I’m Jason Perry and I’m standing to be the first directly elected Mayor of Croydon.
First and foremost I’m a Croydonian, born and bred, who started life in a bed sit in South Croydon before moving to a Council house in Hamsey Green. Croydon provided me with the best start in life, state educated in Croydon schools, learnt to swim at Thornton Heath Pool, spent hours at Upper Norwood and Purley libraries and I remember the bustle of a thriving Whitgift shopping centre and Surrey Street market - and I'm a lifelong Crystal Palace fan to boot.
I’m not a career politician, I run my own business locally and understand how tough it is to survive in a competitive, post-pandemic world. I employ local people and form part of the local economy. I know about the day to day management of a SME from finance to contract management and HR to name but a few.
That's why I'm running to be the first Directly Elected Mayor of Croydon - to fix the deep problems Labour have inflicted on my home town since 2014.
After eight years of a Labour Council, Croydon has been brought to its knees through their terrible choices.
A Council in disarray following the issuing of two S114 notices (effectively bankruptcy notices) and two Reports in the Public Interest raising damning issues with the financial governance of the Council, including the unlawful act of avoiding procurement law. Borrowing has spiralled out of control with debt now sitting at £1.6 billion, £16,000 borrowed for every hour that Labour have been in office, including £30 million to buy a hotel, £50 million to buy a shopping precinct, £200 million lent to their wholly owned developer Brick by Brick. A further £70 million has been wasted on a botched refurbishment of the Fairfield Halls, which should not have cost taxpayers a penny. Labour have designed planning policies that have seen the rampant demolition of family homes and loss of green and amenity space across the borough in favour of ugly blocks, destroying local character. Our housing tenants have been left in horrendous conditions, with the Council exposed on national television as a slum landlord. Crime is out of control with five young lives lost on Croydon streets last year, a tragedy that cannot be repeated. Our roads and district centres are dirty with mattresses to be found on most street corners, whilst the graffiti has become its own epidemic across the borough, giving the feel of a place that is unloved and in decline. The opportunities of £1.5 billion of inward investment through the Westfield development have also been squandered, which would have provided 5000 jobs, 400 homes and a destination shopping centre to rival the best.
Despite all this, at its heart Croydon remains a great and resilient borough with wonderful communities who have not given up. There is hope, there is a better way and I believe I can provide the leadership to drive Croydon forward again with our partners and residents.
- I will fix the finances by bearing down on overspends and managing our multi million £ contracts properly. Rather than salami slicing budgets which tend to hurt those most in need of Council support we must transform how we deliver our services, seeking best practice from other local authorities that are not in trouble. We must stop borrowing and we must stop playing monopoly with taxpayers hard earnt cash.
- In order to address the imbalance in planning I will drop the dreaded design guide that is driving so much destruction of homes in our borough and revisit the Local Plan, so that I can remove the intensification zones designed to further destroy the character of Croydon. For too long planning has been density led in Croydon and we need to get back to a design led approach that respects the wonderful character found across the borough.
- I will restore the graffiti removal team and crack down on the cleaning of our streets. Contractors must deliver the service we pay for or they will be fined.
- I will adopt the ‘Tenants’ Charter’ written by Council tenants, putting them back at the heart of our housing service. Our tenants must be treated with respect and basic repairs must be dealt with promptly before they become bigger issues.
- I will work with the Police to tackle crime and violence. Too many young people are being excluded from our schools, often leading them into a life of gangs and criminal activity. I will work with community groups to provide mentors for our young people excluded from schools so that they do not feel that they have no hope and support. I will also work with schools and other partners to ensure that we have early intervention in order to break the school exclusion ‘pipeline’.
- I will work with Westfield and Hammerson to get the town centre regeneration back on track. Croydon has so much to offer and we need to revitalise our town centre with a mix of retail, jobs, education, homes and culture to put Croydon back on the map. Inward investment and new shops and businesses will bring an uplift in business rates that will feed into the Council for the provision of better services.
- I will re-open Purley Pool and Leisure Centre. This has been fully costed and will come from unallocated community infrastructure levy monies and will not impact on any other services. This will restore much needed facilities for health and wellbeing and will bring increased footfall to the district centre.
This election will be a game changer for Croydon and I believe I have the experience, the policies and the passion to put Croydon back on the road to recovery.
There is hope for Croydon and I can restore pride in our borough to once again make it a great place to live, work and stay.
Please vote for me, Jason Perry, on 5th May 2022.
For each section of my manifesto there is a short summary on this page, but for the full detail please click on the link for each section.