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 The Purley & Woodcote Blog
Cllr  Simon  Brew
Cllr  Oni  Oviri
Cllr  Badsha  Quadir

Croydon's support for small businesses
27/02/2019 16:06:00......Posted by Simon Brew


I went to a meeting this morning which was aimed at Croydon's very large SME (small and medium enterprises) community, which constitutes 99% of all businesses in the UK. SMEs are the lifeblood of every community, yet their voices are often drowned out by the large businesses who tend to dominate the headlines. Local organisations such as Purley BID, Croydon Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses have a key part to play here, and we should also be grateful to Chris Philp MP for his part in successfully lobbying the Chancellor to reduce the business rates burden for all business with a rateable value of less then £51000. 

The meeting heard how there is a large number of special incentives ranging from loans and grants, special deals on business rates and apprenticeship schemes; I hope that local businesses needing any sort of help will contact the Council direct, or via me. 

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Campaign for Democratically Elected Mayor (DEM) for Croydon
18/07/2019 07:53:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

A group of residents' associations has started a campaign for a DEM in Croydon, as explained in the letter below which was sent to many Croydon RAs recently. 

"I am a member of Addington Residents Association, and am emailing following a recent meeting with several Residents Association Groups from around the Borough. There was an overwhelming feeling that the way Croydon is currently run means that our views are routinely ignored by Croydon Council. This is especially the case with planning applications, where the planning committee has been passing almost all applications that come before it, and contemptuously ignoring the heartfelt objections of local residents and Residents Associations. As in the case of the recent decision regarding the development next to Selsdon wood (Quail Gardens) which has upset people from all different political parties including members of the local Labour Party.

We feel that we are being ignored mainly due to the fact that, under the current system, control of the Town Hall is decided by just a handful of marginal wards. To control the Council, the ruling group can ignore the rest of the Borough where the result in each ward is a foregone conclusion. Further, the current Leader of the Council is chosen behind closed doors by a handful of councillors from the ruling party, further undermining accountability to the public.

We believe that there is a strong case for a democratically Directly Elected Mayor (DEM) of Croydon – which would work like a Mayor of London for Croydon. A Directly Elected Executive Mayor would replace the current council Leader and take over their current executive powers, not just be ceremonial. This person would be a strong public figurehead for the Borough. Because they would simply replace the existing Leader there would be no extra cost. There would still be councillors, who would also hold the DEM to account. But crucially, the DEM would be directly elected by the public (not chosen behind closed doors by a handful of councillors) and so be accountable to us all. And because every vote would count the same in every part of the Borough, whoever was running (or was elected) could no longer afford to ignore whole swathes of the Borough. It would make them actually listen to us, the local people. This campaign has huge support from residents groups and from across the political spectrum, including from at least one of Croydon’s MPs (Chris Philp, who represents Croydon South). It is hoped others will also support this idea.

The current ruling group in Croydon council are not keen on this idea, because it would undermine their ability to do whatever they like. There is, fortunately, a mechanism in law to force the adoption of a DEM. We have to collect a petition on paper over the course of a year representing 5% of the electorate. If we do that, the council is then obliged to hold a Borough-wide referendum, and if there is a “yes” vote on a bare majority of those voting, then they are forced to adopt a DEM who has to be elected within about 6 months of the referendum.

We want to launch this campaign and collect the 5% of signatures, in a campaign led by residents associations but also supported by many involved in Croydon’s politics who agree with the idea. If you would like to find out more about this campaign and help with it, please come to our upcoming meeting."

The meeting was actually held on 9th July and was very successful, with the vast majority of those present deciding that they wished to proceed with this plan; a committee has now been formed and we are likely to hear much more of this campaign in the future. 



Another successful Gay Pride event at Wandle Park
14/07/2019 12:28:00.......Posted by Simon Brew


The weather was ideal yesterday for the fourth annual march and show. The Conservatives had a stand at the event (as did Labour, Liberals, Green & some unions), and it gives us an opportunity to engage in a very friendly environment with a group of people who would probably not naturally associate with the Conservatives. Lots of people stopped by, whether to chat to Chris Philp MP about national issues, or to local councillors about local issues. 



Planning - it's not all about blocks of nine flats!
05/07/2019 12:11:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

Readers will know that I regularly lament the destruction of large family homes with gardens in Purley to be replaced by faceless blocks of nine flats, so it's a relief sometimes to be asked to intervene for a different reason. 

One local resident contacted me because he was very concerned that an immediate neighbour living up the hill had applied for planning permission to install a large area of decking outside his back door. It was planned to be in such a position that it would afford extensive views straight into his garden, and because of the hill, it wasn't feasible to install taller fencing (& anyway, who would pay for it?). 

I have raised an objection in the usual way, and we look forward to hearing the result of the planning officer's deliberations.



Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) meeting at Purley Fire Station
04/07/2019 11:58:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

Last night I went to a well-attended SNT meeting, together with about 15 other representatives of local RAs and other bodies. At this meeting, the local Police discuss recent crime statistics, what actions they are taking, and they seek guidance from the group as to where residents believe they should concentrate their efforts. There is considerable concern that police officers start their shifts at New Addington police station, and then commute by bus to their beats in Purley, Coulsdon or whereever. Although the time isn't exactly "wasted" because they're on duty and visible on the buses, there's a strong feeling that they should be able to start their shifts much closer to where they are posted. This has been under active discussion for over a year, yet there's no resolution in sight.

The SNT is also looking for a more suitable location in which to.hold its quarterly meetings; we greatly appreciate the free facility provided by the LFB, but the location and LFB's operations sometimes cause disturbance to the meetings. If anyone knows of any possible alternative locations, please get in touch. 



Sunrise Purley hosts visitors as part of the national Care Homes Open Day
28/06/2019 19:46:00.......Posted by Simon Brew


Today was a fabulous day for the Sunrise Care Home to open its doors. They arranged lots of entertainment for residents and visitors throughout the day and kindly provided a delicious barbecue lunch. The new Mayor Cllr Humayun Kabir attended as one of his first official appointments since being elected to the ceremonial role for the 2019-2020 year. 



Purley BID board meeting - Graham Lilley is leaving us
26/06/2019 11:40:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

There was a Purley BID (Business Improvement District) board meeting yesterday which covered fairly routine items concerned with improving the trading environment for local businesses, and I hope you've noticed the large number of attractive flower baskets which now adorn the lampposts! The meeting was also notable because Graham Lilley, who has been the BID's excellent street ambassador for the last two years, is moving on. We wish him well, and welcome his successor Catherine Garrad



Armed Forces week flag-raising
25/06/2019 11:24:00.......Posted by Simon Brew


It's always a pleasure to celebrate the start of Armed Forces week because there's a flag-raising ceremony and an opportunity afterwards to meet representatives from the various units which are stationed in Croydon. At the event, I met someone from a unit of the Royal Logistics Corps which which I am associated, so I look forward to future active engagement with them.



AGMs and planning
20/06/2019 21:23:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

Planning issues are never far from my mind at the moment, whether it's objecting to yet another totally inappropriate application to demolish a large family house and replace it by nine flats or at AGMs, of which I've attended two in the last week. 

Developers seem to have turned their attention recently to roads such as Downlands, Wooside & Grovelands roads, whileWoodcote Valley Road is rumoured soon to expect a planning application for 80 flats to replace the lovely large family houses and gardens at 82,84,86,88,90. 

Earlier this week, we held an information meeting for local RAs to keep them abreast of topical planning issues, given that the Council doesn't seem to be interested in doing so. About 30 people packed into a room in South Croydon Baptist church to hear our planning lead Cllr Jason Perry discuss the Council's current request for evidence to justify why our green spaces such as Rotary Field should retain special protection, and all RAs were encouraged to prepare responses before the dealine of 22 July. 

I also attended two AGMs this week, of the PWRA and of HADRA, now that part of its area falls within my ward. We heard interesting speeches on current issues from various people, including Chris Philp MP. 



Purley Baptist Church - enquiry to be re-opened.
07/06/2019 11:00:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

(With thanks to HADRA, who supplied the text below)

Seven local RAs were advised on 30 May that the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Govt (James Brokenshire) "has given careful consideration to all the representations before him (from all parties), and on the basis of which he is of the view that in accordance with Rule 19(1)(c) of the Inquiry Procedure Rules he needs to reopen the Inquiry to consider further the following matters:

a) any changes to the development plan since his decision was issued, such as the adoption of Local Plan policies, or a relevant Neighbourhood Plan coming into force.

b) any issues specific to the case, including design and the current housing land supply position;

c) any other relevant changes since the decision, such as a change to national policy or any implications of a recent court judgement;

d) Any other material change in circumstances, fact or policy, that may have arisen since his decision of 3 December 2018 and which the parties consider to be material to his further consideration of this appeal.

The Planning Inspectorate will be writing shortly to the relevant parties to make arrangements for the submission and circulation of the further evidence referred to above, and about the arrangements for reopening the Inquiry."

We have no idea what form the new inquiry will take, nor how long it will last. 



Two Iftars in two days!
31/05/2019 17:37:00.......Posted by Simon Brew


I was honoured to be invited to two Iftars earlier this week. The first, held in Selsdon Community Hall (underneath Sainsburys),  was for the South Croydon Muslim community, of which a prominent member is my colleague Cllr Badsha Quadir, and it was a pleasure to meet several Purley residents there. 

Last night, I joined about 300 people at a large-scale Iftar celebration at the Grand Sapphire Hotel off Purley Way. The theme was inter-faith dialogue, and to emphasise the point we heard speeches from several sponsoring organisations including the British Asian Trust which is running a major Mental Health campaign in Pakistan, and from a Pakistani CoE Priest who had been educated in a madrassa.  We also heard a Rabbi give a moving talk about how a mamber of his family had escaped the Holocaust due to the personal intervention of a Nazi officer on a Berlin tram - it was an extraordinary tale. We were honoured by the presence of HE the High Commissioner of Pakistan who gave an uplifting speech. All in all, a night to remember.



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 Older Blog Posts
Celebration of Iftar at Baitus Subhan mosque, Central Croydon
Two very different events in one day...
Chartwell Cancer Trust 5k walk in Lloyd Park
Christ Church Purley has a new vicar
Talk on dealing with Domestic Abuse
Purley BID seeks new street ambassador
Two Purley meetings
Two Vaisakhi celebrations in one week...
Pre-planning application for Whytecliffe Roads South & North
Good progress with Surrey Iron Railway = Iron Horse project
Wellbeing cafe at Purley Baptist Church
CCC meeting at St Michaels in Central Croydon
Mayor visits Purley Rotary
Croydon Cricket Club Holi celebration
Celebration of Chinese new year of the Pig
Home-start Croydon's 30th birthday
Walkabout at Partridge Knoll, Purley
Purley surgery followed by an hour at Rotary Swimathon
Selection of Conservative candidate for Croydon/Sutton GLA constituency
Croydon's support for small businesses
New Tree Preservation Order (TPO) for Monahan Avenue
New “Iron Horse” art installation will celebrate Purley’s proud past
Yet ANOTHER large family home bites the dust - this time in Riddlesdown Road
Fish & Chips in Selsdon
Another decent family home bites the dust.....
Olden Lane - yet another block of 8 flats...
Holocaust memorial day
Council Governance review
Major development at Whytecliffe Rd North & South
Leaves on the ... pavement & verges
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