Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon CR0 1NX
Contact: Marianna Ritchie, Democratic Services Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclosure of Interests
Members are invited to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests (DPIs) and interests they may have in relation to any item(s) of business on today’s agenda.
Before commencement of the meeting it was MOVED by Mayor Jason Perry, SECONDED by Councillor Stuart King, and;
RESOLVED unanimously to nominate Councillor Sue Bennett, Deputy Civic Mayor of Croydon, as Chair for the meeting.
Councillor Esther Sutton declared that she was a resident of Oval Road, and as such that she would not be contributing to any discussion on the items on the agenda relating to that location.
Urgent Business (if any)
To receive notice of any business not on the agenda which in the opinion of the Chair, by reason of special circumstances, be considered as a matter of urgency.
There were no items of urgent business.
To receive Announcements, if any, from the Civic Mayor, the Executive Mayor, Head of Paid Service and Returning Officer.
The Chair MOVED to suspend Council Procedure Rules for the commencement of items 7 and 8 in order to ensure there was plenty of time in the meeting to properly consider all substantive items of business. This was SECONDED by Councillor Mario Creatura, and;
RESOLVED to reduce the amount of time available for each Maiden Speech to two minutes, and to reduce the total time for questions to the Mayor and Cabinet to 80 minutes.
The Head of Paid Service and Returning Officer announced that Councillor Fatima Zaman had won the recent Selsdon Vale and Forestdale ward by-election.
Croydon Question Time PDF 51 KB
To receive questions submitted by residents in advance of the meeting.
Seven Public Questions will be heard at this meeting, which will be responded to. The questioners then will have the opportunity to ask a supplementary question based on the answer received.
The questions are as follows:
What is the council going to do to help
residents in Oval road living with a
garden adjoining to the yard at 130 Oval road, which is owned by a
developer? A planning application was rejected here on multiple
grounds such as access issues and loss of employment in May this
year, so will the council consider to
strike out this location from the Croydon Local Plan as it's
not suitable for development?
When will the council finances be in the
black so council services will be restored?
What is the council planning to do to
keep residents safe from violence in the Old Town area?
Given that Croydon Council established
Brick by Brick to deliver affordable homes under shared ownership
on behalf of Croydon Council what procedures are in place to (a)
ensure quality of service and (b) allow for feedback from those who
have purchased under this scheme?
Following a successful bid to the
Forestry Commission’s Urban Tree Challenge Fund (UTCF), the
GLA is funding the planting of 47 trees in Oval Road during the
2022- 23 planting season (to be planted by 31st March 2023). The
UTCF has also provided funding for establishment costs (watering
and maintenance) over three years.
Will the Mayor commit to responding to
leaseholders in Messer Court directly about the safety and sale
prospects for our homes? I have been fighting for this reassurance
since Grenfell and wasted thousands of pounds trying to sell my
property that I have been told is unsellable as it is unsafe,
mainly due to unsafe cladding. Whilst tenants received updates
about developments at Regina Road, leaseholders in my block
received nothing. We need clear answers and a clear timeline for
action. We also need to know the Mayor’s action plan in relation to cladding on
council owned properties in Croydon.
In the wake of horrific cases of violence
such as Sarah Evered, Sabina Nessa and stabbings in our
town, safety is a major concern. Croydon Parks needs to be
made safe. The gates of parks in my locality are not locked which
poses a serious risk to residents and needs urgent action.
The total time allocated to Public Questions is 30 minutes.
In response to a question regarding debt and bankruptcy, Councillor Jason Cummings responded that the council would take all actions necessary to return Croydon to financial sustainability.
Answering a question regarding the Forestry Commission Fund Councillor Scott Roche stated he had asked officers to prioritise this project, and that the tree and woodlands officers would be installing the required tree pits by the end of February 2023, and those in Oval Road by 1 March 2023.
In a question regarding the stance of leaseholders of Messer Court following the legislation around council-owned building cladding, Councillor Lynne Hale explained that a statutory consultation period had begun, and that resident meetings would be held early in 2023. Councillor Hale also asked the questioner to provide details of any leaseholders who had not received any correspondence updating them on the position regarding cladding, to ensure that they would be informed. Councillor Hale also explained that although the council was not aware of any collaborative work being done with the banks, it did work with all those included in the legislative framework to deal with the safety issues around cladding.
In response to a question about whether or not Croydon Council would lock its public parks at night, Councillor Scott Roche explained that not only are many of the borough’s parks and green spaces open and not lockable, but the council did also not have the available financial resources to lock all parks at night. Councillor Roche stated that council and police had set out a renewed commitment to tackling Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), and that the council would act on any specific safety concerns raised.
Two Member Petitions have been received ahead of this Council meeting from Councillor Maddie Henson, Addiscombe East Ward, and from the Fairfield Ward Councillors and Sarah Jones MP. These two petitions are directed to the Mayor and Cabinet Member for Streets and Environment, Councillor Scott Roche.
The petitions have been verified and are worded as follows:
We the residents of Craven Road call on
the council to introduce 1 way working in Craven Road from the
direction of Bingham Road.
We, the undersigned businesses of Croydon
and / or Surrey Street, Church Street and Old Town hereby petition
to the Mayor to reduce anti-social behaviours, drug dealings and
Councillor Ola Kolade responded to the petition from the Fairfield ward members and local Member of Parliament regarding public safety in the area, stating that he fully understood the concerns, and that the council was acting alongside the police to address them. This included increased presence of Neighbourhood Support Officers and increased use of Public Space Protection Orders. The council was also doing outreach work for local young people, and the local Business Improvement District (BID) had set up public engagement meetings to share their experiences and discuss possible courses of action.
Councillor Scott Roche responded to the petition from Councillor Maddie Henson regarding implementing a one-way street in Addiscombe East ward. Councillor Roche stated that it was important to be mindful of the overall effects on traffic and consequences for residents when assessing Traffic Management Orders (TMOs), and the lengthy process involved should it be agreed to fit this one-way street.
Recommendations from the Executive or Committees to Council for decision PDF 148 KB
To consider the recommendations made by the Executive Mayor in Cabinet or Committees since the last ordinary Council meeting relating to the following matters:
The Executive Mayor’s Business Plan
2. Licensing Act 2003 – Review of London Borough of Croydon Statement of Licensing Policy and Cumulative Impact Areas within the London Borough of Croydon Statement of Licensing Policy
The Chair of the Licensing Committee introduced the report to members, outlining the reasons for the committee’s decision to adopt the new Statement of Licensing Policy and Cumulative impact Areas.
RESOLVED, unanimously to:
1.1. Adopt the revised Statement of Licensing Policy 2023-2028 under the Licensing Act 2003 as set out at Appendix 1 to the report and that the revised policy be operative as of 1 February 2023.
Mayor Jason Perry then addressed Council for three minutes, outlining the five core outcomes of the Mayor’s Business Plan to deliver change for residents, and which required the council to fix its finances.
Councillor Amy Foster MOVED to debate the recommendations, which was SECONDED by Councillor Chris Clark.
During the debate, Councillor Foster argued that the plan did not do enough to tackle some of the most pertinent issues for Croydon’s residents, including homelessness, school exclusions, and poor health. Councillor Foster argued that the plan relied too heavily on the goodwill of the Voluntary, Community and Faith Sector (VCFS) to fill the gaps in the budget, and that the plan avoided the prevention of major issues and lacked detail.
For the approval of the plan, Councillor Helen Redfern argued that the plan reflected the Mayor’s manifesto pledges, which the residents of Croydon had endorsed with their votes. Councillor Redfern argued that the plan would restore pride in the borough, moving it away from the poor governance and financial mismanagement of the past, which had led to the loss of services.
On behalf of the Opposition, Councillor Chris Clark argued that there were missed opportunities in the plan. Councillor Clark also highlighted that the plan relied on the VCFS to support its delivery, but that in contradiction the Mayor planned to cut the community fund. Councillor Clark also argued that the Mayor’s Business Plan made no commitment to deliver on climate emergency measures which had been recommended to the council, and that, based on information provided in the Equalities Impact Assessment, vulnerable groups of the community may be disserved by the plan.
Mayor Jason Perry concluded the debate by reminding all present that Croydon was in its current state due to the poor governance and financial mismanagement of the previous political administration, and that the plan was put together by listening to the most vulnerable and with a manifesto that residents had voted for. Mayor Perry stated that detailed delivery strategies would support the plan.
The Chair then opened the vote and Council RESOLVED, with 30 votes in favour, 29 votes against, and one abstention, to:
1.1 Adopt the Mayor’s Business Plan 2022-26.
1.2 Note that a detailed implementation plan and performance framework will be brought to a future meeting of Cabinet.
1.3 Note the arrangements to provide assurance of the implementation of the Plan.
Mayor and Cabinet Questions
For the Mayor and Cabinet to receive questions from members of Council.
The Chair invited members who had submitted their names to ask questions in order, the first of whom was Councillor Pearson, who asked whether the previous political administration of the council had accepted its responsibility in causing the current financial issues. The Mayor replied that the result of the vote on the previous item demonstrated that members of the Opposition had not.
Councillor King asked how many of Croydon’s libraries would be closed at the end of the Mayor’s term of office, to which the Mayor explained that libraries were listed as potential disposals to support the delivery of a balanced budget, but that the number was currently unknown.
In response to a question from Councillor Sutton regarding rough sleepers, the Mayor explained that homeless people were treated with respect and compassion, and that the council had engaged with Thames Reach to support the worsening homelessness situation in the borough. The Mayor also explained that support and resources were in place and that the government had announced additional funding, the details of which were yet to be known.
In response to a question from Councillor Bonham regarding members whose wards provided accommodation for asylum seekers, the Mayor explained that the council was forming a report based on a very positive meeting it had had with the Home Office Minister Robert Jenrick, which would address funding, finances and safeguarding support. The Mayor also agreed to meet the members in the wards in question.
In response to a question from Councillor Benson regarding residents of Regina Road the Mayor explained that a consultation was currently underway and that a Housing Transformation Plan was being implemented.
In response to a question from Councillor King regarding businesses suffering financially, namely Matthew’s Yard, the Mayor explained that he shared concerns for struggling businesses, but that requests for discretionary rate relief would be dealt with appropriately according to the individual needs and circumstances of requests.
Councillor Ward asked the Mayor to explain the issues with the Fairfield Halls refurbishment plan, which had left a debt of £76m to the council, to which the Mayor replied that an investigation was currently underway by Kroll into whether there had been fraud involved.
Councillor Campbell asked whether the Mayor thought that the waiting list for NHS hospital care in Croydon was acceptable at 27,450 people, to which the Councillor Campbell asked whether the Mayor thought that the waiting list for NHS hospital care in Croydon was acceptable at 27,450 people, to which the Mayor responded that Healthcare had recently been awarded for its good service. Councillor Hopley added that elective surgery continued during COVID and no residents were turned away from emergency services during COVID. The Trust was recognised as a centre of excellence of which members were very proud.
Councillor Gander asked the Mayor to explain what the Section 114 notice would mean for residents’ services. The Mayor explained that services would need to be cute, and that libraries may be affected. The Mayor explained that ... view the full minutes text for item 7/21
To hear maiden speeches from up to five Councillors newly elected at the election held on 5 May 2022.
Council heard the Maiden Speeches from Councillor Luke Shortland, Coulsdon Town Ward; Councillor Catherine Wilson, Selhurst Ward; Councillor Claire Bonham, Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood Ward; and Councillor Matt Griffiths, Norbury and Pollards Hill Ward.
Response to External Auditor's Query regarding the Former Chief Executive's Settlement Payment PDF 91 KB
Council is asked to note the Council’s response to the External Auditor’s query and attached as Appendix 1. Note that the response is based on the Monitoring Officer’s findings following due diligence enquiries undertaken.
The Chair invited both Mayor Jason Perry and Councillor Stuart King who had expressed their wishes to speak on this item, who stated that:
· The decision should never have been allowed to be made;
· The Mayor did not vote for it;
· The report stated that the committee was not given full disclosure, and that due process and the constitution of Croydon were not respected;
· Processes were now in place to ensure that this could not happen again, and that members would see a short summary of those processes in due course;
· That recoupment of the amount was still subject to further legal consideration;
· There were significant failings in the information presented to the Appointments Committee in April 2020, with which the current Appointments Committee did not agree; and,
· That Council should decide payments of over £100k to individuals going forward.
It was MOVED by Mayor Jason Perry, SECONDED by Councillor Stuart King, and RESOLVED, unanimously to:
1. Note the Council’s response to the External Auditor’s query and attached as Appendix 1. Note that the response is based on the Monitoring Officer’s findings following due diligence enquiries undertaken.
South London Waste Plan Development Plan Document - Adoption PDF 174 KB
As the current South London Waste Plan ends this year, it is important for residents that a replacement plan is in place with up-to-date and robust policies that can be used to consider planning applications for waste facilities.
It was MOVED by Councillor Jeet Bains, SECONDED by Councillor Scott Roche and RESOLVED, unanimously to:
Adopt the South London Waste Plan 2022 to 2037, subject to the recommendations in the Inspector’s Report as a Development Plan Document in accordance with The Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012
Use of Special Urgency for Key Decisions PDF 96 KB
In accordance with the Access to Information Procedure Rules (Part 4B of the Constitution), the Executive Mayor is required to submit a report to Council on the use of Special Urgency for key decisions.
It was MOVED by Mayor Jason Perry, SECONDED by Councillor Lynne Hale, and RESOLVED, unanimously to:
Note the use of Special Urgency for the key decision listed at section 3.4 of the report during the period October to December 2022.
For Council to note any new appointments, or changes to existing appointments to committees and / or sub-committees.
1. Remove Councillor Danielle Denton from the Audit and Governance Committee;
2. Appoint Councillor Nikhil Sherine Thampi to the Audit and Governance Committee;
3. Appoint Councillor Danielle Denton to the vacant seat on the Licensing Committee; and,
4. Appoint Councillor Fatima Zaman to the vacant seat on the Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education.
Council Debate Motions
To debate any motions submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rules.
The following two Motions, one from the Administration and one from the Leader of the Opposition, will be debated:
Conservative Administration Motion
This Council regrets the unacceptable delay in taking remedial action over the issues found at Regina Road and across Croydon’s housing stock and welcomes the Mayor’s plan to consult on potential regeneration to provide a long-term solution that provides high quality housing for our Council Tenants and Leaseholders.
Labour Opposititon Motion
This Council recognises the suffering of so many Croydon residents who are struggling to pay their energy bills in the middle of the cost-of-living crisis.
This Council understands that the average energy bill of £3,000 takes a serious physical and psychological toll, with 60% of people reporting they are too anxious to turn on their heating.
This Council commends Croydon’s voluntary sector for leading the way on sourcing ‘Warm Banks’ - public spaces that people can turn to for heat and companionship when they don’t feel able to switch on the heating at home - including Croydon Voluntary Action, The Salvation Army and St George’s Church.
This Council notes that over 50% of Local Authorities in England are involved in setting up Warm Banks, according to Save the Children.
This Council recognises that given the difficult financial position of our Local Authority, we must do everything we can to help and that we can do so without adding extra pressure to our finances.
This Council therefore calls upon the Mayor to:
1. Promote Croydon’s existing Warm Banks on its website in the Cost-of-Living Support section as well as regularly through its social media channels.
2. Review the Council’s properties, particularly libraries, to see if any could be used as Warm Banks during existing opening hours.
3. Invite other organisations, including businesses, faith and community groups, to open their doors to Croydon’s citizens by serving as Warm Banks.
Councillor Lynne Hale MOVED and spoke on behalf of the Conservative Group motion, mentioning the appalling conditions residents had been left living in at the Regina Road estate. Councillor Hale stated that residents had been shown a lack of respect through the failure of the council to provide basic housing services in previous years, and that the Mayor had put rectifying the situation at the top of the council’s agenda through the Housing Transformation Programme.
Councillor Simon Fox SECONDED the motion and reserved his right of reply, after which Councillor Christopher Herman spoke on behalf of the Opposition, stating that tenants and leaseholders had been ignored due to a poor culture within the Housing Department. Councillor Herman stated that members had been assured issues had been resolved in the past when they had not.
Councillor Reshekaron, speaking on behalf of the Opposition, stated that she welcomed the Mayor’s plan for a consultation on the regeneration of the estate, and that the council was taking its first steps in a long process to improvement. Councillor Reshekaron thanked the Housing Director and officers working on this process for ensuring that residents’ voices were heard. Councillor Reshekaron asked why compensation had not been issued to tenants and leaseholders who suffered from the long-standing issues.
Exercising his right of reply, Councillor Fox stated that under the previous leadership action had been delayed, and residents’ cries for help were ignored. Councillor Fox blamed a lack of urgency that followed the adverse publicity about the Regina Road estate, which meant a previous Housing Improvement Plan was never signed off, and stated that the current Housing Transformation Programme was more comprehensive, and commanded support.
The motion was put to the vote and RESOLVED, unanimously to:
Consult on potential regeneration to provide a long-term solution that provides high quality housing for our Council Tenants and Leaseholders.
Councillor Rowenna Davis then MOVED the motion from the Opposition Group, stating that residents were too anxious to turn on their heating because of unaffordable energy bills. Councillor Davis commented that she had noticed the council had recently begun advertising council-owned public spaces and those provided by the VCFS that were available for residents to use during cold weather, but that no spaces were available on Sundays.
Councillor Brigitte Graham SECONDED the motion and reserved her right of reply, after which Councillor Andy Stranack stated his delight to support the motion and thanked officers for the hard work that had already been done. Councillor Stranack also outlined all the other ways the council was providing support to vulnerable residents over the Christmas holiday period.
Councillor Tony Pearson speaking on behalf of the Conservative Group iterated that the party was willing to work collaboratively for the good of Croydon residents.
Exercising her right of reply, Councillor Graham stated that signposting on websites was not enough, and that the council was relying too heavily on the VCFS.
The motion was then
put to the vote and Council RESOLVED, unanimously
1. Promote Croydon’s ... view the full minutes text for item 13/21