CROYDON COMMENTARY: Last week’s decisive vote for a new way of running the council should only be a first step, according to an open letter to all the borough’s councillors from Kenley resident BRIAN WATSON
Now that a directly elected mayor is going to replace the leader of the council – a decision made by residents right across the borough – isn’t it about time all Croydon’s councillors started to represent their residents by taking this crooked council and its officers to task?
Inside Croydon seems to be the only representation the residents can rely on.
Thankfully their exposures of this deceitful council and the outright misconduct of its officers still continues, as their latest news report about the planning director’s absurd behaviour demonstrates.
There is little point in my writing to the council’s chief executive, Katherine Kerswell, or the council leader, Hamida Ali, because if they don’t like what you say, they just do not respond.
So, I’ll make a plea to my local Councillors. It’s time for change. We want to read of resignations and firings, not more deceit and misconduct.
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Brian is right and the experiences meted out to residents over the last few years is beyond reprehensible.
The abject failure of council officers to even look at evidence of wrongdoing is beyond belief. When challenged on that, the responses and excuses are worse than a schoolchild to outright intentional dissembling and when challenged on that – total silence.
One can believe that errors occur and then they get sorted, however I am finding that these errors are not errors, they are the product of intentional acts and perversions of normal process that cause a lot of detriment to residents and society in general.
But I would not bank on the Councillors currently in place – some have been found to have the exact same Culture of only responding to those they like.
Nor would I bank on appropriate (or any responses) to Freedom of Information requests.
Perhaps it is time to complain direct and openly each and every time one is ignored by Croydon Council and Ms Kerswell, and kindly ask Inside Croydon to publish each one so everyone can see their behaviours.
But we definitely require Councillors that hold the Council to account.
If they are not prepared to answer Constituents complaints or offer assistance perhaps it is time that the people of Croydon bond together and get ones that do? We may not like their replies sometimes but as long as they are accurate and taken forward appropriately then that is the job we should expect as the base level.
Croydon Planners not engaging with residents is a serious malfunction of the planning process.
Heather Cheesbrough saying it’s because of workloads and staff shortages is not true. There is a all-pervading culture of secretiveness and concealment in Croydon’s planning department which is unhealthy and has now filtered down to all the ranks within the department.
There is also a culture of errors of judgment and silly mistakes which occur all too frequently, questioning the diligence of the department and how it is being led.
When Planning Guidance document SPD2 was first put forward it was clear to see it was a green light for every bullshit developer in the south of England – and Croydon Council cannot handle the resulting workload without sacrificing key components which residents in other boroughs expect as a matter of course.
We want to see fundamental changes and restructuring of the planning department. There should be an overseeing committee populated by councillors and RAs which can directly be reported to.
Planning in Croydon is not working.
It’s so sad that it looks like all our hopes are going to come to nothing. The voters will end up having to choose a mayor from a bunch of the same old party hacks responsible for getting us into this shambles. To be fair though, it’s hard to see why anyone with real ability would want to take the job at the moment.
I have just been to Bromley, shopping, by bus. Compare this to the shopping experience in Croydon. Similar size population and that’s where the similarities end. Only 1 closed up shop (Topshop). No litter or graffiti, a functioning pedestrian only area (no e-scooters, or bikes), lots of busy cafes, and a thriving theatre.
One of the claims made in the leaflet delivered by the Labour party recently states that the reason Croydon is bankrupt is because the allowance from Central Government was cut by 76%. But surely all Councils saw a cut, so why is Bromley thriving and we are not.?
We had the chance to get Westfield involved as far back as 2014, but we blew it. We have a first class theatre (Fairfield Halls) and that is hardly ever open. We take our lives into our hands when we venture into the so called pedestrian area with e-scooters whizzing past and realistically, what shops are left? The only thing not being cut is the grass.
All we are left with is hindsight. Everyone in Croydon knew how bad things were under Newman, Butler and Scott, and of course Negrini, and did any Councillor take a stand against these people who were bankrupting our town? If it hadn’t been for Inside Croydon, many of us would have continued in blissful ignorance. It is easy to name, blame and shame the people at the top but those below need to sit up and take notice as Brian Watson says, perhaps now is the time for more resignations. Only then can we look to the future and rebuild our broken town.
I agree ,one of the reasons the councilor s refuse to respond because they are getting paid these enormous salary from the residents in Croydon
Newman, Scott, Butler and Negrini should repay all the money they have fleeced Croydon for.