COUNCILLORS were accused of only being interested in their own wards and their own areas at an election hustings meeting at the Queens hotel on Wednesday.
Bryher Scudamore, a trustee of Upper Norwood library, told a panel of 10 current and would-be councillors:
“All of you represent Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood and once again you have demonstrated you are only interested in your own wards and areas.
“You don’t get together..”Be bigger than just being a borough person – help us with our community” she told the meeting organised by Crystal Palace and Norwood Chamber of Commerce and attended by around 70 people.
Graham Pycock, a former chairman of the Upper Norwood library joint committee who is standing for the Conservatives in Lambeth’s Thurlow Park ward,said he knew how hard it was to get boroughs to work closely together.
“They do not.
“Under the London Act we can create a planning forum for Upper Norwood and easily use a plan that could bring the boroughs together.
“They could be working together if only they put their party political differences to one side.”
From the floor Richard Steele asked: “How do you propose getting councils working together for Crystal Palace and ensure there’s sufficient resources for community infrastructure?”
Soiuthwark Cllr Helen Hayes (Lab, College ward) said it was a question which cuts to the heart of the Crystal Palace problem.
“Its also the case that out of that problem has come a very strong, pro-active lively,local community.
“We need to think about new ways to bring people together. “I’ve heard talk about developing a neighbourhood plan for Crystal Palace. “That’s something I’m very happy to get involved in.
Croydon Cllr Steve O’Connell who is also GLA member for Croydon and Sutton, said that after the elections they needed the Mayor to roll up his sleeves and knock some corporate heads together. “You have the difficulty of holding the individual boroughs to account.
“What we need post-May is a Crystal Palace summit involving the Mayor. “People up here want independence.”
Bromley Cllr Tom Papworth (Lib Dem Crystal Palace) said people who lived in the area didn’t care where the lines on a map were drawn.
“A parish council is a great ambition to work on. “It would be great at co-ordinating activity, a campaign that’s blind to borders, getting together among ourselves..”
Cllr Pat Ryan, who has represented Upper Norwood for 22 years, said that over the last seven or eight years the Upper Norwood / Crystal Palace area had become a forgotten area by Croydon council in particular.
“I like the Crystal Palace area. “It’s a vibrant place but according to English Heritage it’s a conservation area at risk because of the lack of investment by Croydon council.”
Opening proceedings Robbie Gibson of the Crystal Palace and Norwood Chamber of Commerce said: “Crystal Palace can do things for itself – it has set up the Transition Town food market which is one year old on Saturday.”.
That had created new local jobs and businesses and food growing.
“The subway group (Friends of the Subway) has funding, the Upper Norwood library trust has set up a registered charity and raised £60,000; and the Overground Festival is a brilliant showcase of local talent.
“But we want all our local politicians to be working together to improve Crystal Palace.”
He warned that people should never underestimate Crystal Palace – as Liverpoool FC had found to their cost. (Laughter) .
(Late Result: Crystal Palace 3 Liverpool 3)