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

Last night's Council meeting
19/04/2016 20:55:00......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

Fairfield Halls debate

Last night's Council meeting was as boisterous as ever. Over 11,000 residents signed a petition calling on Croydon's Labour Council to phase the redevelopment of Fairfield Halls. The campaign has been supported by the Conservatives, lead by a Labour member and endorsed by the local Green, UKIP and Liberal Democrat parties.

The Council debated whether it supported or opposed the premise of the petition. You can watch the debate online here. Sadly due to a convenient technical fault, you start the video during the last sentence of Andy Hylton's (the lead campaigner) speech. Despite protestations from Conservative councillors, Andy was not allowed to repeat his speech.

If you want to skip to the vote of the council, you can see that here. Sadly the Mayor decided that the vote was counted by a shout of 'aye' or 'no' rather than a show of hands. As Labour has 40 councillors to our 30, Labour won the vote to cried of shame and booing from the campaigners in the public gallery.

Coulsdon parking petition

Last night I handed in a petition with 878 signatures from Coulsdon residents who are objecting to the Council's plans to break their manifesto promise and reduce one-hour free parking in Coulsdon town centre. You can watch this online. It's worth noting that the Traffic Management committee where the final decision will be made is on 26th April. The meeting starts at 6.30pm and will take place in the main Council chamber of Croydon Town Hall. All residents are welcome to join me in objecting to this proposal, the more the merrier!

Protecting Croydon's Libraries

The Conservatives proposed a motion for debate:

This Council believes that Croydon's libraries should be kept as centres of books and learning and not turned into bookish gyms or bookish cafes as they have been in Labour Lambeth. It also believes that library branches should be run by professional staff and librarians and not rely on volunteers alone.

You can watch that debate here.

The reason for the collapse of Lion Green Road

After months of obfuscation, we learned that the reason for the mysterious collapse of the Lion Green Road development was due to a single report by the developer released just before Christmas 2015. The report apparently reveals that the cost of construction materials and land values have fluctuated so much that the scheme was now no longer viable.

Council officers have refused to allow me to see this vital document, so almost a month ago I asked Cllr Newman, Labour Leader of the Council, if he could release the document in the interests of openness and transparency. After receiving no reply from Cllr Newman, I asked him publicly for access to the document. You can watch the exchange here. I'm grateful for Cllr Newman saying that "there is no reason, I would imagine, that I'm aware of, for you not to see that paper" and I look forward to receiving the document in due course.

A leaflet has been distributed in Coulsdon by Croydon Labour quoting Labour campaigner Charlie King as saying: "I am delighted the Labour council is listening to Cousldon [sic] residents. The local Labour Party would like to see housing on the site..." For my second question I asked Cllr Newman whether his Labour administration supported their party leaflet. He was less than clear as you can watch here. We were not satisfied with his non-answer so my colleague Cllr Bashford
 tried to ask for a second time here where he confirms that "we are looking at all options". A worrying development for a town where the infrastructure is already struggling with a large and growing population.

Talking about Coulsdon West

Last night I was also given the opportunity to speak on issues facing Coulsdon West. I focused my remarks on parking challenges and the mystery surrounding the collapse of the Lion Green Road scheme. You can watch my speech online, or read a rough transcript below:

'It’s a pleasure to be given the opportunity to speak about my ward, Coulsdon West.

Earlier this evening, I presented a petition concerning a subject close to the heart of many of my residents: parking. 878 signatures on a petition calling on the Council to honour their manifesto pledge and keep one-hour’s free parking in district centres. In total over a thousand of my residents have contacted the Council on this one issue alone. One wrote to me saying: ‘Residents are increasingly faced with broken promised given by politicians… It is time that these failures by these elected individuals supposedly representing us are made accountable in the public eye and by the electorate’. This is just one of hundreds of similar comments, noting the actions of this Labour administration.

In a similar vein, residents and councillors will have heard me ask the Council Leader why he has failed to reply to my email of almost a month ago asking for more transparency about the collapse of the Lion Green Road scheme. After a lot of digging, and months of obfuscation, we found out that it’s based on one single solitary report. A report that the Council isn’t letting elected councillors see. I have an email from Waitrose where they say they have no idea why the scheme collapsed, that they were ready and raring to go Madam Mayor! So why the failure? The Council claim it’s because the land value and construction costs have changed. Well, when you close a much-used car park for seven months and don’t do anything, what did they expect? We have been asked to trust the word of this secretive administration, blind faith that they are acting in the best interests of Coulsdon and Purley, when there is so much evidence to the contrary. Where’s their much paraded pledge to be open and transparent now? Why are they being so closed and secretive?

Well Madam Mayor, I think we know. This local Labour leaflet says they would like to see housing on the site. By 2040 the GLA estimates the population of Coulsdon West will increase by over 40%, the third highest in the whole of Croydon – that’s an extra 5,000 people on today’s figures. It’s well known that in Coulsdon our infrastructure is creaking. Schools are taking bulge classes, GP surgeries are struggling, roads are constantly jammed with traffic. Why does this Council want to add yet more people into my ward? What has Labour got against Coulsdon?

The Leader of the Council has said he thinks my residents are from ‘a bygone age’, a disgraceful comment about my residents. Those living in Coulsdon and Purley are fiercely loyal and will always fight for what’s best for our community. I’ll end with one comment from the parking petition, a comment that was repeated time and time again: ‘This current Croydon Council appear to be intent upon not providing any services of benefit to Croydon residents who live in the South of the Borough. As a Resident of the South of the Borough and an active Voter I shall ensure that they are not returned next time, enough is enough. They cannot be trusted.’

Thank you Madam Mayor.'

 
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Labour push through unwanted traffic scheme at Woodcote High
13/07/2018 11:45:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

Despite the objections of Coulsdon Town Councillors, local MP Chris Philp, every Residents' Association and hundreds of local people - our Labour-dominated Traffic Management Committee last night forced through unpopular plans to restrict parents and local residents driving in the area around Woodcite High School.

Cllrs Luke Clancy and Ian Parker joined residents in speaking against the plans. Here is what they said at the meeting:

Cllr Clancy

"My view on this scheme has changed over time. Initially I was receptive to the perceived benefits of displacing parking within a wider circumference of the schools.

But now I think whilst this policy could aim to solve one problem it has in fact created other challenges. Residents feel the displaced vehicles have a detrimental effect on road safety in the surrounding roads outside the pedestrianised zone, especially the Chase and Grove Wood Hill. These roads now experience blocked driveways, congestion and the type of unsafe driving practices previously complained of in the Dunsfold Rise loop.

Opposition to the scheme by residents of these roads has been evidenced by 2 petitions I am aware of received by this Council.

My view is that the benefits of the pilot are inconclusive and a permanent order should not be made for Woodcote. I support the aim of making the roads around the schools safer and less polluted. But the level of disruption that these restrictions have caused to residents has undermined any advantages the scheme may have.

Proof that the scheme has improved safety, cut pollution and increased alternative methods of transport is scant. It would seem parents are just parking a few streets further away.

It is a shame that the scheme was introduced before baseline data could be collected that would have given a more scientific basis to the experiment.

The report also rolls the three schools into one, with no real distinction between the very different areas and levels of objection. It would be wrong to give the committee a single vote on both areas.

The scheme should be abandoned or at the very least the experimental order be extended for Woodcote to consider modifications. The committee can defer decision for a further eight months as that is the period under which the experimental traffic order can continue to operate. During that time a fuller consultation can be carried out and more data gathered. Residents would welcome a full study and referendum of all roads affected, with the option both of termination or more mitigation if the scheme is eventually approved.

For example, while the installation of a new pedestrian crossing in Woodcote Grove Road is to be welcomed, parents would like to see increased public transport provision to support the objectives of the scheme. Parents and children cannot be expected to abandon the car unless that is balanced with extra public transport capacity to travel to school. The area is not as well served by buses compared a more urban area like South Norwood. This is another reason, for the purposes of this decision, the two sites should not be considered together.

If the committee was minded to implement the scheme permanently it might also consider a compromise solution that would take the some of pressure off nearby roads bearing vehicle displacement. The ANPR system could be used to regulate traffic flow more evenly by permitting some proportion of parents, such as those with the youngest children, to park in the Dunsfold Rise loop. The scheme could then continue in a modified fashion that better distributes parking across all roads around the schools."

Cllr Parker

"As a ward councillor for Coulsdon Town covering the area of restricted access by the Woodcote schools I’m grateful for the opportunity to comment following the pilot scheme.

The recommendation in the Report before you is that you consider carefully the objections raised as a result of the consultation exercise. These are significant in terms of numbers and severity.

The Committee this evening has a golden opportunity to demonstrate the Council’s commitment to be a listening council and at the same time end the severe problems created in the displaced areas around the Woodcote schools.

Traffic levels have increased in neighbouring roads. Whilst there are recognisable problems on roads nearest to the school the negative impact on surrounding roads more than outweighs any gains made in roads closer to the schools.

Obstructions to the traffic flow on Woodcote Grove Road have been evidenced creating road safety issues for motorists and pedestrians, particularly children from the Primary and students from the High School.

There is a danger that the much welcomed safety improvements recently introduced on Woodcote Grove Road with the introduction of a pedestrian crossing will be negated by the impact of restricted access near the schools.

But the displacement problems are not restricted to Woodcote Grove Road and our concerns are justifiably shared by residents on The Vale, The Horseshoe and Warwick Road.

As Chair of Governors at Woodcote High School until May this year I have first-hand experience of the difficulties and potential dangers to students arising as a result of this scheme.

I know committee members will listen carefully to the responses to the consultation. I ask that you reject the recommendation to make this unsatisfactory arrangement permanent on Dunsfold Rise, Meadow Rise and Fairfield Way.

Committee members should recognise that the objectors to this scheme are not restricted to those in the displaced area but also include residents who live right next to the Primary School.

I ask that the Committee votes on these three schools separately as they represent three distinctive areas requiring different solutions to their unique problems.

Finally Chair, should the Committee reject the views of a clear majority of local residents and make the zone permanent I would ask that officers immediately consider steps that will mitigate the severe impact that the zone is having on neighbours in the area outside the zone.

Thank you for allowing me time to address the Committee."

When it came to the vote, all Labour Councillors voted to push it through and all Conservative councillors voted against. Sadly Labour dominate the committee, and so permission was granted to continue with the scheme.

 


 

Pedestrianised Zone - Dunsfold Rise, Meadow Rise and Fairfield Way
13/07/2018 10:16:00.......Posted by Ian Parker

Coulsdon Town councillors have received many residents' objections to this pilot scheme by Woodcote Primary and High schools which restricts traffic on these three roads at school start and finishing times.  Last night, Labour's Traffic Management Committee approved the permanent introduction of the scheme despite the number of objections received from residents' associations, local residents and Coulsdon Town's three councillors.

Cllr Clancy, myself and other local residents spoke against making the scheme permanent. Yet again the Labour Council rides rough shod over the views of locals who are in the strongest possible position to comment on such matters.

 

 


 

Dust on Cane Hill
05/07/2018 14:42:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

Know a few residents on Cane Hill have been concerned about the dust coming from the construction site impacting their property. I've looked into it and asked the Council to get in contact with the managing agent for the development. A reply has been received this morning stating that the area where earth movement was taking place which was the cause of the problem is being dampened down by the use of sprinklers. In addition to this measure, they have told us they are deploying a road sweeper to attempt to keep a handle on the problem.

They've said they met with those affected and have offered to clean the outside of your properties - if that isn't right then please do get in touch with my using mario.creatura@croydonconservatives.com.

Residents should please keep me posted so I know the problem has or has not been resolved, and if not I'll sort it.

 


 

Traveling Council
28/06/2018 07:29:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

The TaxPayers' Alliance have revealed through an FOI that Croydon Council has spent £15,575.09 on air travel between January 2015 and February 2018.

Figures show that Council officers traveled 47 times in that period and flew on airlines including British Airways, Emirates and Virgin Atlantic.

Given the nature and standard routes of these airlines, I've asked the Council to list the full details of the 47 flights including the following:

  • Date and duration of each trip
  • Who went on each trip
  • The destination for each trip
  • In as much detail as possible, outline the purpose of each trip
  • For each trip the reason why a flight was required over alternative methods of meeting.

I'll update the blog when I receive an answer to this question.

 


 

Progress with Aldi
21/06/2018 07:30:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

Following our productive meeting with Aldi at the end of April, I'm pleased to report that progress has been made in making the car park that little bit more driver/parking friendly.

Residents will recall that we called for the meeting so that we could start the progress of working towards a solution to mitigate the poor traffic conditions along the high street.

Aldi agreed to a number of ideas, including installing signs to encourage drivers to move down inside the car park and rearrange the location of the disabled bays to encourage greater movement. The quotes for the works have been approved, and involve the permanent relocation of the disabled bays to the entrance of the store.

The programme of works is currently being worked out to ensure as little disruption to Aldi customers as possible. Once a start date has been agreed, I'll update this blog.

If you have any ideas about what else we can do to improve parking in Coulsdon, please do let me know by emailing mario.creatura@croydonconservatives.com.

 


 

HADRA AGM
21/06/2018 07:02:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

It was lovely to attend my first Hartley and District Residents' Association AGM last night. Whilst I've been a councillor for Coulsdon West for the past four years, in May the new ward boundaries came into effect so my new patch of Coulsdon Town includes a few roads in the HADRA area which includes Stoats Nest Road, Hillars Heath, the bottom of Coulsdon Road and Coulsdon Woods.

There were interesting talks by local police, MP Chris Philp and Brenda Quelch-Brown of the Old Coulsdon medical practice patient participation group.

The committee gave retired councillor Chris Wright a lovely engraved glass as a token of their appreciation for his 28 years of dedicated service. With me having just completed four, I've got a while before I match his record!

 


 

Travellers on Lion Green Road
19/06/2018 08:39:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

Residents will be aware of the travellers that seemed to have arrived in Lion Green Road car park overnight.

Damage has been reported and there is understandable concern in the local community.

Rest assured I have alerted the Council and ask that they commence the sadly lengthy procedure for eviction.

Assessments will be carried out today and the Council will be serving notice for the travellers to leave tomorrow. If they fail to move on then the Council will proceed with applying for a court order, which is likely to take another few days.

The Council will keep me appraised of their progress.

 

 


 

Getting ECRA access to Coulsdon South station
18/06/2018 19:30:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

Over the weekend I was alerted to what sounded like a very strange decision to stop residents volunteering in their local community.

For many years, the diligent volunteers of the East Coulsdon Residents' Association and Farthing Downs have helped to maintain the plant beds around Coulsdon South station. They do this simply for the pleasure of keeping our local community pristine, and I thank them for that.

Recently they were told by station management that their permission to carry out this harmless activity was to be halted.

Understandable upset, on their behalf I contacted GTR who manage the station to ask what the reason for the seemingly heavy-handed ban was.

A few days later I received a welcome reply:

'I look after the station partnerships across our network.

Earlier in the year, we had one of the groups which volunteer at our stations dig in an area where they did not have permission. As a result we did ask groups to stop work while we undertook a review of what had happened and why.

As a result of this we updated our processes and asked each group to apply for a Site Access Permit. We have provided this to the group at Coulsdon South and they are currently awaiting processing of the permit by our Property Team.

We are sorry that this is taking longer than any of us would like and we hope to have the gardeners back at the station soon.'

So it all seems to be a misunderstanding - ECRA are filling in the required forms to enable the station to meet its legal obligations, and the station will allow them to continue their much valued community work safe in the knowledge that they are keeping themselves safe on site. Worth noting that it wasn't ECRA, but another group at another station who triggered this requirement from GTR.

If you would like to join ECRA and help support the community, visit their website: http://www.eastcoulsdon.co.uk

 


 

East Coulsdon Residents' Association AGM
14/06/2018 13:54:00.......Posted by Ian Parker

Last night I attended the Annual General Meeting of ECRA.  There was an interesting presentations from Carlo Navato from Haxted, who have just received planning permission for the development of the water tower, admin block and chapel on Cane Hill.  Investment in these three important parts of the Cane Hill development is significant and we will watch with interest how it evolves now that they have permission to go ahead.

Old Coulsdon's Neighbour Police Team gave a brief overview of what's happening in the area and took questions.  Similalrly, ECRA members were briefed by representatives from the CCG on the developments at the Coulsdon Medical Practice.  I look forward to working with ECRA in the future.

 


 

Opposing Reddown Road plans
13/06/2018 20:41:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

The Council has just revealed plans to redevelop 1 Reddown Road. The plans involved the demolition of the existing dwelling; erection of three to five storey building comprising 2 one bedroom, 5 two bedroom and 1 three bedroom flats; formation of vehicular access and provision of just 8 parking spaces.

We Coulsdon Town councillors have delivered leaflets in the local area informing residents of the application, and we've been swamped with many comments - all universally opposing the scheme.

Along with local Residents' Associations, I have decided to refer the application to the Planning Committee and I've recomended that they refuse this deeply inappropriate development.

If you would like to take a look at the plans, you can do so on the Council's website. Do please leave a comment either in favour or opposing the development. The more voices we have objecting, the more likely it is that we'll succeed in persuading the Committee to reject the scheme.

 


 

See older blog posts

 

 
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 Older Blog Posts
30/05/2018
Meeting with Croydon's Director of Education
26/05/2018
Coulsdon Town's Safer Neighbourhood Team
15/05/2018
Community Engagement
15/05/2018
The fish that got away...
05/05/2018
Portnals Pipe update
01/05/2018
CQC replies about the Coulsdon Medical Centre
01/05/2018
Burst sewage pipe on Portnalls Road
27/04/2018
Leaking pipe on Portnalls Road
27/04/2018
A second letter to the CQC about the Coulsdon Medical Practice
26/04/2018
Pigeon mess back under Coulsdon Town bridge
25/04/2018
Paint disposal advice
25/04/2018
Welcome 30m investment in Coulsdon South
24/04/2018
'Absolutely massive' pothole fixed
24/04/2018
Rescuing a resident at the tip!
23/04/2018
Enough CCTV in Croydon?
21/04/2018
Productive meeting with Aldi
06/04/2018
Letter to save the Coulsdon Medical Centre
27/03/2018
Labour's track record - not something to be proud of
23/03/2018
My Lion Green Road objection
23/03/2018
My Coulsdon Community Centre objection
23/03/2018
Labour dominated planning committee approve controversial Coulsdon schemes
21/03/2018
Coulsdon Medical Practice
14/03/2018
Aldi replies - and wants to meet
07/03/2018
The saga with the Coulsdon Town toilet continues
02/03/2018
A letter to the CEO of Aldi UK about the issues with their Coulsdon Branch
24/02/2018
Future of Coulsdon Yulefest Christmas lights put at risk
17/02/2018
Broken bog strikes again
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
 
 
 
 
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