Seeking Coulsdon volunteers, an update from Westfield/Hammerson and celebrating Black History Month
24/10/2014 18:34:00......Posted by Mario Creatura
On Monday night I attended the Coulsdon Forum to discuss matters of local concern. The Forum is a group made up of representatives from most of the local residents' associations and businesses in the town. It's a good opportunity to hear the concerns of the area and (crucially) to ensure that I have a good handle on most of the issues facing the ward.
We are all concerned about the Govia franchise potentially reducing the service to the city from Coulsdon South station. The consultation should be open in the next few weeks and I'll publicise it once it's available.
Parking was also understandably raised. I've been working with the Council to try to mitigate the effects of reduced parking over Christmas and was delighted earlier this month when they agree with the six Coulsdon councillors and will be keeping Lion Green Road open over the holiday season. The news that the CALAT car park will be open to the public on Saturday's was welcomed, as was the pledge from Cllr Kathy Bee that they'd look at opening it for the rest of the week.
The Coulsdon Forum are looking for volunteers to join their committee. They meet often to discuss how to get the best possible deal for the town from the Council. If you're interested in hearing more, please e-mail me using firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday saw the AGM of the Coulsdon Community Centre. I have very much enjoyed being a part of the committee since I was elected in May and was pleased to be re-elected onto it for the coming year. Like the Coulsdon Forum, the Centre Committee meets regularly to discuss issues facing this key community assett. Richard Lloyd, Centre Director, informed the attendees that in the last year the centre has had almost 1,000 people go through its doors each week. With zumba, church groups and theatre just a sampling of what goes on there, it really is a place that's thriving at the heart of Coulsdon.
There are a few vacancies on their management committee that it would be great to fill. Committment is minimal, but you get to discuss the financial direction, marketing strategy and have a say on general issues facing the Centre. Again, if you're interested in joining please do e-mail me using email@example.com
On Thursday I attended the BME Forum's Black History Month event with Ed Miliband as guest speaker. Now is not the time to analyse his lacklustre and downright worrying policies, but credit must go to the team who staged the impressive event. Nero Ughwujabo and his Forum colleagues have been working for many years to encourage members of the ethnic minority community to get involved in wider Croydon life: either through volunteering, running for public office or going to civic events to participate in constructive debate - debates that crucially shape the future of our borough. Pat Reid yesterday outlined their latest venture: encouraging and supporting entrepreneurs to take the plunge and set up their own businesses. If you'd like more information about any of their diverse work, please get in touch with them through their website: http://www.cbmeforum.org/
Straight after I headed along to the latest Croydon BID meet up where members of the local business and voluntary community came together to hear up to date news about Croydon Town centre. Speaking at the event were John Burton, Development Director for Westfield, and Peter Cole, CIO for Hammerson. They gave a detailed update on the status of the development (including this fly-through of the scheme) but subtly announced that the project is likely to be delayed and not open until 2019. Concern was expressed by many of the businesses present that they'll struggle during the construction period. I'll be working with Shadow Cabinet member for Economic Development Cllr Jason Perry to hold the Labour administration to account over their part in the process, and will endeavour to ensure the development is completed as fast as is practicable whilst being sensitive to the needs of the traders.
It's an exciting time to be a Councillor in Croydon, with lots of changes in the town and our district centres. We have to get it right for future generations, and I know there's cross party support to ensure we all get the best possible deal for residents.