Fresh Ideas for Croydon

Fresh Thinking for Croydon

Separated from the mainstream political establishment UKIP brings a bold and innovative brand of thinking as to how we should shape our society.

We in UKIP believe that a London centric metropolitan elite has been chipping away at our country over the last 50 years. It is seen as OK to attack ourselves as a country, talk ourselves down and attack our own values. We have got to stop this degradation of being British and restore a sense of pride.

Encouraging schools to fly the Union Flag would help instil in the next generation a sense of pride in our country, culture, and history that we believe is so important.

Social mobility has declined ever since grammar schools were replaced by comprehensive schools. It is not fair that only those who can financially afford private education can fulfil the academic potential of their children. The brightest children from all backgrounds should have the opportunity to access the best education.

Equally those children with more practical and technical abilities should have the opportunity to develop these skills at specialist schools. A UKIP council would encourage both types of schools to set up throughout the borough to bring out the best in all our children.

Croydon Council has set-up a number of legal graffiti areas. Whilst some consider this street art, it has led parts of Croydon to look like a ghetto. A UKIP council would remove these installations and replace them with plain walls and advertising. Making our town centre look like a run down inner city area does not present the right image of the borough.

Croydon Council has two methods to report Graffiti, both of which require the people reporting it to be fairly computer literate. A UKIP council would extend this service to a simplified web form and the option to phone in your concerns. Further we would publicise this service across the borough via social media and within existing council publications.

Croydon Councils budget shows an average staff cost of £44K. This can only be possible with large numbers of highly paid staff undertaking senior roles with little risk of being fired for failure. The councils chief executive is on £185,000 more than Prime Minister. A UKIP council would have no new appointments on more than the Prime Minister and need the leader of the council to sign-off any appointments above £90K. Council officials with gold plated pensions and little chance of losing their jobs should not be paid the same as risk takers in the private sector.

Central Croydon is doing well.  There is a shortage of office space in the town centre and new flats are being built on what seems like every spare spot of land.  The same cannot be said for our district centres, many of which suffer from both a lack of short stay parking and local jobs. 

Croydon Council has the majority of its non-teaching staff located in and around the Town Hall and Bernard Weatherill House.  Bernard Weatherill house alone was built to accommodate 2,650 people, This leads to the council being focused on the town centre with little focus on the districts of the borough.

UKIP believes the Council should move at least 600 jobs to the district centres.  This can be paid for by leasing out more of Bernard Weatherill House.  These jobs would greatly benefit in the district centres of Coulsdon, New Addington, Thornton Heath, Selsdon, South Norwood and others. 

This action would give a much needed boost  to the district centres by providing jobs directly to the local economies. UKIP believes that such de-centralisation away from the wholly existing town centre vision would provide major benefits in the perception of improved democratic representation.

Croydon is becoming a dumping ground for litter. UKIP has a few straightforward proposals towards creating a tidier borough.

A complex rubbish collection system, increased costs for waste, and industrial fly-tipping are a problem across the borough. Gimmick bins, solar powered or not and the “Don't Mess with Croydon” campaign https://www.croydon.gov.uk/environment/dontmess/streetlitter are not fixing the problem.

Whilst much needs to be done across a range of areas, most of the problem is down to the lack of shame of littering and a hitherto lack of public assertiveness to tackle this public blight. UKIP would like to see this change in Croydon and has these simple common sense ideas to help.

1) Regular visits to be made to schools by senior Council officers to denounce littering.
2) Croydon Council has a lot of senior leaders. To help them integrate into and work with all communities in the borough and to tackle the critical anti-social problems of littering, we would ensure all Croydon maintained schools are visited twice a year by a senior Council officer, explaining to pupils about the anti-sociability of littering.
3) Posters should be seen in all areas of Croydon declaring the unacceptability of littering.
4) Council notice boards to be used to display large posters explaining the problems of littering. UKIP will focus on this unacceptable anti-social behaviour.
5) Encourage magistrates to impose community service picking up litter.

As part of a wider campaign to keep Croydon tidy a UKIP council would work with local magistrates and law enforcement to encourage prioritising prosecutions and tough sentencing for those caught littering and fly tipping.

Croydon is seeing increasing crime, much of it focused on the town centre. Croydon UKIP has a few straightforward proposals to help tackle this rise.

Knife crime is especially on the rise. Most weeks we hear sadly of another stabbing somewhere in Croydon. For far too many young people carrying a knife has become part of the culture. No one root cause is driving this increase.

Croydon UKIP are asking the Metropolitan Police to make a significant increase their use of stop and search powers. Stop and search is an effective way of targeting people acting in a suspicious manner and checking if they are carrying a knife. The use of these powers has decreased in recent years as it has been perceived to have an impact on community relations. We cannot allow this spate of stabbings to continue. Only by making carrying knives a choice that someone has a realistic chance of being arrested for will we change this culture and reduce stabbings. Community relations will ultimately suffer more if the police cannot reduce the stabbings of what are often young adults and children.

The town centre is often the hub of much crime and anti-social behaviour. Croydon council can support the police service with additional staff. Nationally UKIP is committed to employing 20,000 more police. Locally these proposals would be backed by 12 extra Community Support Officers specifically to patrol the town centre and West Croydon / East Croydon.

  • West Croydon is a key gateway to the town but one that often feels unsafe and doesn't present the town in a great light. We would work with local police to prioritise policing in the area around West Croydon station. We would also look to work with the local community to invest in the aesthetics to improve the area and reduce the number of groups of people 'hanging around' by the station.
  • Around West Croydon railway station parking restrictions are often not enforced leading to the area being constantly gridlocked, a UKIP council would prioritise enforcement of these.
  • UKIP will expect zero tolerance in central Croydon against begging and graffiti, and extend existing zero tolerance to drinking, sending a clear but effective message that ‘crime or misbehaviour is not a lifestyle option or entitlement’ will be key.
  • UKIP would work with the local police force to encourage visibility of police as being a key part of Croydon policing. Visibility of both Police and Police Community Support Officers is key to crime prevention, crime reduction and dealing with the fear of crime itself.

The cost for additional police community officers would be offset by reducing 0.5% of council staff and delivered over 18 months so the replacements would come through natural staff turnover. Croydon councils average staff cost is £44K (https://www.croydon.gov.uk/sites/default/files/articles/downloads/Budget%20Book%202015-16.pdf).

Croydon once had a thriving town centre and many busy district centres for business. Successive councils’ grand plans have slowly eroded these. UKIP believes the council should act as an enabler for business then get out of the way to let them thrive.

Croydon UKIP has a series of common sense policies we would like to see implemented to help businesses in Croydon.

Work for and encourage the interests of all small businesses in Croydon.

  • We support the council’s premier supplier programme initiative to use automated invoice payment solutions https://tinyurl.com/CroydonPSP. We would offer to work with any Croydon business groups to improve the system and further reduce lead times for payments.
  • Croydon Council is a London Living Wage employer. This is only right for the council and we fully support this. The council is now working on moving all its contractors to the London Living Wage. This is wrong and the council should not use its purchasing power to bully business into taking on commitments that are not wider UK law. These additional costs and requirements are especially difficult for small businesses and UKIP would remove this requirement to encourage small businesses to tender and gain council contracts.

Keep business local tax rates low to encourage business growth and maximise revenue.

  • The current business rate is set nationally and councils keep half the business rates income collected in their area (with the rest redistributed by grants from a national pot). Plans have been published to enable councils to keep 100% of business rates, and alter the business rate charged. These plans are subject to change and the full system is not expected to be in place until 2020. Croydon was a successful office centre for many years by keeping business rates low under previous rating systems. A UKIP council would follow this lead to encourage and optimise business growth in the borough and maximise the income received. This model is of low rates maximising income shown in the Laffer curve https://tinyurl.com/CroydonTax.

Croydon Open for Business

  • Papers before the council review the impact of a policy against ‘The Law’, ‘Human Resources’, ‘Equalities’, ‘Environment’ and ‘Crime’. No review of the impact on jobs is made. The council can't provide job growth, but can make rules that have either an adverse or a positive effect on employment in the borough. UKIP would ensure all council policies would be reviewed for impact on the job market.

Open Surrey Street Sunday market to weekday traders

  • Croydon has opened Surrey Street Market for Sunday trading. Whilst the idea to open the market to other traders is to be welcomed, the blocking of existing traders is petty. UKIP would open the Sunday market to existing traders with a presumption (on a first come first served basis) they would receive a permit.

Hold costs of Pavement licences outside Croydon Town Centre, only reasonable increases in centre.

  • Croydon Council has recently increased the charges and completely changed the method of calculating those charges for obtaining a licence to trade on Croydon's Streets. This has caused a dramatic increase in the costs to the important small businesses in Croydon.
  • The charges are supposed only to pay for the scheme's administration and should not be used to subsidise other areas of the Council's expenditure.
  • UKIP will undertake not to increase those charges outside of the Town Centre (even by inflation) and will evaluate whether a reduction is possible and work with business to see if we need to revise the method of calculating those charges.
  • Charges in the Town Centre would be capped to increases at no more than the rate of inflation.

Keep free parking of either 30 or 60 minutes in every district centre

  • Every shopping district and town centre in Croydon will have free parking areas for either 30 or 60 minutes to encourage use of local shops. A UKIP council would work with local business and residents groups to work out the appropriate distribution and location of parking spaces in each locale.

Croydon Council has alienated a huge number of Croydon residents with ham-fisted development plans whilst still not getting homes for local families built in the borough. Croydon UKIP has a series of plans to ensure we build homes for residents, whilst reigning in Brick by Brick, the council’s out of control Development Company.

Building on Brownfield but not Greenfield sites

The Local Plan for Croydon has reduced protection for much of the green space in the borough, increasing the chance of future development.

Our green space is critical as more and more of the south east is built on to accommodate an ever growing population. Croydon is traditionally a green suburb. Despite the best efforts of the council and government we still have a green Croydon. We need to keep it that way.

UKIP councillors would not agree to building on any Greenfield sites, instead would focus on ensuring existing Brownfield sites in the borough are available for development.

House building to come with infrastructure to support it

All too many of the new developments impose additional strain on the local services and transport infrastructure. UKIP councillors would not approve new homes unless they included sufficient plans to ensure school places, doctors’ surgeries’ capacity, parking and public transport for the new people moving into the area.

Develop ‘Local Plans’ in consultation with local residents, not imposed fait accompli

The Croydon Local Plan developed over the last few years has proved to be very divisive. Local groups have
often felt the council has gone out of its way to vilify campaigners worried about the impact on their areas.
UKIP councillors would look to run a Local Plan development through the following:

  • setting out clear objectives to be achieved for each district
  • working with the local councillors (of all parties)
  • working with local residents’ associations
  • holding and actually attending local meetings
  • offering local referendums on choices for how to achieve the objectives in the area.

Make Brick by Brick accountable

Brick by Brick is a private, independent company, with the council acting as sole shareholder. It is owned and in effect funded by the taxpayer, yet as a private company it is not accountable to the taxpayer.

UKIP would make Brick by Brick accountable by holding public scrutiny meetings with board members, and as its sole shareholder agreeing to respond to Freedom of Information requests.

Local people prioritised for council housing

Development in Croydon is focused on luxury dormitory flats for central London workers. We need houses for
the families of Croydon. UKIP would prioritise in local planning or through Brick by Brick the delivery of small
houses that provide the homes local families need.

Unlike the Labour council any council with UKIP councillors would actually achieve the building of some council
houses, over their term of office.

Croydon Council has many dedicated local government officers.  They deliver services in tough circumstances often despite the politicians.

UKIP have a couple of common sense policies we would like to see implemented at the council.

Fill senior positions via internal promotion rather than external recruitment where possible

All too many senior council roles are filled from outside the borough.  Given the problems in some of the council’s services it would be hard to say they are recruiting the best people.  External recruitment reduces the opportunities for council staff and can lower morale.  It leads to all too many senior staff not living in or knowing the borough.  Recruiting the right person for the role must always come first. However the council’s policy of recruiting externally has led to expensive recruitment mistakes, lack of opportunity and a situation where the senior positions in a Labour council do not reflect the diversity of the borough.

Believing in the people of Croydon, UKIP would where possible fill vacancies through internal promotion rather than external recruitment.  As a target a minimum of 80% of roles earning over £60,000 a year would be filled by internal staff.

A £300 annual voucher available to all of Croydon’s non-Teaching staff for education services in their own time

A UKIP council would offer £300 for each council worker for night school, which in turn would help boost night school places for all in Croydon.

We want to enable the people of Croydon to become an even more highly trained workforce.  Giving staff an incentive and helping hand to undertake training will drive up skills in the council.  People undertaking training of their own choice and in their own time will feel more invested in learning.

A breakdown of Croydon’s Budget is at: https://www.croydon.gov.uk/sites/default/files/articles/downloads/Budget%20Book%202015-16.pdf.  This shows for that year outside of educational services Croydon Council employs 2806 FTEs, at a total cost of £125,168,000.

If all staff took up the full £300 voucher it would cost £841,000 or 0.67% of the staff Budget. This cost would be offset against existing training budgets and phased in over three years to fit within existing planned budgets.

Discover Our Top Priorities for Croydon

From protecting essential services to bringing government closer to local people, we have a clear set of priorities that all future elected UKIP councillors will work towards.

Find out about our top priorities

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