#croydon. Home for two years. Moved to write something positive about the council to counter the negative crap flying around, but will also be balanced and offer criticism where due..
In my short time as a resident I have used a broad range of services from the council. I don't begrudge paying council tax, as I feel the services I have received are worth what I have paid.
Before living in Croydon I lived in LB Bromley and LB Lambeth. Croydon staff have been the most helpful and professional. The bar is actually rather high. At Bromley and Lambeth almost everything went via Capita and was often ballsed up in one way or another.
I am pleasantly surprised by the efficiency with which Croydon manages its services with an in-house team of civil servants.
I will summarise below..
Building Control, Planning
Have had cause to communicate with them on various issues. Always polite, professional and incredibly helpful. Knowledgeable, fast and if they were a commercial outfit they would be one of the best. They run a tight ship and know their stuff. Cannot fault them. Same day inspections, fonts of knowlegde by phone. A real credit!
never been kept waiting for hours on the phone, but if I go into the hub at the wrong time of day it can be busy and have had to wait up to 45 minutes. Too long, but was informed of the wait time accurately on arrival and told other times which may be quieter if I did not want to wait. Can't do much better than that, saving over staffing and wasting considerable money during quiet periods.
Professional, fast to respond, positive experience to emails.
Generally very good, if a little inflexible. Overzealous in on-street parking charges and attempts to extend CPZ's. Sub-contractor wardens have some attitudinal issues but in-house ones are very professional, polite, friendly and approachable. Room for improvement in policies such as issuing of permits. Should charge much, much, more for 3rd and 4th parking permits (think in the region of £750 for #3 and £1250 for #4) on a single property. If you can afford a fleet of vehicles, you should be able to afford a suitably large house with driveway.
Waddon road facility is excellent but surprisingly easy to use (no ID, permits, etc checked, ever in about 100+ trips). Good to recycle tetrapak there, but rarely bother - too much effort. Bin collections, recycling etc - spot on. Green waste collection, great but could be extended into autumn (although decomposing leaves are good for the soil). Father was staying and diabetic, so needed sharps waste collection - arranged promptly and professionally.
The facilities operated by Fusion are cont competitively priced. Its cheaper to join a commercial facility like fitness first etc. surprised there isn't something in central Croydon.
Arts & Culture
Lots of cuts, understandable, money needs to be freed up, but more effort to encourage and support community groups to take on management, costs and commercialise facilities like ClockTower would be a good thing.
Wow.. don't get me started. Nightmare. Lots of room for improvement.
A few thousand gallons of dulux would do wonders to brighten up Wellesley road, underpasses, St Georges Walk and improve the realm without spending tens of millions.
Good progress - but worth upping security presence in and around Whitgift, Centrale and pedestrianised areas and taking a leaf from The Glades in Bromley - PCSOs and Security do not allow groups of kids to gather or loiter. Its a shopping centre, not a playground.. buy your Mcdonalds, do your shopping and move on!
For all those bemoaning the Tory controlled council (and I am not a Tory) be careful what you wish for, it could be worse, you could live in Lambeth! Then you really would get a flavour of incompetence and mismanagement.