Friday, February 02, 2007

The letter which is causing a stir

link to letter in Croydon Guardian


Dear Editor,

On polling day, many Bensham Manor residents will, through custom and habit, vote Labour and return another Labour councillor. As a result Labour will continue to take the residents for granted, the Conservative Council will ignore them and the current state of neglect will continue.

As a candidate in the forthcoming Bensham Manor by election, I have spoken to many hundreds of residents about the quality of life in the ward. What is increasingly apparent is the complete lack of investment and council concern for people who live in the ward. This is not solely down to the Conservatives: the greater part of this happened while Croydon had a Labour Council i.e. when its three Labour Bensham Manor councillors actually had influence!

Under Labour a decision was made to update the street lighting to a more effective system in five areas of Croydon. Bensham Manor was NOT one of them. Significantly, the wards that were selected included the most marginal wards of Waddon and Norbury - both major targets for Croydon Conservatives. Additionally, South Norwood, another ward within striking distance for the Conservatives, was also selected. As a result, we now have the bizarre situation where, on one particular street, the half that is in Norbury has had its lighting updated and the half that falls in Bensham Manor has not!

We’ve seen the same pattern with recycling: a month before the 2006 council elections, Labour introduced a kerbside recycling ‘trial’ in four wards in Croydon. I remember this well because this was cynically marketed as a borough wide expansion. Again, two of the selected wards were Waddon and Norbury - the most marginal seats- and another was the Tory target of Addiscombe.

Sadly, the situation is unlikely to change under the Conservatives. I recently enquired about the new council’s next move in relation to the inherited recycling ‘trial’. I found that the trial had been successful and the improved kerbside collections were being made permanent - in Waddon, Norbury and Addiscombe. Bensham Manor will have to wait till the back end of the year.

As for street lighting, the consultant employed by the council told me that the street lighting would be updated, using a costly Private Finance Initiative scheme, in between 2009/10 and 2015. (Note how the timing conveniently coincides with the 2010 council elections.)

I’m not a gambling man but I bet I know which end of the time scale Bensham Manor’s lighting will be updated. Isn’t it about time we got back to delivering local services on the basis of community need, not political expediency?

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan
Green Party (Candidate for Bensham Manor)

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