Croydon councillors were in New Addington last night to begin the first in a series of Question Time roadshows to be held throughout the borough.The Question Time, which was held in Wolsley Junior School, King Henry Drive, gave locals the chance to put direct questions to members of the council about issues in the area.
Rubbish, government cuts, crime and anti-social behaviour were high on the agenda, as well as regeneration and the future of children’s centres.
It was the day Eric Pickles, Communities and Local Government Secretary, announced a U-Turn on policy to bring back weekly bin runs. The council faced criticism from residents over their policy of fortnightly bin collections, but councillor Phil Thomas insisted that, although the “system isn’t perfect”, it has worked well in other boroughs and was better for the environment and taxpayer. He also pointed out that food waste would still be emptied on a weekly basis.
Many locals voiced their concern over the future of children centres as it was claimed that budgets had already been slashed by up to 20%. Leader of the council, Mike Fisher, was not very reassuring. He said that the council were committed to early intervention and that there were: “No plans at the moment, but in future, we can’t say there won’t be any reductions.”
Regeneration was a key concern. New Addington is one of the most deprived areas of the borough. In 2009 a major redevelopment scheme on The Green was halted due to the discovery of a nineteenth century law giving the area: ‘village green status’. Many local people are still concerned about the loss of a scheme which would have meant development for New Addington including: a Tesco, 250 new homes, a swimming pool and library. The council say there are as yet no plans to re-start the consultation process.
On a positive note the councilors said they would install new streetlights across New Addington from September in a bid to curb anti-social behaviour and crime. The residents were assured: “We will not tolerate crime and anti-social behaviour, we want to make New Addington a safer environment.”
At the end of the meeting, responding to complaints about litter, a group of tattooed men, one dressed in a t-shirt with a union-jack crest, offered to volunteer their services for future litter picks around the area.
Croydon council are running three more Question Time roadshows throughout the borough until July 19. For information on dates and venues you can visit the http://www.croydon.gov.uk/democracy/consultations/croydon-question-time