Our Plan for Croydon

Housing & Planning

Croydon is facing a housing crisis on many levels. Not only has our council housing been shamed on national TV for the “worst conditions ever seen”; people continue to struggle finding affordable housing whilst developers focus on maximising profits as opposed to delivering the properties our communities really need. Therefore, as mayor I would:

  • On Day 1, establish a dedicated task force to address the underlying issues with our council housing, ensuring all tenants can live in the dignity they deserve.
  • Incentivise developers to build the housing we need by halving the number of dwellings that can be built on a site (from 10 to 5) before affordable housing must be provided. This will encourage the building of small houses which are needed by young families rather than just flats.
  • Make housing truly affordable by defining it in terms of neighbourhood incomes as opposed to a percentage of market value.
  • Remove the current planning guidance. Decisions about the overarching design of developments should be made at the community level, ideally within Neighbourhood Plans generated and implemented by local town and parish councils, or Neighbourhood Forums.
  • The current planning department has lost public trust and must be reformed.

Accountability & Local Democracy

Croydon Council has suffered from poor accountability leading to two Reports in the Public Interest being issued in less than two years. This is due to both over-centralisation and a lack of scrutiny leaving local communities feeling disillusioned, detached and disenfranchised.

Therefore, as mayor I would:

  • Bring in forensic accountants to investigate the causes of both the Section 114 Notice and potentially unlawful handling of the Fairfield Halls renovation.
  • Promote and assist the formation of town and parish councils, allowing local communities a direct role in determining what services and facilities should be provided. Where established, devolve 50% of Community Infrastructure Levy to these bodies to provide additional funding.
  • Bring Croydon Council to its residents by creating ‘Access Hubs’ across the borough in libraries and other facilities.
  • Ensure through a Residents Compact that Croydon residents know what to expect from Council services. For example: with the bin contract, where should the bin be left for collection, and where should the contractors return it? We must ensure Council contractors do the job we pay them for.
  • Prioritise youth services. A small investment here can pay great dividends in reducing crime and weakening gang culture.

Transport & Economy

Croydon is served with great transport links, however these seem to be focussed on taking people out of Croydon as opposed to bringing people in and together. Therefore, as mayor I would:

  • Lobby TfL for the restoration of bus routes to re-connect the borough, negating the need to change buses in Croydon town centre.
  • Develop a strategy to use the transport links to enhance our economy, attracting footfall for new retail, entertainment and employment opportunities.
  • Work with the site owners to develop a mixed use alternative to Westfield on the Whitgift site. Much as I'd like to dictate terms the Council does not own the land and unless we want decades of increasing dereliction we must work with the owners. Retail is not completely dead and there is a market for shops offering a value-added service. But clearly there is less need for shops that the original plans envisaged and there will need to be more leisure and housing built.
  • Encouraging local shopping centres and facilities such as medical facilities to help prevent unnecessary journeys and strengthen communities.
  • Seek to work with neighbouring boroughs to allow Croydon residents to visit the closest recycling centre to where they live, even if it is under another council. The current rules mean residents have to travel long distances, discourages recycling and encourages fly-tipping. We must give residents the ability to visit recycling centres on foot.
  • Electric cars are the future and we must ensure that charging points are made available as a matter of priority on streets where residents have no private drives.