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 The Coulsdon Town Blog
 
Cllr  Luke  Clancy
Cllr  Mario  Creatura
Ian  Parker
 

Fire safety in Croydon Council buildings
16/06/2017 17:00:00......Posted by Mario Creatura

Following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in west London, the Council wants to reassure residents that Croydon Council accommodation meets standards on fire safety. They carry out regular fire risk assessments on all of their blocks, and all these are up to date.

From 2009 to 2015 Croydon invested over £10 million to improve the fire safety of its blocks, including renewing both communal and front entrance doors to flats, protecting internal stairwells and other areas. 

They also regularly advise residents about ensuring that fire routes and communal areas are clear of obstructions, such as rubbish, bicycles and mobility scooters.

As a result of the fire Croydon Council has launched a further full review of all their housing blocks. This will involve independent testing, both external and internal, and comprehensive safety tests.   

We know that many of you will want to offer your support to the victims of this terrible tragedy. A fundraising page has been set up for those who would like to make a donation at www.justgiving.com/kandcfoundation 

Statement by London Fire Service

At this stage we do not know yet what caused the fire.  We do not know where it started and we do not know why it spread in the way that it did.

If you live in a high rise property you are not at more risk of a fire starting.  Our advice is that people who live in high rise properties/purpose build flats or maisonettes, aside from having a smoke alarm and taking fire safety precautions, is to make sure you know the escape route and what to do if there is a fire inside your home or somewhere else in the building.

The fire and rescue service works with local authorities, developers, and tenants to help ensure that the fire safety arrangements in high rise accommodation is safe and appropriate.

The advice provided by fire services is based on effective fire safety arrangements that are required, proposed, and then provided in the building – these will include compartmentation of the building and means of escape.

If there is a fire inside your flat or maisonette our advice is to alert all the people in your flat and leave, closing your doors behind you.  You should follow your escape plan and if there is lots of smoke, crawl along the floor where the air should be clearer.  Always use the stairs rather than the lift and call 999 as soon as you are in a safe place.

If there is a fire elsewhere in the building then the structure of the building – walls, floors, doors – are designed to give you a minimum of 30-60 minutes’ protection from a fire to enable you to remain in your flat whilst it is dealt with by the Fire Service. If there is a fire elsewhere in your building then you are usually safer to stay in your flat unless the heat or smoke from the fire is affecting you, in which case you can leave via the stairs if safe to do so.  If it is not safe to leave and you do remain in your flat call 999 and tell them which flat you are in.

 
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Letter to save the Coulsdon Medical Centre
06/04/2018 12:33:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

Following the surprising news that the Care Quality Commission are to close the Coulsdon Medical Centre, we wrote to Sir David Behan (the CEO) for an explanation.

Dear Sir David,

Coulsdon Medical Practice, 66 Brighton Road, Coulsdon, S CR5 3EE

We write as representatives of the Coulsdon West ward of the London Borough of Croydon to register our strong objections to the closure of the above Medical Practice in our ward.

Our residents have benefitted from the excellent service provided at the Centre for many years and we fail to understand why the practice is to close when the demand for services in the area is increasing.

Locally, we are seeing the development of the Cane Hill site which when completed will bring over 600 houses and many more residents to the area, all requiring the services of local doctors.  Now is the time for health provision in the area to expand not contract.  

We believe there are over 3500 patients registered at the practice.  How do they go about registering with another GP?  

We would appreciate your justification for the closure together with some explanation as to how the health provision will be increased elsewhere to cover the closure of the practice and to meet the ever growing demand locally.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Cllr Luke Clancy. Cllr Mario Creatura and Ian Parker (candidate)

 


 

Labour's track record - not something to be proud of
27/03/2018 16:13:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

Last night I was pleased to speak against Labour's debate motion in the final Council meeting before the local elections. Their motion read: 

'This Council recognises the achievements of this administration including delivering, the London Living Wage, Private landlords licensing scheme, Don͛t Mess with Croydon, Pride Festival, White Ribbon Borough, Fairfield Halls regeneration, Improving Schools, Choose your future, Investment in services for older people, affordable housing for local people and much more, Croydon is a place that all our residents are increasingly proud of. However there is still much more to do to secure Croydon's long term future, and our town cannot afford to go back to the years of cuts, closures and austerity.

You can watch my contribution here, or read a transcript below:

Thank you Madam Mayor, in rising to speak to Labour’s motion I have to admit to being a little, well, disappointed. If this is intended to be a list of their greatest successes in the last four years then it’s a little pathetic. With a genuinely heavy heart I’ll explain why.

They highlight the landlord licensing scheme, more commonly known as the Tenant Tax, touted at improving the living standards of renters across the borough it forced our 30,000 private sector landlords in Croydon to pass the £750 license fee to their tenants. It’s raised tens of millions - but how many dodgy landlords have been prosecuted by our Labour Council? Newham prosecuted over 1,000 – Croydon has prosecuted ONE - one single solitary person last year.

I’m bemused that they’re proud about ‘Don’t Mess With Croydon’. Proud of the 64% increase in fly-tipping since they took over the running of the Council compared to just 12% across London. Proud of the reduction in recycling rates since 2014. Proud of sacking 20 street cleaners. They shouldn’t be proud, they should be ashamed.

They boast about Fairfield Halls being regenerated – but they forget to mention the hundreds of passionate performers, expert technicians, and loyal locals marched on the Town Hall to stop its complete closure. They won’t mention the thousands who petitioned to beg them to stop – thousands who Labour didn’t listen to. Lo and behold Labour Leader admitted last month the delivery date has slipped – again – this time by a whole year. Is that something to be proud of?

The claim they’re building affordable housing is similarly ludicrous - the Labour Mayor of London’s stats show that last year just 5% of all new builds in Croydon were affordable. In their manifesto they say ‘we’ll provide more Council homes’ but in 2017 this Labour administration announced it would be shutting down the Council House Building Scheme. Since 2014 not one Council house brick has been laid. In 2016 Cllr Newman tweeted ‘Proud Croydon Labour is delivering 50% affordable housing… that’s why I’m supporting Owen Smith.’ Guess you were wrong on both counts eh?

Their 30-page long 2014 manifesto was branded ‘Ambitious for Croydon’. It contained some 109 pledges but here they highlight just 10 they feel deserve of praise. But every single one is either a half-truth, a distortion of reality or taking credit for something started by others.

In conclusion, Labour’s 2014 manifesto serves as a monument to failure – and the nearly 400,000 local residents they have let down.

I oppose this motion.

 


 

My Lion Green Road objection
23/03/2018 11:30:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

17/06297/FUL – Lion Green Road (redevelopment of site to provide 5no. five, six, seven storey buildings providing 96 one bedroom, 42 two bedroom and 19 three bedroom flats: provision of vehicular access, residential and town centre car parking spaces, hard and soft landscaping works and new private and public amenity space.)

That’s 237 bedrooms.

116 public car parking spaces and 45 residential car parking spaces – for 237 bedrooms.

If we assume every bedroom has a driver, which is possible, then that means we are deficient in 192 car parking spaces.

If we assume there’s just one vehicle per flat, which is highly unlikely, then that’s 112 residential parking spaces extra that we need for this plan to work. If we halve that then we are still out by 11.

The main reason for my objection to the plan for Lion Green Road is this – where do those new residents and their vehicles go?

The current Lion Green Road car park has over 100 of its 115 spaces used nearly all day. In the context of the rest of the town, there is no argument for adding a further 237 plus residents and their inevitable vehicles

  • The CALAT car park has 35 well-used spaces.
  • Aldi car park is often full with four or more queuing and over-flowing into the main road, obstructing public transport and other vehicles. I’m pleased to be meeting with the Property Director next month to try to work out a solution on that.
  • Waitrose car park likewise is often full with a couple queuing and some obstruction of passing traffic.
  • The side roads with free bays or no controls are also heavily parked - notably The Avenue, The Grove and South Drive. Other roads with no charges are also well parked.
  • During peak times traffic is jammed from the Lion Green Road junction with Chipstead Valley Road and backs all the way down that road to often as far as Barrie Close and the traffic is practically gridlocked on Lion Green Road.

This is not the first time that I’ve made this argument to this committee – imagine you own a car, and you have gone through the stress and strain and bought a flat in this 157 flat development. 

You’re told that there are 45 residential car parking spaces. Do you sell your car, knowing the odds are you’ll not be able to part? Or do you chance it? You think about all those trips to the North Downs or out into Chipstead and Hooley and greater Surrey. The reason why you moved to Coulsdon! Of course you chance it. Because you simply don’t think that someone else will have the same idea. Only they all do. And they all add their vehicles into our town.

If nothing else, listen to the residents. Residents in Coulsdon are reasonable. That’s why I’ve no problem at all with the two proposals for the applications for the land west of Malcolm Road and the former CALAT centre. Both have more support than objections.

But in this case there objectors include: Chris Philp and Crispin Blunt MP; Hartley and District Residents’ Association; Hooley Residents’ Association; Chipstead Residents’ Association; Steve O’Connell; Old Coulsdon Residents’ Association.

And 256 real people objecting. 256 people saying, please don’t do this to our town. 256 people saying – think again.

I’d urge the committee to support them.

 


 

My Coulsdon Community Centre objection
23/03/2018 11:30:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

17/06216/FUL – Community Centre on Barrie Close - demolition of existing community centre and erection of 33 residential units comprising 4 one bedroom flats, 12 two bedroom flats and 17 three bedroom houses, together with provision of car parking, landscaping and other associated works).

Two strands to my argument against this plan – the first is that there is no need to demolish a beloved community centre and relocate it in the first place, and the second is that what will be constructed there is deeply unpopular with some 165 of my residents.

There is no compelling case for Brick by Brick to demolish and relocate the Coulsdon Community Centre given its immense popularity with the thousands of residents who use it on a regular basis. It has a 95% usage rate and the car park is full most of the time. It is used by parents taking their children to classes, it’s used by elderly residents with mobility issues who need to park close to the centre, and everyone in between. It is used for our surgeries often accompanied by the regular Zumba class!

Parking is already very heavily congested at the section of Chipstead Valley Road that the Centre currently occupies, including the perpendicular roads of Coniston and Sherwood. One space per property for 33 properties is not enough for these new builds and will only make parking worse for those residents already in the locale - particularly those in Barrie Close.

As the new proposed development is up hill from existing properties residents have contacted me fearing that they will be able to look down directly into bedrooms and bathrooms of existing properties, seriously affecting privacy and security.

The 21st November 2017 Development Presentations for item 5.1 of the Committee Planning Agenda state:

“It is considered that 3 storeys would be an appropriate maximum height for the properties to avoid the development having an overbearing impact on the surrounding 2 storey context. It is important that only the rooftops of the properties are visible through the trees from the surrounding area to be consistent with local character.”

The design of four storeys high is therefore contradictory to the council’s own development presentation. A reduction in the height/size of the development should be considered to mitigate these very real fears. 

It is well known that the sewage system on this part of Chipstead Valley Road has overflown several times in recent years, adding this many properties to the outflow without heavily investing in underground sewage infrastructure is believed it will only make the problem worse. There appears to be no guarantee from the developer that this will be improved should these additional residents move in to the congested area.

There are a large number of other residential developments that are either in construction, have been recently finished or have recently been approved including the hundreds of homes on Cane Hill, the Lion Green Car Park development, new flats at 177 Chipstead Valley Road, new flats at 193/195 Chipstead Valley Road etc. all with insufficient parking provision. Altogether, this will result in around an extra 900 dwellings in Coulsdon. Without any planned changes to the town’s infrastructure – especially with regard to trains, roads and schools – this is a clear case of over-development of Coulsdon more broadly.

The loss of the existing Coulsdon Community Centre building would be a sad event for the history of Coulsdon. The building dates to 1935 and has much architectural and historic interest to the local community. It is well-used, with 95% occupancy rate. Last year Cllr Timothy Godfrey, Labour Cabinet Member for culture, praised the community services offered by the Coulsdon Community Centre and has cited it repeatedly as an example of best practice in the borough. Demolishing this Centre seems entirely contradictory, hypocritical and destructive to our community.

Again, I ask the committee to listen to the residents of my ward. Listen to the two MPs and the residents’ association who have deep concerns. They are not being unreasonable, they have legitimate concerns as I have outlined and 165 have taken the time to write to object and ask you to think again.

Objectors include Chris Philp and Crispin Blunt MP, Hooley Residents’ Association. The Coulsdon Community Centre is against/neutral.

 


 

Labour dominated planning committee approve controversial Coulsdon schemes
23/03/2018 11:26:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

Sadly last night our Labour-dominated Planning Committee decided to ignore the hundreds of local residents who objected to the intensive development of Lion Green Road and the demolition of the much-loved Coulsdon Community Centre and grant two controversial local schemes.

256 residents and local businesses objected to the former, 165 for the latter. Naturally I am very dissapointed by the result, but I'm more concerned by the strain that these 190 new properties will add to the infrastructure of our town.

The Croydon Advertiser has covered the result of the meeting on their website, it's well worth a read.

My objections to the plans are laid out below but you can watch it and access the contributions of others by clicking the link in the headings.

 


 

Woodcote Medical Centre
21/03/2018 15:35:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

Residents are understandably concerned about rumours that Dr Khan’s Coulsdon practice will have to close - leaving some 4,000 patients without a GP.

We've contacted the Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group who looks after such matters who tell us: “We are aware of the situation regarding The Coulsdon Medical Practice.  We are committed to working with the practice and the Care Quality Commission, as the national organisation responsible for inspecting the quality of health services, to ensure that all registered patients have access to the best possible GP services in Croydon.”

We've asked them to keep us updated with the very latest news on this important local service.

 

 

 


 

The Citiscape Tribunal decision
15/03/2018 20:52:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

As someone like you who lives in the CitiScape building, I wrote to my fellow neighbours following the recent tribunal decision that replacing the cladding on our Croydon housing block should be paid for by we residents.

It is clearly not the residents fault that the cladding needs replacing and it seems very unfair that we are being asked to pay for it.

The Judge in the Tribunal case said that the developer of the building, the warranty provider (the building control company) or even the Council, if they signed off the work as safe, could be liable to pay for the work.

If elected me, Ben and Elizabeth will fully support residents in pursuing these potentially liable parties.

I will continue my regular contact with the Citiscape Residents’ Group to see if there is anything they would like particular support with in continuing this important fight.

If any neighbours would like to arrange a time for me to pop by to discuss any of this, do get in touch as above and I’d be happy to meet.

 


 

Aldi replies - and wants to meet
14/03/2018 17:24:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

At the start of the month we wrote to the CEO of Aldi UK to see if he would be willing to help fix the intolerable gridlock outside their very popular Coulsdon store.

We're grateful that he replied very swiftly which you can read here.

We're in the process of trying to agree a meeting time for both Aldi, Council Officers, Councillors and TfL. 

 


 

The saga with the Coulsdon Town toilet continues
07/03/2018 09:30:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

I've just been informed that the Council's Neighbourhood Safety Manager met with their contractors last week and they are in the process of ordering the replacement parts for the broken toilet door. These will hopefully be in by early next week and I'm told the Council will have the toilets open as soon as possible.

The Neighbourhood Safety South team are due to start some local engagement activities with businesses and residents. They are essentially looking to see if anyone can provide them with information as to whom may be responsible for vandalising of the toilet. It does seem rather coincidental that the same type of damage appears to occur on a semi regular basis. Hopefully this work will bear fruit and the Council can work with the SNT to stop the vandalism permanently. 

The emergency button inside the WC isn't working at present. The Council accepts the delay on fixing this is not good enough and has resolved to do their best to speed maintenance up.

I've sent in several additional questions (including the potential use of camera's) and I'm told I'll receive a response in the near future.

 


 

Traffic around Howard Primary School
04/03/2018 20:59:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

A while ago we visited Southbridge Road to introduce ourselves as the Conservative candidates for Croydon Town Centre – Fairfield Ward in the local council elections in May 2018.

During our visit some residents nformed us that they were concerned about the traffic management/road layout around Howard Primary School due to difficulties in crossing the road and the knock on effect of the safety of school children.

We have been working with council officers on this issue to try to help deal with some of the concerns.

Council officers have stated that requests for road safety measures around school sites are usually dealt with through the school travel plan process, where schools can identify the problems and issues faced by their pupils and parents concerning highway safety on their journeys to school and present them in a clear format called the travel plan document.

This process enables funding to be secured for the investigation and development of suitable safety measures and solutions where appropriate. However, at the present time difficulties crossing the roads around Howard Primary School have not been mentioned in the schools current travel plan.

Council officers have stated that it would be useful to understand further the details of residents' concerns. For information, they have stated that a zebra crossing has recently been introduced on Bramley Hill near to its junction with Southbridge Road and a further one is planned later this year on Warham Road near to Nottingham Road.

Clive Whittle, one of the senior engineers has offered for residents to contact him directly with any concerns so that they can be discussed further. His contact details are Clive.Whittle@Croydon.gov.uk.

I hope this reassures residents that the issue is being managed, if you have any other questions about this or your local area, specifically that the council can deal with then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

 


 

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 Older Blog Posts
24/02/2018
Future of Coulsdon Yulefest Christmas lights put at risk
17/02/2018
Broken bog strikes again
16/02/2018
Tamworth Estate neglected by Labour Council
31/01/2018
Speech on fly-tipping in Croydon
25/01/2018
Full openness and transparency on Brick by Brick?
01/01/2018
Council plans to demolish Community Centre and cut parking in Coulsdon
27/12/2017
Objecting to the Purley Skyscraper
20/12/2017
Labour hypocrisy over 'support' for local taxis
20/12/2017
Gas works distruption
18/12/2017
What happens if the evidence changes on 20mph zones?
11/12/2017
What's happening with the night-time economy report?
05/12/2017
The future location of BoxPark
05/12/2017
A question about Mud - and the viability of businesses in BoxPark
04/12/2017
Aldi parking - just not good enough
04/12/2017
Letter to Lloyds Bank
02/11/2017
New lifts and bridge to be installed at Coulsdon South station
30/10/2017
South Drive petition success - eventually!
06/10/2017
Croydon joins Haringey in opposing Labour Party policy
29/09/2017
Question on housing policy
29/09/2017
Question on the recent tram strike
19/09/2017
Speech on the Council's shocking Ofsted review
15/09/2017
Accessibility improvements for Coulsdon South station
18/08/2017
Objection to huge Sutton green belt construction project
16/08/2017
Who is your Croydon Hero?
16/08/2017
Questions on Knife Crime in Schools
26/07/2017
Helping our Furry Friends!
26/07/2017
Car park costs and spiralling rents killing small businesses
06/07/2017
Labour failing affordable housing pledge
30/06/2017
Croydon Labour refuse to support London National Park City campaign
29/06/2017
Questions of Fire Safety in Council-owned blocks
 
 
 
 
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