Allders and Croydon Town Regeneration
Monday, 02 July 2012 00:00
Speech at Croydon's Council Meeting:
It is more in sorrow than anger in which I rise to second this motion. Although my contribution will be infused with optimism for our Town. First of all our thoughts and efforts should be directed at those whose livelihoods are threatened, the employees and the concessions. Neither party deserves the situation they find themselves in, nor when I spoke, particularly to the concessions, was I struck by their very Croydon like positivity in difficult circumstances.
I have also been impressed how others, have rallied around to try to prevent, what became the inevitable.
It is a point of regret that the dire situation was revealed at the 11th hour, and we must try to understand why that was.
The last minute notice of events will be also commented on elsewhere, and if indeed Allders is reduced to ashes, they must be raked over and lessons must be learnt, and accountability apportioned.
As you would expect, the Mayor, and City Hall was made aware immediately and involved in the discussions. I personally had conversations with the mayor’s Chief of Staff and deputy mayor for regeneration, and senior City Hall officers were present at those meetings. The Mayor was kept informed.
Gavin Barwell involved Government at the highest levels.
But that sense of frustration is and was tangible. I am no company law expert, but why were we all not called in to help earlier?
If ever there was a motion that lent itself for cross party support, this is one, and I know that those most damaged by this turn of events will expect us all to put differences aside and work for the common good. Such is my sunny disposition that will be the case.
Whatever phoenix rises from the ashes of the present Allders, is as yet unknown, but I remain optimistic.
And optimistic not just in the particular but in the general.
Optimistic for the prosperity of Croydon and its people.
We head towards the anniversary of last august’s tragic events, and I sense that the renaissance of our Town is already tangible.
The significant financial support by the Mayor is taking form, and I am delighted that his Deputy Mayor for Regeneration and Jobs will be joining me and others very soon in our Town to see for himself the great steps that are being taken.
Two premier league international companies are scrapping each other to invest hundreds of millions of pounds in our town.
I am sure, that whichever company succeeds, that those that are lucky enough to be sitting here in 8 years time will be able to steal out in boredom when I am delivering another turgid speech to shop in a new fantastic shopping centre just up the road, and marvel at the vibrancy, prosperity and the many hundreds of new jobs that it has created.
I believe that the vision of prosperity and jobs that we all hold, for families ranging from Coulsdon up to Norbury, from Waddon across to New Addington is achievable. And that despite the country’s difficult financial situation.
So colleagues, Croydon demands the facts behind this sorry tale, but also Croydon deserves and demands a prosperous future. I am confident that at last we have arrived, somewhat bruised, on the cusp of a new dawn for our town. I support the motion.