Inside Croydon‘s report about the threat of closure of two long-standing shops in South Norwood has seen concerned residents set up a petition calling on Croydon Council to drop its 1,700 per cent increase in street trading licensing fees.
Emerton’s the Ironmongers, on Station Road, and Clock Tower Fruit and Veg have both been served with licence fee demands from the Labour-controlled council of £1,500 – up from £90 or less just two years ago.
More than 200 people have signed the petition since it was set up on Change.Org on Friday evening. As well as a withdrawal of punitive levels of licensing fees, the residents’ petition also calls for a moratorium on the conversion of houses and over-shop premises into too-small, ill-serviced flats.
“We live locally and are desperate to see our community thrive and are motivated by a deep affection for our local streets,” said one of the petition organisers. “We are concerned that many properties in this area that were once busy shops, are now lying empty, in disrepair and being converted into flats.
“Quite simply – our community high streets are disappearing and as a group, if we work together we might be able to change this. If we don’t try, who knows what the outcome will be?
“We are not planning experts, we are not activists, we are not politicians, we are not working on behalf of any local group – we are just an independent group of local people who want to join forces for South Norwood’s well-being.
“We are very sympathetic to the fact that there is a housing shortage. However putting families in tiny bedsits often with no outside space, no soundproofing with living room front doors that open on to busy high streets, poor drainage and inadequate rubbish disposal facilities and even rooms without windows is not the sort of housing we want to provide for families – they deserve better.
“Right now there are a number of applications for such conversions in with Croydon Council and we are waiting to see the outcome of these.
Please sign our petition to stop any more commercial properties on our SE25 high streets from being turned in to flats. This petition will be submitted to council and other relevant individuals.”
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