Thursday, 25 May 2017

Update from Chris Philp - FYI

Dear All,

I enclose below some election and non-election related news I thought might be of interest to you.
Hunting
There have been some press reports about whether the ban on hunting foxes with dogs will be subject to a Parliamentary vote after the election. If there were such a vote it would be a “free vote” in Parliament, meaning the political parties would not take a position. People have asked me how I would personally vote on this issue if re-elected and if it comes up. So in the interests of full transparency: I would vote against any change in the law – that is, I would vote to leave the hunting ban in place as it is currently.
Planning
This week and next week, hearings are being held on the draft “Local Plan” by a Planning Inspector. This document was produced by the council and contains various planning policies for the next 10 years. I have been strongly opposing some of the things in it, and I’ve taken time off from the campaign trail to make my own representations in person to the Inspector at the Town Hall. These include opposing the planned “intensification” near All Saints Church in Sanderstead (I can think of few places less suitable for “medium rise buildings”) and around Kenley station, opposing the proposed Gypsy & Traveller site by the Purley Oaks tip and of course opposing the Purley Skyscraper (which will, after my intervention, be the subject of a separate public enquiry later this year but is in the Local Plan too). I have also made written submissions asking that the protection of Crohamhurst, Sanderstead Plantation and Purley Downs Golf course be maintained. The results of the Planning Inspector’s work on the Local Plan will be known in a few month’s time.
The Labour-run council has recently granted some awful planning consents, against the strong wishes of local residents. This has included the Purley Skyscraper, flats on Norman Avenue near Purley Oaks station, on Montpelier Road in Purley and Tollers in Old Coulsdon besides dozens of smaller but still intrusive schemes. If re-elected, I intend to step up the campaign to ask the council to stop doing this to our neighbourhood.
Southern Rail
I am very pleased to report that the work to upgrade the signals and points on our track has now started. This is being funded with the £300 million which I obtained from the Government after arranging a meeting with the Prime Minister last December. This should lead to fewer breakdowns and therefore fewer delays.
The other piece of vital infrastructure work is to widen the track around East Croydon and to grade separate the Windmill Junction near Selhurst. This is the pinch point on the entire Brighton mainline and would increase capacity by 30% and avoid many of the current delays. I have been assured that this is a top priority for the next major capital works programme (called “Control Period 6” which starts in 2019), and if re-elected I will stay on top of making sure that this promise gets delivered.
It is disappointing that the industrial dispute is not yet over. I will keep up the pressure to resolve this dispute, but I am pleased to see in the manifesto my idea that on strike days a minimum service must still be run. I will push to make sure this is delivered and also continue to push for the franchise to be broken up if re-elected.
Croydon Schools Funding
There has been some misinformation circulated about school funding which I am keen to correct. The proposed National Funding Formula re-distributes funding to correct some historic unfairness. Croydon schools actually benefit, as Croydon has been historically underfunded. For example, Woodcote High will get a 10% increase (worth £500,000 a year), Riddlesdown will get a 10% increase and Oasis Coulsdon a 12% increase. Primary schools benefit too. Some inner London schools would have lost out because they had been over-funded historically but there has now been a manifesto commitment that no school anywhere would get a funding cut (Croydon is unaffected by this as we are getting increases anyway). In addition to this, the Conservatives just announced an extra £4 billion for schools in their manifesto, meaning that the overall schools budgets will rise faster than inflation.
Purley Hospital

From 1st April, the morning opening hours at the Minor Injury Unit / GP Hub have been restored. 

The Unit is now open 8am to 8pm 365 days a year. This followed a long campaign by local residents and me, and I am delighted it has finally borne fruit. They can treat most injuries short of a bone fracture and you can walk straight in, although they encourage people to call 111 first. While the Purley Hospital X-Ray facility is open (roughly speaking, during office hours) an immediate referral can be made to it. It is vital that people use the new facility so that we don’t lose it again – please pass this on to your friends and neighbours so that they know that they can use the facility if needed.

Meanwhile at Croydon University Hospital (Mayday) work is currently underway on a £21m new A&E department. This is due to open in a few months’ time and will offer more capacity and a state-of-the-art service. This is good news for the whole Borough.

I hope that this was a useful update.

With best wishes,
 

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