Chris Philp MP, the local councillors Danielle Denton, Michael Neal and Robert Ward plus Mayor Jason Perry (at the end of the meeting) all attend the CVRA AGM on the 25th October 2023.
Thank you all for coming to our AGM
Chris spoke first about local issues.
The Purley Pool plans were progressing nicely. A publically run leisure centre and pool was a good thing for Purley. An initial agreement between the Council and the developers was being signed that evening.
Regarding planning, the additional scrutiny shown by the current Councillors and by Michael Neal as Chairman of the Planning Committee has consistently resulted in more suitable development and enables more family homes to be retained in the Borough. There was general agreement on this point within the meeting.
ULEZ is stopping customers coming into Croydon and Purley businesses from outside the zone. Chris has tried to persuade Mayon Kahn but he is not minded to reverse his policy.
Mayday (Croydon University Hospital), ranks in the top 10 out of 160 Hospital Trusts for elective care (ie planned care, mostly surgery) . St Hellier is taking away some of the critical care functions to help mayday focus more on elective care.
Purley is specialising in minor elective care and diagnostics. There is a GP hub at Purley and Chris is trying to allow a patient to go straight from the GP hub to the diagnostics unit in Purley bypassing the patients’ GPs.
There will be movement on Croydon Town Centre in 2024. Due to the downturn in retail generally there will be no grand shopping centre in Croydon. The Whitgift centre will be demolished down to its foundations and a combination of retail residential and offices will be built on the foundations. Allders will be retained. Planning permission is planned for Autumn 2024.
There will be additional Town Centre police patrols in Croydon as the recently recruited constables complete their training.
Gatwick airport is planning to upgrade its taxing runway into a full 2nd runway therefore creating more business for this area. This will be welcome by the industry as it is unlikely that Heathrow will build its 3rd runway anytime soon. A planning application is expected imminently.
Regarding national issues:
As Policing Minister Chris has instructed all police forces to follow up on all information received. There shall be no screening. This is in response to an initiative in Greater Manchester where there was a 50% increase in convictions when the policy was implemented.
The police are increasing the use of technology such as the use of MNPR vehicle cognition cameras to detect suspicious journeys (eg county lines gangs) and facial recognition technology (for example at football matches) to detect wanted individuals.
It was suggested that if ULEZ is reversed the cameras can be repurposed to help in crime prevention. Chris suggested that if that ever happens he would credit the initiative to CVRA AGM!
At this point there were questions from the floor for Chris and Councillors
Q1: Chris was asked about the closure of Old Palace School. He had met with the Governors and they were adamant that the decision would not be reversed. Chris is trying to ensure the two sites are to be retained as educational establishments.
Q2: Chris was asked about the issues regarding privacy and accuracy with facial recognition cameras. The answer for the first question was that (for government!) cameras if there is no match to the police database of offenders the image is immediately deleted. In answer to the accuracy of the technology a match can only lead to a suspect it cannot be used in evidence in itself.
Q3: Regarding the cycle lane on the Brighton Road. Consultation has just finished and the results are being looked at by the Council.
Q4: Regarding the lack of bus shelters, it was recently acknowledged that the company contracted (by the previous regime) to replace the shelters was now not going to deliver and remedial action was to be taken.
Q5: Blocked drains were still a recurring problem at the bottom of Croham Manor Road. Danielle Denton said she would look into it.
Q6: Blocked drains were also causing a problem outside Croham Hurst Golf Club. It was suggested that the drain at the top of the path in the woods leading to the Hurst was not doing its job as the ground levels have lowered and the drain is no longer capturing the water running off the Hurst. Danielle Denton said she would look into it (no pun intended).
Q7: Generally it was felt that reporting on lovecleanstreets.com was effective and the Council responsive
Q8: Regarding Bins left on the pavement. These should be reported directly to the Councillors.