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.
Only one week to the launch of the Iron Horse in Purley's Rotary Field 24/01/2020 17:59:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
If you live anywhere near Rotary Field, you can't have failed to notice the installation of a full-size 12m cast iron sculpture of a horse and two wagons. It celebrates a local branch of the Surrey Iron Railway which ran right through Rotary Field from 1805 - 1838, and of which a short fragment still remains in the northwest corner. It was one of the world's first railways, and was used, among other things, to enable horses to draw trains of up to five wagons full of building materials from quarries near Godstone & Merstham all the way to a river dock at Wandsworth.
The launch event with the Croydon Mayor in attendance is next Friday 31st January, and all are welcome. PLEASE register in advance via Eventbrite that you're coming so that we don't run out of food! Further detail are on the attached flyer.
Croydon Community Consortium (CCC) - an interesting meeting 24/01/2020 17:33:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
Last night I was at a well-attended meeting of the non-political CCC which arranges about 6 meetings per year at which popular community topics are aired.
We heard an interesting presentation about the Purley Food Hub registered charity, which is one of about 4 similar centres operating all over the Borough. Clients have typically fallen on hard times (as determined by Social Services, churches or other social institutions) because of family breakup or eviction, or temporary unemployment, and they receive three days' worth of meals for their complete family. I was re-assured to hear that on average most clients don't need to be supported for more than three visits, because their immediate problem has usually been resolved by the end of that time. The Purley Food Hub is always looking for volunteers to help with a variety of tasks, so please get in touch via email@example.com if you'd like to get involved.
We also participated in a long Council-sponsored discussion relating to "The Big Conversation", which was all about asking residents how they think the Borough should change between now and 2030. There was widespread dissatisfaction with the excessively long timescale of the conversation; most residents seemed to prefer the Council to concentrate on getting the basics such as emptying the bins done really well, long before worrying about how the Council might look in 10 years. There was also widespread dissatisfaction at the impact of the implementation of the Croydon Local Plan on many neighbourhoods all over the Borough.
The consultation is still open and there's a special website: www.bigconversation.croydon.gov.uk where there is much more information.
Pension committee - totally unnecessarily loss of £300,000. 08/01/2020 17:22:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
At yesterday's Pension Committee, we were told that owing to an administrative error, the Council's Pension Fund lost no less than £300k recently. There is an agreed cross-party policy that we should not invest in the tobacco industry, but it turns out that many millions of pounds were recently invested in the industry against the explicit instructions of the Committee. When the error was discovered, the transaction was reversed, and as a result, the net loss to the fund is some £300,000. The Pension fund is ultimately backed by Croydon taxpayers who have therefore each lost about £1.00 as a result of this "error" - some error.... How can this possibly be allowed to happen?
Panto has returned to the Fairfield Halls :-) 06/01/2020 17:14:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
It was a pleasure,after three long dark years of closure, to return to the Fairfield Halls with my grandchildren yesterday to see a spectacular performance of Cinderella being staged in the Concert Hall. The multiple costumes seem to get ever more outlandish, the goodies and the baddies ever more sharply differentiated, and the contemporary jokes ever more subtle, though no doubt those tuned into Social Media 'got' them immediately (Oh no they didn't!). All in all, the kids had a fabulous time and it was good to see the halls in action again.
Planning - more destruction of family homes in Higher Drive :-( 20/12/2019 16:45:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
I attended Planning Committee last night to deliver an impassioned plea (within my permitted three minutes) against the demolition of 59-63 Higher Drive, which are three large family houses with gardens, and their replacement by no less than 40 flats, only 24 car spaces. As usual Cllr Scott opened the proceedings by announcing that Croydon needs more housing, which is code for saying that almost anything goes in the South of the Borough. I argued that the Government's Planning Inspectorate and even the Mayor of London had recently decided that Croydon's housing plan for "windfall sites" (= replacement of family homes by flats) was FAR too ambitious and should be reduced by 60%. Sadly my arguments all fell on deaf ears, and the Labour majority voted the application through as usual by 6-4 votes, with all Conservatives voting against the destruction of these large family homes.
What happens on Planning committee, week by week, has been one of the key drivers for the formation of DEMOC - The Campaign for a Democratically Elected Mayor in Croydon; please see www.democ.org.uk for more information, and I hope you'll be able to attend its launch meeting in Purley on Wednesday 5th February.
A visit to Kenley Revival mini-museum 14/12/2019 15:29:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
After the all election furore, it was a pleasure to visit the mini-museum at Kenley Airfield this afternoon. It is now a glider station but during WW2 it was one of three key fighter bases defending London from Luftwaffe attacks - the others were Croydon & Biggin Hill.
The pop-up museum was only there for the day but it contained lots of interesting artefacts, posters and videos which illustrated what life was like in the dark days of the war. I also learned that on Christmas day 1926, PO Arthur Holden who was based at Kenley flew his Gloster Grebe plane between the towers of London Bridge! Sadly he died in a flying accident in 1927 and is buried in St Luke's Kenley.
A date for your diaries: the next mini-museum event at Kenley is scheduled for Saturday 25th January 2020.
Lots of beehives in the heart of Purley 15/09/2019 10:23:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
Yesterday I enjoyed attending part of an open day at the Purley district of Surrey Beekeepers Association which has lots of hives in the allotments off Hartley Down. We heard an interesting presentation about the different types of bees, their history - going back 120 million years - and how to look after them and harvest honey and other products; there was a practial session in the afternoon, when a hive was opened up.
As there is no onsite electricity supply, work on the hives is necessarily restricted in winter, so the Purley & Woodcote councillors made a contribution last year from the Community Ward Budget towards the provision of some solar panels. These will be used to charge batteries and provide lighting & other facilities for the hut.
The art of bee-keeping is a very ancient tradition, and it's a pleasure to see it thriving in our midst. The SBKA is always on the lookout for new members, so please contact them via their website if you're interested, or I'll be pleased to put you in touch direct.
Kenley Airfield Flypast Sunday 18th August 12/08/2019 08:29:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
Kenley Airfield was one of the three (with Croydon & Biggin Hill) which were primarily responsible for the defence of London during the Second World War, and it's the best preserved in the whole country. Kenley Airfield Friends' Group won a major National Lottery Award to restore parts of it a few years ago, and it's now a scheduled monument.
Subject to the weather, there's a fly-past every year by one or more WW2 aircraft, usually including a Spitfire, a Hurricane & a bomber; this takes place on the Sunday closest to 18th August, which is the anniversary of the day when the airfield suffered its heaviest attack. This year, it's scheduled for about 1:20pm on Sunday 18th August, and I strongly recommend the experience. There will also be several stalls at which local organisations will be pleased to tell their stories.
**FORTY** flats proposed for 59-63 Higher Drive 11/08/2019 16:14:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
Developers are trying to strike yet again in Higher Drive. One application for 78 Higher Drive is coming to the planning committee on Thursday 15/8 for demolition of a large family house and its replacement inevitably by a block of 9 flats. In addition, a much larger scheme involving demolition of 59-63 Higher Drive and their replacement by FORTY flats has just been announced. This will totally change and destroy the character of the whole area and all the local residents are passionately opposed to it.
The Foxley Residents' Association has produced an excellent flyer which is below, so I hope residents will object in large numbers.
The indiscriminate destruction of large family houses all round Purley and the South of the Borough is one of the reasons why many residents are turning towards the idea of a democratically elected mayor for Croydon, as advocated by a cross-party group of residents' association.: see http://www.democ.org.uk/ for more information
Eid Mubarak to one and all... 11/08/2019 15:56:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
I went to the annual celebration of Eid Al Adha early this morning in the open air at Sanderstead Rec; it was a pleasure to be invited by my colleague Cllr Quadir, and we were very lucky with the weather, given how awful it was yesterday. There was a joyous atmosphere after the celebration and we all went home to a traditional feast at which particular dishes are served.
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