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 The Purley & Woodcote Blog
 
Cllr  Simon  Brew
Cllr  Oni  Oviri
Cllr  Badsha  Quadir
 

A councillor's life - in and out of the Chamber
19/10/2014 19:39:00......Posted by Simon Brew

 
 

I participated in two important Council meetings this week: On Tuesday we had the Scutiny sub-committee for children and young people and on Thursday I participated in my first subcommittee to review an application for a gambling licence.

Council officers had prepared two reports for Tuesday evening: the first was the annual report on safeguarding children in the borough. It's the committee's job to review the reports and raise any issues or concerns. We learned that one of the key issues which influences the effectiveness of the safeguarding process is staff retention among social workers. Croydon's retention rate has been rising recently, but it's still the case that some 30% of social workers are agency workers, and it is a constant struggle to attract and recruit the high quality staff which are so badly needed. In some London boroughs, the agency worker percentage is as high as 70%, so it was good to hear that the council's drive to recruit and retain high quality staff has been paying off, but we can never be complacent.

The second report was commissioned to determine what lessons Croydon could learn from the Rotherham scandal; it was re-assuring to hear from the police and from the NSPCC and another charity that the situation is very different in Croydon, partly because there is much more engagement with and audit of the Council by outside bodies than was the case at Rotherham; however, as one councillor put it succinctly, we don't know what we don't know, so vigilance is always required.

On Thursday I attended a licensing sub-committee meeting for a gambling licence; we weighed the evidence very carefully, and found no reason under the law why the licence should not be granted, much to the disappointment of two local residents' associations.

I got up early on Saturday to deliver some leaflets in Fieldway ward as part of Gavin's campaign to get re-elected as the MP for Croydon Central. Many local activists willingly do deliveries and canvassing week in week out as part of our wider commitment to the Party and to grass roots local  politics and this should be an essential component in the life of any councillor. The major challenge for deliverers is to deliver to those blocks of flats with locks on the entrance door - the solution is a secret!

Purley War Memorial Hospital opened its doors for an Autumn fair on Saturday so it was a good opportunity to wander round and see how £11.1M had been spent on the re- furbishment. It certainly looked magnificent - "as good as a private hospital", according to one visitor! I was also pleased that the Mayor managed to fit a visit into her busy schedule. Seeing the excellent local facilities right in the centre of Purley re-inforces the current campaign led by Chris Philp to restore the opening hours of the Minor Injuries Unit back to the way they were till 30 April 2014: 08:00 - 20:00 7 days per week.

It's a challenge writing these blogs - please get in touch if you find items interesting or indeed boring! - it gives me a steer for the future...
Thanks
Simon

 
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 Other Blog Posts
 

Whitgift Carer Support Centre Christmas Party
15/12/2018 20:54:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

 
 

I'm usually at the CSC in George Street on alternate Thursdays providing voluntary support to any carer with IT or mobile phone problems, but yesterday was different - it was their annual Christmas party! It was a pleasure to meet so many carers enjoying themselves in a relaxed atmosphere and with some excellent food laid on. It was also a pleasure to see the Centre manager and her daughter participating in an ABBA Karaoke session!

 


 

Planning subcommittee sensibly voted in favour of new children's cafe and play area
14/12/2018 20:38:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

Planning (sub)committees are usually quite a painful experience for Purley residents; they, supported by me or one of my colleagues, often appear at them to object to some totally inappropriate planning application, such as to demolish a large family house and replace it by a block of flats. 

Last Thursday was different. The planning officers had recommended refusal of a planning application for a change of use of the shop in Purley High Street right next to the Downlands Precinct. The application sought to merge the ex-Big Mike's restaurant with the ex-optician's shop to create a single premises which would be used for a mum's cafe and play area for children. The problem was that a shop and a cafe count as different use classes, and the officers were reluctant to allow the shop to be converted into a cafe because there are already several cafes in the High Street. I and the applicant argued that the shop and the ex-restaurant had both been empty for about five years, so it seemed pretty unlikely that anyone would come forward to take the shop as-is whereas a cafe and play area was something different and a very welcome addition to the High Street. There were absolutely no objections to this proposal, which was also supported both by Purley BID and by the PWRA. 

I was delighted that the members of the committee unanimously agreed with me and the applicant and decided to overturn the officer's refusal; we can now look forward to something new in the High Street which will in turn attract more footfall and thus encourage more trade in the High Street. 

 


 

Purley Rail Art project - now down to a small shortlist
10/12/2018 17:02:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

In the end we received no less that 23 entries for this project which was a very satisfying total. The artists live in all parts of the UK including one in Croydon, and they proposed a variety of artforms including sculpture, ceramics and mosiacs; many stressed how keen they were to involve the local community in the finalisation of the design.

We've now managed to whittle the applicants down to a small shortlist, and we hope to conduct final interviews before Christmas. 

 


 

Special Council meeting last Monday
10/12/2018 16:56:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

 
 

It was a pleasure to attend the Speical Council meeting convened before the main meeting on 3rd December, at the the famous Croydonian Olympic athlete Donna Fraser & Cristal Palace manager Roy Hodgson were both given the award of Fredom of the Borough of Croydon. In their very different ways, but have given immeasurable survice to the Borough and they were both delighted with their awards.

 


 

Surrey Iron Railway project: 22 expressions of interest!
03/12/2018 13:13:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

The closing date for initial expressions of interest in the project was 30 November, so this morning I met two council officers to review what we had received.

I'm absolutely delighted that there were no less than 22 responses, so we spent the morning going through them all. A few clearly hadn't read the brief properly or were otherwise unsuitable, but we were still left with over a dozen really good applications. This means that it will take longer than we expected to produce a short-list, but that's a wonderful problem to have. 

 


 

Purley Christmas lights switch-on
02/12/2018 17:23:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

 
 

Christmas is creeping up on us already!  For me the season starts with Purley's official Christmas lights switch-on which was accompanied yesterday by the singing of carols and other items by several local schools including Christchurch & Cumnor House. Mme Mayor Bernardette Khan and her husband also attended for the ceremony, and many local organisations such as the Baptist Church, Purley Rotary & Purley BID also supported the event. 

 


 

Coulsdon's Dinner/dance at Coulsdon Manor Hotel
01/12/2018 17:15:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

Nearly 70 local residents enjoyed an excellent Christmas dinner/dance at the Coulsdon Manor Hotel last night which was organised by the four local residents associations HADRA, ECRA, OCRA & CWRA. It's a great idea to arrange combined events like this, because none of the local RAs are big enough on their own, yet by pooling resources they laid on an excellent occasion.. and I even managed to win a raffle prize :-) 

 


 

TWICE - a new organisation aiming to teach people how to deal better with their finances
30/11/2018 17:05:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

TWICE is a new organisation which aims to help people avoid falling in debt by teaching them better how to manage money from an early age. The programme should help people avoid falling into debt, which so often spirals out of control, and can lead to family breakup, mental health problems and much worse. 

They held a launch meeting in Croydon yesterday at which I was pleased to offer to act as a counsellor in this field if required. More details are here: www.twicecampaign.org , and I urge anyone who is interested to get in touch, whether as a potential donor, a volunteer, or perhaps as a recipient of help. 

 


 

The Queen's Award for Enterprise for International Trade goes to ... a Purley business :-)
30/11/2018 16:52:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

 
 

I was honoured to be invited to a really unusual ceremony earlier this week: an investiture by the Queen's representative in Surrey Col. Ian McRobbie, who is the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Surrey. The lucky recipient was the Purley beauty care products and training company Nouveau Lashes Ltd, based in Russell Hill Place, and they were receiving an award from Col McRobbie for an amazing export performance for their products and services over a three year period. There are only 33 holders of this award all over the whole of London, so the management was justifiably very proud of its achievement. It was a real pleasure to participate in the ceremony and to realise how many small successful businesses there are all around us.

 


 

Another busy day...
28/11/2018 16:20:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

 
 

I had three Council-related appointments yesterday. At 08:30am I was near Waterloo station visiting a mobile exhibition of the Google Digital garage, actually housed in a bus! We heard a presentation by the CEO of Google UK & Ireland on how Google has embarked upon a campaign to improve the IT skills of small businesses all over the UK. They run group and one-on-one seminars on many topics such as creation of business websites, introduction of online payment systems, how to use data analytics, and IT career development, and amazingly there are all free! Any small business really should check them out here: Just search for Google Digital Garage. 

I was back in Purley for a BID board meeting at lunchtime, and in the evening I attended a meeting of the Council's Cycle Forum, which seeks to promote the use of cycling across the Borough. Particularly in the hilly North & South of the borough, it's literally an uphill struggle to persuade more people to adopt cycling as a routine method of transport; I don't think this will happen until ebikes become cheaper and much more secure; at the moment, they're sadly quite likely to become targets for thieves. 

 


 

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 Older Blog Posts
23/11/2018
A Licensing Committee meeting
22/11/2018
An enjoyable volunteer session at the Carer Support Centre, George Street
22/11/2018
Labour forces shocking decision through Pension Committee
20/11/2018
Cabinet meeting on 19 November.
17/11/2018
Bins... bins.. bins
17/11/2018
Important conference on engaging with London's many diverse communities
17/11/2018
A new District Commissioner for Croydon Scouting
16/11/2018
Any budding sculptors/sculptresses out there?
16/11/2018
Celebration of 33% cut in Business rates
16/11/2018
Full House for Croydon Communities Consortium (CCC) meeting
13/11/2018
Remembrance Sunday - 100 years on
12/11/2018
Referral of planning application for 55 Selcroft Rd 18/05009/FUL
11/11/2018
More bin news - this time for Plough lane
04/11/2018
Two surgeries this week...
03/11/2018
NHS Continuing healthcare funding vs Social care funding
01/11/2018
Problem with bins in Monahan Avenue, Cliff End, Godstone Road etc etc
29/10/2018
Parking problems in Downlands Road Purley
27/10/2018
Continuing use of mobile phones by drivers
26/10/2018
Purley BID AGM
24/10/2018
Purley Youth Project - a fantastic local charity
14/10/2018
Rat-infested rubbish in Russell Hill Parade (behind Foxley Hatch) FINALLY removed
10/10/2018
Purley & Woodcote RA committee meeting
09/10/2018
IT support for SE Cancer Help centre
05/10/2018
Croydon Business Awards - a near miss?
26/07/2018
PACE AGM
25/07/2018
Croydon Community Consortium - AGM
20/07/2018
Planning Committee last night
19/07/2018
Last Council meeting before the recess: The bins debate
06/07/2018
A busy morning at the Carer Support Centre in George Street
02/07/2018
Another enjoyable dummy interview session at Purley Baptist Church
 
 
 
 
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