Talk by Mayor Perry to the CVRA 3 November 2022
We thank Jason and Maria and Danielle for attending our AGM. Here is a write up of Jason’s talk.
Jason said he had come from a production at the Fairfield Halls reminding us that it is open!
Jason told us that it is a privilege to be Mayor. The Council is in a “no overall control” status but the Mayor is in charge of everything except for the quasi-judicial aspects of planning and licensing. The Planning Committee is split 50:50 but in addition with a Concervative Chair
A brief overview of the current issues were:
The debt is still there at £1.5bn. Interest costs are £50m per year.
The main short term priority is to clean up the Borough. Jason is talking to Viola whereas no-one from the previous regime had talked to them for over 6 months. In addition Jason has given the police additional powers to deal with anti-social behaviour issues.
Jason is also concentrating on Regeneration both in terms of encouraging inward investment and and applying for every type of development grant available.
In terms of planning policy the new new emphasis is on design rather than density.
Jason took questions from the audience.
Q1: Was Jason worried that despite Planning Committee rejection of various proposals the developers will win on appeal to the inspectorate especially as the Planning Department have been recommending acceptance.
Jason replied that most recent appeals have been won. Twelve recently. This has given Jason the opportunity to nudge the Planning Department towards interpreting the current guidelines in light of the “design rather than density” objectives of Jason’s regime.
Q2: Funding for Community Groups has been reduced.
Jason agreed but referred to the debt levels. He said that they are encouraging community groups to work together. Previously there was some overlap.
Q3: What is Jason’s view on the Borough’s social responsibilities in terms of providing housing and helping the homeless
Jason replied that there were over 1,000 refugees in Croydon’s hotels – which was more than their share. In terms of other homeless he was trying to promote a more holistic strategy as many homeless have not previously wanted to engage with the help offered. In terms of Social Housing, Croydons stock was in a bad way from actions from the last regime.
Q4: Jason was asked about the lack of bus shelters for over 18 months
Jason replied that the supplier – Valo Smart City is having problems fulfilling the contract. This is potentially a legal issue.
Q5: There were complaints regarding blocked drains at the bottom of Croham Manor Road. The resident complained that she was fed up with repeatedly pulling leaves out of the drains.
Maria mentioned she would report to the relevant department.
Q6: There was a report of a dangerous dog in Lloyd Park.
Maria said she would work with Fairfield Councillors and the Dog team to deal with.
Q7: There were complaints that the Coombe Farm site in the middle of the park was in poor condition and continued to be an eyesore.
Jason indicated that it was a difficult issue as it is privately owned but was been looked at.
Q8: Jason was asked when there would be full recognition that “wrong had been done” by the previous regime.
Jason talked about the Penn report (on the how of what happened) and the Kroll report (possible illegal actions in the redevelopment of Fairfield Halls) and said they would be published in due course.
It was agreed that the electors had recognised wrong had been done because if not he would not be Mayor.
Lastly Jason pointed out that moist of the current regime’s efforts were trying to help provide better services going forward.
Q9: The cycle lane on the Brighton Road has harming local businesses
Jason and Maria agreed and said it would be looked at.
Q10: What was the Council’s response to the Cost of Living Crisis.
Jason said they were doing what they could but there were not additional C.O.L.C. funds available from the Government.
Jason and Maria and Danielle were thanked for their time and their competent and considerate replies.