Croydon residents have already endured six years of a Labour-run Council who have shown a worrying pattern of not listening to its residents - the very people who they are meant to represent.
This has been noticeable to most residents who experience the Planning Committee. If any objections raised at the Planning Committee do not fit with Labour's “vision” of the borough, they are discarded and any valid objections raised are deemed irrelevant. Even if that means Labour members of the committee choose to ignore local planning policies, the very policies which were introduced by them which were apparently put in place to help protect communities across the borough from overbearing and ill-thought-out developments. We all understand the urgent need of building new homes in Croydon, but that should not come with the continuous detrimental impacts forced on to our communities across the borough.
The same Labour administration recently had the audacity to ignore more than 20,000 people across the borough, who signed and presented a petition to the Council to officially request a referendum on the ability to have a Directly Elected Mayor in our town. Again, this very large public stance did not meet the arrogant Labour administrations “vision” for Croydon, and they were subsequently ignored as a result.
So of course, it comes as no surprise to anyone when yet again this Labour Administration has chosen to ignore the thousands of people who signed a petition against their Low Traffic Neighbourhoods policy. This scheme has been thrusted on to the communities of Crystal Palace and South Norwood, which has seen huge negative impacts as a result, with no prior consultation: do you notice a worrying theme forming here?
The Norwood Triangle is a cherished and listed high street in Crystal Palace, the local community prides itself on having a large selection of small independent businesses in the area, which goes against the general trend nationally on other high streets, which are normally dominated by large chains.
But worryingly this scheme has instead helped drastically increase local traffic on all the main roads leading to the high street in Crystal Palace. Several backroads including Stambourne Way and Sylvan Road have been closed by this Council as a part of the Low Traffic Neighbourhood scheme. As a consequence, motorists are then forced and funnelled on to the Norwood Triangle using only the busier and now traffic jammed main roads. This is the very opposite of the supposed objective of helping to improve local air quality.
The dramatically increased traffic now seen in the area, together with the new roadblocks, is understandably putting off potential shoppers from visiting the high street, including anyone who wants to enjoy the fantastic selection of local restaurants and pubs in the area. This is especially bad for businesses in the community, when this Council should be doing all in its power to help support SMEs to recover in these unprecedented times.
This scheme has also created a worrying issue which has been shown to negatively impact the emergency services ability to reach the sick and needy. As per example when a Fire Engine with Blue lights on, was then met by the newly installed roadblock at the end of Stambourne Way. Residents then watched in horror as the fire engine then had to attempt to quickly reverse up a snaking and very steep hill, back on to the main road. Those precious minutes which the emergency services are forced to navigate around new roadblocks, could be the difference between life and death.
The residents of Upper Norwood, and South Norwood watched the webcast of the full Council meeting on Monday as Labour councillors tried once again, to dismiss the valid concerns of residents, who are against the poorly implemented “so called” Low Traffic Neighbourhoods on to their community.
Shockingly , one of the Labour Councillors felt it was appropriate to shout “not true” and “it is all a pack of lies” as I was highlighting the worrying impacts this scheme has had on the emergency services ability to quickly reach the sick and needy. Watch my speech and the clips of the vehicles in question and judge for yourself.
What I don’t understand, is why Labour always instantly defaults to hurling insults at anyone who dares speak against them. Instead of listening and engaging with concerned residents, they instead choose to dismiss their concerns as irrelevant. This Labour administration likes to play the “listening” game, sending out pointless surveys and public consultations, but then it does whatever it feels like anyway, ignoring the impact they're having on communities across the borough.
Residents are concerned about the poorly implemented Low Traffic Neighbourhoods for very valid reasons. They appreciate the efforts to improve our air quality, but as with the Labour's objectives should not come at whatever cost: including the negative impact on our communities; harming already struggling small local businesses; and now worryingly also the emergency services ability to quickly reach those in need of medical attention.
Croydon Conservatives are saying enough is enough. We proposed a motion to show the residents of Croydon that we are listening to your concerns:
“This Labour Administration has consistently failed to listen to local residents, takes no notice of their views on any local issues and cannot be trusted to act in the interest of Croydon”.
This motion was proposed by Cllr Sue Bennett, and seconded by myself.
As I am sure you have guessed, Labour did not vote for our motion. They instead voted as a collective against, hurling accusations of lying to myself, whilst also dismissing the thousands of residents who are against this scheme for very valid reasons.
Rest assured the Croydon Conservatives will not be giving up on this fight, we will continue to stand up and listen to the residents of Croydon as you rightly deserve and expect from your elected representatives.