Cllr Claire Bonham: My first two months

12 Aug 2022

It’s been a whirlwind couple of months since the declaration in Trinity School – a lot of my initial time has been put into understanding the various roles and responsibilities of the council, which is very different when you are on the inside to the outside! It’s been wonderful to start working to achieve results for our local residents, and to have a better platform to push for improvements in the areas that we highlighted during the election campaign. I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting local charities and businesses, and attending street parties and other community events.

It’s been wonderful to see what a creative and entrepreneurial community we have – from the vast array of talent on display in our local shops to the spaces that are bringing communities together. A personal highlight was visiting the Biggin Hill Allotments and getting to see such a welcoming community of residents from all walks of life and countries across the globe – alongside a good number of bees!

It has also been two months of ‘firsts’ – my first full council meeting, where I used my question to the new directly elected mayor to ask if he would commit to protecting our green spaces; my first Audit and Governance Committee meeting, where I raised questions about Croydon’s annual accounts and the role of internal audit in evaluating big capital projects; my first council surgery in Upper Norwood recreation ground, where I was able to meet local residents and understand what we can do to make Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood an even better place to live; and my first planning meeting, where I was able to support residents in their successful campaign to have a badly thought through planning application on Downsview Road refused.

Residents of Croydon have voted for change, and for an end to the old way of polarised politics, where getting in a dig at the opposition was more important than working collaboratively to bring Croydon out of the difficult situation we are in. I hope that this changes now, and as a minority party in what is now a four-party administration, I will be working hard to ensure that we do not revert back to business as usual but are able to cross the lines of party politics and work together to bring about noticeable and lasting change that allows me to serve my residents, as I was elected to do.