Contractors delivering parks, library and leisure facilities on behalf of the council in Thornton Heath have all been taken to task by the community for providing poor quality service.
THORNTON HEATH LIBRARY
Cllr Timothy Godfrey who is the cabinet lead with responsibility for parks, leisure and libraries took to Facebook after a local mum complained that the lift had been broken for three years and that the front door was broken. He also visited the libary and in addition complained about how dirty the ramp is and the maintenance of the sensory garden.
Cllr Godfrey said about private company Carillion that delivers Croydon’s library contract: “Carillion as a company are better known for being a building contractor, and it shows in how they operate their libraries. Carillion are also in huge financial difficulties and in crisis mode to avoid collapse.
“The front line staff and local management don’t get the support that they deserve. If they do collapse then we will (Croydon council) keep the libraries open and transfer all the front line staff back to the council.
“In the meantime the residents of Croydon get a sub standard service and not the libraries we all deserve.”
He added: “Thornton Heath has a lovely building, but it’s not maximised to the full. Some modest investment would transform the offer and a partnership with a community group could see the building used for far more hours than currently.”
We contacted Carillion to ask when the lift would be repaired but got no response.
THORNTON HEATH LEISURE CENTRE
Following on from dozens of complaints made for months and years about the state of the building, facilities and provision of the Fusion run leisure centre on the High Street, a crisis meeting was called with Anthony Cawley – Fusion Director of Operation.
Fusion which is a charity has the contract to run all five of the borough’s leisure centres which is up next year.
There were around 20 people in attendance at the meeting organised by Cllr Jamie Audsley who facilitated the meeting, with Cllr Humayun Kabir.
In August The Chronicle passed this account from a leisure centre user along with pictures to Cllr Audsley: “There are two cubicle showers in the ladies changing which haven’t worked for weeks and are watched over by broken, stained and leaking ceiling tiles. Worse still is the excrement staining on the wall of one of the changing lockers that has also been there for weeks but at least the used nappy left the last time I visited has been removed. There are regularly used tissues and other debris lying around as well as blocked and broken toilets.”
Many similar concerns were raised at the meeting including cleanliness or rather lack of in all areas, lack of accessibility for people with disabilities with the lift being frequently out of use, lack of communication between management-staff-users and the general state of the building and maintenance of equipment particularly in the gym.
Leisure centre user Chetna Kapacee who was at the meeting writes: It was evident that those members of the community who attended felt that this space was “our” space – a community space which is why many of us are reluctant to go elsewhere despite cheaper and better options but also appreciated the excellent instructors who lead the classes.
It was this community voice that escalated the complaints resulting in Cllr Audsley setting up this meeting. Since then there have been some minor improvements including the reinstatement of the paper cups, repairs to lockers, 14 shower head replaced and an improved cleaning regime.
In response to the feedback, Mr Cawley, apologised for the failure in service and has committed to take personal responsibility to ensuring improvements are made and better processes are implemented. This will include staff retraining, better communications from management and regular instructors meetings. He will also look at improvements to the website, the app, improvements to booking and cancellation procedures. There will be regular monthly meetings to update users on the various issues so watch this space and keep raising any concerns and issues.
CONTRACTOR IDVERDE: PARKS
INCLUDING: GRANGEWOOD PARK,
THORNTON HEATH REC
AND TRUMBLE GARDENS
At the Parks Action meeting in Trumble Gardens residents met to discuss how they can get involved in taking back control of their local parks. Also present were the three Bensham Manor ward councillors, Cllr Godfrey, team leaders from Idverde and Barry Lambton the Green Spaces Contracts Manager.
With Idverde presently being fined £15,000 per month because they fail to cut the grass on time there were calls for those responsible for the monitoring of the work to be held accountable and for residents to have access to both historic and current monitoring records.
Mr Lambton undertook to provide the monitoring records for the last two years for all three local parks from 28 days from the meeting. Cllr Godfrey also agreed to a request that a representative from Croydon Parks and Open Spaces Forum be present at quarterly meetings of lead council officers and Idverde representatives.
Cllr Godfrey wholeheartedly supported the suggestion that residents should have greater say in how their parks are run and that they should be involved in the new contract negotiations when the current contract ends in 2019. Local resident Graham Mitchell, representing Thornton Heath Rec said: “Residents can be assured that they have a greater say in how their parks are run and that we will get a say in whether we feel the new contract will be of benefit to the area and the environment.”
Cllr Godfrey also mentioned that Croydon Council were eager to hear from people on how buildings and pavilions in Croydon’s green spaces and parks could be better utilised so if you have an idea or a plan contact your local councillor.
Bensham Manor councillor Alison Butler also took the opportunity to allay people’s fears that our parks and green spaces are at the mercy of developers following some confusion surrounding the comments of the Local Plan Inspector. Cllr Butler reassured those present that the inspector’s recommendations, even if they were to proceed would have no significant impact on the protections already
granted to the area’s
The Thornton Heath
Parks Action Team was set up in 2016 by Thornton Heath Community Action Team to bring improvements to Thornton Heath’s three parks; Grangewood, Trumble Gardens and Thornton Heath Rec. Join us! Email: