KEN LEE has obtained a copy of a letter from one of the Town Hall’s most senior and powerful councillors which shows exactly how he regards the residents who fund his generous council allowances
Those who have been spared the experience of witnessing Paul Scott’s splenetic performances in the Town Hall chamber, where he remains de facto chair of the planning committee, have expressed some disbelief at accounts of the Labour councillor’s patronising, bombastic and often contemptuous attitude towards the public he is supposed to serve.
Scott, who has boasted that he wishes to “concrete over Croydon”, is in the vanguard of pushing through a raft of unpopular developments across the borough, as often on behalf of private developers as well as the deeply distrusted, council-owned Brick by Brick, which have seen children’s playgrounds built on, residents losing use of their garages, family homes chopped into small flats, and – indeed – precious public green space concreted over.
Architect Scott is, together with his partner, Councillor Alison Butler, the cabinet member for housing, the owner of two homes. Neither, to date and as far as can be ascertained, have been subject to the kind of planning blight being inflicted on other neighbourhoods in the borough.
Through Brick by Brick, the council is using public money and publicly owned property to build homes, the majority of which will be going for private sale. Every single site is late in being completed or significantly delayed. Recently, even the council has reluctantly started to concede that Brick by Brick will fail to meet its target that 50 per cent of all units it builds should be “affordable”.
And here, in writing, is what Councillor Paul Scott really thinks.
Unedited, it is Scott’s reply to a resident from South Croydon who had the temerity to ask about the demolishing of family sized homes to make way for flats, and the impact that is having on his neighbourhood. In part patronising and hectoring, Scott’s reply begins with a put-down and never recovers from there. And to think Scott is supposed to be a publicly accountable local, Labour politician.
“Dear Mr xxxxx
“Whilst you have a home many people do not.
“We have a housing crisis and it is getting worse. We need positive action to reverse it, as fully supported by the government. In the past places like the current Sanderstead were built on woodland and farms to accommodate the homes people needed then. Sanderstead has continued to grow ever since. It will continue to grow and change just like everywhere does and always has done.
“Why should all the new homes be built in the town centre? There is nowhere near enough space to accommodate all of the new homes there and lots of people don’t want to live in an urban area. Many would like to live in places like Sanderstead.
“There is absolutely nothing wrong with flats or the people who live in them. Many are designed to look like large houses anyway. We require developers to include family sized flats in their developments.
“The council has already rejected the idea of area committees. They don’t work as you describe and hardly any councils have them (a handful across the whole country).
“We are listening and considering everyone’s needs. It is quite a difficult balancing act but absolutely necessary. We have thousands of residents living in temporary accommodation. Even more are overcrowded. Property prices have become unaffordable because there is to little supply. We have 95,000 young people in Croydon’s schools. They will need homes of their own in a few years time.
Cllr Paul Scott
Cabinet member for Environment, Transport and Regeneration”
Between them, Butler and Scott receive £93,828 per year pro rata in allowances funded by Croydon Council Tax-payers. That’s on top of other perks, benefits and expenses, and Scott’s own director’s salary from architects’ firm TP Bennett.
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