My tuppenceworth speech by Mike Swadling
The Licensing Act 1872 – among other things – stopped the practice of adding salt to drinks, which was originally put in beer to increase thirst and sales. This ‘improvement’ was made by the government to help us as consumers. I often think of how government intervention fails to improve things, as I pay for my own salted crisps to accompany a pint.
Words from my article for the Croydon Citizen from four years ago. The article was extensively about how Croydon Council had destroyed the bustling night time economy of the town centre of my youth, through a series of bright ideas to “improve the town”. These included a presumption to refuse new applications in the town centre for “premises used exclusively or primarily for the sale/supply of alcohol and/or loud amplified recorded music”. The council was thankfully finally reversing this initiative.
When they were running, I wrote in the Citizen about how plans to make Croydon a living wage borough, risks jobs at the proposed Westfield Shopping Centre, I note it has never been built. I also wrote about how the council spending £1.1 million on improving Surrey Street Market had led to over a 20% drop in traders.
At our last My Tuppenceworth, I spoke about how we needed a Democratically Elected Mayor of Croydon, we now have one. I now want to speak about how I implore that he and his council, leave my town, our town, alone.
We hear Westfield are once again looking to develop in Croydon. This is great news, and something is much needed. Now clearly the council needs to be involved in granting planning permission, and no doubt will need to weigh in on changes to roads, parking, and public transport. They have a statutory duty to be involved in these areas, beyond that, I ask they stay well clear.
The old Allders department store building, which before the council’s intervention had reinvented itself as a successful Village Outlet store, now has plans to become an arts venue. The idea of a venue where you can, too quote “lose oneself in art, beyond digital culture, where we can connect in the real world, in deeper and more meaningful stories.”, frankly sounds potty to me. But so what, I’m not their target market. What business is it of mine if someone wants to build this? What business is it of Croydon Council’s politicians or officers if someone wants to spend their sweat and treasure on building this? Their initiative is to be welcomed, but please Croydon Council stay out of their way. Beyond that, stop with any bright ideas, grand plans, and great initiatives. I’m sure if you just get out of their way, you will find many willing to invest in our great town.