

The legislation does not allow for that approach. A responsible person needs to be identified. A course of conduct observed and then dealt with accordingly.

4. Is it the practice of this administration to attribute an organisation's illegal fly-postering as the responsibility of an individual or of anyone representing that organisation?

It can be both or either.

5. Does the Cabinet Member believe Ruskin House has been given particularly special treatment and if so why does the she believe that is the case?

Officers are not allowed to give special treatment. They have been dealt with as any other person/organisation would be. The instances at Ruskin House have been noted.

6. Should Ruskin House break the written warning, what does the Cabinet Member believe is proportionate enforcement action?

It depends on the scenario. As the letter sent was a warning letter, the sanction for breaking it means that the next step may be the serving of a formal notice or a fine may be issued. However, as a warning letter has been sent in this instance, there is no reason to believe that the warning will be broken in the future.

7. Does the Cabinet Member feel it is acceptable for political parties to flyposter, sticker or spread other messages through illegal means?

Some temporary event advertising is permitted under the relevant legislation so a blanket statement cannot be made. That notwithstanding, with the best will in the world we cannot expect that every individual taking an interest in electoral politics will be fully conversant with the relevant legislation regarding stickers, for example.

8. Will the Cabinet Member commit to work with colleagues within her party to ensure that illegal political fly-postering will never again take place across our borough?

We will continue to work to address problems when they are brought to our attention. It is impossible, however, to ensure that it will never again take place.

9. Can the Cabinet Member please estimate a cost for the removal of the Ruskin House posters and the Labour General Election flypostering/stickers that she will be aware have been distributed across the borough?

The cost was negligible as most of the posters were taken down by Ruskin House after they were instructed to do so. 

 
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Impact of potential House of Fraser closure
02/08/2018 14:13:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

I've just asked Cllr Shahul-Hameed, Labour's economic Cabinet member, a question about the recent news that House of Fraser may be in danger of collapsing. You can read more about it online.

'For some months now there has been speculation about the future viability of House of Fraser, a business you'll know has a base in the Croydon Centrale Shopping Centre.

A planned rescue deal worth some £70m has recently collapsed, putting the business and its 6,000 direct members of staff nationally in danger of permanent closure.

Could you please outline what meetings you have personally had with House of Fraser to assess the impact of recent events on the Croydon store?

Could you please outline all that you are doing to try to safeguard the future of the store in Croydon?

Should House of Fraser fall into administration, can you release any information about what you understand will happen to replace its very large footprint in the Centrale Centre?

What impact willl the closure of House of Fraser have on the Westfield/Hammerson development that's currently in process?'

 


 

Bourne Society Blue Plaque
27/07/2018 11:54:00.......Posted by Ian Parker

I was pleased to attend the unveiling of a Bourne Society Blue Plaque commemorating the 1910 train crash in Coulsdon when seven people were killed after the Brighton to London Victoria Express split into two when passing points at the now closed Coulsdon North station. The rear part of the train derailed and crashed into the platform at 40 mph.

The unveiling of the plaque took place at the top of Station Approach Road, Coulsdon.  Excellent turnout of community/residents' representatives including scout leaders.  Scouts assisted with the rescue at the time of the crash and it's right that this should be remembered.

 


 

Purley & Coulsdon Clubs for the Elderly (PACE)
25/07/2018 15:57:00.......Posted by Ian Parker

I was delighted to attend their AGM and to meet their new Chairman Mrs Patricia Painter (yes – she insists on Chairman not Chair which is “a piece of furniture!”).  We wish her well in her new role.  Jim the retiring Chairman will remain involved with the important work of the organisation for which all members present were grateful.

PACE has a strong and growing committee and tribute was quite rightly paid to the many volunteers who help with lifts for members and organising a fantastic range of events from dominoes, bingo, quizzes to flower arranging, trips and painting.  The paintings were proudly displayed at the Centre where the AGM was held.

I was particularly pleased to hear that school children support the Centre by organising events. 

“Respect your Oldies – your turn will come sooner than you think!” was a message on the wall at the Centre.  I certainly respect the good work of PACE and was grateful for the invitation.

 


 

Labour push through unwanted traffic scheme at Woodcote High
13/07/2018 11:45:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

Despite the objections of Coulsdon Town Councillors, local MP Chris Philp, every Residents' Association and hundreds of local people - our Labour-dominated Traffic Management Committee last night forced through unpopular plans to restrict parents and local residents driving in the area around Woodcite High School.

Cllrs Luke Clancy and Ian Parker joined residents in speaking against the plans. Here is what they said at the meeting:

Cllr Clancy

"My view on this scheme has changed over time. Initially I was receptive to the perceived benefits of displacing parking within a wider circumference of the schools.

But now I think whilst this policy could aim to solve one problem it has in fact created other challenges. Residents feel the displaced vehicles have a detrimental effect on road safety in the surrounding roads outside the pedestrianised zone, especially the Chase and Grove Wood Hill. These roads now experience blocked driveways, congestion and the type of unsafe driving practices previously complained of in the Dunsfold Rise loop.

Opposition to the scheme by residents of these roads has been evidenced by 2 petitions I am aware of received by this Council.

My view is that the benefits of the pilot are inconclusive and a permanent order should not be made for Woodcote. I support the aim of making the roads around the schools safer and less polluted. But the level of disruption that these restrictions have caused to residents has undermined any advantages the scheme may have.

Proof that the scheme has improved safety, cut pollution and increased alternative methods of transport is scant. It would seem parents are just parking a few streets further away.

It is a shame that the scheme was introduced before baseline data could be collected that would have given a more scientific basis to the experiment.

The report also rolls the three schools into one, with no real distinction between the very different areas and levels of objection. It would be wrong to give the committee a single vote on both areas.

The scheme should be abandoned or at the very least the experimental order be extended for Woodcote to consider modifications. The committee can defer decision for a further eight months as that is the period under which the experimental traffic order can continue to operate. During that time a fuller consultation can be carried out and more data gathered. Residents would welcome a full study and referendum of all roads affected, with the option both of termination or more mitigation if the scheme is eventually approved.

For example, while the installation of a new pedestrian crossing in Woodcote Grove Road is to be welcomed, parents would like to see increased public transport provision to support the objectives of the scheme. Parents and children cannot be expected to abandon the car unless that is balanced with extra public transport capacity to travel to school. The area is not as well served by buses compared a more urban area like South Norwood. This is another reason, for the purposes of this decision, the two sites should not be considered together.

If the committee was minded to implement the scheme permanently it might also consider a compromise solution that would take the some of pressure off nearby roads bearing vehicle displacement. The ANPR system could be used to regulate traffic flow more evenly by permitting some proportion of parents, such as those with the youngest children, to park in the Dunsfold Rise loop. The scheme could then continue in a modified fashion that better distributes parking across all roads around the schools."

Cllr Parker

"As a ward councillor for Coulsdon Town covering the area of restricted access by the Woodcote schools I’m grateful for the opportunity to comment following the pilot scheme.

The recommendation in the Report before you is that you consider carefully the objections raised as a result of the consultation exercise. These are significant in terms of numbers and severity.

The Committee this evening has a golden opportunity to demonstrate the Council’s commitment to be a listening council and at the same time end the severe problems created in the displaced areas around the Woodcote schools.

Traffic levels have increased in neighbouring roads. Whilst there are recognisable problems on roads nearest to the school the negative impact on surrounding roads more than outweighs any gains made in roads closer to the schools.

Obstructions to the traffic flow on Woodcote Grove Road have been evidenced creating road safety issues for motorists and pedestrians, particularly children from the Primary and students from the High School.

There is a danger that the much welcomed safety improvements recently introduced on Woodcote Grove Road with the introduction of a pedestrian crossing will be negated by the impact of restricted access near the schools.

But the displacement problems are not restricted to Woodcote Grove Road and our concerns are justifiably shared by residents on The Vale, The Horseshoe and Warwick Road.

As Chair of Governors at Woodcote High School until May this year I have first-hand experience of the difficulties and potential dangers to students arising as a result of this scheme.

I know committee members will listen carefully to the responses to the consultation. I ask that you reject the recommendation to make this unsatisfactory arrangement permanent on Dunsfold Rise, Meadow Rise and Fairfield Way.

Committee members should recognise that the objectors to this scheme are not restricted to those in the displaced area but also include residents who live right next to the Primary School.

I ask that the Committee votes on these three schools separately as they represent three distinctive areas requiring different solutions to their unique problems.

Finally Chair, should the Committee reject the views of a clear majority of local residents and make the zone permanent I would ask that officers immediately consider steps that will mitigate the severe impact that the zone is having on neighbours in the area outside the zone.

Thank you for allowing me time to address the Committee."

When it came to the vote, all Labour Councillors voted to push it through and all Conservative councillors voted against. Sadly Labour dominate the committee, and so permission was granted to continue with the scheme.

 


 

Pedestrianised Zone - Dunsfold Rise, Meadow Rise and Fairfield Way
13/07/2018 10:16:00.......Posted by Ian Parker

Coulsdon Town councillors have received many residents' objections to this pilot scheme by Woodcote Primary and High schools which restricts traffic on these three roads at school start and finishing times.  Last night, Labour's Traffic Management Committee approved the permanent introduction of the scheme despite the number of objections received from residents' associations, local residents and Coulsdon Town's three councillors.

Cllr Clancy, myself and other local residents spoke against making the scheme permanent. Yet again the Labour Council rides rough shod over the views of locals who are in the strongest possible position to comment on such matters.

 

 


 

Dust on Cane Hill
05/07/2018 14:42:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

Know a few residents on Cane Hill have been concerned about the dust coming from the construction site impacting their property. I've looked into it and asked the Council to get in contact with the managing agent for the development. A reply has been received this morning stating that the area where earth movement was taking place which was the cause of the problem is being dampened down by the use of sprinklers. In addition to this measure, they have told us they are deploying a road sweeper to attempt to keep a handle on the problem.

They've said they met with those affected and have offered to clean the outside of your properties - if that isn't right then please do get in touch with my using mario.creatura@croydonconservatives.com.

Residents should please keep me posted so I know the problem has or has not been resolved, and if not I'll sort it.

 


 

Traveling Council
28/06/2018 07:29:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

The TaxPayers' Alliance have revealed through an FOI that Croydon Council has spent £15,575.09 on air travel between January 2015 and February 2018.

Figures show that Council officers traveled 47 times in that period and flew on airlines including British Airways, Emirates and Virgin Atlantic.

Given the nature and standard routes of these airlines, I've asked the Council to list the full details of the 47 flights including the following:

  • Date and duration of each trip
  • Who went on each trip
  • The destination for each trip
  • In as much detail as possible, outline the purpose of each trip
  • For each trip the reason why a flight was required over alternative methods of meeting.

I'll update the blog when I receive an answer to this question.

 


 

Progress with Aldi
21/06/2018 07:30:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

Following our productive meeting with Aldi at the end of April, I'm pleased to report that progress has been made in making the car park that little bit more driver/parking friendly.

Residents will recall that we called for the meeting so that we could start the progress of working towards a solution to mitigate the poor traffic conditions along the high street.

Aldi agreed to a number of ideas, including installing signs to encourage drivers to move down inside the car park and rearrange the location of the disabled bays to encourage greater movement. The quotes for the works have been approved, and involve the permanent relocation of the disabled bays to the entrance of the store.

The programme of works is currently being worked out to ensure as little disruption to Aldi customers as possible. Once a start date has been agreed, I'll update this blog.

If you have any ideas about what else we can do to improve parking in Coulsdon, please do let me know by emailing mario.creatura@croydonconservatives.com.

 


 

HADRA AGM
21/06/2018 07:02:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

It was lovely to attend my first Hartley and District Residents' Association AGM last night. Whilst I've been a councillor for Coulsdon West for the past four years, in May the new ward boundaries came into effect so my new patch of Coulsdon Town includes a few roads in the HADRA area which includes Stoats Nest Road, Hillars Heath, the bottom of Coulsdon Road and Coulsdon Woods.

There were interesting talks by local police, MP Chris Philp and Brenda Quelch-Brown of the Old Coulsdon medical practice patient participation group.

The committee gave retired councillor Chris Wright a lovely engraved glass as a token of their appreciation for his 28 years of dedicated service. With me having just completed four, I've got a while before I match his record!

 


 

Travellers on Lion Green Road
19/06/2018 08:39:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

Residents will be aware of the travellers that seemed to have arrived in Lion Green Road car park overnight.

Damage has been reported and there is understandable concern in the local community.

Rest assured I have alerted the Council and ask that they commence the sadly lengthy procedure for eviction.

Assessments will be carried out today and the Council will be serving notice for the travellers to leave tomorrow. If they fail to move on then the Council will proceed with applying for a court order, which is likely to take another few days.

The Council will keep me appraised of their progress.

 

 


 

See older blog posts

 

 
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 Older Blog Posts
14/06/2018
East Coulsdon Residents' Association AGM
13/06/2018
Opposing Reddown Road plans
11/06/2018
Questions...
30/05/2018
Meeting with Croydon's Director of Education
26/05/2018
Coulsdon Town's Safer Neighbourhood Team
15/05/2018
Community Engagement
15/05/2018
The fish that got away...
05/05/2018
Portnals Pipe update
01/05/2018
CQC replies about the Coulsdon Medical Centre
01/05/2018
Burst sewage pipe on Portnalls Road
27/04/2018
Leaking pipe on Portnalls Road
27/04/2018
A second letter to the CQC about the Coulsdon Medical Practice
26/04/2018
Pigeon mess back under Coulsdon Town bridge
25/04/2018
Paint disposal advice
25/04/2018
Welcome 30m investment in Coulsdon South
24/04/2018
'Absolutely massive' pothole fixed
24/04/2018
Rescuing a resident at the tip!
23/04/2018
Enough CCTV in Croydon?
21/04/2018
Productive meeting with Aldi
06/04/2018
Letter to save the Coulsdon Medical Centre
27/03/2018
Labour's track record - not something to be proud of
23/03/2018
My Lion Green Road objection
23/03/2018
My Coulsdon Community Centre objection
23/03/2018
Labour dominated planning committee approve controversial Coulsdon schemes
21/03/2018
Coulsdon Medical Practice
14/03/2018
Aldi replies - and wants to meet
07/03/2018
The saga with the Coulsdon Town toilet continues
02/03/2018
A letter to the CEO of Aldi UK about the issues with their Coulsdon Branch
24/02/2018
Future of Coulsdon Yulefest Christmas lights put at risk
17/02/2018
Broken bog strikes again
 
 
 
 
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