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.
Transport difficulties? Try renting an (e) bike 26/03/2020 12:49:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
I've just been reminded of the scheme described below which may be of interest to those with time on their hands who need some exercise, or who want to try out e-bikes for the first time.
LBC has started working with Peddle My Wheels who are based in the borough to operate their Try Before You Bike scheme for Croydon residents and employees. https://www.peddlemywheels.com/ .
The scheme means that residents or employees in the borough can try out a variety of types of bike by hiring it for a monthly fee. There is no deposit, no fixed contract and the user just pays the monthly fee until they own it, or they cancel and return at any time with nothing more to pay. The bike is delivered direct to their door with a free cycle skills session to increase confidence. Maintenance and theft cover are available for peace of mind. Children’s bikes can be exchanged for the next size up and Peddle My Wheels will collect, service and sell the old bike free of charge.
The Government has categorised bike shops as an essential service alongside supermarkets and pharmacies. Peddle My Wheels continues to operate and deliver bikes to interested users with infection control processes in place to ensure people don’t come into contact with each other. The free training session can be held at a later date.
Pleae contact the company direct as on attached flyer.
Covid-19: Help is at hand OR Thanks for volunteering 25/03/2020 09:47:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
These are unprecedented times - the Government has moved extremely quickly in the last week or so to react to the impending health emergency.
I've already distributed the attached newsletter to a large number of Purley residents, but please feel free to circulate it to anyone else who might be interested, either because they need help or perhaps because they wish to volunteer in some capacity.
If anyone's suddenly out of a job, all the supermarkets are currently recruiting to fill the thousands of temporary vacancies that have arisen, so this may be a viable option for those not in the at-risk categories.
Purley Rotary Swimathon - 80 lengths completed! 10/03/2020 14:06:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
A gallant team from Purley BID (Business Improvement District) participated in the Rotary Swimathon last weekend and between the five of us, we managed to clock up 80 lengths.
Purley Rotary has been organising this large-scale event for the last 32 years! It raises huge sums for charities and one of the beneficiaries this year is MIND in Croydon, the well-known mental health charity which, as it happens has its headquarters in Pampisford Road, Purley. It was a no-pressure fun event, and we were delighted to be raising money for such a worthwhile cause.
Purley Masjid (mosque) presentation 06/03/2020 15:02:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
I was pleased to join my colleague Cllr Badsha Quadir at the Purley Mosque in Whytecliffe Road South last night, where we heard a short presentation about the mosque's plans to replace the current building with an impressive new four storey building. Two floors will be dedicated as prayer rooms, a third will be used as a general community facility and the fourth will be used to provide 3 small flats.
This is an imaginative scheme, and one which we hope will be supported by the community at large.
Croydon Community Consortium meeting at St Michaels, West Croydon 06/03/2020 14:49:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
I was one of two councillors at the meeting on 4th March. Attendance was a bit down on the usual numbers (surely not becaue of COVID-19?! Whatever next!), but we heard an interesting talk from a Council officer on the Private Landlord Licensing scheme, renewal of which is currently out for consultation.
The scheme enables officers to inspect properties and insist on remedial repairs in curcumstances when the tenant might be too scared to make an official complaint. On the other hand, it costs every landlord about £750 for licence renewal, and this money has to be found from somewhere, perhaps through making the rental charge higher than it would otherwise be. On balance, most people in the audience supported the scheme being renewed.
As an AOB item, someone asked about the DEMOC campaign, but it was agreed that this is too big a topic to treat as AOB, so a meeting in the future will be dedicated to this topic.
Retirement of Richard Pacitti, CEO of Mind in Croydon 05/03/2020 15:10:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
Richard Pacitti has been CEO of Mind in Croydon for as long as anyone can remember; the charity has its headquarters at the Southern end of Pampisford Road, and I have always admired the work they do to help those who through no fault of their own, suffer mental health problems. This is often as a result of a complex combination of family, employment and emotional difficulties happening at the same time.
The Deputy Mayor of Croydon gave him a rousing send-off in the Mayor's Parlour in the Town Hall, and it was a pleasure to be there to wish him well for the future.
FOUR more large family homes bite the dust :-( 29/02/2020 22:49:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
I was unable to attend the Planning Committee on 27 February, so my colleague Cllr Bird kindly attended committee in my place. 19 Hartley Old Road is a large family home & garden typical of the area, and In January 2019 developers first applied for planning permission to replace it by yet another block of 9 flats. The initial design was so awful and incongruous that even the Labour Council baulked at its design, but lengthy discussions rumbled on for nearly a year until sadly the developer came up with a design which the Council recommended for approval. Once it got to the Labour-dominated Planning Committee, it was virtually certain to be approved, as are 95% of all the other applications which come before it, and so it came to pass.
It was a bad evening for large family houses; at the same meeting, three more in Croham Valley Road were all approved for demolition to be replaced by blocks of flats. The wilful destruction of the South of the Borough continues unabated, which is why the Conservatives are strongly supporting the DEMOC campaign - please see www.democ.org.uk for more details.
IT advice to SECHC 15/02/2020 22:40:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
I've recently been asked to provide some IT advice to the SE Cancer Health Centre in the Tesco complex, and I've become Chair of the newly-formed IT sub-committee of its Executive body. SECHC provide a fabulous support service for Cancer sufferers and their families and, as a Prostate Cancer sufferer myself I know how valuable these services are.
The committee is advising the Exec on the best way to migrate towards a more modern and sustainable IT system which is needed to deal with the large number of bookings they make for the many different professionals who offer their services. The Centre provides individual and group support, complementary therapies and information within a friendly, caring environment.
I strongly recommend that anyone affected by Cancer, whether themselves or as a member of their family, should acquiant themselves with the excellent services which are on offer.
SWLLC celebrates its 45th birthday 14/02/2020 22:25:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
The Southwest London Law Centre is a charity based in SW11 and with a branch office in Croydon. It specialises in helping people who badly need access to legal advice but do not generally have the means to pay for it. Their two most common areas of support are housing and Universal Credit and they have trained staff who can offer calm factual advice to people who are often in desperate circumstances, and I have occasionally referred Purley residents to them.
On 13th February, they held a birthday party at the renowned Battersea Arts Centre, which is a cavernous Victorian Grade 2* listed building. We heard the usual AGM speeches and then Ken Loach introduced a fim he had produced which covered many of the subjects for which SWLLC provides support to its clients - it was a very interesting occasion.
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