Tory Perry wins historic Mayor election by less than 600 votes

To the victor the spoils: Croydon’s elected Mayor, Jason Perry, makes his acceptance speech at Trinity School this morning. Runner-up Val Shawcross is on the right of the stage

Democracy was kept waiting while council officials struggled with their abacuses. By our sleep-deprived political editor, WALTER CRONXITE

Jason Perry has been declared the first elected Mayor of Croydon, after a borough-wide vote sent a message to the local Labour Party, which had bankrupted the council, that plausible deniability as a campaign strategy was not enough to win back public trust and keep control of the Town Hall.

But the result was a very long time coming, with a recount ordered by the Returning Officer and the final declaration not being announced until just before 5am on Saturday – 31 hours after the polls had closed on Thursday night.

Conservative Perry was declared as having 38,612 votes, while Labour’s Val Shawcross had 38,023.

It was a close-run thing, with 2,000 votes separating Perry and Shawcross after the first-preference votes had been slowly tallied and verified.

Once second preference votes were added to the two leading candidates’ votes, that gap had closed to 550. With Shawcross on the verge of conceding defeat, the recount was called.

It was 3.30am when Returning Officer Katherine Kerswell, rather than either of the contesting parties, ordered the recount. “This is such an important vote for Croydon and the margins are very slim for me to be asking this, so I need to be absolutely sure they are correct,” Kerswell told the school sports hall where the count was being held.

For Shawcross, this was all a case of history repeating itself.

The final tally: the election result was finally announced just before 5am

It was 10 years ago that she was narrowly denied her lifetime’s political ambition, of becoming the MP for her home constituency, when beaten by just three votes in a Labour selection battle in Croydon North. Then, Shawcross was denied on second preference votes by Steve Reed.

After coming out of retirement from public life to try to “save” Croydon – largely from the mess created by her own party and colleagues – Shawcross found herself pipped by a slender margin once again.

Perry’s election means that there is already potential for a costly by-election in South Croydon ward, where he was also running as a candidate to be councillor. You cannot be both a Mayor and a councillor.

Narrowly defeated: Labour’s Val Shawcross

And Perry’s victory also presents the strong possibility that the Conservative Mayor will be presiding over a council where the majority of councillors are from a different political party – Labour.

Labour had gone into the elections with 40 councillors to the Tories’ 29, and Boris Johnson and Partygate probably put paid to any real chance the Croydon Conservatives had of winning more than the six extra Town Hall seats needed to form a majority group. Perry’s status in South Croydon and the results in the other 27 wards will have to wait now until Sunday, in a much-delayed election count.

When Perry takes office, it will not be an easy task for the new Mayor.

He will inherit a council with, as he was fond of detailing to the campaign hustings, a £1.6billion debt mountain, huge problems still to fix over Brick by Brick and the Fairfield Halls, and with the authority’s public services already cut to the bone, while all his work will be closely supervised by government-appointed inspectors.

The long-delayed declaration established another unwanted record for Croydon and added further scorn to the cash-strapped council’s already tattered reputation.

Tallying the Mayor votes took so long that the count for the borough’s 70 ward councillors has been postponed, and now will not start until 6pm on Saturday – probably a consequence of hiring a sports hall at a £20,000 per pupil per year private school where there’s a busy weekend of sport planned.

Croydon’s result was so late that BBC News’s coverage of the 2022 local elections had gone off-air hours earlier. Nothing like missing a deadline.

Another missed deadline: even the BBC got fed up waiting for the Croydon result

Derision from an impatient public was barbed: “Have they contracted Brick by Brick to conduct the count?” one sharp Inside Croydon reader asked.

Another said, “I’m surprised people are so surprised with the poor and slow counting in Croydon. It was an inability to count that got the council into this mess in the first place.”

Remember, the council had predicted that the Mayor vote would all be sorted by 10pm on Friday, allowing the ward election count to be conducted overnight.

Yet by 11pm on Friday, Kerswell was announcing that they might be able to get round to announcing the outcome of the Mayor election’s first-preference votes. In another half an hour.

A source at the count suggested that the race between the top two was, in electioneering jargon, “too close to call”. Someone else suggested that Perry was 2,000 votes ahead on first preferences.

11.30pm came and went, and still no word from count officials…

It was 30 minutes past midnight, and still nada.

Count confusion: council officials gathered together in little gaggles through the night as the count dragged on

Just before 1am, Kerswell had just held another private meeting with the eight mayoral candidates and their agents. Finally, the officials had managed to do their sums.

No candidate has reached 50per cent after the first preference result.

“Jason Perry (CON) has 33,413 votes and Val Shawcross (LAB) has 31,352 votes. Second preferences votes for these top two candidates will now be counted to determine the outcome of the election.”

Anyone hoping that it would all be sorted soon will have been sadly disappointed when they read the next sentence: “Counting of the second preferences will commence shortly.”

The full tally of first-preference votes was interesting, first because it demonstrated a decent level of support for Richard Howard, the LibDems’ candidate, and second because it showed that more than a thousand people in Croydon still take Winston McKenzie seriously. Oh dear…

First preference votes:
Jason Perry (CON) – 33,413
Val Shawcross (LAB) – 31,352
Richard Howard (LIBDEM) – 9,967
Andrew Pelling  – 6,807
Peter Underwood (GREEN) – 6,193
Farah London (TTIP) – 5,768
Winston McKenzie – 1,324
Gavin Palmer  – 1,114

The candidates from Croydon’s political duopoly, one from a party that campaigned to have a directly-elected Mayor, the other from a party that campaigned stubbornly against, had between them accumulated two-thirds of the available votes. Neither had the borough-wide mandate that is required with this office. So the tellers returned to their desks.

Slow going: more than six hours after the count began in the private school sports hall and no result was available

Trailing behind Shawcross’s block vote were more than 20,000 others who had supported either the LibDems, Greens or independent candidate Andrew Pelling.

It would be the destination of their supporters’ second choice votes which would swing this election.

In common with other local authorities around the country, Croydon’s polling stations had closed at 10pm on Thursday. But while most other London councils had managed to declare their election results early on Friday morning, for Croydon it was 5.30pm before the tellers in the sports hall at Trinity School would even begin to deploy their pocket calculators and foldaway abacuses.

The school hall that Kerswell had booked was needed for A level examinations on Friday. Democracy in Croydon would have to wait.

Kerswell, the council’s chief executive, had also decided that before any of the counts of the votes from the borough’s 28 wards could begin, the mayoral contest would need to be decided first.

And so the long wait began.

By 9.15pm – nearly four hours since they’d started the count – it was clear that no candidate had done enough to win the mayoralty on first preference votes alone. The second preferences of the five also-rans and Winston McKenzie would have to come in to play, where their voters had decided that Shawcross or Perry was their second choice.

The expected count finish time of 10pm came and went, and there was still no news, no announcement even of the first preference tallies.

Box parked: The Croydon count had all the gear, but no idea…

The council’s media “professionals”, who are usually employed to pump out propaganda to make the borough’s third-rate politicians look good, had been put on public information duties for the evening.

“Hello and welcome to our live blog covering the first Croydon Mayor and local election results 2022.

“This is a historic night for Croydon, and we will be bringing you the results for the mayoral election followed by each council ward as they come in,” they posted at 6pm.

It turned out to be a less-than-lively blog. Nothing else was posted by the council’s top media team for almost five hours.

Even when the figures for turnout for the Mayoral election were made available, the council’s dynamic media team decided that this was not anything worth adding immediately to their “live” blog. The Monty Python parrot had more life in it that the council’s media team.

For the record, in a borough with a population of more than 300,000, just 97,457 bothered casting their vote for the Croydon Mayor – a less-than-impressive turn-out of just 35per cent.

This was hardly the seismic change in voter engagement that the people behind DEMOC, who campaigned for a shift to the mayoral system, had hoped for. The unappetising choice between the party of Boris Johnson or the party of borough bankruptcy had clearly made thousands of Croydon voters decide not to even bother.

With a low turnout, the Tories in the counting hall seemed to have a spring in their steps. Low turn-outs tend to favour the Conservatives, as their supporters ensure that they actually use their votes.

Big guns: the Mirror’s political reporter on Thursday, after Labour had sent activists sarf of the river

The outcome in Croydon, after Shawcross had been supported in her campaign by high-profile figures such as Keith Starmer, general secretary David Evans, and assorted others from Labour’s Westminster front bench, will have done little to revive the spirits of the Leader of the Opposition after what turned out to be a less-than-inspiring performance in the polls nationally.

Despite the country being in the midst of soaring inflation, with a proven liar and cheat in No10, and with the Tory government mired in sleaze, porn and corruption scandals, it started to emerge during the course of the day that nationally, the 2022 local election results were barely any better for Labour than 2018’s.

Town Halls in the “Red Wall”, the Labour heartlands in the Midlands and the North which had crumbled in the 2019 Brexit General Election, were not being won back.

Friday’s early optimism for Starmer and Labour over other London results quickly fizzled out.

After Labour’s overnight successes in Westminster and Wandsworth, things began to sour when the news came in the afternoon that Labour had lost Harrow.

Hard to take: Labour were badly beaten in Tower Hamlets’ Mayoral contest

Then the mayoral result came through from Tower Hamlets where Lutfur Rahman, the man banned from standing for election for five years, had returned to office, at the expense of the Labour Mayor there.

And in mid-afternoon on Friday, Durham police announced that they had new evidence and that they would be investigating Starmer’s curry and beers in the city in April 2021.

Partygate was now being lined up alongside Beergate.

As the Croydon Mayor count dragged on and on, the capacity of the council workers to be able to conduct their important task properly must have started to become a consideration. But then, so too would the requirements of Trinity School, doubtless with a busy Saturday schedule of sports planned for their fee-paying pupils.

Around 2.30am, the latest musing from Kerswell’s council was posted on the council Twitter feed: “At the request of candidates and agents,” it said, more than a tad disingenuously, “we’ve been asked to start the count for the local elections at 6pm today and continue on Sunday at 1pm. Thanks to our host for accommodating us and our hard-working count staff.”

In an announcement to the main sports hall, Kerswell admitted that the space would not be available for the count on Saturday.

A count that won’t be completed until at least three days after the votes were cast is some sort of metaphor for the state of Croydon’s rotten borough.

And Croydon’s first elected Mayor? Jason Perry will be in office on Monday confronting a series of issues left in the in-tray by the discredited and distrusted previous Labour administration.

There may not be any ready answers to the long list of problems. Not least will be the conundrum of how, after £34million has been cut from the Town Hall budget this year, to find another £30million-worth of cuts in 2023-2024.

“It’s a poisoned chalice,” one party activist said. “Given the state of the council’s finances, and the control wielded over the council by Whitehall, history might prove this to have been a good election to lose.”

Read more: Tories blame Boris as Westminster and Wandsworth fall
Read more: Dombey survives but Sutton results leave LibDems scarred
Read more: How Winston McKenzie became Croydon’s Public Enema No1

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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
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36 Responses to Tory Perry wins historic Mayor election by less than 600 votes

  1. Paul says:

    A Tory Mayor of a bankrupt Labour administration.That’s all we need .And when the results finally come through for the Croydon Council elections i doubt we’ll have anything to celebrate.

    Croydon has historically been a two party borough and that needs to change.

  2. SallyM says:

    Let’s hope his first act as Mayor is an investigation into the planning department. The second into what Kerswell actually does, especially given the electoral dysfunction she has caused that means Croydon residents have to wait until Sunday or later to find out which party will be leading Croydon.

  3. Colin Cooper says:

    The very clear level of disorganisation in the count clearly reflects the state of Croydons governance and lack of care and service for the local community. Embarrassing to the last, the last hopefully relating to Labour control, we hope!

  4. Alan Stanton says:

    Katherine Kerswell’s failed to deliver a democratic election process In Croydon in a timely manner.

    Choice of venue, sequence of events and timings were all messed up and two days after the Council election, residents still do not know the colour of their council.

    This is an appallingly poor piece of administration.

    It indicates Katherine Kerswell should not be Croydon’s returning officer and for me, once again, casts serious doubt on her ability to deliver as Chief Executive of this council.

    Croydon Council’s running of the election count was the slowest and therefore the worst in the UK.

    What does that say about Croydon Council led by Katherine Kerswell ? What other bad decisions is she making on our behalf behind closed doors?

  5. Michael Lott says:

    Steven,excellent coverage, many thanks for helping to keep democracy alive in Croydon. Time will tell whether Jason Perry can prove to be an effective counterweight to this shambolic administration.

  6. Dave says:

    Extremely disappointed in Labour for being so crap but electing a Tory in their place is like cutting your own head off because you have a slight headache.


  7. Billy James says:

    Certainly not my choice but congratulations to Jason Perry and good luck.

    He needs to get a grip on these waste contractors who have been taking Croydon’s residents for mugs for far too long with non-existent bin collections and the streets absolutely teeming with fly-tipping and dirty pavements strewn with dog faeces.

  8. jackgriffin1933 says:

    I was quite surprised by the result, as even outspoken Tories I know had voiced their doubts about Perry and were toying with Pelling.

    I’m also surprised by Pelling’s poor showing.

    I guess, as I wrote on IC a while ago, everyone defaulted along tribal lines in the end, as evinced by Shawcross’s good showing. The feeling in our house was that she’d just nick it. Vice versa as it turns out. If Pelling had stayed in the fold, no doubt she would have won by some margin.

    Despite SallyM’s hopes, and the howling from the leafier wards, I’d wager the planning department will not be his first port of call – it will be finance.

    As may have occurred to him in the dark nights of the soul, he has to own this now. And the financial woes besetting Croydon are likely to cause him far more personal, reputational, political and mayoral problems than local dissatisfaction with planning.

    While he may have the support of Philp (for now) and may get a more sympathetic hearing from Westminster than the rest; if Croydon’s finances unravel further, he’ll have to own that in the medium to long term. And the kudos if he gets right, of course.

    And when he turns his gaze upon planning, he may find it thornier than he thinks (not that I know what he thinks) and SallyM and the howlers from the leafier wards may yet be disappointed.

    While he may be able to stop some development, he won’t be able to stop all of it. He’s not in Tandridge or Reigate & Banstead, he’s in a London borough and will not have full autonomy over planning, with various national and supra-regional (i.e. London) targets to be met, aligned to existing planning legislation.

    He will not be able say no as much as the development anti’s would like.

    And of the development he cannot resist, he will not be able to fit it all in the ‘Labour end’ and the leafier wards will still have to take some.

    Otherwise, he’ll find himself in a blizzard of losing appeals at great cost to the council. See comment about finances ibid.

    By effectively communicating his national and supra-regional obligations to the RAs (so they know the bind he is in); limiting leafy ward development to London Plan H2 – small sites, within 800m of the stations – and favouring houses over flats: he might just get away with it.

    • Matt Fielding says:

      The second part of your essay cancelled out the first – or vica versa?

      I’d suggest it’s obvious why Pelling didn’t make a good showing.

      Your attempts to get under the skin of Jason on day one of his election victory is a touch pathetic – perhaps you should have spent more time pushing Val’s planning agenda.

      Nobody is saying Jason Perry, who I’ve met and believe to be a very able politician, will have an easy ride. However you dismiss planning concerns as howls from the leafy suburbs but you are wrong. Planning in Croydon has been hijacked by Cllr Paul Scott who was smart enough to ensure his political legacy continued after his sacking by having it enshrined in SPD2 which Heather Cheesbrough blindly adopted. No local authority in the UK has has such a swayed planning process. Perry knows it – he’s sat on the planning committee for over a decade.

      This can be dismantled as can all the things that you imply in your crystal ball(s) essay as being insurmountable.

      The blizzard of lost planning appeals you refer to is rubbish – nobody is saying all development stops, just that more consideration to locals is given. The Planning Inspectorate refer to National as well as local policy and guidance. That’s why in StAlbans, where Heather Cheesbrough used to be head of planning, you can’t knock down one of those big 6 bedroom houses next to the railway station and build 9 flats. If you could every developer in Croydon would be sniffing around St. Albans where the returns are vastly greater.

      It’s nothing to do with being a London Borough – there are countless London boroughs that have not saddled themselves with the likes of SPD2 or interpreted housing targets as we have. Don’t forget, Scott went way above and beyond what Croydon needed to do as party of his own person political grandstanding.

      You may not like it – but all of this will, over time, be kicked into touch.

      • SallyM (Howler) says:

        ‘Howlers’ – simply age-old name-calling tactics in order to diminish residents’ legitimate concerns. Residents have seen the destruction of family homes and the prioritising of developers’ profits over the needs of the borough. Residents are not against planning. Anyone looking at this borough, the state of the once thriving town centre, the ugly blocks that contain no affordable housing, should be concerned. Add to that the conduct of planning planning officers, which has been well documented on IC and the relationships between developers and members of the planning team (and others) – it would be irresponsible for any Mayor to ignore. And ‘Howling’ residents won’t tolerate it any more. Why should we? Our borough deserves better. Let’s hope the era of Scott, Clark, and Cheesborough is over for good

        • jackgriffin1933 says:

          “in order to diminish residents’ legitimate concerns”.

          My and the neighbouring RAs object to everything. They are determined that there shall be no development of any kind anywhere in their areas.

          They could initiate a welcome and reasoned debate about type (houses vs flats), number, configuration (one-bed, two-bed, three-bed etc); but they don’t – there’s just a blanket refusal to accept that there could or should be any development of any kind in their neighbourhoods.

          That’s not ‘raising legitimate concerns’, that’s obdurate refusal to engage with reality and denial of the problems we face when it comes to housing. It’s worse than ‘not in my backyard’, it’s ‘not in my postcode’.

          And I’m sorry Sally if you object to the term, but the howls (of anguish), for that is what they are, are loudest in the south of the borough where I’m sitting now.

          I agree that the planning process in Croydon is deeply flawed, like – as you say – the relationships between the department and some developers, and needs sorting out.

          But my take is that for many people in anguish, that’s a smokescreen giving them permission to object to anything they don’t like or want (which is everything).

          If that department ran perfectly and was super squeaky clean, the objections would remain.

          As I say below, it boils down to people with homes fighting against other people having homes, because they believe the only land that should have houses on is the land on which their house stands.

          • SallyM says:

            Have you tried to have a reasoned debate with the planning department? Heather Cheesborough and Nicola Townsend will not respond to any communication from residents, RAs or elected Councillors. Residents are allowed to share one 3 minute slot at planning committee, concerns are dismissed and suggestions for alternatives are ignored. The problem is that planners and certain Councillors treat any concern about developments as “blanket refusal to accept that there could or should be any development of any kind”. Simply not true. You only need to view the committee meetings and see the distain with which Paul Scott and his cronies treated residents and their concerns.

        • Rod Davies says:

          Croydon’s once thriving town centre was built upon young families having significant disposable income to spend in the shops. The cost of living, especially housing due to lack of supply, has outstripped income increases. Without significant disposable income in the market, retail centres and other town centre facilities go into decline, regardless of the quality of management.
          I like many people of my age (65) have benefitted from house price inflation. I too do not go out and buy new furniture etc, or children’s clothes. I have basically everything I need.
          For young people starting families, as I did once back in the 1980’s, they try to afford homes and all the necessary furnishing; feed themselves and their children; clothe them all; and meet all the other day to day expenses that society expects. If that takes all their available income and more, there is no surplus to spend in the shops to sustain more than the most basic lower end retail offer.
          If we want change this community has to accept the construction of a very large number of truly affordable houses very quickly. Otherwise we will continue to concentrate money into the hands of individual and corporate property owners.
          But to date Croydon has been unwilling to pay this price, and face the complexities of the situation.

          • MatthewP2 says:

            Rod, you’re sadly right. In 10-15 years, local politics will become irrelevant as multi-millionaires, billionaires and developers will take over towns and boroughs with the help of co-operative (and secretly paid) councillors who will re-shape them as they see fit. The lines will be drawn not by political lines, but by financial ones.

          • In 10-15 years’ time?

            It’s been happening for the last 70 years

      • jackgriffin1933 says:

        What a strangely hostile and unnecessarily angry response to a considered and perfectly well-mannered comment. For someone who I presume got what they wanted last night, you seem very stressed.

        You also went ad hominem quite early, never a good sign, yet I shall refrain.

        “perhaps you should have spent more time pushing Val’s planning agenda”.

        I have no interest in Val either way. I also have no idea what her planning agenda is/ was. In fact, her opacity over her ‘agenda’ led me to infer that she was broadly in favour of the status quo. Less than ideal IMHO, but 31,352 first preference voters weren’t deterred by that.

        “Jason Perry, who I’ve met and believe to be a very able politician”.

        Good for you. I know Conservatives who are less enamoured. First, that is ungainsayable and, second, I didn’t opine on his ability anyway.

        “Nobody is saying Jason Perry …. will have an easy ride. However you dismiss planning concerns as howls from the leafy suburbs but you are wrong”.

        My point, which seems to be overlooked, is that DEMOC and the resident associations, insofar as I can infer, seem to think the election of a mayor – especially the one we now have – will be some sort of hallelujah moment for planning in the borough. It isn’t and won’t be.

        “all the things that you imply in your crystal ball(s) essay as being insurmountable”.

        I didn’t say they were insurmountable. As above, it’s just not going to be the hallelujah moment for planning in the borough that DEMOC and the RAs think it will be.

        I’m sure for a “very able politician” like Jason, nothing is insurmountable and perhaps “all of this will, over time, be kicked into touch”; but it is far more nuanced and issued than the RAs like to believe.

        “nobody is saying all development stops, just that more consideration to locals is given”.

        And this is were we truly differ, because you can’t receive the same RA communications I do: where every single proposal, and I’ve been within my RA area for over 40 years, is objected to. Without exception. (I lie: they were OK about someone opening a nursery school once).

        My RA and the adjacent ones plainly want no development of any kind – they want their neighbourhoods preserved in aspic, and hang the rest of society. I wouldn’t mind if it were considered or balanced: no to flats, yes to houses; that kind of thing, but it’s no to everything.

        If they are given “consideration” as “locals”, then the answer will always be no.


        I’ve read it. It’s flawed. But I’m comfortable with elements of it like backland, windfall and small sites development; which is certainly preferable – when houses, not flats – to the Orwellian blocks of Brick by Brick and Macar Developments.

        “interpreted housing targets”. I’ve read the London Plan too, and can’t see that much is open to interpretation. It states numbers, granulises some of them (e.g. small sites within the overall figure), and that’s your lot. The LBC may have been overly vigorous in its application of the targets, but that’s not the same thing.

        Ultimately, it boils down to people with homes fighting against other people having homes, because they believe the only land that should have houses on is the land on which their house stands.

        Good day.

        • Claire Thompson says:

          Jack, I think you just dont get it. Local politics is about local matters, smart people who wanted change locally voted accordingly.

          You may have been happy to live under an incompetent Tony Newman who turned a blind eye to the antics of Paul Scott and others, but thankfully, many were not.

          RAs to DEMOC to referendum to mayoral election – that was a hard slog but is positive change. And that was undertaken by Croydon Residents helped by accurate information and news from Inside Croydon. Croydon Council did nothing to help.

          I sense you might be secretly the light and joy of your local RA party, when you are not reading the London Plan (all 1257 pages). But any positive change is good – I hope Jason will see beyond the secretive forensic naysayers – especially the ones who do it line by line.

          • Jack Griffin says:

            Who knows what any of us get Claire?

            Plainly you’re operating at a level far advanced of me, otherwise how else you would you be able to intuit so much about me without foundation?

            No fan of Newman, never have been, and as dismayed at the antics of him and his numpties as the next person.

            Unfortunately, planning in Croydon has become such a polarised issue that it’s become impossible to have a sensible conversation about the needs and wants of the wider community when it comes to housing.

            But if people down my end of the borough want their children living within 100 miles of them in future, they need to get real and have that conversation in earnest.

            The slog from DEMOC to referendum to mayor was quite an achievement. Indeed I voted for it because it promised to be, as IC would say, #abitlessshit. The positivity or not of it will become apparent in time.

            As it is, all I’m saying is: don’t get your hopes up.

            Do you get that?

  9. Eva Parker says:

    Excellent and patient coverage by Inside Croydon despite Katherine Kerswell attempting to reduce the process to her pace. This morning, Croydon’s electoral process is a national joke. Thanks Katherine. I’d question what loyalty you have to this borough. KK was handed the CE role because your CV was strong on making people redundant. Relevance now??

    Congratulations to Jason Perry / a hard working and respected local politician who has Croydon at the front of his mind – not a ‘name’ parachuted in.

    Perry can now start the process of stopping the crippling planning damage that’s was instigated by bully-boy Cllr Scott and hammered though by the planning department long after Scott was sacked. And let’s not forget, DEMOC cam about because of huge disquiet over planning- something Valcross never quite understood.

    Good day for Croydon despite despite the way the council ran it.

  10. Matt Fielding says:

    Why the excessive delays with the mayoral count and then Kerswell deciding to count ‘one last time’?

    Was Kerswell trying to ensure her preferred candidate was not denied the opportunity to serve as Mayor? Kerswell might have rather worked with Val Shawcross but there are bigger questions about what the CE role is going forward.

    Do we need to be paying Kerswell’s mega salary when we now have an elected executive Mayor with lots of business experience?

    I think not.

    Katherine Kerswell is on twice the salary of an MP – for what she does, her lack of profile, her inability to communicate, and the growing disquiet about her from council employees, that is plain ridiculous.

  11. Lancaster says:

    Good luck Perry, you have your work cut out with the appalling state of Kerswells bunker and the Town Hall numpties. At least he has shown interest in Croydon in recent years.

    Shawcross can now disappear as she did a decade plus ago to show no interest in Croydon what so ever for another decade plus.

  12. Jack says:

    As long as Perry reopens Purley Pool as promised I may actually vote for him next time!

  13. Whatever says:

    I really can’t imagine Croydon getting any worse but we’ll see.

  14. Andrew Corbett says:

    Not sure about “sending a message” to Labour as the majority was not that big was it? I think with the main two (ubiquitous) parties getting roughly the same vote shows that people a) don’t see a real alternative and b) don’t fully trust either party. If one of the others was elected they would ultimately head the same way as they got bigger too.

    • If you ignore the national trends and the election results in other London boroughs – Wandsworth, Westminster, even Bromley where the Tories lost 15 seats – then this was not a week for Conservative gains, however marginal.

      That Perry was able to buck that trend has got to be a consequence of the “Croydon factor”, with Labour voters sitting on their hands out of embarrassment for what damage their party had done, or other voters buying into Perry’s homespun rhetoric that somehow suggests he will spend money that doesn’t exist.

      At least we now know that Perry, after voting against the 2022-2023 council budget, will be returning to voting for the council budgets, just as he did in 2019 and 2020 – the budgets that bankrupted Croydon.

  15. Terrific and detailed piece of informative journalism. Much appreciated. The election result is confusing tho – voters wanted to bash Boris, while simultaneously punching themselves in the face. Sadly, we missed a chance to get Andrew Pelling as Mayor which might have worked as an effective dynamic with a fresh Labour majority council, hopefully free of the malign influence of Tony Newman.

    • Christine Hall says:

      I think Pelling would have been a ‘dream ticket’ for some, not me, that very quickly soured.

  16. Always enjoy Walter Cronxite’s journalism. I’m old enough to remember the original, so I was beside myself with joy to see a clip of the great man on TV recently telling us about the fall of the USSR, or some such momentous event. And that’s the way it is ……….. Indeed . Btw, until I read your piece I hadn’t heard that the old crook that is Lutfur Rahman had been elected. God save local government. And Tower Hamlets.

  17. Maverick says:

    Near on 48 hours and no result who will be running the dysfunctional council, what an embarrassment . Unfortunately that’s what happens when you have Directors who could not organise a piss up in a brewery.

  18. kevin cooke says:

    cant believe what im reading here trinity school hall booked for other things the mayorial vote declered 5am on sat 7th may then counting starting for the wards at 6pm tonight hope a lot are done then go back 1pm sunday to finish off and then anounce the winning councilers last cant believe it well its croydon happy sunday all kevin thornton ward unite

  19. Kevin Croucher says:

    It is a pity that national politics gets in the way of the voters choosing the best person to clean the Augean Stables at Croydon Council. Whether it’s what Boris got up to in the garden at Downing Street or whatever Labour Party power games Steve Reed is playing. What does any of this have to do with Croydon?

  20. Hazel Harrison says:

    Thank you Inside Croydon for not just covering the election but hosting the dev]bate over the last couple of years leading to the election. If this platform did not exist there would be no means to collect news and share opinion. Can you imagine the Croydon Guardian being this platform?

    There’s no question the previous Labour administration did great damage to our borough financially. This is politics aside. Claire Thompson above refers to the armchair naysayers who stoke up the North-South divide in our borough and are repulsed at positivity. It’s time to put these people on mute and get on with rebuilding our great borough and stop our self-inflicted damage through planning.

    I feel positive about our new Mayor and positive about the thought that there will be no more back room deals and promises of purses to loyal but useless followers. I suggest if you aren’t in one, you join a RA. They are amazing frameworks for focussing debate and getting political change. They are inclusive and are open to change and the development of ides.

    The big topic of planning is not polarised in our borough – SPD2 causes the same havoc in the north of our borough as it does in the south, it is not polarising – beware the armchair commentators who try to present it as something that separates the two.

    We all see SPD2 does NOTHING to address the important need for social housing to pretend it does is peddling a lie. Social housing is needed in very large numbers, we have sites where this can happen but we’ve never had the political will and the drive to see it through. This needs politicians and planners with vision.

    The argument that our children will be driven away from the area if planning and SPD2 is revised is unintelligible and utter bollocks. This is Thornton Heath, Purley, South Croydon not Chipping Norton. Less of the bollocks negative commentary, please – more of the can-do spirit that built Croydon in the past.

  21. Lewis White says:

    Further to Jack Griffon’s posts above, regarding Planning, this is probably THE issue that gets property-owning people of a wide range of ages steamed up, plus anyone else who cares about the environment of Croydon.

    I hope that the new Mayor, who certainly does inherit a poison municipal chalice of bankruptcy , has planning advisors who can differentiate between over-development and appropriately scaled redevelopment . Many residents really can’t and — probably not regarding themselves as “Nimbys” and certainly not NAAEs (not anything anywhere ever)– nevertheless just want to keep everything the same as it was then they were younger (probably a nirvana placed 30 years ago–what ever their age).

    They say “too big” “too dense” “too tall”……………..
    but when asked to describe what they would like to see, they fall silent.

    In many cases the Planners get it right–and what “right” is, is admitedly open to everyone’s views…… but in many, get it very wrong.

    It must be very galling to be a planning officer who sees colleagues passing appalling proposals.

    I find myself reduced to Victor Meldrew frenzy of “I cannot believe it” whenever I drive past the huge and crude block now almost complete, to the North side of Purley Library. An unbelievably poor lump of a building dominating the Library. Bizarre that this got under the local planner-watch radar at the very time huge amounts of ineterest were being generated by the Purley Baptist site and its tower, which are sensitively scaled down from the tower to the library with blocks of reducing size, and sensitively detailed in terms of materials and 3 dimensional modelling.

    Oh well, glad I am not the new Mayor. He will not be able to please many of the people for much of the time, unless the Government rescues the council with a fair allocation of ….. money.


    • Helen Watson says:

      Don’t be so disparaging of the abilities of residents to understand and shape where they live. You seem oblivious to the harm Cllr Paul Scotts SPD2 policy drives through in our borough – facilitated by a lazy, ineffective planning department that free-wheels on it.

      Poke your head above the parapet and see what’s happening elsewhere in London – you’ll not find anything as corrupted as the practice of planning in Croydon.

      But please don’t patronise the efforts made by residents to defend and have a say on the environment in which they live. They have every right to do that and they have every right to shape the policy that drives it. This thread has already mentioned Croydon’s naysayers bedded into our local communities who, strangely, are not against the principle of change or progress, they appear to be against the people who want change and progress who they live amongst.

  22. sreemaha says:

    Congratulations Perry,

    We met at the meeting regarding Purley Pool in Purley after Mr.Chris Philp,MP informed me about it.

    Please get Purley Pool opened soon.

    We hope that you will get the Crime Rate also to go down ASAP.

    Kind regards.


  23. Chris Cooke says:

    What I find hard to believe is that in a Borough the size of Croydon that apparently this school hall is the only venue large enough to conduct the count.

    Aren’t there function room(s) at the Fairfield Halls or at a hotel?

    At least they wouldn’t have to stop and start because of exams or because or was booked for Saturday afternoon badminton or whatever.

    This just seems like bad planning on the Returning Officers part. It’s not as though the date of these elections was announced a couple of weeks ago!

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