Croydon Council threats to school playing fields and community groups

The new Asset strategy being adopted by Croydon’s Labour Council poses a threat to some schools playing fields and to community groups occupying Council owned buildings.

School playing fields

‘A number of school sites have very large playing fields and ancillary land that may be considered excessive for the number of students that attend the School. Where this may be the case the schools will be identified and opportunities considered for development of affordable housing or other service provision, subject to negotiation with the provider where the Council is not the landlord.’

A review of Council owned buildings used by community groups is anticipated to produce:

  • Future management options for the community buildings portfolio
  • A schedule of buildings that may be appropriate

for Community Asset Transfer

  • A schedule of sites where opportunities may exist for re-development and alternative provision of the space

The outcomes of this review will be:-

  • Community organisations become less dependent on the Council for funding
  • Opportunities to source additional funding (such as Lottery) for the improvement of buildings
  • A reduction in overall expenditure for the Council

The Asset Strategy document has already been designed and printed so it is clear that the Cabinet is simply being asked to rubber stamp it at its meeting on Monday 17 November with no provision for amendments, referral back for further work, or reference to Scrutiny. The ‘Leader of the Council has delegated to the Cabinet the power to make the decisions set out in the recommendations…’

The Cabinet is also considering disengaging its financial arrangement in the arrangement with J. Laing over Bernard Weatherill House in order to reduce its asset liability on the new Council office block. Unlike with the Asset Strategy this is deemed to be a ‘Key Decision as defined in the Council’s Constitution’ which can ‘be implemented from 1300 hours on the expiry of 5 working days after it is made, unless the decision is referred to the Scrutiny & Strategic Overview Committee by the requisite number of Councillors.’

The documents can be accessed at

https://secure.croydon.gov.uk/akscroydon/users/public/admin/kab14.pl?operation=SUBMIT&meet=30&cmte=CAB&grpid=public&arc=1

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About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly, and am a member of the latter's Environment Forum. I am a member of the 5 Norbury Residents Associations Joint Planning Committee, and a Governor of Norbury Manor Primary School. I write for Croydon Citizen at http://thecroydoncitizen.com. I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and advise the North East People's History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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