My ideas to end business as usual and enable our town to achieve its potential.
1. A council that listens and responds with action
Our political system is broken and the council is not fit for purpose.
Croydon’s crisis has been a failure of leadership, a failure to listen and a failure to open up and involve. The old way of making decisions was isolated, fearful and stuck in the Town Hall. What we need to do is enable everyone to speak up, contribute, connect, collaborate and collectively decide. Putting you and your community back at the centre of democracy will be my first action.
I’ll ensure your voice is heard through:
- A permanent Croydon Citizens Assembly to shape decision-making for the borough on key issues and ensure residents are at the table when decisions are made
- Participatory budgeting to make sure the money is being spent in the right way on the right things and Croydon is financially stable and works for local neighbourhoods
- A review of the Local Plan with residents, genuine listening on development and ensuring officers do the right thing. Piloting devolution of planning decisions
2. A green economy – restoring the heart of our town
Climate justice is also the social justice issue of our times and will be central to my Mayoralty.
Covid and the lockdown have been more challenging if you have limited space or no access to a garden, a park or the countryside. And we know that our air quality is incredibly poor – this cannot be allowed to continue and tackling it will help us get to Net Zero!
I’ll restore and green the heart of our town:
- Take a new approach to regenerating the town centre and restoring prosperity. Westfield must take action or get out of the way. A redevelopment that works for our community by prioritising local, independent enterprises and ethical businesses and attractive green spaces with event locations accessible to all
- Develop walking and cycling routes to connect our town centre and our neighbourhood centres and tree cover will be expanded to improve the air and keep urban centres cooler
- Set up Green Jobs Croydon – a collaborative programme between council, education and business to make Croydon a place that creates jobs and expertise to tackle the climate crisis focused on our commercial and retail sectors
- Create a Croydon Nature Service – providing the Borough’s young people with training and skills in restoring nature and contributing to the rejuvenation of Croydon’s parks and green spaces
- Make Croydon a home of good employers through an expanded employers’ charter, committing to a real Living Wages and good conditions, enabled through a “Preston Model” of rewarding companies that invest in community wealth
3. Connected communities – ending isolation, enabling good health
COVID-19 has been an unprecedented health emergency which has disconnected us.
The pain of losing loved ones has affected too many and shone a light on the crowded housing, increased infection rates and deprivation that has made the disease more deadly, especially in our black and ethnic communities. Exhaustion, isolation and disconnection have impacted us all.
I’ll ensure that communities are connected and supported to recover:
- Establish Croydon Cares – a service connecting young and old to combat social isolation and support mental health
- Develop Croydon Food Hubs, to tackle food poverty and enable people to connect to community support for good cooking and good food
- Create “Community Connect” centres across the borough to share information, connect council and community support; enable diverse communities learn new skills from each other
4. Homes for people, not profit and creating safe neighbourhoods
Developers, slum landlords and unsafe streets have kept communities powerless and stopped us from being involved in shaping our local area. Far too often the result has been poor quality neighbourhoods.
I’ll ensure community power is at the heart of development and making our areas safer:
- Create housing co-ops to enable people to take charge of housing contracts and ensure the neglect of tenants at Regina Road never happens again
- Establish a Croydon Landlords Charter, providing the license to operate in the Borough, setting out tenants’ rights and responsibilities, and holding bad landlords to account
- Ensure community-led planning visits for proper involvement in key developments
- Support safer streets for each of our neighbourhoods by networking together police, the council and community organisations to dismantle the drugs market, tackle the culture of impunity and challenge authorities to better ensure the safety of women and young people.
5. The best place to grow up – a safe, caring and enabling journey to adulthood
Our young people are dynamic, diverse, energetic and creative but the quality of care, education, support and opportunity isn’t good enough to ensure their talents succeed.
I’ll ensure our young people realise their potential and stay in Croydon to enable our town to thrive:
- Introduce a Teach Croydon offer to attract and keep the brightest and best teachers to Croydon schools
- Ensure Whitgift, Trinity and other private schools open up, providing access to sport facilities for all young people
- Use the Mayoralty to call out unnecessary school exclusions which put our most vulnerable young people at extra risk and instead create a culture genuine inclusion
- Improve access to creativity negotiating better access for all our children and young people to performance and creative spaces in Croydon and the region, maximising the opportunities of Croydon as Borough of Culture, 2023
Let me know your ideas for revival!
Let me know your ideas too so we can take action together and deliver all this and more by 2030, developing a new generation of leaders while we continue to revive our borough.