A question about Mud - and the viability of businesses in BoxPark 05/12/2017 09:20:00......Posted by Mario Creatura
A question from Councillor Mario Creatura to Councillor Mark Watson:
Today news has emerged that Mud, a unit in BoxPark, is closing its doors.
It joins Donde, The Potato Project, Knot and many others who have shut up shop since BoxPark opened.
Could the Cabinet Member please detail the total number of units that have closed in this Council-subsidised business?
There have been whispered reports of poor management practices in BoxPark that may have influenced this spate of closures.
Could the Cabinet Member please research and detail the reasons why the units closed and whether he feels the rate of closure is indicative of an issue with the business model?
It is clear that there have been some changes at Boxpark since it opened with some units closing and some new ones taking their place. It is important to recognise that our businesses are facing increasing pressures; the rise in the cost for goods, increase in business rates and pension auto enrolment to name but a few. This is especially hard for new businesses just starting their journey or existing businesses expanding into new ventures.
In order to support their tenants Boxpark have delivered an extensive event and promotional programme to attract visitors. Between January and June 2017 Boxpark Croydon held 157 events (10 of these events were held in partnership with Croydon Council). These events featured 420 performers and were attended by 48,052 people.
Boxpark is seen as an extremely positive addition to the Croydon economy, offering a real draw for visitors and we are very keen that we work with Boxpark, their tenants and the surrounding business community to ensure the area continues to thrive.
This year the Council has spent a lot of time engaging with hundreds of businesses through the Small Business Commission. The aim of this work was to understand the barriers to, and opportunities for business growth so that we, in partnership with others, can create the right kind of environment for our small business community to thrive and prosper. The Commission has allowed us to work with stakeholders to understand and promote the Croydon business support offering.
I regularly meet with businesses to explore issues and will be holding a surgery in Boxpark for occupiers to better understand their concerns and to identify what the council, partners and Boxpark themselves can do to ensure continues success.
I recommend that any business in Croydon that needs help or advice is that they contact the Economic Development Team which is well placed to offer support with regards to loan financing and Discretionary Business Rates Relief as well as general signposting to business support through initiatives such as Business Hub Navigators. We and our partners have designed these services to delivery business growth and sustainability across Croydon.
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 email@example.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.
Getting ECRA access to Coulsdon South station 18/06/2018 19:30:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura
Over the weekend I was alerted to what sounded like a very strange decision to stop residents volunteering in their local community.
For many years, the diligent volunteers of the East Coulsdon Residents' Association and Farthing Downs have helped to maintain the plant beds around Coulsdon South station. They do this simply for the pleasure of keeping our local community pristine, and I thank them for that.
Recently they were told by station management that their permission to carry out this harmless activity was to be halted.
Understandable upset, on their behalf I contacted GTR who manage the station to ask what the reason for the seemingly heavy-handed ban was.
A few days later I received a welcome reply:
'I look after the station partnerships across our network.
Earlier in the year, we had one of the groups which volunteer at our stations dig in an area where they did not have permission. As a result we did ask groups to stop work while we undertook a review of what had happened and why.
As a result of this we updated our processes and asked each group to apply for a Site Access Permit. We have provided this to the group at Coulsdon South and they are currently awaiting processing of the permit by our Property Team.
We are sorry that this is taking longer than any of us would like and we hope to have the gardeners back at the station soon.'
So it all seems to be a misunderstanding - ECRA are filling in the required forms to enable the station to meet its legal obligations, and the station will allow them to continue their much valued community work safe in the knowledge that they are keeping themselves safe on site. Worth noting that it wasn't ECRA, but another group at another station who triggered this requirement from GTR.
If you would like to join ECRA and help support the community, visit their website: http://www.eastcoulsdon.co.uk
East Coulsdon Residents' Association AGM 14/06/2018 13:54:00.......Posted by Ian Parker
Last night I attended the Annual General Meeting of ECRA. There was an interesting presentations from Carlo Navato from Haxted, who have just received planning permission for the development of the water tower, admin block and chapel on Cane Hill. Investment in these three important parts of the Cane Hill development is significant and we will watch with interest how it evolves now that they have permission to go ahead.
Old Coulsdon's Neighbour Police Team gave a brief overview of what's happening in the area and took questions. Similalrly, ECRA members were briefed by representatives from the CCG on the developments at the Coulsdon Medical Practice. I look forward to working with ECRA in the future.
Opposing Reddown Road plans 13/06/2018 20:41:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura
The Council has just revealed plans to redevelop 1 Reddown Road. The plans involved the demolition of the existing dwelling; erection of three to five storey building comprising 2 one bedroom, 5 two bedroom and 1 three bedroom flats; formation of vehicular access and provision of just 8 parking spaces.
We Coulsdon Town councillors have delivered leaflets in the local area informing residents of the application, and we've been swamped with many comments - all universally opposing the scheme.
Along with local Residents' Associations, I have decided to refer the application to the Planning Committee and I've recomended that they refuse this deeply inappropriate development.
If you would like to take a look at the plans, you can do so on the Council's website. Do please leave a comment either in favour or opposing the development. The more voices we have objecting, the more likely it is that we'll succeed in persuading the Committee to reject the scheme.
Meeting with Croydon's Director of Education 30/05/2018 19:34:00.......Posted by Ian Parker
In my capacity as Cllr Maria Gatland's Deputy (Education) I met this week with David Butler, Croydon's Director of Education and Youth Engagment. It was a particularly useful meeting during which David highlighted the work of his Department. Amongst other things, we discussed school funding (particulalrly academies v maintained schools), the role and compostion of the Schools' Forum and the new Coombe Wood school.
I saw figures for Croydon's losers and gainers under the Government's School Funding Formula and we discussed the Council's powers to intervene when a school's performance isn't up to scratch. In this context we also touched on the role of the Regional Schools' Commissioner and his powers over academies. I am grateful to David for the briefing.
Coulsdon Town's Safer Neighbourhood Team 26/05/2018 08:18:00.......Posted by Ian Parker
I met this week with PC Hannah Righton one of the two PC's in the Coulsdon Town Safer Neighbourhood Team. I was updated on a number of Coulsdon hotspots and issues of concern to the Police in the area including drugs, anti social behaviour, the Pembroke application for an extended licence and the traffic problems surrounding Aldi's car park. I informed Hannah that I and fellow councillors had recently met with a senior Aldi representative to discuss possible solutions to the problem. We had also been proactive in informing local businesses and residents of the Pembroke application.
PC Righton said that an approach had been made to Croydon Council for additional CCTV coverage in the Town Centre as a deterrent to burglars who appeared to be targetting a certain business. I offered my support for this.
It was confirmed that the Safer Neighbourhood Teams are now reorganised following Croydon's ward boundary review.
I was grateful to PC Righton for her time and insight into Coulsdon Town's problems and I look forward to working with her and her colleague PC Simms on matters of shared concern.
Community Engagement 15/05/2018 20:00:00.......Posted by Ian Parker
I attended an excellent evening last night by the Army Engagement Group at Royal Russell School.
The Group want to connect with community representatives, businesses and others to give a better understanding of what they do. They achieved this last night. One useful contact they picked up was a representative from Janes Information Group based in Coulsdon.
Anyone interested in the Cadets and local Army-led projects involving young people would have found the evening worthwhile.
Thank you to those involved with its organisation. Time well spent. More information available from www.army.mod.uk/engagement
The fish that got away... 15/05/2018 10:16:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura
This is close to the top of the oddest piece of casework I've had to deal with as a councillor - a very fishy tale.
It appears that in the middle of the night someone chose to dump some rather large fish (I'm not an expert but it looks like a shark...) in a commercial skip on Sandown Road.
Whilst many of the fish made it into the skip, one got away and was left on the road.
A very helpful resident donned a pair of marigolds and put it in the skip with the rest of its school.
I yesterday contacted the Council to see what could be done. While it's not a health hazard, there is a chance that if left long enough the smell could invite rats. The Council is getting in touch with the owner of the skip to see if it can be removed quickly. They're also sending Neighbourhood Safety Officers to investigate.
I've been reliably informed that it's not a shark, but a sturgeon. And that the resident used disposable gloves, not marigolds!
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