Croydon planning and the tension between executive control and reform

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With his appointment with Stuart King as Cabinet member for Environment and Planning, the question arises as to whether Paul Scott can remain as Chair of Planning, as the Committee is supposed to judge each application on its merits. It also means that Leader is ignoring the growing discontent from residents groups and in some sections of the Labour Party with the way Scott has chaired the Committee meetings.

Help Challenge Brick by Brick

Scott’s stronger role, with his wife Alison Butler remaining as Cabinet member for Homes, means that it unlikely that there will changes to make Brick by Brick more accountable (as suggested  in the Croydon Assembly People’s Manifesto). Its planning applications will continue to be approved regardless of opposition on planning grounds.

That’s why the South Norwood campaign against one of the Brick by Brick developments is so important. Its on the last stage of seeking £5,000 for its legal challenge. To support please go to

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/croydon-planning-bias

In attempt to reduce the opposition to building on the green space next to Ruskin House Brick by Brick has submitted revised its plans. Croydon TUC, Croydon Assembly and Unite Retired members branch all have informed the Council they remain opposed, their principle reason being that the Council should not be building on small green spaces which add to the quality of the built environment.

Will Executive Leader model be scrapped?

According to Inside Croydon (12 May) the Labour Group of Councillors has agreed to hold an independent review of the Council constitution which will consider the current executive Leader/Cabinet system and the merits of a possible return to at least in part to the previous committee system. The review was promised in the Labour manifesto following debate within the Party and the success of growing numbers of Party members sceptical of the Leadership system.

This excellent news, but let’s wait to see who is

appointed as allegedly being ‘independent’.

Previous debate on the issues about executive leadership

For past debate on the issues involved see my articles at  e.g.

https://thecroydoncitizen.com/politics-society/crisis-londons-croydons-democracy

https://thecroydoncitizen.com/politics-society/stole-croydon-town-hall

https://thecroydoncitizen.com/politics-society/croydons-council-election-just-whos-best-manager

Who Controls Croydon?

However a return to an up-dated version of the decision making committee sytsem needs to be accompanied by other changes in terms of the wider issue of ‘Who Controls Croydon’ especially the relationship with business. In my article on this issue in  June 2014 I suggested:

‘If Labour is to change this close-knit network of business interests it will need to move fast to lay the foundation stones for:

  • Greater transparency in its affairs with business.
  • Empower communities to have a greater say in shaping the future of Croydon.
  • Bring in  a code of ethics that blocks membership of multiple key positions.
  • Ensure that the minutes or notes all meetings with developers and other businesses are published within two weeks.
  • A ban on any more building on parks.
  • A strategic economic plan designed to up-skill the Borough, not more retail.
  • A review of all commercial contracts to see what changes can be made in the brief to firms like Styles and White Label  until the end of their contractual period.
  • Ensure that Social Value is central to all policies with regard to planning and business development, especially through CCURV.
  • The creation of a Croydon Bank.

I leave it to readers to assess whether any of the above was acted upon.

http://historyandsocialaction.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=Croydon

Current challenges

I discuss the challenges ahead for the new Labour administration in:

https://thecroydoncitizen.com/politics-society/what-next-for-croydons-re-elected-labour-council

My two collections of writings under the theme of

Who Controls Croydon

are available from me

sean.creighton1947@btinernet.com

 

 

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About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy, housing and environment issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly. I am a member of the Love Norbury Residents Associations Planning & Transport Committees, and Chair of Nobury Community Land Trust. I write for Croydon Citizen at http://thecroydoncitizen.com. I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and edit the North East Popular Politics database. 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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