A Clear Choice on Thursday
20/05/2014......Posted by Vidhi Mohan
All elections are extremely important. But once in a while we are faced with an election where the choice is stark, and the result of the election can radically alter the destiny of our country or community. The 1979 General Election which brought Margaret Thatcher to power changed Britain forever, rejecting the left-wing dogma of nationalised industry and trade union control. Similarly the recently concluded elections in India seems to have signalled that the country is looking to economic deregulation, private enterprise and infrastructure investment, under the leadership of Narendra Modi, to take the country forward.
On Thursday residents of Croydon and Fairfield ward face a similar choice. Go forward to an era of regeneration, jobs, prosperity, and low Council Tax, or go back to the bad old days of bureaucratic control, high Council Tax increases, and stalled regeneration plans.
Over the last few years the Conservative administration in Croydon has made huge strides in wooing investors and developers, willing to invest in property, jobs and the physical infrastructure of our town. The £1 billion Westfield-Hammersons shopping centre has already been granted planning permission and the Council has recently issued Compulsory Purchase Orders to acquire all the land. This scheme will go a long way in improving Croydon’s image as well as attract a high quality of shopper to our town. It will also deliver new homes and commercial space in the town centre, as well as making Croydon the place to invest, do business, and live in.
But it’s not just about plans. Actual schemes have already been delivered in Croydon including the East Croydon Bridge, the Saffron Square residential development on Wellesley Road, the new Council offices at Bernard Weatherill House, and new surface level crossings opposite Fairfield Halls. Works are currently ongoing to improve the infrastructure in South End, the old Taberner House will soon be brought down and replaced be new apartment blocks, the old Nestle building and St Anne’s House will be converted into residential apartments, and works on new apartments will soon begin at the Gateway site next East Croydon. We are also committed to investing £30 million to upgrade Fairfield Halls into a modern entertainment complex, while retaining its cultural heritage.
But all these schemes are under grave threat from a Labour Council. Their obsession with micro-managing schemes and high levels of Social (Council) Housing will ensure that most of these projects will not be delivered. Labour’s manifesto talks of 30% Social Housing to be imposed on all residential schemes in the town centre, with some schemes forced to accept upto 50%. Such large Social Housing quotas will certainly make these schemes commercially unviable and the developers, including Westfield-Hammersons, will pull out and refuse to invest in Croydon. We take a much more pragmatic approach to these developments, ensuring that each scheme delivers its share of Social Housing, without making it unviable for the developer. For example, the Westfield-Hammersons scheme will deliver 15% Social Housing. Be under no doubt, there is a significant risk that this scheme will not be delivered under Labour. What we want is for schemes to be actually delivered rather than be held back by political dogma. Croydon town centre needs a mix of housing, serving the needs of all our communities – and only the Conservatives will deliver this.
So for residents of Croydon and Fairfield, the choice on Thursday is between a Conservative administration committed to deliver regeneration and jobs in Croydon, or a Labour administration under which we will endure 4 years of broken promises and a lack of any development.
The choice before you is clear.
The Conservative candidates for Fairfield ward are Cllr Vidhi Mohan, Cllr Helen Pollard, and Cllr Sue Winborn