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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...

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 Other Blog Posts

26/07/2018 10:38:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

The Purley & Coulsdon Centre for the Elderly charity held its AGM yesterday at their premises in Lansdowne Road Purley. It has about 30-40 members who enjoy companionship through participating in its regular actvities, which include an annual trip to the seaside. The chair of trustees Jim Spinks retired at the AGM, and we welcomed the vice-Chair Patricia Painintg into this role. 

The centre relies heavily on funding from the Council, and there was general relief that the funding level has been maintained, at least for the time being. 



Croydon Community Consortium - AGM
25/07/2018 10:26:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

Along with my colleagues Cllr Badsha Quadir & Margaret Bird, I attended the recent CCC AGM in Central Croydon which, on a sweltering evening, did well to arract about 20 residents. Because of careful housekeeping, the committee has managed to make the Council grant last much longer than was expected. We heard interesting reports about the year's past activities which have included talks on the new bins, the Peace Festival, knife crime and many other local events. There were also suggestions for some future topics, and the idea of holding meetings in different venues across the borough



Planning Committee last night
20/07/2018 10:15:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

Last night I spoke against the demolition of yet another large detached house at 53 Selcroft Road Purley, and its replacement by a block of 9 flats with totally inadequate parking arrangements. This application is particularly inappropriate because it's right next door to another detached house which has also to be demolished and replaced by a block of 7 flats. In aggregate therefore, in a 50m stretch of a peaceful Purley road, 2 houses will be replaced by 16 flats with probably 15-20 cars. I support residents in strongly believing that the local infrastructure simply cannot cope with this level of intensification. My fears were brushed aside by the Labour-dominated planning committee which voted this proposal through 6-4, just as they did its immediate neighbour. 



Last Council meeting before the recess: The bins debate
19/07/2018 10:01:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

All full council meeting and Planning committee meetings are web-cast, and can also be viewed after the event at this website: .

At the very end of a very long Council meeting (1830-2200!) I spoke for the Conservative motion which supported the idea of increased recycling, but regretted the ham-fisted way in which the new bins regime would be imposed across the whole borough. No account has been taken of the fact that Purley has some extremely steep hills! In addition, many houses are 10-20 steps up or down from the street, and it's impossible for elderly, or indeed younger residents to drag a huge paper recycling bin up 20 steps when they're full, and it's pretty difficult even when they're empty.. There are rumours that special arrangements will be made for such streets, but there's no confirmation as yet. 



A busy morning at the Carer Support Centre in George Street
06/07/2018 09:49:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

I spent an enjoyable morning yesterday at the Carer Centre where I volunteer as an IT buddy, helping two carers who both had problems with their use of moblle phones for email. Over time, I've noticed that the demand for basic support for PCs, email, web-searching etc has declined whereas the ever-increasing complexity of mobile phones generates a larger number of queries. 

Free support from the Carer Centre is open to anyone who has responsibility for caring for someone else, whether they are younger or older than themselves; I've met many good friends there and strongly recommend their services. 



Another enjoyable dummy interview session at Purley Baptist Church
02/07/2018 17:54:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

Christians Against Povery is a charity which runs many worthwhile projects in the local community. One of these is the Purley Job Club which is based at the Purley Baptist Church; they run a one day per week course which teaches or refreshes basic employment and interviewing skills for those who for whatever reason have been out of the job market for some time, and so need to rebuild their confidence. I really enjoy volunteering as an external interviewer at the end of the course, and I've just completed another two interview sessions today. It's particularly rewarding when I hear in a later class that some of my interviewees have landed solid jobs as a result of going on the course. Pleae get in touch if you know anyone who might benefit from attending such a class. 



Purley Food and Drink Festival - another scorcher!
01/07/2018 11:00:00.......Posted by Simon Brew


On 30 June, Purley BID organised another very sucessful Food and Drinks Festival in the section of the High Street outside Sainsburys. About 25 local business were featured, offering delights such as bicyle-powered smoothies, lots of varieties of hot food including free pizza slices, pulled pork, hamburgers, and delicious cakes and other nibbles. We were also entertained on stage by a series of excellent local artistes.

Local councillors helped Purley Rotary provide some stewards for the event; it also featured a £100 car which had been driven all round the UK on a sponsored drive to raise funds to eradicate the scourge of Polio from the world. This is a particularly worthwhile project because the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation currently TRIPLES all donations received, and it was a pleasure to participate, especially in the scorching weather. . 



Purley Classic Car Show - what a scorcher!
25/06/2018 18:20:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

The Whitgift & Purley branches of Rotary International regularly sponsor the Purley Classic Car Show, and we were treated to a show of some magnificent private and commercial vehicles last weekend, particularly a splendid fire engine, and a loveley yellow car which could have come straight from the film Genevieve. 

It was a pleasure to help Purley Rotary with the stewarding of this event in such glorious sunshine.



Supporting Purley Baptist Church Easter party
02/04/2018 16:39:00.......Posted by Simon Brew


With my colleague Cllr Badsha Quadir & a member of Purley BID, I joined Purley Rotary in supporting the Church's annual Easter Saturday party which was held in Purley High Street. It was bitterly cold and wet, but that didn't dampen the spirits of those who participated!



Purley BID conference at Christ Church
25/03/2018 16:25:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

The Purley BID has been going strong for two or three years now, and the CEO Simon Cripps recently invited me to their conference. We heard several presentations about how much progress has been achieved towards the goal of making Purley a place of destination rather than of transit. The businesses are achieving so much more through cooperation on issues of common concern, such as the business rates increases which have hit Purley particularly hard, the improved signage, security & parking, and the spectacular new posters surrounding the Purley Baptist Church Island Site. All best wishes for the next two years, until the businesses vote again on whether to continue their support for the BID. 



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 Older Blog Posts
Croydon "Local Plan" approved at Council last night
Purley needs YOU for an interesting Community project
Purley BID Board meeting
Visit to Purley Mosque
Delighted to attend Purley Mosque Open day
Purley & Woodcote RA committee meeting
NWOW in Planning
Holocaust Memorial Day 26 January
Croydon Community Consortium meeting
Croydon Conference on causes/solutions for homelessness
Purley Skyscraper "Mosaic Place " enquiry
Montpelier Rd / Kingsdown Ave development approved..over-development, and destruction of open land :-(
Development threat to Sanderstead Road car park
The Lord Roberts Post Office will re-open on 23 March :-)
Purley is identified as a "Dementia-friendly" town
WARNING: Council tax refund scam
How to object to the 20MPH zone deadline 15 February 2017
20MPH speed limit across the South of the Borough?
Strong local opposition to plan for 34 dwellings at jct: Montpelier Rd/Kingsdown Avenue
Purley BID seeks an ambassador - interested?
Croydon's Digital Inclusion project and the Carer Support Centre
Busy Purley surgery this morning
Why so many tree stumps on Purley's streets?
34 new dwelling planned at junction Montpelier Rd / Kingsdown Avenue
Council meeting on 17/10: My speech on Local Plan's impact on Purley
"No thanks for Trick or Treat" poster
Fed Up with Trick or Treating at your front door?
Local Plan Consultation period is now open. Concern re proposed Gypsy & Traveller site at Purley Oaks.
Closed Fairfield Halls still owes 4500 to Croydon Dance Group
Purley Baptist Church development Mayor of London requires changes.
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