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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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Transport for London proposing changes to bus routes 404 and 434
17/01/2019 11:22:00.......Posted by Ian Parker

Following the development of Cane Hill, TfL have worked with Croydon Council to provide a bus service to the area, parts of which are currently more than five minutes walk from a bus route. TfL have also said they want to improve services in both the western and eastern sides of Old Coulsdon.

Under the changes, route 404 would serve the Tollers Lane estate and Shirley Avenue in Old Coulsdon. It would also be extended along the current route of the 434 between Coulsdon and the Rickman Hill estate.  TfL propose to introduce a Sunday service and to increase the frequency to every 30 minutes on all days.

Route 434 would be extended from Coulsdon to serve Cane Hill. It would no longer serve Rickman Hill. The frequency would be increased to every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday and remain every 30 minutes on Sundays.

Details of the proposals can be found online at: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/routes-404-434/.
Please do let TfL know what you think about their proposals using any of the methods shown in the link. The deadline for comments is Monday 11 February 2019.

 


 

Councillors' Street Stalls
17/01/2019 11:15:00.......Posted by Ian Parker

Our popular street stalls outside Aldi in Coulsdon continue.  Residents come and discuss issues of local concern with us.  The dates and times for the first half of the year are:

16th February     2pm
16th March         2pm
13th April            11am
25th May             11am and
15th June            11am

As always, if residents prefer to meet by appointment, perhaps more confidentially, this can be arranged.

 

 


 

Illegal discharge on Cane Hill
02/01/2019 07:32:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

A resident recently got in touch having spotted an illegal discharge into a cattle grid at the bottom of Cane Hill Drive. They also reported that there is a constant breach of the 8:00 noise restriction as the sweeper is in full operation from 7:00am.

I've been working with the Council to get to the bottom of both these complaints.

The site manager has been contacted and as the road sweeper is vital to mitigate dust on site the Council has recommended that they clean the areas where there is no residential impact earliest in the morning before moving onto other areas later.

The manager has also been asked to investigate the ‘illegal discharge’ and I hope that now we're out of the Christmas period that we'll have a swift resolution to the issues.

If you spot anything like this where you live, then please do contact the Council's construction enforcement team.

 


 

Damaged parking pole
27/12/2018 13:26:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

I've reported to the Council a damaged parking pole about 50 tards east of the Woodplace Lane Rail Bridge. It looked like it was hit by a vehicle.

The highways inspector has said they'll investigate and get it sorted as soon as possible.

If you see anything like this, then please use the Council app or contact information to report it.

 


 

Speed limit sign knocked down
24/12/2018 11:42:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

A speed limit sign has been knocked down at the Croydon/Surrey border on Woodplace Lane, opposite the stables. 

I've reported this to the Council who tell me they'll investigate and get it sorted as soon as possible.

If you see anything like this, then please use the Council app or contact information to report it.

 


 

Dust and mud on Cane Hill
19/12/2018 13:48:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

The builders on Cane Hill are doing an excellent job, and the community is thriving. But there have been some issues with their dust mitigation measures and I've been working with the Council to get these up to scratch.

There have been clear issues with mud being tracked from the construction areas to surrounding roads and the Council has noted the lack of wheel washing facilities on the spine road which has resulted in construction dirt and debris from vehicles which is being tracked onto the main vehicle and pedestrian thorough-fares. In addition the road sweeper was not clearing the road areas effectively.

The Planning Enforcement team have contacted the site requiring the following measures to be employed:

  1. that wheel washing facilities will be reinstated immediately(if not present) to clean vehicles before leaving the construction phases of the development.
  2. That the road sweeper will be immediately deployed across the site where necessary to effectively clean the footways/highways.
  3. That the drainage system which serves the highway is adequately maintained to ensure it can cope with the run-off from the seasonal weather and any washings coming from construction traffic which use this main route in and out of the site.

A further site visit will be carried out to ensure these measures have been employed.

If there are continued issues regarding this matter residents should please contact the pollution team direct using the contact details below:

Tel: 020 8760 5483 9-5

Out of hours emergency 020 8726 6000 and press option 4

Email: pollution@croydon.gov.uk

 


 

Lights on Coulsdon Town footbridge repaired
18/12/2018 07:40:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

After a lot of pushing by residents, Residents' Associations and councillors, I'm really pleased that the bridge has finally been repaired so that all the lights are now working.

With the dark mornings and evenints it's important that we all feel safe when walking around the neighbourhood, with most of the lights out of action for so many weeks that wasn't the case.

Thank you to everyone who helped to lobby to make this happen.

 


 

Would Labour apologise to the vulnerable residents it's been letting down?
03/12/2018 23:43:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

Tonight the Conservatives put forward a motion for debate at the Council meeting:

This Council needs to do more to protect its most vulnerable residents – and apologises to all those it has let down to date.

A simple question, and you would think they'd be able to answer. Throughout the evening many of my councillor colleagues had raised serious cases of vulnerable people being let down by the Council:

  • Cllr Perry referenced a much-loved South Norwood business, closed because of a Council planning application. They were promised help by the Council, but none came.
  • Cllr Hale described a single mother, forced to sleep with her children in a car, refused Council housing appointments for weeks at a time. Since 2015 the Council hasn't completed one single affordable or Council house.
  • Cllr Streeter referenced the difficulties 98-year-old Shirley resident was having sorting out her neglected waste collections, only able to be helped thanks to the persistence of her neighbours.
  • Cllr Brew referenced a block of flats on the Brighton Road where vulnerable elderly people are living - where their food waste has not been collected since the summer.
  • Cllr Stranack spoke of a widow in his ward, seeking help through the Council system and unable to speak to a real person for weeks at a time.

There were numerous other worrying examples shared, and to their credit many of the Labour Cabinet members offered public apologies for the failure in service.

It's this that made what followed so disappointing. Here was my speech, opening the debate this evening:

Tonight we have heard dozens of examples of this Labour Council failing our most vulnerable residents. 

We’ve heard about small businesses closing saying it’s due to a lack of support from the Council, hurting our district centres and destroying the livelihoods of many of our residents. 

We’ve heard that since 2015 Labour have not finished one, single affordable or Council house – with many hundreds left stranded on the housing waiting list. 

We’ve heard about elderly, vulnerable residents, living among their refuse, left to rot for months on end and when they ask for help with their assisted collection they are ignored for weeks at a time. 

We’ve heard that immunisation of our young people is among the worst in London. We know that health visitors have such huge caseloads that they aren’t able to support the many vulnerable families who need their support. Out of 6000 babies born in Croydon every year, 858 will experience physical abuse, 720 will have parents with mental health problems and 1320 will experience parental separation. 

We all know about Ofsted’s damning children’s services report which revealed in its update just last month that this Council is still suffering from ‘drift and delay’ - leaving vulnerable children in worrying circumstances for far too long. 

Madam Mayor, it’s not just children. We know that when vulnerable adults try to access the contact centre for support, they are often left unaided and unacknowledged. 

Earlier this year Council had to pay out thousands of pounds to ‘a young man with complex needs’ for ‘failure to provide suitable respite care’ which caused him and his carer ‘extreme distress.’ 

Throughout the complaint, the Social Care Ombudsman was ‘concerned by the Council’s lack of engagement’. It took a total of 12 weeks for the Council to respond to his enquires. Then when the Ombudsman drafted a report, the Council failed to respond to that! He said: ‘this was particularly concerning given the significant failings identified by the investigation and the resultant injustice to a young man with complex disabilities and his carer.’

This is not an isolated case. There were 226 other complaints made this year alone.

Now, this motion asks Labour to accept what they have already accepted via the Ombudsman – that they must to more to protect our most vulnerable residents – and it asks that they apologise to those they have let down to date. 

I hope – I sincerely hope – that the Labour speakers following me are going to be humble, that given the mountain of evidence presented this evening, that they will accept that an apology isn’t an unreasonable request, and that it’s the least our residents deserve. 

Madam Mayor, I sadly support this necessary motion and hope Labour does too.

Cllr Newman, the Labour Leader of the Council, was next up to speak - at least in theory. What followed was a shouted and intensely negative set of ad hominem attacks. An angry, rambling rant the likes of which I've never experienced in my over four years of being on the Council. He was incoherent, he was illogical, he was frankly embarrassing. Despite Labour Cllrs Collins, Butler and Avis apologising to varying degrees during the meeting, despite all the factual evidence listed throughout the evening by my colleagues and by me (including the legal pay-outs demanded by the Ombudsman), Cllr Newman and his Labour councillors seemed incapable of accepting themselves culpable for the shocking service they are offering our residents.

Labour voted against our polite, considered and factually accurate motion. A tremendous shame.

I'll post the link to the footage as soon as it's up so you can see for yourself and make your own judgement about how the debate progressed.

With a temper tantrum like the one we saw tonight, and the denial that seems to be gripping our Labour Council, I fear that our most vulnerable residents are far from getting the support and the services that they deserve.

 


 

Superb scouting send-off for Steve
16/11/2018 22:44:00.......Posted by Luke Clancy

 
 

Great send-off tonight for Steve French, District Scout Commissioner at Royal Russell School.

From Christmas 2018 Steve is stepping down from role and Greg Cook takes over as DC in Croydon. 

Steve says the role has been challenging but very rewarding over the past 10 years and trusts everyone will continue to give Greg all the support that was previously given to him.

You can find more about what the famous and well-regarded scouting movement does locally here: www.croydonscouting.org.uk

 


 

Coulsdon Town paint markings
13/11/2018 17:56:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

The worn paint markings in the town centre have been causing some concern, and I've been on a mission to get them re-painted. As ever, never an easy process...

Some years ago a decent investment in the public realm of Coulsdon high street was made, and the standard tarmac approach to road maintenance was forgone in favour of some nice granite stone slabs. The standard road markings were applied using the usual paint, but the two do not work together as well as in other parts of the borough. This has lead to much easier than expected wear and tear, so the point where road markings are barely visible. In the case of the zebra crossing outside Tesco's, this is clearly dangerous, but it also affects driving and parking behaviour up and down the road.

The Council is recommending using a sprayed on paint as opposed to the usual thermoplastic paints – something that they use extensively in Westminster. The Council is working hoping to do a test initially to see how effective the treatment is and are intending to use the forthcoming closures in Malcolm Road to facilitate this – the entry point adjacent to Waitrose. This will likely take place 19-23rd November.

Hopefully this trial will be a success and the markings can be re-applied soon after.

 


 

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 Older Blog Posts
30/10/2018
Pay-to-use cash machines
29/10/2018
The mystery of the missing fireworks banner...
28/10/2018
Air pollution concern at Coulsdon South station
15/10/2018
Evolving the suburbs
14/10/2018
Response to local planning consultation SPD2
14/10/2018
Labour threatens U-turn on free bulky waste collection
14/10/2018
Petition on wheelie bins achieves partial win
08/10/2018
Bid for funds from our Community Ward Budget
04/10/2018
Shredded litter
07/09/2018
Coptic Church - Coulsdon
06/09/2018
Residents' Associations - Stewards Night
31/08/2018
Details to re-register for a doctor following the closure of Dr Khan's surgery
30/08/2018
New waste regime - impact on those with mobility issues?
02/08/2018
Impact of potential House of Fraser closure
27/07/2018
Bourne Society Blue Plaque
25/07/2018
Purley & Coulsdon Clubs for the Elderly (PACE)
13/07/2018
Labour push through unwanted traffic scheme at Woodcote High
13/07/2018
Pedestrianised Zone - Dunsfold Rise, Meadow Rise and Fairfield Way
05/07/2018
Dust on Cane Hill
28/06/2018
Traveling Council
21/06/2018
Progress with Aldi
21/06/2018
HADRA AGM
19/06/2018
Travellers on Lion Green Road
18/06/2018
Getting ECRA access to Coulsdon South station
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
 
 
 
 
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