The council’s notification of a residents’ ‘consultation’ in New Addington is so late and low-key, it’s almost as if they don’t want anyone to attend.
BARRATT HOLMES, our construction correspondent, reports
So this is how public consultation works, Croydon-style.
The public don’t get a real say. They are just told what they are going to get.
“I would urge people in the area to come along and find out more and ask us about what our plans for Timebridge mean for them,” is the quote attributed to Councillor Paul Scott in a press release issued by the council’s dynamic press office yesterday.
Notice that: “What our plans … mean for them”.
That’s the patronising dial turned up to 11.
The comment from Scott was attached to an apparent effort to publicise, belatedly, what they call “an information event” for a proposed community and family centre in Fieldway which is being held on Monday, August 6.
The press release was issued at 4pm on a Friday afternoon, so less-than-ideal timing for the print editions of either of the local papers, or their skeleton staff of their website operations at the weekend.
It’s almost as if the council, or Scott – the “cabinet lead for regeneration and planning”, donchaknow – doesn’t really want anyone to turn up at all. And certainly not anyone who might question Scott and the council’s plans for the people of Fieldway and New Addington.
“These are exciting proposals for the Fieldway estate, something I’m sure we can all get behind,” Scott is supposed to have said.
“Or else,” was not added to the quote by the council press officer. But it might as well have been.
The press release did not include any designs or plans for the scheme (which from what Inside Croydon has seen looks like a low-slung cast-off of the Waddon Leisure Centre).
What they call “The Timebridge and Family Centre Information Event” is being held at the Timebridge Community Centre, 52 Field Way, New Addington, Croydon CR0 9AZ.
The press release fails to state what time the event is being held, though sources at Fisher’s Folly suggest that if you want to go along and ask Scott about aspects of the scheme, or his broader work for the council, you should be alright if you attend between 5pm and 7pm.
The council press release informs us that the “proposed facilities will be developed in conjunction with the new all-through Special Education Needs School for those aged between 2 and 19 years old on the neighbouring site.”
The 150-pupil school is to open in 2019, using the site of the existing and much-loved Timebridge Community Centre. The free school will be operated by the Orchard Hill College Academy Trust, which already operates Carew Academy in Wallington and the Link schools in Beddington, among a dozen facilities for children and teenagers with SEN.
Not that any of that gets a mention in the council’s press release.
But it does include this magnificent piece of partial information: “If they go ahead, the facilities will not only accommodate existing users and providers but also enable the potential for a wider range of services and partnerships available at the site.
“If the proposals are approved all the Timebridge Community Centre services would remain on site. The family centre service would temporarily be located to a nearby location during construction and then back to purpose-built spaces within the new facilities.”
Lets ignore the clumsy and vacuous construction utilised by the press office of “located to a nearby location”.
But consider this: “If they go ahead“. And “If the proposals are approved“.
Because of course they will go ahead and “be approved”.
The plans, however good or bad they might prove to be (and the council press release provides no details whatsoever of what the scheme will comprise) will be passed by the council’s planning committee, which is chaired by Paul “Gloating” Scott.
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