A Strong Voice for Croydon Central - Gavin Barwell MP
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Conservatives retain control of Croydon Council and win first council seat in New Addington for over 40 years
07/05/2010 20:31:00

I spent today at the count for the local elections that took place on the same day as the General Election.

I am pleased to report that the Conservative administration which came to power in 2006 - and which has rescued the Council from the financial abyss - was re-elected, though we did lose six seats as a result of soft Labour supporters - who wouldn't have voted if there had only been local elections - coming out because of the General Election.

In Croydon Central, we lost Addiscombe ward. I really feel for Maria Garcia and Andrew Price, who have worked very hard over the last four years. But we had an outstanding result in New Addington, which elected its first Conservative councillor for more than 40 years in Tony Pearson.

The Council now has 37 Conservative councillors and 33 Labour. You can see the results for your ward here.

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Readers' Comments

On 17/05/2010 15:15:00 Anthony Miller wrote:
Not your policies to blame then? It is completely beyong the understanding of most ordinary people why you need to replace Taberner House. There may be lots of very good arguements for this but you have constantly failed to put any of them forward in a way anyone can comprehend. Also it looks very much to me from the artist's impressions as though it will involve enclosing/demolishing Queen's Garden. one of the very few and most important iconic open spaces left in the middle of Croydon.

If it's one thing Croydon doesn't need it's another steel and glass eyesore devouring public space. Taberner House is ugly but to destroy an important open space in this way is just dumb.

All we get from our local politicians is one insane unpopular building plan after another none of which every make it beyond the drawing board because they are all totally bonkers.

Also the administration of the elections was a bit of a cock up. Removing Labour-Coop logos from ballot papers on a spurious technicality is disgustingly grubby politics.

Also the argument that the cost of building something will dematerialise because you are selling other assets makes no sense.

The cost remains the same whatever revenue stream is used to fund it.

You could not demolish Taberner House and still sell the other Council assets to generate revenue?

Why are the two issues confused unless there is a reason for them to be interlinked?

Again this policy is not really explained - not in language I find explicable anyway...

And no, I'm not knit-picking. I'd genuinely love someone to logically explain this policy?

On 20/05/2010 10:27:00 Gavin Barwell wrote:

Taberner House and the attached offices on Fell Road are approaching the end of their natural life. They are currently costing £3-4 million to maintain and they either need major refurbishment or replacing (many people find this hard to believe because they judge Taberner House on the bit they see - Access Croydon on the ground floor, which was recently refurbished; the rest of the building and in particular the building services lift etc are very dated).

The traditional way to fund a major refurbishment or a rebuild would be for the Council to borrow a lot of money to fund the work, with Council Taxpayers having to meet the interest on this borrowing (not something anyone would have welcomed in the current economic climate). So we have tried to find an innovative way of addressing this problem.

What we have done is to pass the site over to Croydon Council Urban Regeneration Vehicle (CCURV). This is basically a partnership between Croydon Council and a private developer - we put in land the Council owns that is surplus to requirements, they match the value of this land with capital and we share on a 50/50 basis the proceeds of any development. Why have we done this? Partly because it will give us more control over how sites are redeveloped (in the past, the Council would have sold surplus sites to a developer, who would then be able to do what they wanted with the sites as long as it wasn’t blatantly in breach of planning policy) and partly because it should generate income for the Council in the medium term allowing us to reduce Council Tax bills.

Because of the current costs of raising private finance, the Council has borrowed money for CCURV from something called the Public Works Loan Board (essentially an arm of the Government) but we get money back from CCURV to cover the interest payments so there is no cost to Council Taxpayers. In the long term, there is actually a saving to Council Taxpayers because, as noted above, it costs a fortune to operate old buildings like Taberner House and the Fell Road office complex.

In addition, the new building will be more environmentally friendly and (unless you have a taste for 60s tower blocks) more aesthetically pleasing, plus building it will generate some much needed jobs.

Someone has misled you on the details of the scheme. What we are doing is demolishing the Council offices on Fell Road and building the new Council HQ there (this scheme has got off the drawing board - work has started on site). Once that is complete, Taberner House will be demolished and a new building, which will not be used for council offices, will be built in its place. This building will have a smaller footprint, enabling us to enhance the Queen's Gardens rather than enclose or destory them.

Finally, on the issue of Labour council candidates in certain wards not being allowed the Labour Party logo next to their names on the ballot paper, this decision had nothing to do with us. It was taken by the Returning Officer based on legal advice. This wasn't just a Croydon problem - the issue arose in a number of local authority areas. I can understand Labour being annoyed about it, though I don't think it affected the result in any of the wards concerned.

On 21/05/2010 11:22:00 Anthony Miller wrote:
Ah I understand now. I was looking at the picture the wrong way round! It's a good job I dont have a job that involves any spatial geometry...



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Gavin Barwell, 133 Wickham Road, CR0 8TE, Tel  020 8663 8741      © Gavin Barwell  2019       Promoted by Ian Parker on behalf of Gavin Barwell, both at 36 Brighton Road, Purley, CR8 2LG