Councillor’s legal threat to resident who asked for meeting

"Two Permits" Thomas: refuses to meet residents

Croydon councillors on the traffic management committee, headed by Phil “Two Permits” Thomas, have been invited to a public meeting on Saturday to hear further complaints about their plans to extend a parking controlled zone in the streets around the Mayday Hospital.

The plan would see an 8am to midnight, seven-day-a-week “parking tax” imposed on the sick and elderly who need to leave their cars in the roads near the hospital, and will also heavily impact nearby businesses and residents.

None of the elected Tory councillors, nor Croydon’s £195,000 pa CEO Jon Rouse, are expected to attend. We understand that Councillor Thomas had not even provided the courtesy of a reply to his invitation to the meeting.

Inside Croydon has learned that this is not the first time that Croydon’s “listening” council has ignored residents’ complaints on this issue, with one leading councillor even threatening legal action against a Council Tax-payer simply because they dared to ask for a meeting.

  • Petitions protesting the controlled parking zone around Mayday Hospital have been repeatedly blocked by the council’s website.
  • One prominent campaigner had his petition refused by a council worker on the grounds that he is a “persistent and vexatious complainant”.
  • And “Two Permits” Thomas refused to speak to one concerned local, responding to a request for a meeting with an abrupt email: “I have forwarded you [sic] emails etc to the Borough Solicitor.”

“I was astonished when I got the latest email from the councillor,” the Council Tax-payer told Inside Croydon.

“I read it as a threat – not the sort of thing you expect from someone who is supposedly an elected public servant.”

“Two Permits”, a former teacher, is the chair of the council’s traffic management committee. A senior member of Croydon Council’s ruling Tory group, he receives at least £44,000 a year for his council work, plus a free parking permit for his own BMW and his wife’s sports car only for “use on council business”.

Despite receiving more than 7,000 complaints borough-wide, earlier this month Thomas and his Conservative-dominated traffic management committee whisked through its proposal to extend the controlled parking hours in an area in the north of the borough around Mayday Hospital, where parking fees have generated more than £500,000 a year.

Even local Conservative MP, Gavin Barwell, criticised his former council colleagues over the consultation, and suggested that Thomas and his team should have been more apologetic.

Inside Croydon has had sight of the emails sent to Councillor Thomas, who said that the council’s revised parking plan was based on the premise that he had listened to residents during what he called “a genuine consultation”.

Despite always being ready to provide his chums at the declining Croydon Sadvertiser with a quote or story, Thomas is somewhat more reluctant to discuss his policies with the people who pay his councillor fees. Here’s the correspondence, which took place on February 10, the day after the traffic management committee:

To Phil Thomas: “Hi Phil. I certainly enjoyed the meeting last night.

“You have not heard or seen the end of this. What I witnessed in the faces of the Panel last night was an utter contempt for what the people were saying.

“You should be ashamed of yourselves – every single one of you. You are supposed to be representing the people – not misrepresenting the people.

“I would like to book a meeting with you to discuss this matter further….. when is a good time for you?”

From Phil Thomas: “Thank you for your email. The Traffic Management Cabinet Committee agreed paper 18 last night without any amendments. I am not able to change that decision.”

To Phil Thomas: “Hi Phil, When are you available to meet?”

From Phil Thomas: “Please note my email below. The decision was made last night so there is nothing further to discuss on the CPZ’s [sic]”.

To Phil Thomas: “Hi Phil, I would like to meet with you to discuss this issue. I was present when the ‘decision’ was made – and I was also able to read your previous email. So there is no need to repeat what you have already written.

“When and where is your next ‘Surgery’?”

From Phil Thomas: “I have no plans to meet with you.”

To Phil Thomas: “It’s OK, I’ve got it…. First Saturday of the month 10am – 11.15am Selsdon Centre for the Retired Addington Road, Selsdon, CR2 8LA.

“5th March it is then.

“In the meantime, expect to be hearing more from the ‘Mayday area’ people.”

From Phil Thomas: “My surgery is for residents in my Ward who wish to discuss local issues with me or the Police ,who i have a joint surgery with [sic]. There is no provision for people to discuss issues with me who are not resident in the Ward except if an appointment has been agreed.

“What address do you live at in the Borough ?”

To Phil Thomas: “What’s your phone number?, let’s talk….”

From Phil Thomas: “I have forwarded you [sic] emails etc to the Borough Solicitor.”

So much for accountability and public service.

  • Croydon North MP Malcolm Wicks and councillors from the north of the borough – that is, far away from the leafy suburbia of Phil Thomas’s ward – have called a meeting for local residents this Saturday, Feb 26, at 3pm at the Oshwal Hall, 1 Campbell Road (junction of London Road).
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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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