Scott’s latest Hart to Hart offers a few more details

More details have seeped out from the latest of the “invitation-only” meetings organised by local councillor, Paul Scott, in one of his many other roles, on behalf of what is supposed to be a community group, People for Portland Road.

South Norwood has a number of issues to deal with. Paul Scott believes he's the person to do that

South Norwood has a number of issues to deal with. Paul Scott believes he’s the person to do that

Inside Croydon‘s loyal reader may recall that last month, Scott staged a meeting at Stanley Halls (where he’s also a vice chairman of the governing body) to discuss regeneration plans for the area around South Norwood high street.

Except the councillor made sure that the invite list to the meeting was most selective, with hardly any local businesses or shop keepers in attendance.

And when one attendee sought to take notes at the meeting, they had them confiscated.

Not that Councillor Scott has anything to hide… oh no, although he has since written to one local resident demanding to know whether they were the source of the information published by Inside Croydon.

Indeed, so subversively troublesome has been the reporting of Scott’s meetings for People for Portland Road that links to Inside Croydon‘s coverage in two reports have mysterious been removed from PPR’s Facebook page.

Last week, Scott staged a second Community Economic Development Plan meeting for a hand-picked few – he says he couldn’t invite many more, or he’d need to stage the event at Selhurst Park – and again the meeting was led by Lorraine Hart, from the Community Land Use company which has been closely associated with several gentrification schemes in north and east London, and whose co-director, John Aldenton, has been subject to an investigation by the Charity Commission over his past conduct.

Inside Croydon was not invited to attend the meeting, though we did our civic duty by publishing details of Scott’s invitation list and agenda. And besides, we had a couple of very reliable sources who were in attendance to reveal details of what was discussed.

Among the attendees were a couple of councillors from South Norwood ward – Kathy Bee and Jane Avis – who will have heard Hart describe herself as angry about the coverage that the previous meeting had received on Inside Croydon.

Our sources tell us that Hart “said that she would be upfront and say that she is being paid £2,500 for her work up till May and that the Government selected her organisation and is paying her fees”.

Paul Scott: office conversions creating "slums of the future"

Paul Scott: meeting about shops, without inviting shop keepers

And what is Hart’s task? “This whole thing appears to be about ‘helping the community groups’ fill in a form for a grant of £5,000 – yes only £5,000.”

“Quite a few people were there, and it seems that quite a few turned up without the ‘invitation’ from Scott,” according to one of our sources.

“Actually, it as bad as I was expecting,” one said.

“The upshot is that the market is going to get some support to fill in forms to become a community business thing. It is expanding and there is an opportunity to make money and it is something that will be seen instantly by the public.

“Hart advised that we should go and talk to shop owners – but that she can’t advise that – to tidy up their shop fronts and so forth.

“The other main thing is to create a ‘hub centre’ in a council-owned building for an intergenerational centre,” the source said, having discreetly managed to get some notes out from the meeting.

So far, so bland.

It does seem odd that Scott, an elected councillor who also happens to be the chair of the council’s planning committee as well as married to another councillor, Alison Butler, the cabinet member in charge of regeneration, should be so prickly about who knows about such “community economic development” plans. And that he should have such reluctance to discuss economic development with the community at large.

And it seems very odd for £2,500 of public money to be spent to advise on form-filling to receive a public grant of £5,000.


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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 Jane Avis, Kathy Bee, Paul Scott, South Norwood, Woodside and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Scott’s latest Hart to Hart offers a few more details

  1. Rod Davies says:

    While there are some councillors who do try to be as inclusive as possible, over the years it seems that Croydon Council has a distinct reluctance when it comes to engaging with the public and eliciting views from across the various sections of society.

    Bizarrely, to my mind, there seems to be a tendency to employ consultants that know little about the town and the various viable options and have a tendency to arrive with a blank sheet of paper and the open question “what do you want?”. Inherently such open questions elicit responses that reflect people’s individual desires regardless of what is attainable or even desirable to sustain the community.

    Rarely, if ever, do council policy officers attend these consultation events, which is a pity, as they are best placed to provide informed opinions about what needs to be done to sustain the community and advance its interests.

    The above is bad enough, but in the closing stages of the Local Plan consultation the officers left it to the eleventh hour before releasing the final version and then requiring communities to respond. The available time was acutely inadequate to evaluate the proposals, go out to the various interest groups to collect and collate their responses and then prepare and submit a balanced response. This was further compounded by a refusal to attend community meetings to explain the proposals.

    Liked by 1 person

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