Croydon’s trade unionists will tonight vote on a proposal to oppose Brick by Brick’s attempts to build flats on a patch of green space next to Ruskin House, the historic home of the Labour movement in the borough.
One of the reasons given for the strong opposition to the proposal is because “…the way in which Brick by Brick has ignored the objections and concerns of residents on council estates in relation to some of its proposed developments”.
Brick by Brick, the motion asserts, “is behaving like a commercial developer”.
The proposal to be considered by the union officials also calls for a campaign against Brick by Brick’s development plans for the green space. The union officials are even to be asked to support a motion that says they are to reject offers of money to Ruskin House from Brick by Brick.
A document distributed by Ted Knight, the one-time firebrand of the left and former leader of Lambeth Council, seeks to shore up support for the Croydon Trades Union Council’s home at Ruskin House, which has been jeopardised since Labour Party officials from Croydon Central Constituency Labour Party announced that they want to quit their offices there.
The CTUC is made up of shop stewards and other representatives of unions active in the borough, including council employees, teachers, fire fighters and NHS staff. They provide much financial support and volunteers’ manpower for the local Labour Party’s campaigning in the borough.
A robust rejection of a Brick by Brick building proposal on the site on the corner of Edridge Road would be a considerable embarrassment for Tony Newman and Alison Butler, the Blairite council leaders who have enthusiastically backed the private housing company.
As yet, Brick by Brick has failed to compete a single new home.
Its own figures suggest that of the 1,000 properties it is developing, using public money and building on public-owned land, around 630 will be for private sale. Newman and Butler’s original target had been that 50 per cent of the homes should be “affordable”.
The agenda document, seen by Inside Croydon, states: “Croydon TUC considers the following action is necessary to secure the continuity of Ruskin House as a Trade Union and Labour Movement asset:
(1) to oppose the Brick by Brick plan to build on the green space next to Ruskin House on the corner of Edridge Road:
(i) in line with the policies of the CTUC/Croydon Assembly in the work of the Croydon Local Plan that such green spaces are important amenities which need to be protected from development
(ii) because of the concerns expressed at the Croydon Assembly about the way in which Brick by Brick has ignored the objections and concerns of residents on Council estates in relation to some of its proposed developments
(iii) because Brick by Brick is behaving like a commercial developer.
(2) to support a campaign against Brick by Brick’s plans for the green space
(3) to put in an objection to any planning application Brick by Brock submits
(4) to make it clear to Brick by Brick that it will not discuss any attempt to offer Ruskin House money.
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