Saturday, March 29, 2008

Letter to the editor on Croydon Vision 2020





Iylo Tower, Wellesley Square




28.03.08

Dear Editor,


This year is a landmark for the world’s population. For the first time half will live in cities and urban areas. After nearly 50 years of decline London’s population has increased to around 7.5 million people. Croydon is London’s most populated borough with some 350,000 inhabitants. The idea of being identified as ‘London’s Third City’ is not without merit if one considers the sheer size of the borough and the Council’s vertical vision of central Croydon; commonly known as Croydon Vision 2020.

Belatedly, we are finally being given an opportunity to express our views in a Croydon Council consultation on this rush to “build ‘em big and build ‘em high.” Unsurprisingly, this consultation has gone unnoticed due to poor publicity. Could this be the reason why the consultation’s summary leaflet has the closing date for comments of 31st March crossed out and a new date of 14th April handwritten in pen?

Much of the usual slanging between the Labour and Conservative councillors covered by this paper has been over the number of affordable homes in the proposed central Croydon developments, in particular Wellesley Square. I find it incredible that the Planning Committee have allowed a tower with 739 dwellings to have a mere 10 per cent or around 74 falling in the affordable category. The minimum should be 60 per cent. Additionally, shop rents need be at a level to attract independent retailers that keep profits within Croydon and not send them to remote corporate headquarters.

Further, there has been little discussion about how these developments could be built sustainably with low energy consumption. High oil prices, fuel security and climate change are already problems but in12 years time they will be of even more acute. Council regulations only require 10 per cent of a new developments’ energy to be generated from on site renewables and I understand that developers are looking for ways to circumvent this in order to reduce costs. Yet, in China, they are building ‘zero energy’ skyscrapers. Who is playing catch up? Any new development in Croydon should employ every technique available to meet its own energy demands.

As well as the central Croydon consultation, I hope readers realise that there is another ‘public consultation’ in a few weeks time. The GLA elections will give residents in London and Croydon an opportunity to shape the environment for themselves and their children. To put it simply, voters can choose if they want a bright Green future built on ethical and sustainable foundations or a dangerous and uncertain one formed on tokenism and short term thought.

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan
Croydon Green Party



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Monday, March 17, 2008

Post office closure letter

14.03.08

Dear Editor,

Along with Kingston, Croydon will have the highest number of compulsory closures if Post Office Ltd has their way.
My local post office on Bensham Lane is one of those that is earmarked for closure. If it disappears then I am concerned that we will end up with a parade of boarded up shops because the businesses adjacent to it will lose valuable passing trade.
The postmaster Sunil Patel wants to remain open but unlike previous rounds of closure these are compulsory. Together we have organised a petition and printed posters for his shop window.
This is what it has come to. We have to show Post Office Limited’s Network Development Manager, the now infamous Anita Turner, that our local post office deserves to stay open, possibly instead of one in Ealing or Hackney or even, perish the thought, one of the others in Croydon. It is a sad state of affairs. The problem is that the powers that be just do not recognise how vital our local post offices are. They have starved and broken up the network in order to open up this vital service to European competition – a full three years before any other nation in the EU. For example Royal Mail cannot reciprocate by making a bid for mail delivery in Germany or Holland as German and Dutch law forbids it.

Post Offices are more than just businesses that can be simply axed at will in the quest for profits. These are vital local services which help define our communities. The elderly, disabled and those with young children that need a local post office will be most affected by these proposals.

We must fight these closures otherwise I fear that our post offices will become a **distant** memory.

Yours sincerely


Shasha Khan
Croydon Green Party

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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Croydon Green Party on the 130 bus



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LDA Masterplan for Crystal Palace Park - object now!

The LDA Planning Application for Crystal Palace Park is a 30-year £67.5million ‘Masterplan’ which will set a dangerous precedent in that public parkland is being sold off to build luxury private homes.

Bromley residents should have been notified by Bromley Council of this application. However, many who care about Crystal Palace Park will have no idea of the huge changes planned for the Park by the London Development Agency. These include the construction of at least 180 private luxury housing units on public parkland. Anyone anywhere can object to this planning application.

Please write now and object, the closing date is possibly the 11th March. However there has been some confusion about the dates.

The Crystal Palace Community Association have drafted an objection letter which you can just sign and post, or alter as you see fit. You can download it from http://www.cpca.org.uk/documents/CPCA_Objection_Letter.doc

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FAIR IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR