Croydon events and new (inc. pollution parking charges) at 23 July

Thursday 24 July. Traffic Management Advisory Committee

The Committee is being asked to agree the proposed new parking charges policy  following consultation with no amendments. See below.

Saturday 26 July. 10am-5pm. Croydon authors at Made in Croydon stalls event

I will be running a bookstall featuring my books and pamphlets on Croydon history etc and by other Croydon authors at the Made in Croydon stall event in the High St opposite Grants.

Council adopts 2030 zero carbon  goal

Council authoritarian insensitive closure of Outlet

Planning and housing news

Architects win planning approval for Croydon infill housing scheme

The July Council meeting rejected a petition calling on it l to ‘stop destroying family homes’, and introduce Area Planning Committees for developments of less than 50 units.

Officers offer no changes to emissions parking permits proposals

The Officers are proposing that on Thursday 24 July the Traffic Management Advisory Committee adopt the parking charges policy without amendment following consultation.

In 2016 there were 148,256 vehicles registered in Croydon. There were 10,636 active parking permits at the at the end of 2018: 9,048 resident permits. 285 business permits. 107 all-zone permits (on-street only). 36 all-zone permits (on and off-street). There are also  24 doctor bay permits. 475 council permits (e.g. Social Services home visiting staff), 411 neighbourhood care permits (e.g. NHS care in the community staff),  80 statutory undertaker permits. 170 charity permits.

If introduced, the emission-based charges will be launched in three stages (the first 2 stages being the recommendation of the report):

1) Residents’ permits – from October 2019, when a permit is next up for renewal in the 12-month period that follows.

2) Business and other permits, and Diesel surcharging for permits – from April 2020.

3) On-street (i.e. in public roads with pay and display bays) and off-street (i.e. in council operated public car parks) parking charges, and Diesel surcharging for on- and off-street parking – from April 2021 (NB: to be developed and consulted on at a later date)

Consultation views

There were 1,149 unique respondents to the consultation which ended on 20 June: 62 in support,  48 neither objecting nor supporting. Here are some extracts.

Unfair to poorest, elderly and vulnerable

154 respondents objected because they were unfair to those who cannot afford a newer car, which includes the poorest, elderly and vulnerable. The Officers accept that residents and local businesses ‘for whom parking and road congestion have adverse economic and quality of life implications include people who cannot immediately afford to replace their older cars.’ But argue that ‘We must also consider fairness to residents who are vulnerable to air pollution, which disproportionally are the young, the elderly and those who live in some of the poorest areas of the borough. They represent groups that tend to have lower car ownership. Active encouragement of lower emission vehicles and the underlying reduction in car use, benefits all individuals, families and neighbourhoods. Air pollution is an important and increasingly more high profile public health issue, contributing to illness and shortened life expectancy. It disproportionately impacts on the most vulnerable in the population, in particular the sick, young and elderly. Those at higher risk include those with existing respiratory problems and chronic illnesses such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. People who live or work near busy roads are at particularly high risk of exposure to the health harms of air pollution. Surplus from parking permit charges are ring-fenced and, for example, contribute significantly to sustaining public transport fare concessions such as the Freedom Pass scheme for the elderly. The parking permit charges therefore indirectly support the portion of the elder population that do not have a car or who choose to use public transport. The holders of 11,459 individual and 71 organisational blue badges issued in Croydon are exempt from the parking charges.’ 371 vehicles will  be charged at the higher £300 band on resident permits and 413 that predate March 2001. ‘This equates to 8.7% of all active resident parking permits (9,048) as at the end of 2018, which are issued to residents across the whole income spectrum.’

Unfair to Residents in Controlled Parking Zones

41 respondents commented that it was ‘unfair to residents living in a Controlled Parking Zone, while not addressing high-polluting cars outside CPZs. It is unequal and creates divisions in the community.’ The Officers counter argue that ‘The CPZ represents a location where residents have reported significant parking congestion and requested that such congestion is managed. In non CPZ locations, the congestion either does not exist to the same level or has not been raised as a concern yet and therefore does not need managing at this point in time. The Council does not implement CPZs where they are not necessary. In most cases the need for CPZs are within the higher density geographical areas and less so in lower density areas. The next phases of the emission-based parking charges will address polluting vehicles traveling within the borough to public parking places in general, and not just in residential CPZs. These additional proposals cannot be immediately implemented, as they depend on the prior uptake in mobile parking payment technology, which is being addressed separately to emissions-based permit charges in CPZs.

Wrong Solution

33 respondents commented ‘Emissions need lowering, but this is the wrong way to go about it (not specifying an alternative solution).’ The Officers claim that the ‘Council will keep an open mind and support emissions-reduction solutions as they are identified in all fields. New solutions could be considered for replacing the emissions-based permit charges. For the emissions and car reduction to show their required effects by 2021, however, the recommended emission-based charges cannot be delayed for yet unknown and unspecified alternative solutions to be developed. Private car transport is just one aspect of local air pollution, but a major contributor to local traffic and parking congestion. ‘

Unfair to essential vehicle drivers

32 respondents commented that it ‘is unfair to essential car users who work unsocial hours, must drive their children, are vulnerable, carry loads and live in hilly borough.’ The Officers argue that the ‘permit charge will remain a relatively modest element of the total cost of car ownership. Compared to all other associated costs of owning a car, permit charges would be a minimal percentage of the overall cost. It is, however, important to seek to influence a choice in lower emission vehicles for essential and frequent car users. The scheme does not automatically assume that the transport of children as being essential.’

Need for Terre Planting

4 respondents argued that the ‘scheme needs to be combined with tree planting initiatives and creation of space for trees, including specifying mature trees as a planning requirement. The Officer response: ‘The Council has a policy on tree planting, although it is not directly linked to emission-based parking charges. The council’s active tree planting program aims to plant 650 trees each year & this year alone it is expected to deliver 1200 trees.’

Parking in Front Gardens

4 respondents argued that the proposals ‘ will encourage people to concrete over and park in their front gardens which will have environmental impact.’ The Officer response states: ‘Restrictions apply to making a pavement cross-overs and hardstandings for parking on private property, and these take into consideration road conditions, dimensions, underground services and surface water effects. The required works to strengthen a foot path and install a pavement cross-over tend to be extensive and, in many cases, may require prior planning consent and the associated cost is significantly higher than a parking permit charge. The Government’s Planning Portal states that specific rules apply for householders wanting to pave over their front gardens, such as if the surface to be covered is more than five square metres then planning permission will be needed for laying traditional, impermeable driveways that do not provide for the water to run to a permeable area. Residents who choose to install pavement cross-overs do so to secure access, not to avoid the permit charge and need to obtain permission from the council to drop the kerb and strengthen the pavement. The emission based permit charge scheme has potential for helping to reduce the number of cars parked in a road, hence improving access and reducing the incentive for residents to concrete over their front gardens’

The full Officer report can be accessed here:

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History events & news at 12 July

Croydon’s Black African & Caribbean History Before the Windrush
An Introduction by Sean Creighton. £3 + £1.32 postage

To order through Paypal go to: 

Saturday 7 September. 11am-3pm. Local Women Making History: here, there and everywhere

We are inviting stories, poems, films and Exhibitions and we would really value what you have to offer. Contributions in any medium lasting.15/20 mins are invited.

Independent Working Class Education event at Working Class Movement Library in Salford (near Manchester) on Saturday 7th September. 11-3pm. Free but  donations welcome.

Please get in touch to discuss

Ali Ronan:

or Keith Venables

Saturday 14 September. 10am–3.30pm. The Radical North

During the 200th Anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre, the radical tradition of the North East is celebrated at this special event organized by Sunderland Heritage Forum and Sunderland City Council Heritage Team as part of the Heritage Open Days programme.

Contributors: Graeme Anderson (former chief sports writer of the Sunderland Echo), John Charlton, Chris Howson (Chaplain,  University of Sunderland; author of A Just Church: 21st Century Liberation Theology in Action), David Temple (former coalface electrician on Executive Committees of Durham Colliery Mechanics Association (DCMA) and The North East Area NUM,), and The Silver Shantymen (perform shanties and other songs of the sea, mainly work songs by crews that depict the hardship, heartache and humour of their times.

Bethany Church, Bede Tower, Burdon Road

A FREE EVENT – see the three attachments for the programme and to register

Thursday 17 – Sunday 20 October. Berwick Literary Festival 

Some history highlights are below:

Max Adams – The Viking Wars: War and Peace in King Alfred’s Britain

Lindsay Allason-Jones – Roman Woman; Everyday Life in Hadrian’s Britain

Linda Bankier and Gilly Beckett – Crime & Creative Writing: Using the Archives for Inspiration

Ursula Buchan – Beyond the Thirty-Nine Steps, A Life of John Buchan (his grand-daughter’s new biography)

Jeremy Dronfield – The Boy Who followed his Father into Auschwitz

Dan Jackson – The Northumbrians: North-East England and Its People: A New History

Andrew Lownie – The Mountbattens: Their Lives and Loves

Joyce Quin and Moira Kilkenny – Angels of the North: Notable Women of the North East

Tim Tate – Hitler’s British Traitors

Brian Ward – Martin Luther King in Newcastle: The African-American Freedom Struggle and Race Relations in the North East of England

Sunday 3 November. 4pm &  8pm. The Great Geordie Songbook (Vol 1)

Wisecrack Productions present new show featuring classic North East songs and comedy.

Sage Gateshead 2

Celebration of local songwriters including Alan Hull, Joe Wilson, Ned Corvan, Geordie Ridley, Billy Mitchell, Judy Dinning, Tommy Armstrong, Alex Glasgow,  Johnny Handle and Pete Scott.

Tickets only £20 from or via

Black Tudors in USA

Miranda Kaufmann  is going to speak about Black Tudors in the USA.

The Isle of Wight’s Missing Chapter: Uncovering the Island’s Hidden International History

New book by James Rayner

Professor Matthew Smith to be Director of Legacies of British Slave-ownership

Matthew Smith, Head, Department of History and Archaeology at the University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica, has been appointed as the  new Director of the Legacies of British Slave-ownership Centre at University College London in succession to Nick Draper.

Matthew Smith’s publications include Liberty, Fraternity, Exile: Haiti and Jamaica After Emancipation (2014) and Red and Black in Haiti: Radicalism, Conflict, and Political Change (2009).

Retiring in September Nick Draper’s PhD work was the foundation of the original LBS database.  ‘He has always insisted on the importance of solid empirical evidence and the necessity of making this work available to as wide an audience as possible.’ (LBS July Newsletter)

New Centre for the Study of Race and Racism

Professor Paul Gilroy has been appointed as the Director of the new Centre for the Study of Race and Racism at UCL.

Catherine Hall News

Catherine Hall will be awarded with two honorary degrees for her work as an historian: York University July 17; Sussex University July 24. She will be speaking on ‘Men, women and slavery’ at the Historians Day in the Netherlands, at Groninghen on August 22. This is a biennual event open to all teachers, academics and anyone interested in history – focusing on current research and public debates. For more information see

The British Labour Movement and Internationalism

Call for contributions – special issue of Socialist History on the British Labour Movement and Internationalism.

‘In this era of Brexit, the British Labour Party and the wider labour movement face the twin challenges of globalised capitalism on the one hand, and an upsurge in backward-looking nationalism on the other. Siren voices call on Labour to embrace one side or the other. In this context it seems more necessary than ever to re-examine the internationalist tradition within British labour and democratic movements over the preceding two centuries. Socialist History, the journal of the Socialist History Society, is planning a special issue, to appear in spring 2020, on ‘the British Labour Movement and Internationalism’. This issue will be guest-edited by Duncan Bowie, and we are seeking contributions of between 6000 and 10000 words on any aspects of British Labour and Internationalism in historical perspective.

Themes for contributions may include, but are not limited to:

Nationalism and internationalism within the British labour movement

  • The British labour movement and national identity
  • British Jacobins and the French Revolution
  • Chartist Internationalism
  • British trade unionists and republican exiles in the 1850s to 1870s
  • British radicals and socialists and international peace movements
  • ILP, SDF and the Second International pre WW1
  • British socialists and the second and third internationals in the inter-war period
  • British socialists and communists and anti-fascism in the 1930s
  • British Labour, the reconstitution of the Labour and socialist International and the Cold War
  • British socialists and decolonisation/pan-Africanism
  • Labour and the European Union/European socialism
  • British socialists and the rise of the right in Europe and beyond in the 2010s: lessons from the past
  • British socialists and international solidarity, women’s or youth movements

Proposals for contributions, in the form of a synopsis of no more than 500 words, should be sent to Duncan Bowie on by 30 September 2019. For details about Socialist History and its submission guidelines, please visit our webpage on Please note that articles in Socialist History are refereed before publication, and that acceptance of a proposal does not imply any automatic undertaking to publish the ensuing article.


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Croydon Unite Retired members call for improvements to meeting older people’s housing needs

 Croydon Unite Retired Members Branch is calling for the London Mayor to appoint a Deputy responsible for the needs of older people to ensure their interests are properly taken into account across the portfolios of all the other Deputy Mayors. It is also calling on Croydon Council to consider a number of measures to improve its support for older people especially in the development of the 40,000 plus new homes now being required in Croydon by the London Mayor.

The branch has published a discussion paper The Housing Needs of the Elderly. It reviews the issues of concern about older people and housing. There is a three tier policy framework: national Government, the Mayor of London and local authorities.

The paper examines analysis and recommendations by the House of Commons, the Greater London Assembly and the position in Croydon.

It proposes a more interventionist approach to ensure that the complex housing needs of older people in Croydon are met, especially as the proportion of older people in the population is expected to increase.

It wants to see a comprehensive approach which improves the condition of housing in which older people live, in their ability to afford to keep warm, the adaptions needed to help them remain in their homes, and a range of housing options from moving to small homes, into sheltered and care homes as and when needed.

It notes that in a Croydon Council public consultation on regenerating Addington last autumn that three quarters of those responding strongly agreed or agreed with proposals to build new homes, with particular support for affordable housing and homes designed for older people. (Your Croydon. 6 March 2019)

The discussion paper was drawn up by a working party consisting of Dr Jay Ginn, John Eden and myself, and was accepted after discussion at the branch meeting held on 5 July.

The discussion paper has been submitted into the Council Local Plan 2018 Review, and sent to Croydon & Sutton GLA member Steve O’Connell, Croydon Voluntary Action Council, Croydon BME Forum and Croydon Age Concern. It is also to be sent to the London Mayor, Labour, Green and Lib Dem GLA members, and the three Croydon MPs and the Constituency Labour Parties.


  1. 1. That Croydon MPs work in the House of Commons to press the Government to adopt a national strategy on older people’s housing
  2. That the Mayor of London appoints a Deputy Mayor with responsibility for older people in order to mainstream issues for older people in the work of the other Deputies.
  3. That Croydon’s member on the Greater London Authority lobby for the appointment of a Deputy Mayor under 2.
  4. That trade union and Labour Party branches and older people’s organisations consider adopting resolutions for the appointment of a Deputy Mayor under 2. 5. That candidates for the Greater London Assembly elections in 2020 be asked to express publicly their support for the creation of a Deputy Mayor for Older People post by the Mayor of London.

The branch recommends that Croydon Council should:

  1. explain the reasons why long term places in residential care homes are lower in Croydon than elsewhere.
  2. monitor the projected older population rise because when the next baby boom cohort dies off, the rise in the number of older people may only be temporary.
  3. publish a strategy document explaining how it intends to meet the housing needs of older people in the Borough.
  4. set a target for the number of properties that need to be built

every year for older people in order to meet the current demand and the projected older population rise.

  1. review its Brick by Brick company to be sure it is democratically accountable, is meeting real housing needs, is building on brownfield sites and not green spaces, and that its future strategy includes identifying ways in which new housing it builds can be targeted to meet the needs of older people to move into smaller homes in their neighbourhoods, releasing some larger homes through the Council to families in housing need.
  2. find ways to include the views of older people in the design and location of housing under Recommendations 9 and 10 and in planning application decisions.
  3. improve the support and advice given to those wishing to move to small more appropriate homes in their neighbourhoods, with a particular emphasis of ensuring that those who wish to stay in their neighbourhood can do so.
  4. do more to identify and act to reduce fuel poverty among older people, including by insulation supported by the Council so the cost is affordable.
  5. ensure that its strategy on older people’s housing needs addresses the problems of greater levels of housing discrimination against certain sections of society, especially older women, minority elders, LGBT pensioners and older people with disabilities.
  6. analyse the possible link between housing conditions and low incomes and especially the low level of male life expectancy in Selhurst Ward, with a view to developing an action plan that seeks to increase male life expectancy in that ward.
  7. use the findings from 15 to take a similar approach in other wards with lower than average male life expectancy.
  8. publish the average life expectancy of women in each ward to determine whether there is a particular ward requiring analysis as in 15

The discussion paper can be  download here:

Housing needs of older people discussion paper

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Croydon events and news at 12 July

Contents: Events in South Norwood & Ruskin House; Beddington Incinerator Fire; Saffron Tower empty flat;  Coppice Yard development; Fairfield Halls; Park Hill Park project; campaign for directly elected Mayor; Contacts in Council Environmental Services; Update on the Licensed Landlord Scheme

Saturdays. Clocktower Market South Norwood to 5 October

South Nrwood Market

Saturday 20 July. 4pm. Celebrate 50 year anniversary of the moon landing in South Norwood

Buzz and Neil disembark Apollo 11 to find moon people dancing wildly to Hawkwind and Pink Floyd…… come in spaced out gear – set the controls for the heart of the sun.


Saturday 20 July. 7-11pm. Ruskin House Pizza & Prosecco evening

Live soft jazz. £7 entry includes glass of prosecco plus home-made pizza. Cocktails & deserts as well as usual bar. Guest of honour Sarah Jones MP. Tickets from bar or on the door or from

In aid of Ruskin’s renovated Georgina King Lewis meeting and library room.

Ruskin House. Coombe Rd

Wednesday 24 July. 7pm. #StandWith Corbyn Unite to End Austerity Tour

Speakers inc: Liam Young, Murad Qureshi (former London Assembly), Dorinda Duncan,  Cllr Sakhina Sheikh (Lewisham), Bell Riberio-Addy (Streatham Labour Left), Anastasia Palikeras (Greenwich activist) & Matt Willgress (Labour Assembly Against Austerity)

Ruskin House, Coombe Rd


Thursday 25 July, 1-5pm. South London Downs Discovery Day 

Celebration of start of South Downs National Nature Reserve

Farthing Downs, Ditches Lane, Coulsdon CR5 1DA

Beddington Lane Incinerator on fire

On Thursday Beddington Lane incinerator went up in smoke with an enormous plume of smoke across parts of Croydon. The operator Viridor thinks it may have been caused by  lithium ion batteries.

No one wants to live at top of Saffron Tower

Is Coppice Yard a model for future housing developments in Croydon?

Spending at least two hours a week outside in a place with natural planting has a positive impact on health and wellbeing and is, according to new research by University of Exeter Medical School, the key to happiness. The new Coppice Yard development appears to be making it easier for residents to adopt a healthier green lifestyle.

Fairfield Halls aspire to be Croydon’s South Bank

Raising money to revitalise Park Hill’s  Victorian Walled Garden

For further details and to pledge money please visit:

Unite Retired Members reject Chris Philp’s Campaign for Referendum for Directly Elected Mayor

Croydon Unite Retired Members trade union branch has agreed to reject Conservative MP for Croydon South Chris Philp’s  campaign for a referendum for Croydon to have a directly elected Mayor. The branch supports the policy of the Croydon Trades Union Council and the Croydon Assembly for a reform of the Croydon governance system by the replacement of the executive leader and Cabinet model and return to a more democratic and accountable system of the previous governance system based on annual election of the Leader and the Cabinet members.

A meeting attended by about 40 people mainly from Residents Associations in South Croydon to set up a referendum petition campaign was held on Wednesday 10 July. Among those present were Labour Councillor Andrew Pelling and three members who said they were members of Croydon South Labour Party. A Lib Dem spoke against. The majority voted to support the campaign even when challenged as to needing to know the pros and cons of having a directly elected Mayor being making their minds up. Residents Associations which jealously protect their non-party political nature are likely to refuse to back what is clearly a party political campaign.
Unite Retired Members oppose latest threat to green spaces

In line with its opposition to the Brick by Brick scheme to be built on the green space next to Ruskin House, Croydon Unite Retired members branch agreed to continue to support the need to protect neighbourhood green spaces from building development. It I therefore calling on Croydon Council to withdraw from the recent list of potential housing sites, submitted to the Mayor of London and reportedly handed to Brick by Brick, any green space such as that of the corner of Covington and Crescent Ways in Norbury Park Ward.

Contacts in Council Environmental Services

Waste, Recycling and Street Cleansing –

Trees and Woodlands –

Grounds Maintenance –

Environmental Response Team/Parks Events –

Head of Environmental Services, Tom Lawrence –

Environmental Services, Place Department, Public Realm Building, Stubbs Mead Depot, Factory Lane, Croydon, CR0 3RL

Update on the Licensed Landlord Scheme

Croydon Council has got to decide how to renew its Landlord  Licencing scheme which is due to end in September next year. This time it will require approval from the Government. On 18 June the Council held its Landlord Forum but did not discuss the issue in detail. The landlords present were told that they would not be consulted until the formal consultation stage.

The total number of applications received to the end of March has been  35,014 (paid), from a total of 17,000 landlords. New applications are running between 250 and 300 a month. Since September 2015 there have been 12,029 inspections (about 3,400pa or 68 per week for 50 weeks).

There have been 232 Enforcement Notices, Prohibition Orders  issued since April 2018, and 16  Financial Penalty notices.

Advice to landlords

The Government has published advice booklets: How to Rent, How to Buy and How to Sell.

Landlords cannot charge tenants for gardening or cleaning.

There are now grants available to improve energy efficiency for properties with tenants on benefits, including central heating. Local Authority flexible eligibility but usually for low income households: 1 person on £19,250, 2 people on £28,750, 3 people on £38,250 or 4 people on £47,750.

Homelessness and evictions

The Council’s Homelessness Prevention Manager Susan O’Neil told the meeting that “The largest cause of homelessness is S21 no fault evictions”. – “We help tenants find faults with S21 notices to buy time for the tenant”89% of LL don’t serve prescribed info correctly

Rent Levels

Annette Lewis, Rent Officer from the Regional Valuation Office South reported that the average rent in Croydon is £550pcm

Action on Empty Properties

The  Croydon Empty Property Team reported that it deal with properties that have been empty for 6+ months and where the know the owner  it can act as a conduit with potential purchasers. It has a £1m empty property grant fund and £200K of loans available for 2+ bedrooms. Grants of up to £25K each and loans up to £40K each (loans at 1% over BoE base and repaid in 2 years). Must commit to renting to the Council for tenants on the housing waiting list. They have a 24 hour helpline.

Information from:

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Transforming Construction into a Green Industry


DATE:       Thursday 18 July 2019, 10.30am -17:00pm
VENUE:    Room CG28, University of Westminster Marylebone Campus, 35 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5LS (opposite Madame Tussaud and diagonal from Baker Street tube station)

As the need to tackle climate change becomes more urgent, the drive to reduce the contribution of the built environment to greenhouse gas emissions (40% in EU) is gaining speed. The EU ambition to achieve Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) in new construction by 2021 means that the construction sector is heading for fundamental changes in the very near future. This transition to green construction presents both a challenge and an opportunity. This symposium presents a social perspective to address the question of how construction can be transformed into a green and inclusive industry, through examples that combine comprehensive vocational education and training (VET), a holistic approach to the building process and high energy performance standards.


10.30 – 10.45 Welcome and Introduction Peter Bonfield University of Westminster Vice-Chancellor
10.45 -11.05 Vocational Education and Training for Low Energy Construction/LEC in Europe Linda Clarke and Melahat Sahin-Dikmen ProBE/University of Westminster
11.05 – 11.25 Mainstreaming LEC competences Kristof Van Roy Constructiv/Belgium
11.25 – 11.45 Developing low energy construction training in Ireland John Cassidy


Waterford and Wexford Education and Training Board/Ireland
11.45-12.15 Discussion
12.15-13.00 LUNCH BREAK


13.00 -13.20 Film: Seven Steps to Fast Track Affordable nearly Zero Energy Building, presented by Tomás O’Leary
13.20 -13.40 Passive Social Housing in Ireland Michael Bennett Michael Bennett and Sons Contractors
13.40-14.00 Quality for low energy build: how do we achieve it? Fran Bradshaw Anne Thorne Architects
14.00 – 14.20 Women and Environmental Design & Engineering Rosa Schiano-Phan University of Westminster
14.20 – 14.50 Discussion  
14.50 -15.10 COFFEE BREAK


15.10 -15.30 Construction 2050: building a construction ecosystem Sue Arundale European Construction Industry Federation
15.30 -15.50 A Danish trade union perspective on greening construction Jesper Lund-Larsen 3F United Federation of Danish workers
15.50 -16.20 Cutting Emissions with British Columbia’s Conservation Experts Lee Loftus Former President British Columbian Building Trades, Canada
16.20 – 17.00 Discussion and summing up
17.00 Drinks and nibbles reception

To reserve a place and further information, please contact, Melahat Sahin-Dikmen or Linda Clarke:

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Croydon news at 5 July: Retired Unite rejects referendum for directly elected Mayor and building on neighbourhood green spaces, and comments on Council’s new Digital Strategy

Sunday 7 July. 6pm.  Vigil for victims of violence at Thornton Heath Pond

Tuesday 9 July. 6.30pm.  Putting Pressure on the Transport Providers  in Croydon

Councillors have the chance to put pressure on the rail industry in Croydon to improve their services at the Scrutiny Streets, Environment & Homes Sub-committee on Town Hall)

Govia Thameslink Railway: update on performance indicators, response to recommendations from the meeting on 26 June 2018, latest timetable and Passenger Benefit Fund

Transport for London: update on performance including timetable and accessibility

Network Rail: Brighton Mainline Upgrade, Croydon area remodelling scheme, stakeholder Engagement


Croydon Retired UNITE rejects referendum for directly elected Croydon Mayor

 At its meeting on Friday 5 July the Croydon Retired Members branch of the trade union UNITE agreed to reject the campaign by the Conservative MP for Croydon South for a referendum for Croydon to have a directly elected Mayor. It  supports the policy of the Croydon Trades Union Council and the Croydon Assembly for a reform of the Croydon governance system by the replacement of the executive leader and Cabinet model and return to a more democratic and accountable system of the previous governance system based on annual election of the Leader and the Cabinet members and decision making Committees made up of Councillors.

For information:

Wandsworth Labour Councillor Tony Belton’s argument against directly elected mayors can be read at:

Croydon Retired UNITE rejects building on Neighbourhood Green Spaces

In line with its opposition to the Brick by Brick scheme to be built on the green space next to Ruskin House, at its meeting on Friday 5 July the Croydon Retired Members branch of the Trade Union UNITE agreed to continue to support the need to protect neighbourhood green spaces from building development. It is calling on Croydon Council to withdraw from the recent list of potential housing sites, submitted to the Mayor of London and reportedly handed to Brick by Brick, any green space such as that of the corner of Covington and Crescent Ways in Norbury Park Ward.

Cabinet to adopt up-dated Digital Strategy

On Monday 8 July Croydon’s Cabinet will consider adopting an up-dated digital strategy – see details in posting

I have emailed all Councillors with the following comments:

‘A continual complaint by residents in Norbury relates to the complexity and problems using the various mechanisms of the Council’s digital access, and concern about the fact that many people do not have digital access or even if they do are not digitally literate and find the systems very confusing and off-putting.

The recognition of the need for improvements suggested by the Scrutiny Committee and embedded in the Digital Strategy report are welcome.

The need for a fundamental review of the whole of the Council’s digital system to make sure that it is understandable, easy to use and more accessible for those who are not digitally literate is welcome, but it needs to be considered as top priority, and it would be helped if there were focus groups of users to find out what the exact nature of their problems are so these can be speedily addressed.

The presentation of the Council website is unhelpful, in that there it does not show topic and links in reverse chronological order which means a lot of time has to be spent trawling you a bundled up mess to see if particular pages are accessible. This should be seen as a top priority to gain public confidence.

There are also problems with data input. For example Development Management often fails to include the date of the close of consultation in the important dates section of each application. Further the page listing of applications for a particular street records that the decision has bent taken. This means every application has to be checked to see what the decision is. It would help if the decagon was recorded on the listing page  e.g. approved, refused. As these matters relate to data input all it should require is instructions from manager to staff that input practice should change with an effective start date e.g. of  two weeks after the Cabinet meeting.

The low level of take-up of digital communication mentioned in the report suggests that not as much progress has been made since the Cabinet review in June 2016, to which I submitted the attached comments. Digital exclusion was an important element of the debate at the time as discussed by Opposition Councillor Yvette Hopley:

Some recent comments by residents:

‘Always interesting when a big structures reviewing their digital strategy. …. the use of OKR itself is nice and trendy. However I have set it up in a few companies …., and it takes between 6 months to a year for the people using it (stakeholder) to know exactly how to use it, depending on the training they get. They should use a consultant to help them in this one.’

‘The systems themselves on my end seems to work as attended. The dont mess with croydon app sometimes gives me some grief – so maybe a review would be in order there.’

‘(H)aving seen older and more vulnerable people get scammed online – one very important bit for the council should be to have online knowledge courses.’

‘The library catalogue is accessible but has oddities eg they list books they don’t have – sometimes the book has been lost but sometimes there are many other odd reasons. A big red X is put by those books but it tends to raise people’s hopes the book is somehow there! Also many people don’t use the catalogue to search for books, they go into the library and look on the shelves,which are relatively bare. How can the library service find a way to supplement its digital offer to really encourage people to use it as a useful way to search for books to read? etc (Not sure there is sign-posting throughout library, that might be an idea). Also I don’t know if the catalogue can be searched more smartly, perhaps it can, eg “crime novels NEW” or ‘2019″ There may be other similar examples where just putting things on line actually means there is no increase in access even for people with the skill to use a computer.’

‘Elderly residents are unable to pay by cheque or speak to an operator.  If you want a green waste service you have to go on line.  The telephone often cuts out for the services residents call up about after giving a message to go on line.’

Councillor Stuart Collins says ‘that they get more reported fly tips. I assume he means via the reporting app as opposed to phone calls, but bearing in mind that it is almost impossible to contact the Council by phone then that is hardly surprising. Were they to provide proper means of receiving reports from all residents, not just those with access to computers, then comparison results might be substantially different.’’


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15 July. 6pm. Let’s make Croydon Council declare a climate and ecological emergency

XR Croyon

From Extinction Rebellion website

Extinction Rebellion Croydon is holding a noisy action outside the Croydon Council meeting  on Monday 15 July to coincide with the presentation of its petition.

‘Let’s make Croydon Council declare a climate and ecological emergency! Thanks to the efforts of Croydon Rebels, the leading example of other boroughs and support from other local environmental groups, it was announced at the Sustainability Summit that a motion to declare a climate emergency will be discussed at the Council meeting. We are holding a big, noisy action to make sure the motion is passed. Keep the date free. It’s vital that we get as many of us there as we can.’ – from Facebook page

The Petition

‘We the undersigned petition Croydon Council to:

‘declare a Climate Emergency and review the council’s current carbon reduction plans to establish the actions needed to be compatible with 1.5 degrees warming and to bring the timescale forward from 2050 to 2025.

Further we ask the council to call on government and the Mayor of London to give Croydon Council the powers and funding to enable Croydon Council to become carbon neutral by 2025 .’

The IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, published in October 2018, describes the enormous harm that a 2°C rise is likely to cause compared with a 1.5°C rise, and confirms that limiting Global Warming to 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities and others.

We welcome action by the London Assembly, Bristol City Council and other city councils around the world declaring and committing resources to tackling the Climate Emergency and becoming carbon neutral by 2025.’

To sign online petition click here:

Printable petition sheets:

2000+ signatures are needed before 15/7

Climate Change and Local Plan Review

Croydon’s Unite Retired Members Branch agreed on Friday 5 July to request the Council to have in its Local Plan Review a central theme of how neighbourhood housing, green space development and the expansion of housing and infrastructure, can be implemented within the wider context of how they contribute to reducing climate change.

It also agreed to suggest to the Croydon Trades Council, the Croydon Assembly and the environmental and green organisations in Croydon that they set up a joint enquiry into these matters  with the resultant report to be submitted as evidence to the Council’s Local Plan Review.

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