Notoriously, Croydon South’s previous MP, when visited at his office by lobbying constituents, called the police to have them removed, and to pay particular close attention to the dangerous septugenarians in the party.How things change: tomorrow, the new MP for Croydon South will not only greet concerned constituents, he will add his own name to a petition calling for a new primary school in Coulsdon.
Liz Marsden’s petition is close to 1,000 signatures after less than a fortnight, and tomorrow morning the local resident will present the petition to her MP, Philp, when he is at his street stall on Tudor Parade in Old Coulsdon (from 10.15am to noon). The stall represents another improvement by Philp on the performance of his predecessor as MP.
“I completely support this petition,” Philp told Inside Croydon.
Coulsdon has already seen a rapid increase in population, but next year the first new houses at Cane Hill, Barratt’s 660-home development are due to be finished.
Cane Hill comprises nearly one-third of all the new homes planned for Coulsdon over the next five years, and “…unbelievably, no new school for all the new children is planned”, Marsden said.Barratt’s got the land from the former mental hospital given to them by Mayor of London. It was reckoned to be worth at least £240 million. In return, the Tory Mayor and then Conservatve-run Croydon Council agreed that the house-builders should provide a Community Infrastructure Levy – CIL – of “around £9 million” towards Croydon’s school expansion plan. This is quickly proving to be woefully inadequate.
There are understandable local concerns that if existing schools are forced to expand or increase class sizes, the quality of education offered there may suffer.
“My children are at one of the local schools which is being expected to cope by just getting bigger,” Marden said. “Croydon Council needs a better long-term plan for our future generations – for all our children.”
Now Marsden has Philp on-side, and it will be interesting to see how persuasive the new Tory backbencher can be with his Government’s Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, to provide the funds for a school build.
Philp has this week welcomed the news from Kent that Sevenoaks is to get a grammar school “extension”, and confirmed that he is still in talks with Wallington County Boys, one of Sutton’s grammar schools, to open at a satellite site in the south of Croydon.
Maybe the MP could get developers Barratt’s to “do the right thing”, and delve into their extensive land bank to provide the land and infrastructure to house both the primary and the new secondary?
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