The recent history of Old Ashburton Library 17/09/2013 21:46:00......Posted by Adam Kellett
The future of the former Ashburton Library building - and the future of Ashburton Park in general - is an issue of great importance to local residents. Along with Avril and Eddy my fellow ward councillors for Ashburton, I very much welcome discussion about it, including contributions from the Labour Party's newly set up Friends of Ashburton Park group.
Many people have fond memories of using the old library and enjoying the park. As such we wanted to take this opportunity to clarify any misunderstandings about the situation surrounding the building so that residents have all the facts at their disposal when considering solutions for what is a rather complex problem. Residents will remember that the problems with the building started when the previous Labour Council (who were in charge until 2006) included the library as part of the "Ashburton Learning Village PFI Project", run by the construction company Jarvis.
The intended use was for a children's nursery but this became financially unviable following the collapse of Jarvis Construction. To be clear, it was the previous Labour administration that left the building vacant. In their wisdom, the library was moved to the Ashburton Learning Village and no plan was made for the future of the premises. As a result of mistakes made with the legal documents, the site has been vacant since 2006 and has sadly significantly deteriorated due to the financial mismanagement of the Labour-commissioned contracts for the building. When the Conservatives returned to run the Council in May 2006, finding a use for the library was made a priority. However, by this point the building was in dire state of disrepair and this made finding a viable solution more complicated. Significant investment estimated in the millions of pounds would be essential to make the space usable.
But of course, it is the future that people are interested in. To that end, it is important to spell out the work that has been happening to find a new use for the former library.
Given the building's former usage, the planning restrictions state that it must be utilised for educational or community use. Considering this, it of course made sense to talk to local schools and other education providers and find out if they had the resources to make it appropriate for that need. So that is just what we did. When it became apparent that, sadly, none of these options would succeed, the Council decided that we should do all we can to ensure that the building is put to use for the good of the whole community.
As a result, Croydon Council recently finished liaising with local community organisations across the borough with an aim of finding someone who can make a positive use of the building. The bids are currently being evaluated so we can't yet say whether an organisation will be found who are able to take on the scale of financial risk that the building clearly involves. If one does come forward, then clearly that will be a good thing. If not, we will have to think again.
As we hope you now understand, the future is not a certain one for the building. We will continue to fight for a solution that will result in a good use for the site. Despite the various circumstances that have made it difficult to find a quick solution for the library, investment in the park has still continued. After persuasion from us local councillors, there was a refurbishment and upgrading of the play area - another aspect of the park that the Conservative Council inherited in poor condition.
As I said at the beginning, we are highly aware of how important the park is to the people of Ashburton. Therefore we would love to hear from anyone who has a view as to what should be done. In turn, we can ensure that this is fed back to the Council. Please e-mail us if you have any ideas.
We look forward to working with local residents and community groups to preserve this fantastic part of Ashburton where so many happy hours have been spent.
Bridges, traffic, trees, noise, surgeries, parking - and bats! 19/05/2018 21:26:00.......Posted by Jeet Bains
Week 2 was another marvellously busy one helping the good people of Addiscombe East:
- I met the Chair of HOME Residents Association to talk about the traffic difficulties in the area of Elgin and Havelock Roads. Traffic volume has sky-rocketed here since the one way systems introduced on roads west of here. And residents in other roads are having to go on long, crazy diversions simply to get to nearby roads. The whole traffic system in this area is a mess and it appears that the language in Environmental Impact reports was softened in the space of three months in order to facilitate this. I've asked the Council to sit down with all parties and have an honest reappraisal of this situation.
- Blackhorse Lane Bridge has had no discernible progress and residents have no new information. We already know about the world's longest bridge in China taking only three years to build, and now we have the longest one in Europe taking only two years to build: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.rt.com/news/427036-crimean-bridge-time-lapse/amp/ . But the tiny little bridge on Blackhorse Lane? Nope, nothing, still talking about 2019 before we see anything. I'm taking this up with the right people.
- A resident complained about noise from neighbours living in flats above. I've contacted the Council to provide support.
- I will be holding surgeries on the first Saturday of every month. Arrangements have been finalised and I will publicise these shortly in a separate update.
- I asked the Council to look at the parking of cars on the Lower Addiscombe Road side of Ashburton Park which causes two lanes to effectively become one and thus slow down the traffic that is already hampered by the Blackhorse Lane bridge closure. As a result, double yellow lines have been marked along Lower Addiscombe Road outside Ashburton Park. These are complementing the Temporary Traffic Management Order that has been in place for the Blackhorse Lane road closure. The intention is to propose permanent waiting restrictions to mirror the ones that have been marked for Lower Addiscombe Road and Spring Lane (where temporary restrictions were marked outside the park last year). There is a 42 metre section (for up to 8 cars) opposite nos.378 to 390, where restrictions have not been introduced where parking currently does not cause any obstruction or safety issues.
- I informed residents about the Council's plans for tree pruning and tree removal in Ashburton Park, and they raised concerns about various wildlife that would be impacted - including bats. As a result the Council has radically altered its plans and will involve wildlife experts to ensure that all work is carried out carefully and sensitively.
Please get in touch if you need any assistance: email@example.com or 07710 184923
Week 1 in Addiscombe East - already motoring. 13/05/2018 12:40:00.......Posted by Jeet Bains
Week 1 in the new ward of Addiscombe East, and I've been busy getting to grips with helping local people:
- I was delighted to meet the Friends of Ashburton Park, a group of volunteers who really care about their local park and have great ideas to improve it. Took away several actions ranging from the poor litter collection to concerns about crime.
- I was shown around Ashburton Hall by Jon Mann of GLL who have the contract to run it. It was good to be brought up to date on their plans for getting extra facilities like a cafe for the community to use.
- Greenery at the Bingham Road entrance to Addiscombe Recreation Ground has been replaced by wood chips. A neighbour contacted me about this - it emits an unplesant odour and makes the place look like a "desert". I'm making enquiries.
- We are blessed in Addiscombe East to have several Residents Associations. I met the excellent Chairman of CHASE about long running problems with bin collections behind shared commercial and reidential properties on Lower Addiscombe Road. I've already actioned this with the Council.
- Residents of Elgin Road and HOME Residents Association have been in touch about the very unfair traffic situation there. I'll be meeting HOME and have asked the Council to rectify this situation and treat Elgin Road residents with courtesy and respect.
- I referred a wholly unsuitable planning application at 49-51 Shirley Road to the planning committee. I supported residents and opposed this scheme to build 8 flats. Good news! The Council's officers have refused permission for this to go ahead. An early victory for the people of Addiscombe East.
Please get in touch if you need any assistance: firstname.lastname@example.org or 07710 184923
A tribute to Joseph Lee 11/05/2018 19:12:00.......Posted by Jeet Bains
With my first week as Councillor for the new ward of Addiscombe East having been completed, the excitement of the election fades and I've been getting down to business - details coming next.
As I meet people and grapple with the issues, it becomes clear what an asset to the area my fellow candidate Joseph Lee is. We worked our socks off during the campaign and became good friends. So many people have told me how they noticed Joseph being active, generating ideas and helping residents and businesses. Sadly he didn't get elected but, without him, I wouldn't have been either.
We both thank the people of Addiscombe East who voted for us. And I personally thank Joseph - a great man who marches on to future victory!
Rubbish bin collection issue on Highbarrow Road 19/03/2018 22:31:00.......Posted by Joseph Lee
Following on from a recent issue brought to my attention by residents of rubbish bins not being put back after collection on Highbarrow Rd. I’m glad to say that following this morning’s collections, bins have been put place where they came from and not blocking the whole pathway.
Dumped rubbish on Woodside Court Road 15/03/2018 14:12:00.......Posted by Joseph Lee
Further casework which I’ve reported on Woodside Court Road is the dumped rubbish bags on the public footpath. Following on from us reporting it, we are pleased to say the rubbish bags have now been removed.
Visit of local business Tuga Sounds 12/03/2018 15:54:00.......Posted by Joseph Lee
It was Great to see Rick from Tuga Sounds again. He provided the sound system/Dj equipment for my own wedding and I would hugely recommend his services. Tuga sounds are based at 354 Lower Addiscombe Road, CR0 7AF.
Pot hole on Ashburton Road 21/02/2018 22:53:00.......Posted by Joseph Lee
Following on from residents concerns over the pothole as well as nearly driving over it myself. I am pleased to confirm that I’ve reported this to Croydon Council and have asked them to inform me once the repair is carried out so I can let residents know.
Blackhorse Lane bridge closure - the nightmare that Labour can't fix. 12/02/2018 10:20:00.......Posted by Jeet Bains
I've been contacted by residents about the misery caused by the long-closed Blackhorse Lane bridge. Traffic on surrounding roads has become intolerable, with short journeys increasing by up to a factor of 5! People's lives are being negatively affected, businesses are severely losing revenue. As the cars sit in unmoving traffic, tempers are flaring and pollution is rising. My tweet on this matter: https://twitter.com/CllrJeetBains/status/963182214484840449
The Council, TfL and the Mayor of London are all controlled by Labour, and yet between them they cannot get this small bridge repaired and reopened. Communication with local people has been sparse at best, until the Conservatives pressed for this to be regular and meaningful.
Comparisons have been made with Jiaozhou Bay Bridge in China, the world's longest bridge, which took four years to build, and The Shard in London which took 3.5 years to complete. Yet two tiny bridges over tram lines on a narrow suburban street are estimated to take 3.5 years to complete by the Labour-run Council and TfL.
The people of Addiscombe East deserve much better than this.
Croydon Conservatives help expand innovative education programme in Addiscombe 11/02/2018 21:39:00.......Posted by Joseph Lee
Students who go to school in New Addington and Addiscombe will soon be working with the prestigious “White Hut Studios in Education”, thanks to Conservative Councillors who stepped in to support with a new pot of funding. White Hut Studios in Education are a local music organisation, who will be ramping up the scale of its work and helping young people hit the educational high notes.
White Hut Studios in Education, based in New Addington, has a proven track record of educating young people through music, using rhythm and rhyme to support what they do. They use high level mentoring skills throughout sessions to enhance working with not only gifted and talented children, but also those that are hardest to reach, often coming from very vulnerable circumstances. It was started to inspire young people to write their thoughts, use their imagination and build songs, working as part of a team or as an individual, increasing their knowledge of music whilst learning by having fun, but more importantly, to build up confidence, perseverance, self discipline and much more.
Recently, the organisation has won funding from a group of Conservative councillors and candidates so that they can engage with schools in the New Addington and Addiscombe communities.
In a joint statement, Cllr Jeet Bains and Joseph Lee (candidates for Addiscombe East) and Tony Pearson and Mark Johnson (candidates for New Addington South) said:
“The education of young people should be among the highest priorities of any politician and we’re always excited by new and innovative approaches that engage each and every youngster in the borough. When it comes to projects we are keen to support, the work of White Hut Studios strikes all the right notes. We hope and believe that this will make a transformative difference to the lives of students who find the combination of creativity, learning and fun an irresistible mash up.”
The activities of White Hut Studios in Education usually take place in a workshop format. Each workshop gives young people the opportunity to learn the process of songwriting, recording vocals and music production, from start to finish. White Hut Studios in Education also offer African culture workshops, where children get to write and record Afrobeat music. All workshops are tailor made according to the age group of the children and the number of young people in the session.
The team at White Hut Studios in Education work closely with SENCOS and family liaison officers within schools and other places, gaining valuable insight on the progress and impact of the activities, and remain consistent by following up with schools and other institutes even when sessions have cone to an end.
“We at White Hut Studios in Education believe in the youth and we also believe in community, we know that the society in which we live can be stronger and better and we want to be the change we want to see. Myself, Miriam, I am a director and operate as a top end mentor. With well over ten years experience of working in this field, it is my delight to work with young people in New Addington and Addiscombe, helping forge new relationships, and turning negative vibes into positive ones. My co-director Silvastone who built our state of the art music studio in the Heart of New Addington, is an international recording artist and producer, and has a whirlpool of experience within this industry. He is well respected by youth in the area and has a great rapport with them. We are very pleased with the support we have recently received from some of the Conservative councillors and candidates and are sure, that when we all do something, a lot can happen!”
Schools interested in working with White Hut Studios in Education should contact Davidson on 07868716736.
In total, £3000 has been contributed by Conservative councillors.
ASPRA Road Reps meeting 08/02/2018 10:10:00.......Posted by Jeet Bains
It was great to attend my first ASPRA Road Reps meeting where I was delighted to be confirmed as a Road Rep. Only one road rep vacancy left now I believe!
The meeting was very well attended and I was impressed with the passion and sense of community. Important issues were raised, including encouraging a sustainable way for local businesses to continue supporting the community.
I look forward to more of this, and to being of assistance.
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