It is just over a year since the people of Croydon elected me as their first Executive Mayor. When I took office last May I pledged that I would to listen to residents and, in my first 12 months I’ve begun to deliver real change on the issues you told me matter most.
I’ve taken robust action to tackle Croydon’s financial problems and the £1.6bn toxic debt that I inherited. This has meant taking tough decisions, including around council tax, and working with Government to find a long-term solution to our financial issues. We are making strong progress in rebuilding our Council to deliver good services, and value for money.
Clean, safe streets were a top priority and in my first week I reinstated the graffiti service to tackle the blight on our town centres, parks and public spaces. Last summer I boosted the grass-cutting programme in our parks and green spaces and I am working with residents to shape a new contract for waste collection and street cleaning.
To make Croydon safer for everyone, I introduced a new Public Spaces Protection Order in the town centre to give the police extra powers to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour, and I am continuing to work in close partnership with the police and community leaders to tackle youth violence and help young people stay safe.
In addition to getting these basics right, it is a top priority for me to move forward Croydon’s regeneration and bring in vital investment to our borough. From working with Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield to progress the Whitgift redevelopment, to working with our cultural partners to deliver Croydon’s year as London Borough of Culture – which is bringing in an additional £4m of external investment. I’m working to get our borough back on the map for the right reasons, and to make sure we grow in a way that is right for everyone in Croydon, I’ve taken action to transform planning policy and make sure future development is sustainable and respects our unique character with sensitive design.
I’ve accelerated the pace on improving council housing, working closely with tenants and leaseholders to improve the services we provide. I approved the new Residents’ Charter developed by our tenants and leaseholders setting out the standard of customer care I want the Council to deliver. Residents have also been at the heart of developing our new repairs contract, putting their priorities firmly at the heart of this service. On the Regina Road estate in South Norwood, tenants are being balloted on whether to demolish the ageing tower blocks and rebuild them – addressing the unacceptable conditions that were ignored for so long.
I’ve pulled together a quick video on these achievements and my aims as we move forward together, which you can watch here.
Whilst real progress has been made this year, we have much, much more to do. I am looking forward to continuing to listen and work with all of you to get our borough back on track, restore pride in Croydon and make it the fantastic place I know it can be.
Executive Mayor of Croydon