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Housing correspondent BARRATT HOLMES on the gathering storm over the council’s housing targets, with the administration accused of allowing ‘planning policy in this borough to be hijacked by one or two individuals’
The Town Hall’s under-fire planning department could soon be dragged into the High Court, as a dispute escalates between residents and the council over a block of flats on Higher Drive in Purley.
The focus of the residents’ discontent is Paul Scott, the architect of the Labour council’s planning policy, and Heather Cheesbrough, the council’s £130,000-plus exec director of planning. Scott and Cheesbrough stand accused of having misled councillors on the planning committee, and of misdirecting the borough’s policy with housing targets for Croydon nearly three times higher than what is actually required.
In a strongly worded letter of complaint sent to Cheesbrough this month, and seen by Inside Croydon, she is pointedly accused of failing to follow planning advice handed down from the Mayor of London’s office, and by doing so managing to favour the developers’ case on Higher Drive. Continue reading
Our political editor, WALTER CRONXITE, reports on the reaction to the latest shambles and scandal to emerge from the council’s failing house-building company
Croydon Conservatives have today called for the Labour-run council to close down its loss-making in-house house-builder, Brick by Brick and “start building proper council houses again”.
“Brick By Brick is a disaster for the tax-payer and a disaster for the young families who urgently need the affordable properties it is not building,” Tim Pollard, the leader of the opposition Tory group at the Town Hall said, following the startling discovery that after five years, no one at Brick by Brick had bothered to register the company as an approved provider of shared ownership homes, as exclusively reported by Inside Croydon at the weekend.
Brick by Brick was formed in 2015, and has since been loaned at least £260million of public money while being sold land and property from the council at below market value. Six sites were sold for just £1 each.
Brick by Brick has so far completed three one-bed flats for social rent.
Kojo Anim, the comedy star “discovered” by Britain’s Got Talent after spending just 20 years playing the club and stand-up circuit, is booked to perform at the Ashcroft Theatre at the end of next month as part of his first national tour.
Anim had the rare accolade of being BGT chief judge Simon Cowell’s golden buzzer act, sending him straight through to the live semi-finals from his audition: “I don’t really like comedians on this show… But I love you!” Cowell said of Anim’s performance, which has since been seen more than 23 million times on YouTube.
The former BT customer service employee from Hackney was not really the novice act that you may have assumed when you saw him on television: previously, he has appeared on stage with American stand-up stars Kevin Hart, Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock. Anim appeared on the American TV show, Last Comic Standing, as long ago as 2008. He has also hosted the breakfast show on radio station Capital XTRA. Continue reading
The council is “making it easier than ever before” – their own words – for people to volunteer to work in the borough’s libraries.
A missive from Fisher’s Folly last week announced, “a new online system” that allows people to “select from a range of different activities”. By “people”, the council does not mean properly trained, professional librarians or museum curators paid to do the job, but enthusiastic residents, some as young as 13 according to an example provided in the press release, who are offered a reward scheme and discounted shopping if they put in the hours. It takes 100 hours to qualify for the discount card, so the expectation on the volunteers is considerable.
“It doesn’t matter how much they try to dress it up as some sort of feel-good community service,” one disgruntled Katharine Street source said. “This is another step towards de-professionalising the library service and the Museum of Croydon – something which residents, trades unions and some Labour councillors have spent years fighting against under Tory austerity.” Continue reading
Conservation charity the CPRE has added its voice to residents’ associations across the borough calling on the public to take urgent action to try to save Croydon’s green spaces from development.
Last week, Inside Croydon reported how the Labour council’s deputy leader, Alison Butler, had said at a public meeting that she will allow the borough’s loss-making in-house house-builder Brick by Brick to build on the borough’s parks, open spaces, kids’ playgrounds and the Green Belt.
But the London branch of the CPRE – the Council for the Preservation of Rural England – is urging all residents to take part in an on-going council consultation which, if the borough’s planners have their way, could see large swathes of green open space stripped of any protection against development. Continue reading
Do you like watching and discussing film?
Do you consider yourself to be on the autism spectrum?
If so you may enjoy our film club Continue reading