On 9 July 2019, a public meeting was held in Christchurch, Purley to discuss whether there was sufficient interest in proceeding with a campaign for a democratically elected mayor of Croydon. This article does not constitute official minutes of the meeting, but is nevertheless believed to be accurate.

Out of around 50-60 people present, the vast majority of residents agreed that a DEMOC would benefit the community. There were only 3 abstentions and 3 residents who objected.

The meeting had attendees from across the political spectrum and representing all areas of Croydon. Wide-ranging support came from both conservative and labour representatives.

To proceed, the new group need to get 5% of Croydon's voters to sign a petition calling for a borough-wide referendum asking a question whether you as a voter would be in favour of a DEM.

A DEM would have the same powers as the existing council leader and they would be responsible for setting planning policy and the local plan. The main difference being that residents could vote-out a mayor whose policies they disagree with.

Critically, the Croydon Council planning committee would have to adhere to the policy and plan set by the DEM when making their planning decisions.

In light of the many planning applications which Croydon Council has approved in our area which go against the wishes of the residents, we feel that supporting this initiative would be in the best interest of our members and we look forward to receiving further updates from the group as their campaign progresses.

Matters which were discussed included:

  • A DEM may take 12-18 months to implement
  • Croydon has 400k people, so 15k signatures would be required on a petition to force a borough-wide referendum. (Figures discussed were not correct. 5% of voters needed to trigger referendum -LC)
  • The group would need to raise modest funds
  • A leaflet would be required explaining how to sign the petition.
  • Petition could be placed in local shops
  • Need IT skills so we can email databases. Need social media. Need newspaper coverage. Need people knocking on doors.
  • We would have volunteers in the town centres and outside railway stations. Need to get the campaign underway and get signatures.
  • DEM will have same powers as existing Council Leader. Both respond to their voters. DEM's voters are the residents. CL's voters are the councillors.
  • A DEM could potentially increase council tax by 9%, whereas a council leader can only increase by 5%. In other London boroughs, so such tax increases have taken place. Would probably be voted out of office if this happened.
  • The process for a DEM could be reversed, so we could return to a Council Leader. Hartlepool have done this.
  • The DEM would appoint a cabinet. A Planning Committee will still be needed, but the DEM would set planning policy and the local plan, which the Planning Committee must adhere to.
  • The council has rejected plans for local planning boards. This would have decentralised planning decisions into local Croydon towns.
  • The DEMOC group should create a proposal for how the council would look under a DEM
  • DEMOC need to understand what questions the RAs need answered and what specifically they want from a DEM
  • A chairman was duly elected as leader of the new DEMOC group who lives in Central Croydon and his RA is not politically aligned. He will strive to keep the group politically neutral.

Subsequent to this meeting, the Chair duly appointed a Campaign Manager with responsibility for the day-to-day management of the campaign. Additional committee appointments will be made by the Chair shortly and will appear within the "About Us" section of this website.