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 The Purley Oaks & Riddlesdown Blog
Cllr  Simon  Hoar
Cllr  Helen  Redfern

Croydon Food & Music Festival
24/06/2018 18:45:00......Posted by Helen Redfern


Finally, I've managed to make it to the Croydon Food & Music Festival in South End, Croydon. I wasn't disappointed by the food on offer and the great musical entertainment. As a family we managed to try pasta, arancini, panzerotti, hot dogs and churros. Yum!

I also helped on the Conservative stall where we were asking residents to help us fill our wall with the their suggestions of the best things about Croydon. The most popular responses were Croydon's diversity, green spaces, community spaces and great restaurants. Residents, including staff at Croydon University Hospital and Epsom General Hospital, also told us how excited they were about the announcement of £400m additional investment in the NHS. It was good to hear from them.

Congratulations to the team behind the Croydon Food and Music Festival and to South Croydon Conservatives who used some of their ward budget to financially support this event. I'm hoping to make it 2 years in a row next year!

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 Other Blog Posts

Energy Advice Event at Purley Library
17/03/2019 16:43:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern


Residents will be able to benefit from free independent energy advice from qualified energy assessors at Purley Library on Tuesday 26th March between 10am and 1pm. There will also be an opportunity to learn about the Croydon Healthy Home home visits which include assisting eligible households to apply for free larger energy efficiency measures such as energy efficient boilers, heting controls, and insulation, as well as information about switching to lower tariffs or managing debt to energy suppliers.

More information can be found at

Residents are encouraged to bring their recent energy bills for comparison.



Visit to Pupil Referral Unit
13/03/2019 10:01:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern

Members of the Scrutiny Children and Young People Sub-Committee visited the Key Stage 3 Referral Unit ("PRU") on Coombe Road last Friday. We met Jenny Adamson, the Head Teacher of Saffron Valley Collegiate and Kay Wilson, Head Teacher of the KS£ provision that takes in children at risk of exclusion or those already permanently excluded/

Prior to the visit, I had read various media reports suggesting that exclsuion and attending a PRU puts children in danger. In the above context, the visit was an eye-opener. The unit provides a very postitve warm environment. Lessons were conducted in small well-behaved groups whilst an assembly saw a number of pupils rewared for good behaviour and good performance with congratulations coming from staff and their fellow pupils.

I have heard many assertions that some of Croydon's schools are purposely excluding pupils for minor offences in order to protect their exam results, sometimes by illegally off-rolling'. At present there doesn't appear to be evidence to support this and whilst it would be inappropriate to go into individual details, it is clear that pupils are not be refrred to the unit on a whim, and it was a testament to the unit that the environment in the school was so calm. Jenny Adamson compared the PRU system to a hospital that takes in injured patients and treats them; she sees their role as treating the children until they are better - the word treatment came up often during the visit. The childrens' needs were very much at the centre of the unit.

Staff spoke of the sometimes difficult relationshp that they have with social workers, with a lack of consistency, poorly briefed new social workers and poor communication beng specifically mentioned; the Council must work to resolve this.

All of the Sub-Committee members expressed how impressed they were by the Key Stage 3 Pupil Referral Unit. Clearly more needs to be done by Croydon's Childrens' Services to ensure that all agencies are working together for the best outcome for the children and their families.



Happy Birthday Croydon Home Start
07/03/2019 17:00:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern


Yesterday I attended the AGM and 30th anniversary celebration of Croydon Home Start. The core of Home Start's good work is the home visiting service that is available to families in need.

Home Start trains its own volunteers who visit families in their own homes for around 2-3 hours a week for up to 9 months. In that time, volunteers offer emotional support, transportation to places such as children's centres and medical appointments, support with parenting skills and help to access other services. 

At the AGM we heard from Kumbu, a mother who has been helped by Home Start. Kumbu is a wheelchair user and is a single mother of triplets. She had sought help from the Council but this was declind so she turned to Home Start. Her emotional testimony ended with her saying that Home Start had saved her sanity and helped her to keep her family.

Whilst the majority of families come to Home Start via a professional referral, a significant amount of families contact Home Start themselves and this is welcomed. A large part of Home Start's funding comes from Croydon Council, with funding expiring in 2020. I would like to see funding renewed in 2020.



Roadworks in Riddlesdown and Sanderstead
25/02/2019 12:35:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern

We have a number of roadworks coming up in our area:

Resurfacing on Mitchley Avenue on March 6th, 7th and 8th between 8pm and 5am, between Dalegarth Gardens and Copthorne Rise (full width of road) and between Copthorne Rise to junction with Rectory Park (half width on the shop side only). Riddlesdown Residents Association were quick to point out that on March 7th there is a Parents Evening at the Collegiate until 8pm. Having raised this with council officers, the start time of the work has been put back until 9pm for that evening only to allow parents and staff to get home.

Network Rail will be making essential repairs to the bridge in Sanderstead Road near Kendall Avenue on March 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th between 10pm and 6am. Local diversions will be in place.

There will be 3 nights when both of these roadworks will be taking place so it will be necessary to carefully consider routes to and from home at these times.



Another House To Be Demolished in Riddlesdown Road
15/02/2019 12:14:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern

I attended Planning Committee last night to object to the proposal to demolish 98 Riddlesdown Road to replace it with, you've guessed it, 9 flats.

I objected to the proposal on the grounds of:

-          Overdevelopment and intensification

-          Out of keeping with the street scene

-          Parking Provision

-          Loss of family housing

-          Absence of Affordable Housing

Officers were at pains to disassociate this application from the applicant’s near identical one next door. These 2 sites comprise 18 homes with not one being affordable or available to homeless families so there can be no pretence that development after development is being waived though in a move to help those in greatest need in our Borough.

I had expected that a local resident would be able to attend to speak to the Planning Committee but a number of events took place that prevented the nominated person from registering before the deadline although they did do so later that day. Unfortunately, the Chair opted not to exercise her discretion to allow the resident to speak. I note that a Labour councillor who wished to speak on a later application was initially not allowed to speak as he had failed to register correctly but that sufficient discretion was found to allow him to speak.

Regular readers will not be surprised to read that the application was granted with 6 Labour councillors voting for, and 4 Conservative councillors voting against permission being granted.



Southern Gas Networks and Grasmere Road
14/02/2019 15:51:00.......Posted by Simon Hoar

Residents on Grasmere Road will have received a letter from SGN today telling them about planned works on Grasmere for five days from 25th February to connect up the mains work they did last year. Grasmere will become one-way and Riddlesdown Road  will have two-way traffic lights. If residents have any issues, the SGN Customer Servies team is 0800 912 1700 and the Project Manager is Dave Wilkie on




Purley Oaks and Riddlesdown
31/01/2019 16:11:00.......Posted by Simon Hoar

Having been councillors for the new Purley Oaks and Riddlesdown ward since last May, the two most regular issues that residents have brought to Helen and I have been the rollout of the new wheelie bins and several controversial planning applications where single house are being removed in favour of blocks of flats.

The new bins rollout has been a shambles, with some roads receiving their new bins some time after the new system commenced and other roads, which could not accommodate them, having to find a way to cope with the new bins. More concerning is the breakdown of the assisted collection service which serves to help householders who are not physically able to transport their bins to the kerbside. We understand that this breakdown was caused by the contractor being unable to transfer the list of those in receipt of the assisted collection service to the new system. If you used to receive an assisted collection and are still having difficulty with the new service, do let us know.

The other main issue has been planning. Last year saw applications by land speculators across the Purley and Riddlesdown area. Just in the Purley Oaks and Riddlesdown ward there have been two passed in Grasmere Road, another in Selcroft and yet more in Brancaster Lane, Mitchley Avenue and three in Riddlesdown Road with two more currently in the pipeline.

We are not against planning developments just for the sake of it and there have been several schemes much better suited to the area they are in and which we have not opposed, but the loss of a family home in favour of a block of flats, often without sufficient parking, runs the risk of permanently damaging our local area and turning it from the leafy suburbs we love into more urban London.

As ward councillors we have community ward funding budgets of £8,000 each and so far this year have paid for a Neighbourhood Watch newsletter in the ward and contributed towards a new roof on the Scout hut in Dunmail Drive as well as to a charity that provides cancer care to children all over Croydon. Future projects will include funding for Riddlesdown RA and Riddlesdown tennis club.

If you have an issue to do with the Council and need help or advice, please contact us.



Holocaust Memorial Day 2019
28/01/2019 22:56:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern


I attended the Holocaust Memorial Day events at Croydon Town Hall earlier day. This day remembers victims of the Holocaust and more recent genocides.

This day was marked in the traditional manner with a public candle-lighting ceremony in the foyer of Croydon Town Hall and followed by a civic event in the Council Chamber. The theme of the event was ‘Torn from home’ and pupils from a number of Croydon schools, including Riddlesdown Collegiate (in the photo) produced some amazing work imagining the impact of being torn from home. The greatest impact was a presentation by Chantal Uwamahoro who recounted some of her own personal experience during the Rwandan genocide, in which most of her family were killed. Her testimony made genocide very real, that it is not just something that happened in the distant past but that continues to happen around the world today.



St Edmunds Caring Group
16/01/2019 21:33:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern

This morning I met with Reverand Susan Atkinson-Jones and members of the St Edmunds Church to talk about the work of St Edmunds Caring Group (“SECG”) and how the Church works to serve the local community.

SECG is a voluntary group in Riddlesdown which supports residents in remaining independent when life becomes a little more difficult. This can be especially difficult in Riddlesdown as our roads can be steep, and in many cases there are a number of steps up/down our own footpath to the pavement. SECG’s volunteers help in various ways, from helping residents with shopping to taking them to medical appointments, from befriending services to helping out with a bit of admin. Residents shouldn’t be shy in asking for some help, or volunteering to be one of the helpers – there is always room for more!

If you’d like to make contact, call them on 020 8651 9442. Someone should be available to speak to between 10-12 on weekday mornings, otherwise a message can be left on their voice mail.



New Development Proposed in Whytecliffe Road
15/01/2019 21:00:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern

Cllr Hoar and I visited a public consultation on a development proposed for Whytecliffe Road South in our ward, and Whytecliffe Road North in neighbouring Purley and Woodcote ward. The proposal is to demolish a number of terraced and semi-detached house to replace them with a number of  blocks of flats, ranging from 1- to 3-bedroom flats.

Whilst I’m reluctant to see the removal of attractive housing stock that has it’s own parking provision, the new proposals do look attractive and will have the capacity to house a number of new residents. The architectural style is similar to the developer’s scheme in Hamsey Green on the old Ken’s Autos site.

Cllr Hoar and I have a number of reservations about the proposals. The balconies, whilst at an angle to other housing, will allow residents of the flats to look into the gardens and homes of those in existing housing. This could be ameliorated with the use of opaque glass or similar. The new blocks will have no parking provision, other than disabled parking. Whilst the road is close to public transport and to a supermarket, no parking at all would make life very difficult for those living in the family-sized accommodation. It’s not possible to carry home a family-shop worth of bags from the supermarket, possible with a pram or toddlers in tow, across the Purley gyratory. There isn’t even somewhere for delivery drivers to park. Therefore, I think the lived experience of families would be quite difficult.

As yet, no formal plans have been submitted to the Council. Once they have been submitted, we look forward to residents’ thoughts on the proposals.



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 Older Blog Posts
Quest Academy Visit
Question Time at Croydon Synagogue
Speaking to local residents
Riddlesdown Litter Pick
Remembrance Sunday
Police Ward Panel
Croydon Hate Crime Awareness Week
Riddlesdown Collegiate Quiz Night
Maiden Speech
Intensification of the suburbs
Collection of Recycling Boxes
Resolving waste/recycling issues
Young Runaways and Missing Children
Eid in the Park
Councillors' Surgery - this Saturday
Waste & Recycling Update
New bins for Purley Oaks & Riddlesdown
Honister Heights Association AGM
FREE Youth Activities - but not everyone's invited.
Purley Oaks & Riddlesdown Police Ward Panel
Councillors' Surgery this Saturday
Purley Food and Drink Festival
Croydon Food & Music Festival
Croydon Classic Car Show in Purley Rotary Field
Celebrating Windrush Day
Residents meeting with Henry Construction and Brick by Brick
Concerns of asbestos on Montpelier Road
Purley & Woodcote Residents Association AGM
Purley BID Board Meeting
Montpelier Road/Kingsdown Avenue Update
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