A Strong Voice for Croydon Central - Gavin Barwell MP
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A vision for Croydon
15/09/2014 09:00:00


Croydon could be one of the best places in the country to live.

We’re part of the greatest city in the world, yet on the edge of the beautiful North Downs countryside.

It’s cheaper to live or run a business here than in most other parts of London.

We have amazing transport links to central London, other parts of south London, Gatwick airport and the South East, including our modern, environmentally-friendly tram system.

And with the melting pot of people who have chosen to make our town their home, it’s a vibrant, cosmopolitan place to live.

But we have our problems too.

- A local economy that hasn’t performed as strongly as other parts of London over the last 25 years.

- Insufficient infrastructure.

- An unattractive town centre.

- A number of district centres that desperately need investment.

- Significant inequality between different parts of the borough.

- A bad-natured political culture.

- And a reputation problem that the 2011 riots made much worse, which stops people visiting or investing in our town.

We’ve made some progress over the last few years, but there is still a lot to do.

So today, I am publishing a joint vision for Croydon with Vidhi Mohan and Chris Philp, the Conservative candidates for the other two Parliamentary constituencies within the borough, setting out what we think needs to be done – both nationally and locally – to fix these problems and make Croydon the place we all want it to be. You can download the full document below , but if you don’t have the time to read the whole thing (it’s a comprehensive piece of work, over 20,000 words long), you can find a summary below.

We’re publishing a joint vision because too often in the past politicians have favoured one part of the borough over others. We believe we should focus on what is best for the town as a whole.

MPs don’t run local public services and, if their party is in opposition, they don’t have much influence over government policy either, so we can’t make firm promises. But what we want to do is show you what we’d like to achieve over the following five years if we’re elected next May, working with whoever is running the Council, whoever is Mayor of London and whoever makes up the next Government.

We’re publishing this vision more than seven months before the General Election because we’d like to get your feedback on it. Do you agree with our twelve priorities? Is there anything you think we should add? If you have any thoughts you’d like to share, leave a comment below or email me at

gavin.barwell.mp@parliament.uk. I’d love to hear from you.

Summary: What we want to achieve

• Full employment – a job for everyone who wants one.

• Above-inflation increases in the minimum wage to ensure everyone gets a fair reward for their hard work.

• Deliver the redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre by Westfield and Hammerson as soon as possible.

• Transform the environment in the town centre to make it a much more attractive place to visit.

• Offer small and medium sized businesses tax incentives to relocate here.

• Regenerate our district centres.

• Raise standards in our schools so that every child - apart from those a significant learning difficulty - gets at least a C grade in English and Maths.

• Give parents a wider choice of schools – hopefully including a grammar school.

• Work to open a campus of Roehampton University in Croydon.

• Reform the EU’s freedom of movement rules so that we can further reduce immigration.

• Give more priority to tackling violent crime including domestic violence and rape.

• Reform stop and search to increase community confidence in the police.

• Raise standards at Croydon University Hospital.

• Ensure mental health is given the priority it deserves.

• Build more homes, but in the right places – no development of our precious green spaces.

• Oppose Labour’s plan to make private landlords pay a £200 a year tax on every property they rent out – which they will simply pass on to already hard-pressed tenants.

• Increase the amount of time you have to have lived in the country before you get on the waiting list for council housing.

• Improve the A23, Croydon’s key link to the motorway network.

• Increase capacity and improve reliability on rail services to London Bridge and Victoria.

• Expand the ticket hall at East Croydon station and provide a link from Cherry Orchard Road to the new northern entrance to the station.

• Increase capacity on and extend our tram system.

• Secure funding from the Government to help Croydon Council provide sufficient school places.

• Build a new larger A&E Department at Croydon University Hospital and re-open an Urgent Care Centre at Purley Hospital.

• Fairer funding for the NHS in Croydon and Croydon Council, building on the improvements we’ve already secured for the police and our schools.

• Make sure every household has access to a bin and recycling facilities, start to penalise those who won’t recycle and prosecute those who flytip rather than just cleaning up after them.

• Reduce air pollution, encouraging people to get out of their cars by making it safer to cycle.

• Renovate the Fairfield Halls so that it can put on a wider range of events.

• Refurbish leisure centres in New Addington and Purley and build a new leisure centre in the town centre.

• Improve facilities at one of our major parks so that it compares with somewhere like Battersea Park or the new Queen Elizabeth II Park.

• Set up a mentoring scheme to help bright children from families where no-one has gone to university before to achieve their potential.

• Support a cap on the amount of benefits an out-of-work family can receive so that they don’t get more than the average working family.

• Negotiate a ‘City Deal’ with the Government giving the Council control over some welfare spending so we can use it to transform people’s lives, not just help them make ends meet.

• Protect pensioner benefits like the Freedom Pass.

• Work with those from other parties where we agree, be civil where we disagree and think about the needs of the borough as a whole rather than pitting one part of it against another.

Comment on this blog


Readers' Comments

On 15/09/2014 17:16:00 Bryce wrote:
I'm happy to read the whole thing and comment but my gut reaction is that as laudable as the blueprint is, how many of the aims are within your gift as MPs and how do you intend to deliver these aspirations?
On 15/09/2014 17:44:00 Mary Gray wrote:
Good priorities. Planning can be an issue - areas are blighted by poor quality buildings (e.g. flats in Addiscombe at Blackhorse pub site and on corner of Leslie Park Road) and the rampant high rise development at East Croydon is alarming.
On 15/09/2014 21:03:00 Milan wrote:
Broadly a good report/prospectus.

However, extremely disappointing to see that there is no mention of tackling anti-social behaviour (ASB) in Fairfield ward which is a major concern for local residents/business owners/managers and for those who come into the town centre to either work or shop. This is an issue that the local political establishment (whether Labour or Conservative) has exacerbated and has subsequently been unable to get under control.

Also worth mentioning that the aim of local full employment is an admirable one particularly given the 5000-odd jobs that will be created as a result of the proposed Westfield development. However, in the economic parlance of Phillips, this ignores the consequential trade-off with prices and inflation, and in aggregate at a national level this would lead to higher interest rates and increased mortgage costs.

On 15/09/2014 21:58:00 Ray Wheeler wrote:
Dear Gavin

I applaud your vision for Croydon and agree with your ideas. I believe Croydon has a great future if only it is loved by the powers that be. I also believe it should value its great past and therefore would like to see an enhancement of the Local Studies & Archives Service as I passionately believe that understanding the past allows us to understand the present on which to build for the future. My Norbury & Thornton Heath book is due for a new reprint soon and hope to start on my fourth book Croydon Then & Now.

Referring back to your vision Tramlink should be extended to Crystal Palace as originally planned but CUT by Boris Johnson! Also some of the vision ideas where cut be too by your compatriots when they were in power! Are you able to persuade government to release funds to Croydon - let's hope so.

If half of your vision ideals were realised then Croydon will be a really great place to live!

Good wishes

Ray Wheeler

On 16/09/2014 16:25:00 Ashen wrote:
Gavin, these are all good 'nice to haves' but many businesses are moving away because of Croydon Council. Now I hear they have decided to interfere in the Private Rented Sector by starting another money making scheme like Landlord Licensing. Croydon has some of the ridiculously high parking charges..

So before dreaming of having all these, let us get the basics done, sort out the Council if not they will drive everyone away.





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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