Mayor Perry’s Priorities

Among his priorities being consider by the Cabinet on Monday Mayor Jason Perry endorses the Council  continuing to be a Living Wage employer, and encouraging all council contractors to pay the London Living Wage, and working to increase the number of employers in Croydon doing the same.

The Cabinet report sets them out by themes, including Planning as detailed in the previous posting. Much of the text, however, are statements of overall intent for future Council policy, some of which implicitly criticise the former Labour administration, and some with no concrete measures. i.e. it’s a continuation Labour’s Ambition for Croydon aspirations.

Clean up Croydon

There will be:

  • improved street cleaning and refuse collection through effective contract management;
  • improved enforcement against fly-tippers;
  • better access to recycling and waste centres;
  • reinstatement of free bulky waste collections when financially possible;
  • reintroduction on a graffiti removal service;
  • an increase in grass cutting regime.

Children and Young People

The Council will work as appropriate with schools, colleges and other providers of education and training, work with the voluntary and community sector (VCS), providers and businesses:

  • to raise young people’s aspirations to learn and fulfil their potential in their lives and contribute to the community;
  • to expand the offer for all young people in the borough, including those with special educational needs and disabilities;
  • to deliver earlier interventions when problems arise and targeted responses to children and young adults in need where these are necessary, supporting families through good quality statutory services.

The Council will fulfil its responsibilities as a corporate parent to ensure children and young people in the Council’s care have the best start in life.

These promises are an implicit criticism of the way the Council operated in relation to children and young people up to the election.

Crime and Safety

As well as outlining the general partnership approach to tackling crime and violence,  early intervention to prevent exclusions, and protecting young people from violence. The specific measures proposed are:

the development of a youth safety strategy

the review of the Community Safety Strategy supported by the dedicated youth safety strategy.

This section is implicit criticism of the inadequacy of the Council up to the elections.

Community

The Council will:

  • build support for community groups that play this vital role and work with VCS and faith organisations to establish self-help wellness groups across the borough.
  • support groups that contribute in other ways, such as Friends of green spaces, and celebrate their achievements.
  • re-open Purley Pool and Leisure Centre using unallocated community infrastructure levy (CIL) monies.

The work of the voluntary and community sector will not improve until there is an in-depth review of:

  • the deep divisions within the sector;
  • the over emphasis on the role of the Croydon Voluntary Action and the Black & Ethnic Minority Forum;
  • the needs of the large number of small groups which feel frozen out the system;
  • the need to recognise that resident associations are part of the sector.

Culture

The officers’ report to Cabinet states:Croydon’s London Borough of Culture 2023 will be delivered with local artists and cultural organisations. The Council will use it as an opportunity to improve the management of Fairfield Halls and offer a programme that appeals to local residents and brings visitors back into Croydon.’

So no detailed proposals for changing the top-down management approach approved by the Labour Cabinet earlier this year, ignoring the importance of having the Borough of Culture programme built from neighbourhood level in order to provide a diverse programme for the many residents who will not be able to take part in events in the Town Centre.

Housing

Given the appalling housing management and maintenance record of the Labour controlled Council, the proposals on housing are significant:

  • ‘improve the housing service at pace into one that provides warm, dry and safe homes of which residents can be proud’;
  • start building council homes again;
  • enter a new housing repairs contract to deliver a responsive service which offers value for money and meets residents’ needs;
  • iprove  cyclical property management to improve repairs performance and reduce the time that council homes are left vacant;
  • develop a homelessness strategy;
  • reintroduce estate walkabouts by the Mayor with councillors and housing officers to hear from residents directly;
  • make the complaints process ‘fit for purpose and easy to navigate’;
  • strengthen the Housing Improvement Plan ‘to bring about a more open and respectful relationship with residents, better oversight and governance by Members, effective contract and financial management, and the necessary workforce and digital improvements.’
  • collaborate with council tenants and leaseholders to produce a Residents Charter that will put them at the heart of decisions about the services they receive.

Town and District Centre Regeneration

Perry’s intention is to work with businesses and residents, Westfield and Hammerson ‘to put town centre development back on track, bringing in investment to provide a mixed use of jobs, homes, retail, education and culture.’

The Town Centre Board will be reshaped:

  • ‘to oversee partnerships and culture, identify issues with residents, charities and entrepreneurs, and devise collaborative strategies’;
  • ‘to use data and local intelligence to co-create a new vision for Croydon and rebrand the borough as a destination for investment and for a local population seeking thriving town and district centres’;
  • to ‘repurpose unused properties, support community events and festivals, activate space for investment, and allow markets and restaurants to use temporary outdoor seating to stimulate the local economy’.

Perry aims:

  • to ensure that high streets and district hubs reflect communities’ ‘evolving needs for experiential services.’
  • to ‘collaborate with Business Improvement Districts and, where they do not already exist, facilitate the establishment of business associations to set the direction for investment, marketing and entertainment in district centres across the borough.’

This ignores the undemocratic nature of BIDS which do not involve residents, and which can initiate projects that residents may not want.

Vulnerable people, health and social care

Perry’s priorities are based on aspirations

  • to ‘harness all the skills and experience available to improve health and wellbeing in the borough, with greater involvement of the voluntary sector who provide many services’;
  • to put service users at the heart of policy making and co-production’.

Perry will lead the Council’s work with central government to ensure improved and enhanced services at Croydon University Hospital. His other proposals are:

  • to reconstitute the Health and Wellbeing Board to ensure cross party working and involve the VCS in shaping services for older adults, disabilities and mental health;
  • to seek Dementia Friendly status for the borough.
  • to advance the work of One Croydon ‘to ensure there is no divide in the provision of health and social care between the North and South of the borough and address all inequalities’;
  • to review the mental health strategies for adults, children and young people’.
  • to develop assisted living and homes providing opportunities for residents to remain independent for longer’ through the planning process.
  • to support ’public health partners in reducing smoking rates and teenage pregnancies, improve sexual health services, and review contracts to ensure services support better health equalities.’

Climate Change And Carbon Reduction

Perry is committed to the existing Council policy to ‘drive rapid reductions in carbon emissions to become a carbon neutral council by 2030’. He is clear that:

  • measures ‘to reduce car use, such as further Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, must only be delivered in conjunction and partnership with local residents and businesses’;
  • he will not  support proposals to introduce distance-based road pricing or extend the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone to outer London.

About seancreighton1947

I have lived in Norbury since July 2011. I blog on Croydon, Norbury and history events,news and issues. I have been active on local economy, housing and environment issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly. I have submitted views to Council Committees and gave evidence against the Whitgift Centre CPO and to the Local Plan Inquiry. I am a member of Norbury Village Residents Association and Chair of Norbury Community Land Trust, and represent both on the Love Norbury community organisations partnership Committee. I used to write for the former web/print Croydon Citizen. I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and edit the North East Popular Politics history database. 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, radical and suffrage movements, 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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