Addressed to: - All Croydon residents

- Residents’ Associations in Croydon

- Community Groups in Croydon

August 2019

To the people of Croydon

Join our campaign for a Democratically Elected Mayor in Croydon

Sign the Petition. With 14,000 signatures the Council must call a Referendum

There is a problem with democracy in many local councils today including Croydon. It is nobody’s fault but it needs to be fixed. We are a group of Residents Associations' Chairs, Committee members and residents of Croydon. We are not “party affiliated”. We are proposing a way to fix the issue in our town that will benefit all of us as residents. We are responding to loud calls from both the red and blue parts of the borough that something must be done to improve democracy in the way that Croydon Council is run. Planning is a prime example - family homes are being destroyed, communities are being spoilt and genuine planning objections are being brushed aside unanswered. The Council is not listening to residents.

For many years our Borough has been split across the middle between the Labour and Conservative parties. Of the 28 electoral areas or ‘wards’ in Croydon, 24 have majorities of over 17% for one or other of those parties. So, in those areas no party other than the incumbent has any real chance of winning. Because of this, the only voters whose votes really count in a local election are those in the 4 ‘marginal wards’ that have a small majority for the current winning party. This is why the Council can and does ignore the rest of us! When did the Council last listen to you?

By gaining a relatively small number of extra votes in those four marginal wards, and thereby winning the election, the successful Party whichever it may be takes control of the Council. They can then afford to upset voters in most areas in Croydon without any real risk that it will affect their chances of gaining power again next time. They can afford to lose votes in all the areas where they have control apart from the marginal wards. They don't need to bother in the wards where they did not win and do not expect to win. This is why there really is no accountability to the vast majority of people in the Borough. Why would the Council listen to you?

Running a Council requires difficult decisions sometimes. Whoever is in power, it is only natural, given the above circumstances, that there will be an inclination to only listen to and take notice of the residents in the 4 marginal wards but not the rest of us. We believe that replacing the current system with a Directly Elected Mayor would change all this, bringing major benefits to residents in both the immediate future and the longer term. Other Boroughs have already done so - see the list below.

With a Directly Elected Mayor, every single vote would count so 270,000 voters would choose the Leader rather than the 21 Councillors that currently do so.

So now they would have to listen to us.

A Directly Elected Mayor would also be able to lift the profile of Croydon, improving Croydon’s image. With a direct mandate from the people of Croydon the Mayor could stand up for Croydon residents in negotiations with the London Mayor and UK government, particularly over housing and also to get our fair share of resources. We need infrastructure and services to keep up with the building of the many new homes. We need family homes, family life and communities to be valued and protected.

Above all, we need to be listened to.

We are asking you to support our Resident Association led and residents' funded campaign to petition for an elected Mayor in Croydon. Our web site is http://democ.org.uk. 14,000 valid signatures will force the Council to hold a referendum. Every Croydon voter is eligible to sign.

Please visit our website and join us as we progress the campaign. PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION AND ASK EVERY VOTER IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD SIGN IT. One is attached to this letter. Electronic voting is not permitted by the Council so please return your signed petition to the PO Box indicated on the form.

Residents Associations: please give your members the choice, pass on this message. Also, please make clear that your Association support us and let us know you do.

Community Groups: please spread the word.

If you want to, you can help fund the campaign and donate. Go to http://www.democ.org.uk/about-us/make-a-donation

Thank you for reading this.

LET'S MAKE THE COUNCIL LISTEN TO RESIDENTS

From :The Campaign for a Democratically Elected Mayor of Croydon


Boroughs with an Elected Mayor already:

Bedford Bristol

Copeland Doncaster

Hackney Leicester

Lewisham Liverpool

Mansfield Middlesbrough

Newham North Tyneside

Salford Tower Hamlets

Watford

We understand that Croydon has a larger population than all except Bristol and Liverpool.