This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 10/06/2018.
Croydon Council has just announced its 13 priorities for the next four years
Jobs, safety and housing are key themes of the council’s goals.
On May 3, Croydon’s local elections returned a Labour administration to the borough, and it has now set out the priorities it will look to focus on for the next four years.
The council has released a list of 13 ‘key themes’ that it will look to work on during this time, and how it intends on doing so.
Many of the key themes are already underway, and so these goals are a continuation of this, while also adding new aspects.
The council will aim to continue the work they have done in the past and attempt to make Croydon a better place for its residents
As well as creating jobs and growing the economy, the council is also looking to focus on education and reducing carbon emissions.
Below, we have taken a look at all 13 ‘key themes’ and what they actually mean for the future of the borough.
1. Creating jobs and growing the economy
The council’s first priority is trying to bring more businesses into the borough and therefore create more jobs.
“Croydon is open” is an initiative set out by the council in an attempt to advertise the borough to potential business owners and larger businesses that may not have a Croydon branch.
Perhaps the most obvious sign of this is the new Westfield shopping mall which has a current completion date of 2023 and is likely to bring dozens of new businesses and hundreds of new jobs to the borough.
As well as new businesses, the council says it will be supporting existing businesses, increasing the amount of “good jobs” in the borough.
In particular, there will be a focus on the evening and nighttime economy as it is an area the council feels could thrive.
2. Education and learning
As well as focusing on school and college-age children, lifelong learning is also the main theme within this priority.
The council will attempt to support children throughout their primary and secondary education, and then through their adult years if extra support is needed.
Special needs and disabled children will also be the main focus, making sure schools are inclusive to fulfil particular needs of students.
The main goal of all this is to reduce youth unemployment by trying to give young people a good start in their education.
3. Providing decent and safe homes for all
The council is trying to work towards delivering properties to people from different financial backgrounds, which includes giving advice to anyone needing homes.
The current target is to build 2,000 new homes in the borough, with priority given to current Croydon residents. On top of this, the council wants to buy 250 homes to turn into affordable housing.
Wardens will be introduced into sheltered accommodation, which will help support low-income workers and former service personnel find places to live.
4. A cleaner, greener Croydon
The main aim of this “key theme” is to work with businesses and residents to deal with waste disposal in the borough.
The target is to achieve 50% recycling, which will, in turn, benefit landfill costs. A reduction in the use of single-use plastics will also be a target.
The number of enforcement officers targeting fly-tippers and anyone else not disposing of waste in the correct manner will also be increased.
5. Transport and environment
Short car journeys will be targeted, with residents being encouraged to walk, cycle or take public transport to reduce their emissions.
To support the use of electric cars, 400 new charge points will be built in Croydon in the next four years.
20mph residential road speed limits will be expanded across the borough, and 3,500 new trees will be planted. There is also a plan for the tram network to be extended to Crystal Palace.
6. One borough – many places
The council is looking to increase sanctions on landlords who allow for empty premises on high streets in the borough, and in turn, allowing community groups to use the premises.
They also want to provide more spaces for local communities, and to support local grants in the voluntary sector.
7. Our cultural offer
The aim is for Croydon to be a cultural hub that people will want to visit and a nicer place for those who live and work in the borough at present.
The annual programme of events will grow, and current events like Pridefest will be given extra support to help them grow.
The new Fairfield Halls opening in 2019 will provide a new venue for the borough, and the council wants to promote theatre productions from local groups.
Libraries and cinemas are also on the agenda for increased support.
8. Parks, leisure and sports
The council wants residents to use the parks available to them more and will work with contractors to make the parks more attractive places to go.
Funding and support for Croydon’s allotments will also increase, including finding new spaces for more allotments.
There are plans to establish a Croydon marathon and to develop the Croydon Arena into two centres for football. A new sports centre will be developed on the site of the old Sainsbury’s in Purley, and more outdoor gyms will be installed.
9. Our young people
The focus will mainly be on social care and young people leaving care for the first time.
The council says it will create more opportunities for young people to have their voices heard, starting with an annual youth conference and youth festival.
10. Keeping Croydon safe
Youth violence will be tackled as a public health issue, which will involve creating long-term strategies to help prevent future violence.
A youth community fund will be established to help people under-25 deal with mental health issues, and a borough-wide mentoring scheme for more apprentices will be created.
On top of youth violence, there will be a major focus on knife and sexual crime – including domestic abuse.
11. A fairer Croydon
The council is hoping to increase its current commitments to equality, including seeking workspaces that are inclusive for everyone by using the Government’s “equalities framework”.
There is an aim to keep taxes as low as possible and improve pensions while ensuring workforces are diverse.
All new contracts will be awarded the London Living Wage and all contractors will have to pay the London Living Wage to anyone working for them.
There will also be a continued investment in the voluntary sector.
12. Managing within means
The goal is to work with individuals and families who are worried about losing their homes or finding it hard to live well.
The council is supporting affordable local banking and also bereavement services for local people.
13. A healthier Croydon
The council intends to invest in young people’s mental health and the ability for people to live safely.
There will be a push for new builds to be lifetime homes, meaning someone can live in the house throughout their lives as their health changes.
A childcare deposit loan scheme will be introduced alongside a child care cooperative to help parents and families use council services.