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MP calls for action on state of Portland Road

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AN MP has hit out at fellow Conservatives on Croydon Council for their "unacceptable" neglect of Portland Road.

Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell said around 5,000 residents have complained about the state of the street and were "understandably infuriated" by the amount of fly-tipping, prompting him to demand the council invest in the area.

"The current state of Portland Road is unacceptable and I'll be working hard to make sure something is done about it," he said.

"Over the years, Croydon Council has invested wisely in many areas across the borough, including the excellent job they've done on Lower Addiscombe Road, but the residents I spoke to feel Portland Road has been neglected.

"I've spoken to the council about installing CCTV cameras at the sites where people are persistently dumping rubbish, making sure that when properties are converted to flats adequate provision is made for bins, and recycling boxes and providing some large communal bins."

However, Woodside ward councillor and leader of Croydon Labour party Tony Newman said the MP was "two years too late in his criticism of the council's approach to street cleaning".

He said: "Gavin Barwell has remorselessly supported Croydon Council over its cuts to the budget which we warned would cause a litter epidemic.

"Unusually it was even one of the main issues in Steve Reed's parliamentary by-election for Croydon North last year – it's an issue that affects most of Croydon, not just Portland Road.

"Barwell is not helping with these comments running the area down. That in itself will prevent people investing in the road.

"I agree there is a problem with the 100-metre stretch at the north end coming from South Norwood Hill with many shop fronts closed.

"This area needs very careful thinking as it is one of the arterial routes into the town centre so cannot be cut off for development for any significant period of time."

Councillor Paul Scott, who chairs the Friends of Portland Road group, said he did not want to criticise Mr Barwell's move for change but felt he had ignored it for years.

He said: "We started this group in 2005 and drew up a comprehensive plan with the then Labour council to regenerate the area.

"In 2006, when the Conservatives took over and Barwell was on the cabinet, the plan was dropped.

"The area needs serious support and investment, not just a bit of money to repair pavements and put up hanging baskets."

The council said it was planning to redirect £200,000 of funding from another area to be spent in Portland Road around the leisure centre.

"A proposal is currently being developed to invest a further £1.5 million into environmental improvements," a spokesman said.

"If approved the next step will be to consult local businesses and residents in order to agree the specific improvements which are most needed.

"The fly-tipping issues in this area are already being prioritised for enforcement so those responsible can be caught and fined or prosecuted.

"We're also reviewing planning guidance so that future developments take into account changes to the way that waste is managed with a greater emphasis on recycling."

MP calls for action on state of Portland Road


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