Butler agrees to attend panel debate on homelessness

The leaders of the Labour group at the Town Hall may have tried to ban their colleague councillors from speaking to Inside Croydon, but there’s clear evidence that one of them, at least, continues to be an avid reader.

At risk: Alison Butler

Within half an hour of Inside Croydon reporting that Alison Butler, Labour’s deputy leader, had failed to respond to emails from film club organisers asking her to take part in a panel discussion in South Norwood next week on homelessness, linked to a screening of the documentary Dispossession, and the councillor was hitting the keyboard to say that she might, just might, have a window in her ever so busy diary.

“Butler had kept Stanley’s Film Club waiting without a response for ages,” one resident said.

“It’s surely more than simple coincidence that the article appeared online saying that Butler had blanked the screening, and she was getting in touch so soon after?”

And Butler has now confirmed that she will take part in the panel discussion, together with Jad Adams (the chair of Croydon Nightwatch, the local homelessness charity), Aysen Dennis (a campaigner for council housing from Southwark’s Aylesbury Estate), Sean Fitzsimons (the chair of scrutiny at Croydon Council), David Robinson (the head of operations at Evolve Housing) and Martin Wright (an East End housing activist).

It means anyone attending the screening and the panel discussion, being held next Wednesday evening, November 29, from 7.45pm at Harris Academy South Norwood (note the change of venue from the details as originally released) will get a rare opportunity to question Croydon Council’s cabinet member for housing.

There’s a range of potential questions about Butler and the council’s housing policies, including…

Why is the council’s housing developer, Brick by Brick, delivering just 8 per cent of homes as available for affordable rent?

Brick by Brick was supposed to deliver 50 per cent affordable housing, yet now it looks like it will be only 36 per cent of the homes it builds won’t go straight into the over-heated property market for profit. How have you allowed that to happen?

Why are some of the Brick by Brick schemes being built on infill sites, such as at Auckland Rise, when there has been no proper equalities consultation with disabled and vulnerable people living in social housing nearby?

Why are some Brick by Brick schemes going ahead in areas noted for flood risk, therefore increasing the risks for existing home owners in the neighbourhood?

Why are there no elected councillors on the board of Brick by Brick, to provide at least a semblance of public accountability about the company?

Who are the directors of Brick by Brick? Who appointed them? And why are we paying them directors’ fees?

And, of course, there’s this one: how many council houses have you built in Croydon since 2014?

To book tickets for the screening and panel discussion, click here

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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
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