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

Questions on Knife Crime in Schools
16/08/2017 13:20:00......Posted by Mario Creatura


CQ069-17 from Councillor Mario Creatura to Councillor Hamida Ali

At full Council on Monday 26th June, I asked the Cabinet Member what the Administration was doing to combat the rise in reported knife crime in Croydon. I pointed out that those young people that go to the Croydon Congress, whose parents attend public meetings and who regularly engage with the authorities are not likely to be those that are caught up in gang and knife-related crime. That those disenfranchised from the establishment are the ones that are both hardest to reach and those most in need of engagement.

As part of the Mayor of London's recently published London Knife Crime Strategy, it's been reported in the local press that every secondary school in Croydon could get metal detectors installed at entrances in order to find concealed weapons.

I'd like answers to the following please:

1. How many incidents involved knives have taken place in secondary schools in Croydon since 2014?

2. How does that figure compare to knife-related crime that does not take place in our schools?

3. Does the Administration believe that metal-detectors are required in our secondary schools?

4. If it does, what is the mechanism by which the Council would enforce metal detectors at our secondary schools?

5. Is the Cabinet Member aware and able to provide the view of Croydon's police force on this suggestion?


1. How many incidents involved knives have taken place in secondary schools in Croydon since 2014?

The council works closely with schools and we do support them in dealing with knife related issues but information is not held on the number of incidents in school.

2. How does that figure compare to knife-related crime that does not take place in our schools?

Given the answer above no comparison can be made. HoweverTotal knife related crime is as follows Years 14/15 - 443, 15/16- 340, 16/17 -674. More detailed figures are attached

3. Does the Administration believe that metal-detectors are required in our secondary schools?

This is just one of a number of tactics that can be deployed to assist schools in tackling knife related issues. While metal detectors in schools can assist in ensuring safety, they are used at the school's invitation, in partnership with the police and in a targeted way based on intelligence and any operations must be approved by the relevant Chief Inspector. There is evidence that those who carry knives can go to some lengths to 'hide' them elsewhere including getting other people less likely to be searched to carry for them so arches can be useful in preventing this. And just because a knife may be carried into school, it does not necessarily follow that it is intended to be used in the school. As such, we would see arches as potentially augmenting the work we are doing in having a zero tolerance policy for illegal knives on our streets more broadly. If you would like more information Ch Insp Mike Spies is happy to help 0208 649 01 14.

4. If it does, what is the mechanism by which the Council would enforce metal detectors at our secondary schools?

Schools, working in partnership with their schools’ police officers are best placed to determine the best way to keep children and young people in their care safe based on local risk assessments made for each individual school. The Council does not have the power to enforce metal detector use in schools, but will continue to work in partnership with Head Teachers and governing bodies to ensure our young people are safe. The council is working closely with the police and other agencies to tackle serious youth violence in the round - and that includes a range of activity in addition to police enforcement tactics, including engaging with young people and their parents to raise awareness about the dangers of carrying a knife.

5. Is the Cabinet Member aware and able to provide the view of Croydon's police force on this suggestion?

This is clearly a question for the police and would encourage the councillor to raise this with police colleagues directly.

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 Other Blog Posts

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

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



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.




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