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 :-)
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.
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.
Purley Youth Project - a fantastic local charity 24/11/2018 21:17:00.......Posted by Simon Brew
Earlier this week, I met the pastor and his wife of a small local church which already does a lot to help the local community, particularly with donations of children's clothes and lots of other equipment. They were asking where else they might be able to offer some assistance and I referred them to the Purley Youth Project. Sited behind the URC in Brighton Road, the PYP does a fantastic job of providing after-school activities and entertainment for several dozen children who congregate there from all over the Borough. The Purley councillors have made annual donations ever since PYP's funding was cut by the Council, because we all believe that it provides really worthwhile activities for disadvantaged kids from near and far. I'm sure that the pastor and his wife will make a significant difference to the PYP, and we wish them well.
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