In an about turn Tory Leader Mike Fisher has welcomed the report produced by the Independent Commission on Croydon North Streets and has promised to convene a cross-[arty scrutiny panel to consider its recommendations. This came in the form of a letter to Commission Chair Nero Ughwujabo (CEO of the Croydon BME Forum). At the Council meeting on 27 January Fisher was denying that the Commission was independent. The letter will be posted on the Commission website. Nero read out the letter at the launch of the report on Thursday 6 February at the Town Hall.
The launch was well attended including by Steve Reed and some Labour Councillors, members of local organisations like the Communities Consortium, Croydon Citizen and Croydon Radio, Labour Councillors and many members of the public who had either attended Commission public meetings or were among the 300 people who submitted written views.
Labour Leader Tony Newman welcomed the report, saying that action to improve the streets was going to be a top priority for a Labour controlled Council. He would be calling for an emergency Council meeting to discuss the report to be held before the period in which the Council has to stop having meetings in the run up to the local elections in May.
I congratulated the Commission on the fact that its recommendations are common sense. Because they have cost implications, the room for manoeuvre will be difficult because of the reduced budget for 2014-15, and that pressure will continue to need to be put on the political parties. It would help if the Consortium meeting on Rubbish on 12 February was well attended. I also pointed out the importance of Cllr Fisher’s about face.
Summary of Recommendations
The recommendations in summary form are:
· Removal of the £10 charge for bulky items disposal
· Provision of larger communal bins in areas of very high-density population
· Improve publicity that larger bins are available for larger households
· Increases the number of public litter bins
· Increase the frequency of emptying public litter bins
· Re-consider whether weekly bin collections are appropriate where there is a high number of multiple-occupancy dwellings
· Street cleaning should take place after the weekly bin collection.
· Ensure that small businesses all have appropriate waste management licenses.
· Waste management be a key factor in agreeing licences for new business premises.
· Reassess the provision of blue and green boxes given items inside boxes are often blown out.
· The Council should be proactive in contacting and supporting Residents Associations who make local efforts to clean up their areas .
· Reinstatement of support for Residents Association clean-up campaigns.
· Review the approach to enforcement.
· Reassess the street cleaning provision following large events.
· Work with landlords to ensure that properties with a high turnover of tenants are not dumping furniture when their tenancies end.
· Brighter lights may discourage fly-tipping in problem areas.
· Continually run a Keep Croydon Clean campaign.
· Jet wash streets regularly to remove slime and chewing gum.
· Croydon Congress should consider Croydon North as a topic for discussion.
· The two main parties should consider reflecting the findings and recommendations in their Manifestos.
The full report will be posted on the Commission website: http://croydonnorthstreetscommission.com.
Consortium 12 February Meeting on Rubbish. See http://croydoncc.wordpress.com.