I am pleased that the council have finally come to their senses and listened to what shopkeepers, local people and the Green Party have been demanding.
However, by leaving it to the last minute to pass the motion, the council has left itself with an impossible task. Their own motion requires the council to set up a Citizens Panel (or panels) of local people across the borough who can develop potential proposals which would promote sustainability by 31st July!
It’s difficult to comprehend what the councillors were thinking. This debacle implies that the Act was not taken seriously all along and belated attempts to embrace it were an afterthought.
We hear Conservative leader David Cameron constantly talking about a ‘bottom up’ approach to government and who can forget “vote blue go green”? But people that want to see sustainable decisions that secure the vibrancy of our communities, can now see this Tory council is all about ‘top down’ power and to “vote blue is to get blue.”
21.07.09 for immediate release
PRESS RELEASE – “ACT NOW! PART II” Photo Opp.
Photo opp. details:
22nd July. 3pm outside Town Hall,
CROYDON SHOPKEEPERS AND LOCAL CAMPAIGNERS WILL BE ASKING CROYDON COUNCIL ONCE AGAIN TO JOIN OTHER COUNCILS AND ‘OPT IN’ TO THE SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES ACT.
Croydon Green Party campaigners will again stand alongside local shopkeepers calling again on this council to ‘opt in’ (1) to the Sustainable Communities Act (2). This time they will be presenting their petitions with a covering letter to the Town Hall.
This Act of parliament gives communities the opportunity to support local shops and improve the social wellbeing in their area. Individuals from across the borough form a ‘Citizens Panel’ to come up with suggestions to the council. In
Supporting the campaign is Esther Sutton, a local licensee. Her pub the Green Dragon was recently voted best pub in Croydon. Esther said:
“Small businesses are vital for local communities. Pubs in particular often double as ‘community centres’ where people across social strata can socialise, play sports be entertained, do business or gather for important events. The sad fact is that 52 pubs a week* are closing in this country, possibly forced out of business by huge supermarket chains retailing alcohol at impossibly low prices. The Sustainable Communities Act creates more of a level playing field by helping to preserve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of local communities.”
Despite the pressure on Croydon council to ‘opt in’ and ‘Act Now’, the Conservative council has been stalling and even suggested, “the Act doesn’t go far enough.”
Commenting on the council’s recent response, Shasha Khan said:
“Shopkeepers and campaigners read the council’s response in your paper with disdain. Other areas are using the Act to support local businesses. In suggesting that the Act doesn’t go far enough the council are giving a clear signal that their priorities lie with supermarkets and out of town retail parks and they simply do no value local shops.”
Green Party campaigner Amelie Boleyn added:
“The petition gives worried customers an opportunity to express to the council how important local shops are for our communities. Croydon Council must act now so we can give more say to our communities”
Tags croydon, greenparty