Croydon General News at 25 July

Should the number of councillors on Croydon Council be cut?

The review of Croydon’s ward boundaries will include examining the case for an against reducing the number of Councillors. The Tories are in favour of reducing to 60 and Labour against.

http://www.croydonadvertiser.co.uk/should-the-number-of-councillors-on-croycon-council-be-cut/story-29532674-detail/story.html

Croydon NHS in special measures

http://www.croydonadvertiser.co.uk/8203-croydon-nhs-trust-and-ccg-placed-into-special-measures-due-to-financial-concerns/story-29538213-detail/story.html

National Trust Croydon Walks reviews

https://inews.co.uk/essentials/lifestyle/croydon-concrete-jungle-urban-utopia

http://thecroydoncitizen.com/politics-society/edge-city-croydon-interview-joe-watson-creative-director-national-trust

CEO Jo Negrini gets £5,000 pay rise

Jo Negrini, Croydon’s new Chief Executive, is being paid £5,000 more than her predecessor Nathan Elvery.

http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/local/14622888.Pay_packet_for_new_Croydon_Council_chief_executive___5k_more_than_predecessor

Croydon’s District Auditor in BHS row

Grant Thornton, Croydon’s District Auditor, is caught up in the midst of the BHS scandal.

https://www.accountancyage.com/2016/06/16/sir-phillip-green-shifts-blame-for-bhs-sale-on-to-advisers-grant-thornton-olswang-and-goldman-sachs

Coulsdon East Flooding being investigated

Cabinet member Stuart King told the Council meeting on 18 July : ‘Following the recent heavy rainfall there has been flooding in parts of Coulsdon East and as a result the Council has instigated a Section 19 Flood Investigation. The purpose of an investigation is to establish which Risk Management Authorities (RMA) have flood risk management functions in respect of the flooding incident and whether the identified RMAs are responding (or are proposing to respond) to the flood. Once an investigation has been completed, this will be published on the council’s website and any relevant authorities notified who then have a duty to resolve the flooding.’ (CQ315-16)

Timothy Godfrey admits grass cutting not satisfactory

At the 18 July Council meeting Cabinet member Timothy Godfrey admitted that the garss cutting service was not satisfcatory.

‘The state of grass cutting across the borough has not been acceptable in any way. The contractor claims that the rapid growth and poor weather conditions experienced in May and June have had an impact on the grass cutting regime due to the volume of grass and the ground conditions. This has caused delays in completing rounds. The councils monitoring team together with the contractor have been working to an agreed implementation plan to address the situation which has included the deployment of additional staff and working additional hours including weekends. We anticipate that the grass cutting rounds will be back to the established 15 working day cycle by the end of next week. The improvements in the weather and the slowing down of the rate of growth will also help to improve the situation. While I have some sympathy for the contractor in coping with difficult cutting and growing conditions, they have not met our expectations in getting on top of the overall situation nor in tackling the areas that they could have worked on during poor weather conditions.’ (CQ277-16)

Pubs and Off-licences

There are 123 pubs and bars across the borough that have a licence to sell alcohol and There are 426 off licences/supermarkets that sell alcohol in the borough. (Hamida Ali. CQ286 & 7-16)

Places of worship

The Council believes there are 300 worshipping groups in Croydon. ‘Not all have their own place of worship and make use of school halls and other venues. We are aware of 14 mosques in Croydon. An exact figure is difficult as groups come and go and not all have their own premises.’ (Hamida Ali. CQ288 & 9-16)

Public Space Protection Orders

‘The council is assessing the use of Public Space Protection Orders as a tool to tackle anti-social behaviour. PSPOs are one of a number of different tools available to the council and police to tackle anti-social behaviour so it is important to assess which is the most appropriate one to use in particular circumstances. The use of PSPOs across the country has been controversial, particularly where they have been specific in targeting behaviours by people that are often vulnerable such as homelessness, begging or street drinking. We therefore want to make sure that the additional enforcement powers that this would give the council and police are a proportionate and appropriate response to the issues that are being experienced locally before any final decisions are made.’ (Hamida Ali. CQ294-16)

Digital Exclusion

Councillor Yvette Hopley pointed out to Cabinet member Mark Watson at the 18 July Council meeting that ‘85,000 adults in Croydon do not have basic digital skills according to the Lloyds survey and almost 64% of the over 65’s lack digital skills. Rather than digital inclusion this is digital exclusion for the majority of our elderly people.’ She asked ‘Of that 64% how many people do you hope to have included in your digital skills programme by the end of this year?’

Watson replied: ‘This is the start and we are working to ensure the project provides an ongoing legacy of partnership to support the community. In this year alone we expect to reduce the number of residents without basic digital skills across the borough by 10% reducing the percentage of over 65’s that lack digital skills down to a maximum of 57%.’ (CQ296-16)

Note: the full text of Council questions and answers above can be seen at:

https://www.croydon.gov.uk/sites/default/files/articles/downloads/Questions%20index%20and%20replies1.pdf

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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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