How many cars do our Croydon councillors need to go about their duties on our behalf? Well, in the case of at least 21 of our elected councillors, the answer is two.
This information was not readily forthcoming from our “open” and “accountable” council, but was dragged out of them through the use of another Freedom of Information Act request, which – as is common practice with Croydon – was not responded to until right on the statutory deadline.
As previously reported, it is estimated that the cost of issuing free parking permits to Croydon councillors runs to at least £100,000 per year. Free parking anywhere in the borough – which we are asked to believe is only ever used on official, council business – could be seen by some as representing more than just a convenience, but a significant added perk for our councillors. What has never been explained clearly is why any councillor would need to double up on their parking perks.
The FOI request was answered by Jessica Stockton, a “Corporate Solicitor” in something called the “Democratic & Legal Services Division”. She wrote:
“I refer to your request for an internal review and my acknowledgement
“In respect of your request, please find attached a list of members who
have permits, all of which are due to expire on 31 May 2011. I am advised
that the number of permits issued is in flux as permits may be applied for
and cancelled throughout the period therefore this list may not reflect
the current situation as the administrative processes for application and
cancellation are ongoing and do not take place at a single stage in the
permit year. As previously advised, permits are issued to Council Members
for Council business only and are only operational if the Member of the
Council to whom the permit has been issued is using the relevant vehicle
to which the permit is affixed. Permits are not transferable; they may not
be used by other members of the household/friends/family; they may not be
used for non-Council activities.
“According to Council records the three members who have not applied for
permits are Cllrs Gray, Fitzsimons and Woodley.”
So, only three out of 70 councillors in Croydon have opted to use public transport, their bicycle or Shanks’ pony to go to and from their council meetings.
The list which Stockton attached is clearly incomplete or inaccurate, for it does not list all the other 67 members of the council.
For instance, Dudley and Margaret Mead are not listed at all, so we have no way of knowing from this official FOI reply whether they run a one-, two-, three- or four-car household when they go about their official council business, as Dynamic Dudders would have us believe, “from 7am to 11pm” every day.
So, taking into account that accuracy caveat, here is the list provided by Croydon Council‘s “Democratic & Legal Services Division” of those councillors who have requested and been granted two free car parking permits. We have added their political affiliation and ward, and any additional council responsibilities, to save you the trouble of looking it up:
- G Ayres (Lab; New Addington)
- J Bains (Con; Coulsdon West)
- S Bashford (Con; Selsdon and Ballards; cabinet member for Customer Services,
- G Bass (Con; Purley)
- J Buttinger (Con; Kenley)
- R Chatterjee (Con; Shirley)
- P Clouder (Lab; Thornton Heath)
- S Collins (Lab; Broad Green)
- J Cummings (Con; Heathfield)
- M Fisher (Con; Shirley; Leader of the Council)
- D Fitze (Con; Fairfield)
- M Gatland (Con; Croham)
- T Godfrey (Lab; Selhurst)
- L Hale (Con; Sanderstead)
- T Pollard (Con; Sanderstead; Deputy Leader (Communication) and cabinet member for Children, Young People and Learners [note: H Pollard also has a free parking permit])
- B Quadir (Con; Purley)
- M Shahul-Hameed (Lab; Broad Green)
- P Thomas (Con; Selsdon and Ballards; ; Cabinet member for Environment and Highways)
- J Wentworth (Lab; Upper Norwood)
- S Wimborn (Con; Fairfield; Deputy Mayor)
- C Wright (Con; Coulsdon East)
So, as far as making sure they get maximum perks out of the local Council Tax-payers, it looks like another healthy Conservative majority.
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