My contribution to the Coulsdon Debate
26/04/2016 09:47:00......Posted by Jeet Bains
My ward colleague, Luke Clancy, recently posted here regarding a debate in Coulsdon. We debated Maureen Levy on the motion “Croydon council is destroying Coulsdon”. This was held at the Old Coulsdon Centre. We opposed the motion, emphasising that it's particularly the Labour administration that is ruining Coulsdon, contrasting this with the Conservative record. Luke concentrated on Coulsdon issues, and I referred to wider Croydon issues and their relevance to Coulsdon. I thought you might like to see my notes which are below.
Hello, and thank you for inviting me to this debate. And particular thanks to Maureen Levy and Angela Applin for organising this and keeping me informed about it. The motion in front of us is “Croydon council is destroying Coulsdon”. I oppose this motion and I’ll say up front that I will be very political in my argument tonight. My opposition makes a distinction between the current Labour administration, which is indeed destroying Coulsdon, and the previous Conservative one which I contend, far from destroying Coulsdon, was moving Coulsdon forward. In short it’s not Croydon Council per se that we need to look to as the bane of Coulsdon, it’s the Labour party that currently runs it.
My ward colleague, Luke Clancy, and I have broadly divided our opposition to this motion so that Luke will cover specific Coulsdon matters, and I will address how wider Croydon decisions by Labour are adversely affecting Coulsdon.
First I’d like to tackle transparency. As with many things, I guess that achieving 100% satisfaction in this regard is nigh-on impossible, as is keeping all interested parties completely happy with the level of transparency. But transparency is important to Coulsdon and all Croydon wards. It’s important that residents are clear about the priorities for the Council by the party they have elected. It’s also important to know what’s going to be measured and then how the Council is performing against those criteria. Whether it’s governing or running a business or any important endeavour, it’s crucial for us to know that the right things are being done and that things are being done right.
With regard to the current Labour administration, despite much noise about transparency when they were in opposition, their own track record is patchy at best. A couple of recent examples:
The live broadcasts of Council meetings have been reinstated. But who listens to them? Hardly anyone. And what meaningful information is gathered by watching them? Not much. It is fine in opposition to take a high moral tone about transparency. But when you are given the opportunity in power to address the supposed transparency deficit, it behoves you to implement something that is meaningful and useful to the electorate. It’s too easy to just broadcast meetings on the web. I think you’ll find the recordings to be not of the highest quality and the proceedings will be a mystery to many. Is this what Labour meant by transparency? I would say that this is an eye-wash, mere posturing, insubstantial and counter-productive. People see it for what it is and the consequence is disengagement and disillusionment. If Labour were serious about transparency, they would be much more careful and deliberate about their approach to such things, and there would be a revisiting and checking and fine-tuning to make it easier and better for the electorate. But the reality is that effort does not go into such things. Instead it is a mere tick box: tick, we’ve done the web thing.
This matters to Coulsdon because it sets the tone for what Cousldon residents can expect in terms of information and answers from the Council.
Another example: recently, your Coulsdon West councillors asked to see the details of the decision not to proceed with the Lion Green Road car park development. This was and is an important matter for the area. There will be different views about the proposed development and its various implications for traffic, parking etc. But on the point about transparency, the Council would not provide important information about the delay to the scheme, despite clear indications that the developer is still interested and despite Councillor requests.
Again, the tone is set by the current Labour administration and Council officers take their lead from this. Coulsdon loses out from this faux transparency that Labour has imposed. But the conclusion to be drawn from this is not that Croydon Council is destroying Coulsdon. Rather, it is the current Labour administration that is bad for Cousldon, and a key manifestation of this is the lack of transparency. Contrast this with the previous Conservative administration: wide consultation on all matters, scrutiny meetings open to the public and in fact held in various locations around the borough, and clear setting out of priorities and sound implementation.
Building on this theme, I now turn to the matter of Fairfield Halls. Coulsdon benefits from Fairfield Halls as the prime entertainment location south of the Thames, just as all Croydon wards do. In fact, one might say that it benefits Coulsdon more for this reason, as the northern Croydon wards are obviously closer to central London locations as an option. So Fairfield Halls is good for Coulsdon. Coulsdon is not destroyed in any way by being in the same borough as Fairfield Halls. But, again, the current Labour administration is taking away this great boon to all Croydon wards. Quite apart from the lack of transparency (again) – there has been no proper consultation and no meaningful accommodation of views. But aside from the transparency issue, the actual decision to close Fairfield Halls is detrimental to Coulsdon. The organs in Fairfield were unique – now to be dismantled and carted away. The acoustics of the main hall were superior to those of the Royal Festival Hall in London, and some say the best in the country. What it needed was sensible, well managed investment to see it back to its best. Even in its admittedly less than perfect state it was attracting some of the best musical and theatrical acts around. Its history and pedigree boasted some of the biggest names in the history of the arts. So of course it was great for Coulsdon, as it was for all wards. Its demise and disappearance betrays the current administration’s short-sightedness and lack of cultural and intellectual depth. Contrast this with the previous Conservative administration’s commitment to invest in and protect Fairfield Halls.
I want to touch on two more things to illustrate my contention that it’s not Croydon Council that is the problem for Coulsdon, rather it’s the party that currently runs the Council. These two things are Boulders and the Fairness Commission. I’m sure you’ve all seen the boulder outside the Coulsdon library. I’m sure you all love it, especially when you trip over its unlit beauty at night. What’s this all about? Costing thousands of pounds, the Council took it upon itself to distribute 20 of these things around the borough to celebrate these particular wards being part of the London Borough of Croydon for 50 years. Well, I think the priorities should lie elsewhere. And it’s yet another example of who you vote for as being important rather than whether you’re part of Croydon.
And finally the Fairness Commission. I don’t know how many of you have heard of it but the Labour Council has seen fit to spend £200,000 on a Fairness Commission. Whilst admirable in its aim to ensure that council decisions are “fair”, why should a new layer of bureaucracy be put in place to pronounce upon this? Decisions should be made by elected Councillors and then they should be held to account for those decisions. There was no demand from the public for this commission. It serves no useful purpose and it undermines Labour’s claims of operating in a tough environment. This decision does not benefit Coulsdon. The answer, however, does not lie in somehow being outwith Croydon because bad governance can be found in other places too.
The contrast is to be made with the previous Conservative Council which looked after the interests of Coulsdon, fought for residents and their views and ensured that the benefits of being part of Croydon were accrued.
I therefore oppose the motion that Croydon Council is destroying Coulsdon, and instead contend that it is Labour that is harmful to Coulsdon.
Cllr. Jeet Bains
South London Downs National Nature Reserve
26/07/2019 10:47:00.......Posted by Ian Parker
I joined Natural England and The City of London Corporation in celebrating the declaration of The South London Downs National Nature Reserve. It's the second largest NNR in London and will include Coulsdon, Kenley and Riddlesdown Commons, Farthing Downs, Happy Valley, Hawkhirst Wood and the Sanderstead to Whyteleafe Countryside area. On the edge of a large urban area, the declaration represents and underlines the importance of these well loved places for wildlife and local people.
We should fight to protect these areas and treasure them for future generations.
Purley & Coulsdon Clubs for the Elderly
24/07/2019 15:17:00.......Posted by Ian Parker
I was pleased to attend the Annual General Meeting of this local charity. The object of the charity is to provide 'relief for older people within the immediate area in any manner which may be deemed by law to be charitable, in particualr by the provision of activities which meet their social health and educational needs such as luncheon care and recreational programmes'.
At the AGM we heard from Sarah Crane the Club's co-ordinator. It was reassuring to hear that the Club is fulfilling its objectives with a wide range of activities aimed at the elderly.
Coulsdon Town councillors were in a position to provide funding to the organisation from our ward budgets and we wish the Club, its Committee and all its volunteers every success in the coming year.
Coulsdon Comrades Club
30/06/2019 17:20:00.......Posted by Ian Parker
It was fantastic to join members of the Coulsdon Comrades Club at their centenary celebrations yesterday. Those present learnt a lot about the huge contributions and sacrifices made by Coulsdon residents
The Coulsdon branch of the Comrades of the Great War Club was formed on the present site in 1919. With 400 members, the Club continues to thrive and provides a friendly atmosphere for members and their family and friends.
It was a pleasure to meet key volunteers and recognise the valuable service they provide to the community.
Coulsdon Junior Snooker Programme - Summer 2019
26/06/2019 11:22:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura
Frames Snooker Academy (CR5 2NF) will be hosting a series of fun and engaging introductory snooker sessions for new players aged 10-16, as part of a national programme. These sessions are only £1 to attend.
The scheme will also develop a selection of ‘Young Leaders’ (aged 14-16), who will learn skills such as marketing, safe sport delivery, and in creating an engaging club experience for all. They will become role models, encouraging other young people to take up our sport by joining their local club.
Email email@example.com for more information!
Click here to download
Bus Routes 404 and 434
18/06/2019 11:36:00.......Posted by Ian Parker
Following the development of Cane Hill we have worked with the London Borough of Croydon to provide a bus service to the new area, some of which is currently more than five minutes walk from a bus route. TfL received over 600 responses to a recent consultation. The removal of the direct 434 link from Rickman Hill to Purley received much opposition.
TfL now intend to change their proposals. They will hold a further local consultation later this year on revised proposals to leave route 434 unchanged and divert route 404 to Cane Hill as well as Tollers Estate.
Thank you to all who joined us in lobbying for the Cane Hill service.
Coulsdon Town Street Stall/Surgeries
18/06/2019 11:23:00.......Posted by Ian Parker
Coulsdon Town's councillors (Luke Clancy, Mario Creatura and Ian Parker) hold a regular street stall/surgery once a month outside Aldi in Coulsdon Town Centre between 11am and 12 noon. The dates for the rest of the year are Saturday:
16th November and
If you would rather meet us in a more private setting then please do email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 020 8660 0491
Residents' Association meeting
17/06/2019 11:35:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura
Great to speak tonight at the Croydon-wide Residents’ Association meeting - from Norbury to Coulsdon and everywhere in between, all were concerned about Council policies including the latest emissions-based parking permit reforms: https://www.mariocreatura.org.uk/LabourParkingTax
Street surgery - plus new dates!
15/06/2019 11:36:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura
Great to be out with Chris Philp MP in Coulsdon Town this morning - and thanks to the team who went out talking to our local residents. Plenty of local issues came up with a healthy dose of Brexit chat!
We'll next be out:
- 13th July
- 14th September
- 19th October
- 16th November
- 7th December - all day at Coulsdon Yulefest!
Each will be a 10.30am start - do come along!
Coulsdon Town Street Stall - and Cut It Out 2019!
25/05/2019 11:43:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura
Great morning with Cllr Parker talking to Coulsdon Town residents about planning, parking and pollution.
I then went on to the excellent Cut It Out celebration in Selhurst Park to talk about how our community can tackle the scourge of knife crime.
£30k for local cancer charity!
05/05/2019 11:44:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura
A brilliant day out with the Croydon Conservative team walking 5k for the Chartwell Truat Lilypad Appeal - fundraising for a new children’s oncology department at Croydon University Hospital. There’s still time to donate if you can!