Part-time Perry’s Halloween howler on Tory investment zones

Our political correspondent, WALTER CRONXITE, on an extraordinary turn in the local by-election campaign over Conservative proposals to make it even easier for their developer chums to concrete over the Green Belt

Video nasty: Jason Perry, the part-time Mayor of Croydon, either doesn’t know his own party policies, or he is lying

Tory sleaze is in full flow in the council by-election campaign, with the borough’s part-time Mayor, Jason Perry, accused of lying to the voters.

Residents in Selsdon Vale and Forestdale go to the polls this Thursday for a council by-election caused by the death of Conservative councillor Badsha Quadir. The outcome of the by-election won’t change the way the Town Hall is run – Perry will remain the Mayor and the Tories, if they hang on to the seat, will still not have a majority of councillors.

But the country is in Conservative-created chaos after months of dither and uncertainty which has seen three different Prime Ministers in eight weeks, a financial crisis that was created in Downing Street, and with Liz Truss and Suella Braverman mired in on-going scandals.

Now it appears that in Croydon, the Tories’ local leader either does understand his own party’s policies, or he is a blatant liar.

Perry appeared in a Halloween video nasty on social media this morning, clearly rattled because the backwash from the Tories’ national meltdown is deterring Selsdon voters from voting for Fatima Zaman, who the Tories claim is the “local mum” standing in the by-election. Zaman actually lives in Addington Village.

Concrete proposals: the Tory government’s list of places ear-marked for Investment Zones includes London, and therefore Selsdon

In his video, panicked Perry has turned on the Greens – possibly the first time that Croydon’s political duopoly has been forced into negative campaigning against a third party.

But in doing so, Perry has also unwittingly also taken on the RSPB, the Wildlife Trust and the National Trust, who have all declared Conservative policies on Investment Zones to be an “attack on nature”.

Perry calls this “utter nonsense”.

Perry clearly didn’t bother to listen to Michael Gove, one of his crisis-hit party’s leaders, as the minister did the round of broadcast media yesterday to double-down on 2019 manifesto pledges to increase the volume of homes being built – including the possibility of concreting over Green Belt land, as well as the recent decision to introduce “Investment Zones”.

Tory investment zones will potentially cover huge parts of the country, and that includes Croydon. The Tories say that the zones will be “liberalising planning frameworks to encourage rapid development”. In other words, getting rid of the planning protections to make it cheaper for developers – many of whom are Tory Party donors – to build on green spaces.

This “utter nonsense”, to quote part-time Perry, is all on the government website, under the heading “The Growth Plan 2022: Investment Zones factsheet”. It was published as recently as September 23 – the day of KamiKwasi Kwarteng’s disastrous Mini-Budget in which Croydon Tory MP Chris Philp played such a significant part.

Perhaps Croydon’s £81,000 per year Mayor hasn’t bothered to read what it says.

Like-minded: Liz Truss introduced Investment Zones, and had the support of Croydon’s Tory Mayor, Jason Perry

“Where will they be?” the Tory policy fact sheet says. “We are in discussions with 38 local authorities to establish investment zones in England…”. Those 38 include the Greater London Authority – and so therefore Croydon.

“How will they work?” They say that investment zones “will benefit from lower taxes” and also “Accelerated development – there will be designated development sites to both release more land for housing and commercial development… The need for planning applications will be minimised and where planning applications remain necessary, they will be radically streamlined.” Our italics. For the benefit of part-time Perry.

“When will they be set up?: The Secretary of State for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities will shortly set out the selection criteria to become an Investment Zone, and the process for designating sites within it,” the official website says.

The Secretary of State for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is, once again, Michael Gove.

In Selsdon Vale and Forestdale, Tory activists have been stuffing leaflets through letterboxes claiming that, “Local Conservatives will never…“, their emphasis, “… allow Selsdon’s green spaces to be concreted over.” Which puts Croydon Tories entirely at odds with Gove and their national Conservative Party policy.

Making promises she cannot keep: one of the Tories’ Fatima Zaman leaflets

For Labour, Sean Fitzsimons, one of the Newman Numpties who bankrupted the borough, today responded to Perry’s video by calling it, “an absolute lie and desperate claim”.

Fitzsimons said, “You should be ashamed to make such a blatantly untrue statement.
In the last 20 years the only party to approve housing on Green Belt in Croydon was the Tories at Cane Hill.”

It was noticeable over the last weekend before polling day, from the gormless selfies posted on social media by the parties contesting the by-election, that the numbers out campaigning for the Greens very nearly matched the groups of Tories and Labour, and the word on Selsdon high street is that candidate Peter Underwood and his supporters have been actively campaigning more often.

The Conservatives got 65per cent of the vote in Selsdon Vale and Forestdale ward in May. Even with the biggest of recent opinion poll swings against them, following the various scandals and blunders of their colleagues at Westminster, they might be expected to get 50per cent of the vote this Thursday.

But panicked Perry’s video nasty suggests that Croydon Tories are worried. With the council’s reputation in tatters because of the previous Labour administration, traditional Labour voters and lifelong Tories horrified by the antics of Johnson, Truss & Co have been turning to the Greens.

Out in force: the Green campaign for Peter Underwood has been gathering pace into the final week before the vote

“Conservative voters are swinging behind Peter because the Tory candidate has been disingenuous,” one Green activist told Inside Croydon. “Some might say they’re lying on her leaflet.

“It’s a bad-taste joke that part-time Perry can even consider claiming to be greener than Green Peter Underwood, especially with the concrete policies of the Conservatives.

“No last-minute denials can hide the Conservative plan for an ‘investment zone’ for Croydon, which will rip up planning regulations. The result in this by-election will be crucial for the people of Selsdon Vale and Forestdale.”

The Greens are too polite, and politically savvy, to say it out loud, but in a borough where people remember all too well the damage caused by Labour, their candidate now represents the voice of reason and a real alternative for anyone wary of putting their trust in anything that is said by members of the same party as Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Chris Philp.

Read more: Tories pose real threat to Selsdon Vale with ‘attack on nature’
Read more: ‘Expunge’: Labour candidate backs Mayor’s Power Rangers
Read more: A bad week for Tory MP just got very much worse for Croydon
Read more: Croydon’s top Tory Barwell admits: I am politically homeless


 

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 inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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8 Responses to Part-time Perry’s Halloween howler on Tory investment zones

  1. Emma Birkett says:

    As someone who lives in Forestdale, I can confirm that I’ve had at least double the amount of political leaflets (and one visit) from the Greens as opposed to all the other parties. The leaflet (singular) that I had from Labour actually made me actually laugh out loud – It only managed to mentioned the name of their candidate in small print at the end and had nothing to say on policies at all… I admire Peter for his hard work and determination. My only fear is that given the makeup of the council, people will be unwilling to vote for a candidate which may upset the local planning committee numbers and potentially lead Labour to take control again!

    • Peter Underwood says:

      Thank you for your comments. On the issue of the planning committee, there are currently five each of Labour and Conservative on the planning committee and this is unlikely to change following this election. If it did change then there would be a Green added to the committee and that would only strengthen the protection against inappropriate development.

      • Robert Smith says:

        This isn’t true Peter. The proportionality rules means that if the Greens gain a seat in the by-election they would gain a committee seat on the council from the Tories rather than the size of a committee increasing. This would give a 5 LAB, 4 CON, 1 GRE Planning Committee for example.

        An additional committee seat was created after the South Croydon by-election because the number of members changed from 70 to 71. There would be no change in the total membership of the council – you would take a committee seat off the Tories.

        I don’t want the Tories to lose the planning committee. Your colleagues always vote with Labour and you’ve said it yourself – you are a socialist. https://twitter.com/GreenPeterU/status/1442422423748366346

  2. Ian Kierens says:

    Great article but Ms Zaman’s poster. I have never laughed so much.

    What about Education and SEN support?
    What about damaging to health.property and/or environment, appropriate ”perfectly legal developments”?
    What about Fly tipping and all Waste disposal, not just the few missed collections What about Addington recycling that was used by a lot of Selsdon residents?
    What about Raves held illegally?
    What about Noise pollution?
    What about illegal parking?
    What about drug use and paraphernalia in gardens?

    No worry – a bit of graffiti and grime adds character. Talk to Kerswell and Isles about the free Graffiti clearing squad – aw cut was it ? Never mind – no dosh for new ones at the moment but add it to 2052 wish list.

    Street Cleaing? Weather forecast says lot of rain over the next few months. Pave over a few more drives and the waterflow will wash the pavement – good saving that Fatima tell residents it will be cleaned every day it rains heavy but thankfully most places will be spared the flooding like St James and the Lower Addiscombe road.

    Working with local Police about thefts? Seriously?

    I can imagine that conversation going Hi Ms Zaman please leave a message after the beep – regretfully our Borough Commmandor has prioritised the Centre and there are no officers available at present, please do call back in 2032.

    If it does not go that way all the other wards with exceptionally high crime would like to know WTF !
    Our overworked Policehave had ever decreasing responses since a certain riot occurred in 2011 to the extent that there is nothing in many wards or most definitely nothing left to cope with the levels of crime experienced. Theft? Think Murder! I am sure the Commander has his priorities and has no resource left for low level crime, at least that has been the response now for a decade.
    not helped by the Council failing in its role to enforce civil matters leading to even greater calls on Police as those matters escalate into actual Criminal offences. Remember they were transferred to decriminalise certain behaviours and allow municipal authorities to get revenue whilst using fines and ASBOs as behaviour altering tools.
    Yep lots of mortal casualties in those Kerswell cuts!

    Seriously what an advert for a Croydon Ward- hey crime causer alert – Come to Selsdon we only talk here about petty theft? Look at recent figures and you will see no suspect identified Investigation complete.

    How many wards actually have grass left to cut after SPD2 developments.

    Clearly Ms Zaman and this council inhabits a different universe then that inhabited by my relations in Selsdon and other wards, and in fact most residents of the Borough.
    now Selsdon is an oasis within Croydon but it most certainly is not sheltered. Perhaps Ms Zaman is!
    Well I always say you get what you vote for. So good luck Selsdon and Forestdale and Ms Zaman. Your reward will be a part of Perry!

  3. How about a nice iC poll?

    Is part-time plastic Perry

    A) clueless about his own party’s policies

    or

    B) a blatant liar

  4. Chris Flynn says:

    The anti-growth coalition is coming … from inside the house!

  5. Dominic says:

    I live in the Selsdon Vale part of the area, and we only really got leaflets from the Tories during the general election, and almost never during a local election. Probably because they were confident in winning.

    Not this time, we’ve had I think 4 Tory leaflets in a short space of time, a person who actually came to our door (and ill give them credit for realising this household was a lost cause quickly!). They’ve NEVER cared this much before which really shows that they think they’re in trouble. While the Tories may still win it overall, I have a feeling theres going to be a strong swing to the Greens with the amount of campaigning that’s been occurring, especially by someone who is ACTUALLY local.

    It would be nice to end the long streak of blue.

  6. Sarah Bird says:

    I have read the leaflet delivered by the Tory candidate very recently ,(whereas the Green Party delivered weeks ago.) I cannot see any mention of The release of the Penn report ,the very damming reports into the ineptitude and bullying of the council and its extremely well paid officers, or from what I have read, any desire to get grips with the very serious problems of Croydon council ,to the benefit of any residents. The debt is very briefly mentioned but not the chasing of the money .For example what is the outcome of the long awaited Police report? I would have thought ,for all residents the foregoing would be absolutely imperative as it will impact on everyone .I note Jason Perry has endorsed his candidate and has helpfully put an email address on it jason@jasonperry.uk. For my part I have yet to see any change or improvement whatsoever in Croydon Council since Jason Perry was elected in May .

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