At Wednesday’s meeting of the Addiscombe, Ashburton and Woodside Neighbourhood Partnership residents voted overwhelmingly to reject Croydon Council’s proposals to withdraw funding and staff support from the Neighbourhood Partnership.
Cllr Vidhi Mohan, the Conservative cabinet member responsible for the decision, attended the meeting to explain why they were proposing these cuts. He argued that large cuts needed to be made across the council, and with the new “Big Society” agenda, it was better that residents and local group decide how they organise their community rather than by council diktat. He suggested that neighbourhood partnership group could continue, and if properly constituted could apply for a grass roots grant, upto £5,000, to help with their costs.
At the meetings, local residents and local councillors pressed the Cabinet Member about the timing and manner of this announcement, and the lack of transition funding. All agreed that neighbourhood partnerships could be improved, and the areas they covered needs reviewing, but many made the point that large parts of the existing partnerships don’t have residents associations to represent them, and there will be a local democratic deficit if the partnership are abolished.
Paul Scott and Sean Fitzsimons, local councillors for Addiscombe and Woodside Wards, pressed Councillor Mohan over the lack of credibility over the consultation proposals, when other consultation events made no different to the final outcome.
During the course of the 2-hour meeting local residents expressed disappointment and anger at the council’s proposals. Many expressed the concerns about the “cabinet roadshows” which would be nothing more than a publicity tour for the Conservative Cabinet members.
At the end of the meeting, a vote was held on whether to support or reject the the proposals. All, bar one person, voted to oppose the proposal. Local resident and Ashburton Conservative Councillor, Adam Kellett, abstained on the vote, saying he had come to the meeting to listen to the debate.