Here is an update on various things that I have been working on locally and nationally on behalf of our neighbourhood.
Budget 2020 – Great news for the High Street
I was very pleased the Chancellor announced the abolition of Business Rates for every single small and medium sized shop for the next year, ahead of a fundamental Business Rates review. This is a massive boost for high street shops, which they have been crying out for. I first proposed this to Philip Hammond when he was Chancellor a couple of years ago and I am glad this has now been done. This followed a campaign started by Purley shopkeepers who raised this with me, and I then campaigned in Parliament and Government to get it done. We first got a one-third cut in Business Rates for small shops, and now we have seen complete abolition for the next year!
Purley Skyscraper – update
There was a second Public Inquiry in December for the proposed Purley Skyscraper, a 17 storey tower block that the council’s Labour administration has previously approved. I spoke at the this inquiry to oppose the plans (again) and I have been informed that the independent planning inspector’s report will be published by May this year. I am crossing my fingers we get the result we all want. I have been against this skyscraper since it was first proposed. It would be totally out of character with the local area and set a terrible precedent.
A Directly Elected Mayor for Croydon
The resident-led campaign for a Directly Elected Mayor of Croydon (DEMOC) is continuing and I would like to thank everyone who has already printed and signed the petition. If you have not already, then you can download the petition here – https://democ.org.uk/sign-petition?download=2:petition A DEM is the only way to make the Council listen to us, especially on planning issues. Unfortunately, the Council is refusing to accept electronic copies of the petition, so please make sure you print the petition and send it back in hard copy.
The Council’s leader, who is unsurprisingly against the proposal, has finally decided to address the campaign. You can read my full rebuttal of his claims here – https://www.chrisphilp.com/how-a-directly-elected-mayor-ca…/ – however, in short a Directly Elected Executive Mayor would have vital influence over planning decisions in the borough, and help put a stop to the planning madness.
I have received a lot of correspondence from residents about Coronavirus / COVID-19. The Government is acting on the best medical and scientific advice which will be updated on a regular basis. In any event, it is vital for everyone to regularly wash their hands with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds. Only call 111 if you cannot get information online. I have met with the CEO of Croydon University Hospital (Mayday) to discuss his plans to deal with Covid in Croydon and I will be monitoring the situation closely. In the mean time I am suspending my tours of Parliament.
Lily Pad Appeal
Local charity the Lily Pad Appeal is launching its Great Croydon 5k, a five kilometre park walk to raise £750,000 for a Children’s Oncology Unit at Croydon University Hospital. If you would like to take part in this important fundraiser, there are more details here: www.chartwellcancertrust.co.uk/lily-pad The Great Croydon 5k Sponsored Walk will be in Lloyd Park, and entrants will be asked to pay £5. The run will take place on 7th June.
Parks Protection Pledge
I recently signed the Parks Protection Pledge for our green areas. It’s vital that we continue to protect our green areas, especially in Croydon where the Labour Council has repeatedly looked to lower their protection status. You can read more about the Parks Protection Pledge here – http://www.fieldsintrust.org/pledge
Stopping the automatic release of terrorists
Last month I took a Bill through the House of Commons to prevent the automatic release of terrorist offenders before they reach the end of their sentences. A video of part of my speech is here: https://youtu.be/r9HhXOm90I4