Council spends £200,000 on dropped kerbs in flood-risk area

Senior Conservative politicians have ordered Croydon Council staff to cold-call house-holders in a marginal ward to offer to build dropped kerbs with a hefty discount provided on the rates.

One householder in Waddon getting the benefit of council work to provide a dropped kerb, and just before an election, too

One householder in Waddon getting the benefit of council work to provide a dropped kerb, and just before an election, too

At the same time that council staff and the emergency services were battling floods elsewhere in the borough, further up the Wandle River valley, hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money has been spent in Waddon ward by Croydon Council in providing private car-parking spaces by installing dropped kerbs – which are widely accepted as playing a significant contributory factor in worsening the impact of flooding in urban areas.

“We were told to go out and knock on doors to offer residents to build a dropped kerb over their front gardens at a discount,” a member of council staff told Inside Croydon. “The order came from a senior councillor, and they told us where they wanted us to go to, and that they wanted the work all done in a hurry.

“It was made fairly clear that they wanted us to do the work ahead of the local elections,” said our source, who for obvious reasons asked not to be named.

As well as Waddon, Inside Croydon has received reports of council officials leafleting households in Bensham Manor to offer dropped kerbs on roads where resurfacing work is being undertaken.

Building a single dropped kerb costs  an estimated £3,000. Around 30 houses are understood to have signed up to the scheme. The hefty discounts offered by Croydon Council out of public money, believed to be from the Housing Revenue Account,  has made having a kerb dropped a possibility for many householders, with the council suggesting that the measure eases congestion.

In Waddon, workmen employed by the council have installed dozens in the past few weeks, usually outside the homes of owner-occupiers, many of them along Foss Avenue, Crowley Crescent and Coldharbour Road in Waddon.

One kerb, dropped, largely at Council Tax-payers' expense

One kerb, dropped, largely at Council Tax-payers’ expense

Waddon ward is currently represented by three Conservative councillors, but is regarded as a key election battleground which could determine control of the council on Town Hall polling day on May 22.

The work is being done through Croydon Council’s highways and environmental services department, which comes under the supervision of cabinet member Phil Thomas, who is known to be co-ordinating the Tories’ election campaign.

Thomas must love the smell of boiling bitumen in the morning, because after years of neglect, Waddon’s streets have been getting a rapid makeover in the past few weeks. One Town Hall source suggests that more than £200,000 is being spent on these pre-election road “improvements”.

Grace Onions, who is standing as a Green Party candidate in Waddon next month, has warned against widespread use of dropped kerbs in an area which has experienced flash floods as recently as 2007.

How a flash flood affected the area bordering Waddon as recently as 2007. Dropped kerbs have been shown to make the chances of

How a flash flood affected the area bordering Waddon as recently as 2007. Dropped kerbs have been shown to make the chances of such incidents more common

“The purpose of dropped kerbs is to allow easier access across the kerbed area, often to a property. This can help wheelchair users, cyclists, anyone pushing a pushchair or car owners,” Onions said. “Usually it is to provide hard standing to park a car in what would have been a garden area at the front of a house.

“In light of recent flooding, it may be prudent to look very carefully at applications of this nature, as once an area is paved, surface water cannot easily soak away through it. More paved areas, especially ones adjoining houses, means less available drainage during heavy rain.

“With flooding in Kenley and Purley so recently in the news, and taking several weeks to control, perhaps some thought should be given to the River Wandle which passes through the north of Waddon ward. The bournes drain down from Caterham and Coulsdon valleys (now culverted underground) to join the Wandle where it rises near the Swan and Sugar Loaf pub (also culverted). Although not affected this year, the local area of Southbridge Road was under a foot of water in 2007,” Onions said.

“I would hope that any offers of dropped kerbs will not lead to more paved areas and further reduce possible drainage sites for flood waters.”

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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
This entry was posted in 2014 council elections, Andrew Pelling, Bensham Manor, Clare Hilley, Croydon Council, Croydon Greens, Environment, Joy Prince, Parking, Phil Thomas, Property, Robert Canning, Simon Hoar, Tony Harris, Transport, Waddon and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Council spends £200,000 on dropped kerbs in flood-risk area

  1. David Aston says:

    You are absolutely correct highlighting this for the reasons mentioned.

    However, I recently “donated” over £900 to Croydon Council to have a kerb dropped. I waited almost 3 months for the work to be done and the quality of the end product was amateur to say the least. After complaining, even a second visit to correct the problems of just shoddy workmanship failed miserably. Another example of “rip-off” Britain.

    Like

  2. Peter Rogers says:

    I live in Waddon Ward but don’t need a dropped curb, if any councilllors are looking in I need a new laptop, I might even be willing to accept an iPad. Please note – any donation may not affect the way I vote

    Like

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