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

Countdown to Christmas
24/12/2014 16:20:00......Posted by Simon Brew


It's been another busy month.

On 1 December, I returned from a short break visiting relatives in Germany, so unfortunately I just missed the last full Council meeting of the year. I gather from colleagues and the Croydon Advertiser that it was a fairly rowdy affair, partly because of Labour’s policy statement (which was subsequently withdrawn) that the usage of playing fields in some of Croydon’s schools would be reviewed. There are plenty of other blogs on this topic, so I’ll move on.

Later that week, I participated in a really useful and enjoyable training session arranged for members and reserve members of the Licensing Committee. We held a dummy application hearing for the fictional Bar-a-cuda club which wished to extend its hours of licensing. The case study was led by a practising QC who specialises in this field; it was built from several real life cases and incorporated some tricky issues for the committee to deal with, as well as lots of irrelevant material which we had by law to ignore. To make it even more challenging, members of the committee played various roles, as applicant, objector, rival business, committee member and several others. The evening was entertaining and instructive at the same time.

The next day, I attended my first planning committee meeting as a contributor; I was there to offer my support to some local residents who were concerned about some aspects of a Purley development. There are many common elements in the assessment of Licensing and Planning applications, and it was interesting to see how the legal framework and Croydon’s local policies are applied in practice.

The political composition of all Council committees, such as Licensing, Planning and Scrutiny is determined by the election results, so the ratio of seats allocated to each party broadly reflects the political makeup of the Council (which is currently Labour 40: Conservative 30). As the election approaches and particularly at weekends, most councillors spend a lot of time and effort out on the streets in their own wards and also in the Borough’s marginal wards, trying to persuade just a few hundred voters to accept their irresistible argument as to why they should vote for a particular party. It’s hard work, but then no-one ever entered politics for an easy ride (or for the rewards!). On 6 December as an example, I joined many Conservative colleagues out on the streets for four hours, and then helped to staff a Conservative stall at Coulsdon’s Yuletide festival in the High Street in the evening; it was a bitterly cold day and we were frozen stiff by the end, but the stalls selling hot food and drinks did a roaring trade!

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without pantomimes, and I greatly enjoyed this year’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; the latter were all played by adult actors who had dwarfism and they brought the story to life very effectively. The dashing prince was none other than Gareth Gates, and of course no cast is complete without a wicked witch and a male pantomime dame wearing ever more outlandish costumes. I haven’t been to a pantomime for about 40 years so it was fun to relive my (and my kids’) childhood again. Later that week, I also attended the Council's Christmas celebration event which included good misical and choral performances from some of Croydon's children.

The bad news of Purley Pool’s potential closure broke during w/c 8 December, so I and my Conservative colleagues launched a campaign and petition, which has already attracted over 1000 signatures; further details are in one of my earlier blogs. It was particularly unfortunate that this news broke just as the Purley Business Improvement District (BID) team heard that they had secured funding from the GLA to take the concept further. Croydon’s BID has been running successfully for several years and is one of the largest in the UK, so as a Purley councillor, I’m delighted that Purley now hopes to follow in its footsteps.

I did my usual two hours IT buddy stint at the Whifgift Foundation's Carer Support Centre in George Street on 11 December, and the next day all helpers were kindly invited to an enjoyable Christmas dinner with a difference - a carry-out curry which was delivered piping hot to the office! It was good to meet the other volunteers in an informal setting and to swap notes.

I was delivering Neighbourhood Watch leaflets recently and unfortunately slipped and sprained my ankle on some steps. I needed physiotherapy and bandages etc, but my wife also persuaded me to try acupuncture and I have to admit that I was impressed at the speed of my recovery using a combination of ancient and modern healing techniques… and it wasn’t painful!

There were just two Council meetings in the final full week before Christmas; one was a regular planning meeting while the other was a full Scrutiny meeting; the closure of Purley Pool was not explicitly on the agenda but it was inevitable that it would feature prominently in the debate, with a large number of Pool supporters patiently waiting in the wings for a chance to speak. Unlike full Council meetings, there is no official speaking slot in Scrutiny committee meetings for members of the public or indeed councillors who are not members of the committee, but the Labour chair Sean Fitzsimons gave Fred Wallis the chance to speak, and he did so eloquently. Of course I’m biased, but I think most independent observers would say that Fred had the better of the argument in his exchanges with the Labour Council leader Tony Newman.

Last week, I and two other councillors were invited to see the Council's secure CCTV centre in action on one of the busiest nights of the year, and it was interesting to see how the staff use about 90 remotely controlled cameras actively to monitor what's going on in the town centre. In one case we saw someone trying to hide something in his shoe after being ejected from a club and the CCTV staff were able to help the police to find vital evidence when they conducted a search of the suspect. We asked lots of questions and really appreciated the opportunity to hear at first hand about the challenges of keeping Croydon's streets safe for its citizens.

And so to Christmas, and a break from blogging..
.. but I’ll be back in the New Year, no doubt with plenty to say as the race towards the General Election hots up!

With best wishes for a Happy Christmas and New Year..

Simon Brew

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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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