Mayor refuses to answer questions on Purley Pool’s developer

Lovely CGI: but is the company behind the proposals for Purley capable of delivering on the promises being made by the Mayor and Croydon South MP?

CROYDON IN CRISIS: Why is the council’s Tory leadership refusing to answer questions over its support for a £100m housing scheme in central Purley that is being proposed by a small, private company that did not exist 15 months ago? By STEVEN DOWNES

Serious questions are being asked of the council and Croydon South’s MP, after Tory Mayor Jason Perry this week took the latest steps to push through a deal that will lead to another 245 flats being built in Purley town centre – with not a single one of them for social rent or “affordable” housing.

Millionaire MP: Chris Philp is backing this 245-flat scheme in Purley, after spending years opposing other similar-scale schemes

Perry’s prize for Purley is a new swimming pool and leisure centre to be provided on the site of the old Sainsbury’s supermarket, multi-storey car park and the council-run leisure centre which has been closed since 2020.

The value of any new facility has been kept top secret by Perry, but it is unlikely to come close to the cost to the developers of providing more than 80 affordable homes, as would usually be expected under London planning rules.

The council, and Mayor Perry, have this week refused to answer questions about the suitability of the developers, simply claiming that they are the “long-term leaseholder“.

Yet according to public records, Polaska Assets Limited was first registered in… August 2022.

The company has little in the way of assets with which to fund the development, or to borrow against to pay for the extensive blocks of retirement flats it wants to build.

Polaska Assets Ltd has a single director, Paul Andrews, who has a string of other companies, some of which have what, at best, can be described as a chequered business history. None appears to have ever been involved in such a large-scale development before.

Not a major player: this is the official record of the company that Mayor Perry is supporting to build 245 flats in central Purley

Polaska is currently flagged on Companies House for failing to lodge necessary paperwork in time, usually a minor infringement, but not one that would be expected from a thriving and capable business.

But none of this has rung any alarm bells at Fisher’s Folly.

Purley Pool represents another broken promise from Mayor Perry, who when seeking election said he would re-open the existing facility, claiming that make-do-and-mend was an inexpensive and do-able option. This week, Perry was calling the building “dilapidated”. Since becoming Mayor, Perry has thrown his weight behind a private development project that could be worth £100million to the developers if completed.

Businessman: guttering salesman and part-time mayor Jason Perry claims due diligence has been done on Polaska

When residents’ associations raised reasonable questions about the loss of hundreds of parking spaces from a site close to Purley Station, and how the scheme breaks the council’s own planning policies for the area, they received a sinister warning from a Tory councillor.

This week, the retirement flats scheme (with a pool tacked on) got excited backing from Croydon South MP Chris Philp, who has previously spent years trying to block similar, large-scale blocks of flats in Purley town centre.

Given that Mayor Perry has private commercial interests in the wholesale supply of construction materials, while Philp describes himself as an “entrepreneur” whose business has been financing property developers, the need for proper transparency and scrutiny would appear to be more important than ever.

Particularly given Croydon Council’s track record over Brick by Brick.

And the Fairfield Halls.

And Westfield.

And those poxy “smart” bus shelters.

Constituents have written to Philp this week to express their concerns over the status of Polaska: “As desperately as Purley needs this site ameliorated, this has another Westfield or digital bus shelter fiasco written all over it,” one resident wrote in reply to their MP’s latest email.

“Polaska has no trading history in property nor development and there is nothing to suggest it, nor its sole director, is a credible partner for this scheme.”

When Inside Croydon questioned Philp on the matter, the Tory MP’s response seemed astonishingly complacent.

Philp wrote: “I have been repeatedly told over time that Polaska is the long-term leaseholder, and indeed has held the long lease for very many years. Polaska’s name has been referenced to me as the long leaseholder of the site since as long as I have been Croydon South’s MP, which is since 2015.” Companies House records confirm that Polaska did not exist before August 2022.

“It may be that Polaska has multiple limited companies in its group…”, it doesn’t. We’ve checked, “… and the specific company that you refer to below was recently incorporated in August 2022 for another purpose (with the long leasehold in relation to the pool being held in another ‘older’ company in their group).”

We asked the council questions on this very point: Is there some other entity called Polaska that is involved in the development of Purley Pool? Can you share with the readers of Inside Croydon when Polaska Assets Ltd acquired the leasehold? Was it offered competitively? Who held the leasehold before them?

Given that the council has issued a press statement describing a company that has existed for barely a year as the “long-term leaseholder”, we also asked: Are you deliberately misleading the public?

Deliberately misleading: the council has refused to explain how a company registered in August 2022 can be described on its own website as ‘long-term leaseholder’

The council has answered none of those questions.

In his reply, MP Philp said, “I have just spoken to the Mayor about this, who said to me that full due diligence has been done on Polaska.” Which is no reassurance at all…

Philp also said that he had passed on our questions over the ownership of the site’s lease “as the council holds the details you need rather than me”.

But again, there have been no answers from the council.

Just as there were never any answers from the council when they wanted to cover up the lengthening delays over Westfield’s development of the Whitgift Centre. One FoI request seeking a report into how £70million of public money came to be frittered away on the Fairfield Halls is coming up for its second anniversary. Multiple questions over Brick by Brick’s misuse of public funds were always dismissed.

And as for the “smart” bus shelters that were going to net the council tens of thousands of pounds every year, well… just remember to take a brolly with you when travelling by bus. You might also want to find somewhere else to go for a swim or to use a gym other than Purley for a while, too.

In the council’s deliberately misleading public statement issued this week, piss-poor Perry said, “We will continue to work with Polaska to ensure that any new development is in keeping and meets the needs of the local area.”

As another resident said this week, “I am sure that everything is perfectly legal, but at this stage of the chaotic disaster of Croydon administration, we deserve full disclosure and due diligence in public.”

Read more: Tories warn residents: don’t dare complain about Purley pool
Read more: Residents backlash over Perry’s 200-flat scheme at Purley pool


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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
This entry was posted in Business, Chris Philp MP, Croydon Council, Croydon South, Housing, Mayor Jason Perry, Planning, Polaska, Polaska Assets Ltd, Property, Purley, Purley Pool and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Mayor refuses to answer questions on Purley Pool’s developer

  1. Paul Eversfield says:

    The term “Due diligence”, seems to be used rather frequently in this administration.
    It has been cited as a foil and the reason not to answer specific questions over the development at Lion Green road in Coulsdon.
    Perhaps, a glossary of this frequently used jargon, might be appropriate in order that the council tax paying residents of Croydon, can get a handle on truth?

    • Ian Kierans says:

      Seriously if a politician told the truth most would not elect them.

      The truth is the Borough has no money, it will not have for some time, Starmer will be unable to change that as the Government is broke also. This boroughs residents are going to be squeezed and then squeezed more and get less for the pound. Even those reasonably ok are going to get bitten. Those with property close to anything this council can scam a quid out of will find they can bleat but this Council will repeatedly ignore them as they cant do anything either and have to pay the piper.
      70 Councilors? Impotent. Some are noisy in the right places and some will also actually try to help as opposed to say they will.

      Executive Mayor? – A puppet with a hand up it arse has more control and power to make a choice – that is not a reflection on the incumbant just the reality of no money and a pirhana creditor

      That is honesty – but hey I am not a politician nor want to be.

  2. Alan Malarkey says:

    I wrote to the consultation return address and requested details of Polaska’s track record on development projects and their assets and capacity to finance this project.

    I have not received a reply

  3. Tom Friedman says:

    Wonder what happened to Chris Phelps’ twitter account??

    Sudden disappearance post publication of this article?

  4. Peter Underwood says:

    Would you let a builder demolish your house with a promise that they would build you another one if they had never built a house before? So why should we do the same with our pool?

    Philp’s dodgy business track record and Perry’s record of incompetence are extra reasons not to trust them.

    If they are so confident in their choice of developer then they should publish all of the ‘due diligence’ research. They should also show what contractual obligations they are placing on the developer and what penalties will be imposed on the people who run that company if they fail to meet them.

  5. derek thrower says:

    The desperation emerging from Perry is palpable. We have firmly moved on from the incompetence of the last Regime to the ineptitude of the new.

    • Ian Kierans says:

      Ineptitude? That matters are wrong may not be because of that trait, There are lots of options to consider – Here is a starter for 10 – do add as you feel
      1. Intentional –
      2. Instructed by higher authority
      3. Political zealotry
      4. Keeping it in the Club
      5. to add fuel and blame previous gang
      6. Serious communication issues
      7. Rank and rampant arrogance and believes they are right (well they are Right wing at least but dont hold that against them – everyone has points to make some funny some not)
      8. Power crazed dictatorship that does not deign to seek prolish opinion.
      9. Sucking the marrow while it can as deffo going to lose at next election.
      10 All the above

  6. Haydn White says:

    When you see decisions like these you tend to think Plain Brown Envelopes

  7. #96 says:

    I am so glad to see this article. I’ve been thinking many of the same things, about how Polaska is newly registered, about how the Purley Pool redevelopment website doesn’t have any contact details, about the general lack of detail. So I’m glad IC has published these concerns for more to do see.

    • Alan Malarkey says:

      My thoughts exactly. If I were super sceptical another hypothesis could be there is no serious intention to do anything but this is a form of busyness to fill the space between a promise and it’s execution

  8. A Salako says:

    This sounds similar to the debacle of BHS you would expect the civil service to have learnt something from this experience…

  9. Richard says:

    So, lots of questions unanswered. But other questions, if this is indeed the same organisation, like: Is the owner a Tory donor? Or does he have connections with local politicians? (Think Covid tenders). What exactly was the tendering process used to identify Polaska? Were other companies considered in the selection process? As a Purley resident I’m really interested in seeing this come to fruition but consider me a little cynical given the way collaborations such as this haven’t worked in Croydon in the near past….…..

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