I love #Croydon – Saif Bonar @bizzyrascal

I LOVE CROYDON is a guest series  for locals to submit videos and written posts talking about all (good) things related to Croydon and the surrounding areas. If you would like to contribute, holla at jonny_rose_23@hotmail.com or @98rosjon on Twitter.

Bizzy Rascal: Wants to counter the negativity around Croydon

Today’s submission is from entrepreneur and go-getter Saif Bonar. Saif is a Croydoner with a MASSIVE passion to see our fine town turned into a vibrant tech-hub. His blog – which charts his progress – can be read here and to see why I first became a supporter, read Saif’s magnum opus here.

N.B. The post is from a hastily-written tweet – but I had to record it here for posterity!

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#croydon. Home for two years. Moved to write something positive about the council to counter the negative crap flying around, but will also be balanced and offer criticism where due..

In my short time as a resident I have used a broad range of services from the council. I don’t begrudge paying council tax, as I feel the services I have received are worth what I have paid.

Before living in Croydon I lived in LB Bromley and LB Lambeth. Croydon staff have been the most helpful and professional. The bar is actually rather high. At Bromley and Lambeth almost everything went via Capita and was often ballsed up in one way or another.

I am pleasantly surprised by the efficiency with which Croydon manages its services with an in-house team of civil servants.

I will summarise below:

Building Control and Planning
Have had cause to communicate with them on various issues. Always polite, professional and incredibly helpful. Knowledgeable, fast and if they were a commercial outfit they would be one of the best. They run a tight ship and know their stuff. Cannot fault them. Same day inspections, fonts of knowlegde by phone. A real credit!

Contact Centre
Never been kept waiting for hours on the phone, but if I go into the hub at the wrong time of day it can be busy and have had to wait up to 45 minutes. Too long, but was informed of the wait time accurately on arrival and told other times which may be quieter if I did not want to wait. Can’t do much better than that, saving over staffing and wasting considerable money during quiet periods.

Environmental Health
Professional, fast to respond, positive experience to emails.

Parking Services
Generally very good, if a little inflexible. Overzealous in on-street parking charges and attempts to extend CPZ’s. Sub-contractor wardens have some attitudinal issues but in-house ones are very professional, polite, friendly and approachable. Room for improvement in policies such as issuing of permits. Should charge much, much, more for 3rd and 4th parking permits (think in the region of £750 for #3 and £1250 for #4) on a single property. If you can afford a fleet of vehicles, you should be able to afford a suitably large house with driveway.

Waste Management
Waddon road facility is excellent but surprisingly easy to use (no ID, permits, etc checked, ever in about 100+ trips). Good to recycle tetrapak there, but rarely bother – too much effort. Bin collections, recycling etc – spot on. Green waste collection, great but could be extended into autumn (although decomposing leaves are good for the soil). Father was staying and diabetic, so needed sharps waste collection – arranged promptly and professionally.

Leisure
The facilities operated by Fusion are competitively priced. It’s cheaper to join a commercial facility like fitness first etc. surprised there isn’t something in central Croydon.

Arts & Culture
Lots of cuts, understandable, money needs to be freed up, but more effort to encourage and support community groups to take on management, costs and commercialise facilities like ClockTower would be a good thing.

Traffic
Wow.. don’t get me started. Nightmare. Lots of room for improvement.

Public Realm
A few thousand gallons of dulux would do wonders to brighten up Wellesley road, underpasses, St Georges Walk and improve the realm without spending tens of millions.

Town Centre/BID
Good progress – but worth upping security presence in and around Whitgift, Centrale and pedestrianised areas and taking a leaf from The Glades in Bromley – PCSOs and Security do not allow groups of kids to gather or loiter. Its a shopping centre, not a playground.. buy your Mcdonalds, do your shopping and move on!

For all those bemoaning the Tory controlled council (and I am not a Tory) be careful what you wish for, it could be worse, you could live in Lambeth! Then you really would get a flavour of incompetence and mismanagement.

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About jonathanrose

Raconteur. Intellectual. Showerman.
This entry was posted in I LOVE Croydon (Guest bloggers) and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to I love #Croydon – Saif Bonar @bizzyrascal

  1. Thanks Jonny. I mistyped the bit about leisure.. meant to say Fusion are not competitively priced. I find them a bit of a let-down actually. Tried using their services in Lambeth, Southwark and Croydon and found them well below par. Norwood Leisure centre is also pretty sub-standard. Thankfully the private sector has stepped up to the plate and there is an abundance of competitively priced facilities including the easyjet style, no frills gym on Purley Way (near Ikea) and the basic, but nice Addington Country Club. Not yet tried other offerings, but there is plenty.

  2. S.L.R says:

    Thanks, glad to hear of the budget gym on Purley Way – might try it. Love the blog by the way, especially the I Love Croydon series!

  3. Great to hear positive outlook on things from someone relatively new to Croydon. Refreshing Saif,

    Wendy

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