The resounding desperation that was heard from Cllr King at the Thornton Heath Community Action Team meeting last night (22/2/22) was very much like a man with a gambling problem who was pawning his family jewellery in order to settle the debts.
This is the third attempt to sell off Heath Lodge since 2019. Which of course the council is at liberty to do following the correct notice period and call for objection etc. under the Local Authority act. However, as an old political hero of my said, “there is no such thing as public money, just taxes”. The residents of Thornton Heath and members of the Friends of Grangewood Park are rightly aggrieved by the attempts to sell off a publicly owned treasure such as the Heath Lodge. The Lodge is an integral part of the park and is a beautiful asset to the community that could be put to fantastic use.
The meeting was discussing issues of community safety in the main part which involved in depth discussion around the legacy youth zone. The feeling was that the Lodge could be utilised in a similar way with some investment. But there lies the biggest issue... Croydon Council needs money! So the members of the public in the room at the meeting last night were quite rightly as enraged as I am that more public property is to be auctioned off in order to balance the poor financial mismanagement of the current tenants of Croydon Town Hall.
The last attempt at selling Heath Lodge was thwarted by a 4,500 strong residents’ petition. Another such petition is well underway and has received my signature. As a candidate in this election; a concerned citizen and a proud Croydonian, I am passionate about our local heritage and preserving our green spaces for future generations of our community to enjoy. I am therefore calling on the Council Cabinet to do the right thing and withdraw Heath Lodge from the Auction, at least until after the election. I then want to work with the members of the community and the Friends of Grangewood Park group in order to find a suitable use for the Lodge and source funding to keep the Lodge in the community.