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

My contribution to the Coulsdon Debate
26/04/2016 09:47:00......Posted by Jeet Bains

My ward colleague, Luke Clancy, recently posted here regarding a debate in Coulsdon. We debated Maureen Levy on the motion “Croydon council is destroying Coulsdon”. This was held at the Old Coulsdon Centre. We opposed the motion, emphasising that it's particularly the Labour administration that is ruining Coulsdon, contrasting this with the Conservative record. Luke concentrated on Coulsdon issues, and I referred to wider Croydon issues and their relevance to Coulsdon. I thought you might like to see my notes which are below.

Hello, and thank you for inviting me to this debate. And particular thanks to Maureen Levy and Angela Applin for organising this and keeping me informed about it. The motion in front of us is “Croydon council is destroying Coulsdon”. I oppose this motion and I’ll say up front that I will be very political in my argument tonight. My opposition makes a distinction between the current Labour administration, which is indeed destroying Coulsdon, and the previous Conservative one which I contend, far from destroying Coulsdon, was moving Coulsdon forward. In short it’s not Croydon Council per se that we need to look to as the bane of Coulsdon, it’s the Labour party that currently runs it.

My ward colleague, Luke Clancy, and I have broadly divided our opposition to this motion so that Luke will cover specific Coulsdon matters, and I will address how wider Croydon decisions by Labour are adversely affecting Coulsdon.

First I’d like to tackle transparency. As with many things, I guess that achieving 100% satisfaction in this regard is nigh-on impossible, as is keeping all interested parties completely happy with the level of transparency. But transparency is important to Coulsdon and all Croydon wards. It’s important that residents are clear about the priorities for the Council by the party they have elected. It’s also important to know what’s going to be measured and then how the Council is performing against those criteria. Whether it’s governing or running a business or any important endeavour, it’s crucial for us to know that the right things are being done and that things are being done right.

With regard to the current Labour administration, despite much noise about transparency when they were in opposition, their own track record is patchy at best. A couple of recent examples:
The live broadcasts of Council meetings have been reinstated. But who listens to them? Hardly anyone. And what meaningful information is gathered by watching them? Not much. It is fine in opposition to take a high moral tone about transparency. But when you are given the opportunity in power to address the supposed transparency deficit, it behoves you to implement something that is meaningful and useful to the electorate. It’s too easy to just broadcast meetings on the web. I think you’ll find the recordings to be not of the highest quality and the proceedings will be a mystery to many. Is this what Labour meant by transparency? I would say that this is an eye-wash, mere posturing, insubstantial and counter-productive. People see it for what it is and the consequence is disengagement and disillusionment. If Labour were serious about transparency, they would be much more careful and deliberate about their approach to such things, and there would be a revisiting and checking and fine-tuning to make it easier and better for the electorate. But the reality is that effort does not go into such things. Instead it is a mere tick box: tick, we’ve done the web thing.

This matters to Coulsdon because it sets the tone for what Cousldon residents can expect in terms of information and answers from the Council.
Another example: recently, your Coulsdon West councillors asked to see the details of the decision not to proceed with the Lion Green Road car park development. This was and is an important matter for the area. There will be different views about the proposed development and its various implications for traffic, parking etc. But on the point about transparency, the Council would not provide important information about the delay to the scheme, despite clear indications that the developer is still interested and despite Councillor requests.

Again, the tone is set by the current Labour administration and Council officers take their lead from this. Coulsdon loses out from this faux transparency that Labour has imposed. But the conclusion to be drawn from this is not that Croydon Council is destroying Coulsdon. Rather, it is the current Labour administration that is bad for Cousldon, and a key manifestation of this is the lack of transparency. Contrast this with the previous Conservative administration: wide consultation on all matters, scrutiny meetings open to the public and in fact held in various locations around the borough, and clear setting out of priorities and sound implementation.

Building on this theme, I now turn to the matter of Fairfield Halls. Coulsdon benefits from Fairfield Halls as the prime entertainment location south of the Thames, just as all Croydon wards do. In fact, one might say that it benefits Coulsdon more for this reason, as the northern Croydon wards are obviously closer to central London locations as an option. So Fairfield Halls is good for Coulsdon. Coulsdon is not destroyed in any way by being in the same borough as Fairfield Halls. But, again, the current Labour administration is taking away this great boon to all Croydon wards. Quite apart from the lack of transparency (again) – there has been no proper consultation and no meaningful accommodation of views. But aside from the transparency issue, the actual decision to close Fairfield Halls is detrimental to Coulsdon. The organs in Fairfield were unique – now to be dismantled and carted away. The acoustics of the main hall were superior to those of the Royal Festival Hall in London, and some say the best in the country. What it needed was sensible, well managed investment to see it back to its best. Even in its admittedly less than perfect state it was attracting some of the best musical and theatrical acts around. Its history and pedigree boasted some of the biggest names in the history of the arts. So of course it was great for Coulsdon, as it was for all wards. Its demise and disappearance betrays the current administration’s short-sightedness and lack of cultural and intellectual depth. Contrast this with the previous Conservative administration’s commitment to invest in and protect Fairfield Halls.

I want to touch on two more things to illustrate my contention that it’s not Croydon Council that is the problem for Coulsdon, rather it’s the party that currently runs the Council. These two things are Boulders and the Fairness Commission. I’m sure you’ve all seen the boulder outside the Coulsdon library. I’m sure you all love it, especially when you trip over its unlit beauty at night. What’s this all about? Costing thousands of pounds, the Council took it upon itself to distribute 20 of these things around the borough to celebrate these particular wards being part of the London Borough of Croydon for 50 years. Well, I think the priorities should lie elsewhere. And it’s yet another example of who you vote for as being important rather than whether you’re part of Croydon.

And finally the Fairness Commission. I don’t know how many of you have heard of it but the Labour Council has seen fit to spend £200,000 on a Fairness Commission. Whilst admirable in its aim to ensure that council decisions are “fair”, why should a new layer of bureaucracy be put in place to pronounce upon this? Decisions should be made by elected Councillors and then they should be held to account for those decisions. There was no demand from the public for this commission. It serves no useful purpose and it undermines Labour’s claims of operating in a tough environment. This decision does not benefit Coulsdon. The answer, however, does not lie in somehow being outwith Croydon because bad governance can be found in other places too.

The contrast is to be made with the previous Conservative Council which looked after the interests of Coulsdon, fought for residents and their views and ensured that the benefits of being part of Croydon were accrued.

I therefore oppose the motion that Croydon Council is destroying Coulsdon, and instead contend that it is Labour that is harmful to Coulsdon.

Thank you.
Cllr. Jeet Bains

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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

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



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:



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.



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 Older Blog Posts
Meeting with Croydon's Director of Education
Coulsdon Town's Safer Neighbourhood Team
Community Engagement
The fish that got away...
Portnals Pipe update
CQC replies about the Coulsdon Medical Centre
Burst sewage pipe on Portnalls Road
Leaking pipe on Portnalls Road
A second letter to the CQC about the Coulsdon Medical Practice
Pigeon mess back under Coulsdon Town bridge
Paint disposal advice
Welcome 30m investment in Coulsdon South
'Absolutely massive' pothole fixed
Rescuing a resident at the tip!
Enough CCTV in Croydon?
Productive meeting with Aldi
Letter to save the Coulsdon Medical Centre
Labour's track record - not something to be proud of
My Lion Green Road objection
My Coulsdon Community Centre objection
Labour dominated planning committee approve controversial Coulsdon schemes
Coulsdon Medical Practice
Aldi replies - and wants to meet
The saga with the Coulsdon Town toilet continues
A letter to the CEO of Aldi UK about the issues with their Coulsdon Branch
Future of Coulsdon Yulefest Christmas lights put at risk
Broken bog strikes again
Speech on fly-tipping in Croydon
Full openness and transparency on Brick by Brick?
Council plans to demolish Community Centre and cut parking in Coulsdon
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