The town near Surrey where ULEZ applies is only half way
Coulsdon and its smaller neighbour to the south, Old Coulsdon, is a commuter town that was historically part of Surrey. Located just over four miles south of central Croydon, the town has firmly established its place in Greater London.
And although Surrey may no longer officially be able to call Coulsdon after itself, many still have a proud association with the leafy town. But although being in a London borough has its benefits, many Coulsdon residents have recently been angry about the controversial ULEZ plan and how it will affect their border town.
On a wet and windy weekday, the Local Democratic Reporting Service (LDRS) spoke to long-time Coulsdon residents Andy and Anne Dalby about the ULEZ issue. Andy told LDRS: “The ULEZ is difficult for people who can’t afford much. This main street is covered by ULEZ, but up the road, you can leave the area. Half the city is covered by it, it’s just down the road in Burley. It seems ridiculous Very, but I think they have to stop it somewhere.
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“I know working-class families with children I have taught who have to change their route to school just so they can avoid the ULEZ,” said Anne, a teacher who has taught children in several local schools.
Local businessman Gary Beckett, who has run the Advanced Printing shop in Brighton Road for 33 years, also acknowledged the changes ULEZ has brought about. Inside his store, Gary told LDRS: “ULEZ and parking are the two biggest issues at the moment. There are too many people standing here all day with the hourly ticket, and they keep feeding the meters and taking up space. There’s also the ULEZ issue but that’s the same in Everywhere. We have become calmer since the ULEZ came out but I don’t know if many of our customers have had to get rid of their cars. It has not affected us much because we mainly deal with companies that use electric cars, however, they seem to have made everything Quieter and less lively.
Despite this, Coulsdon residents appear satisfied with the level of public transport in the area. Public transportation here is good, though. While south London is notorious for its lack of Tube stations, Coulsdon is lucky to be served by two busy train stations on the Brighton main line. Charles King, resident and chairman of the East Coulsdon Residents’ Association, said: “Transport links are good, you can get on trains into central London in half an hour and it’s in the travel card area. I will often say I can turn left outside my house and be in central London at Half an hour and I can turn right and be in the countryside in 10 minutes.
Anne, who often uses public transport, agreed: “Coulsdon is great for retirees like us because we’re still in the London area, which means we can use our Freedom Card. It means I can choose how I travel. On the other hand, when I go To London with my sister, we have to go everywhere by bus.
In recent years, South Croydon has become a magnet for developers thanks to its access to green spaces and good education. This means that many new businesses and residential units have sprung up to meet the increasing demand. “Of course, it has changed over the years, there is a busy ALDI where the Red Lion Coaching Inn used to be,” Andy told LRDS. “The main change came when they built the bypass, before that traffic was everywhere.”
Anne commented: “There’s still a lot of traffic, but not as much as it used to be. It’s still a nice place to live because you’re close to the open country and also the motorway. The high streets are good, but they’re full of nail bars and hairdressers. The shops are coming “And you go very quickly here. They’re not empty for long. We have all the shops we need.”
Mr King praised the resilience of the area and talked about how it has bucked the trend by having a thriving high street. He said: “In some ways Coulsdon hasn’t changed at all, and in other ways it has completely changed. Obviously the shops in the town center are different, but we still have a lot of great independent shops. We also have quite a few restaurants here now.” Also.We are much better than many other area centers as we have very few empty stores.
In addition to his work as President of the Local Residents’ Association, Mr King is also a keen local historian. He told LDRS: “At Coulsdon, we have a number of sites of special scientific interest alongside Saxon and Roman burials. In fact, the name Coulsdon stems from a man named Couthred who was a Saxon warrior in 600 AD.
Despite his love for his hometown, Mr. King still believes the area is not perfect and needs some improvements. He told LDRS: “There’s not much that needs improvement, but the council really needs to get back to improving the parks. We have plenty of amenities for younger children, but we need more for 11-16 year olds. We need more clubs.” Young people and better football fields too. If you had asked me 10 years ago, I would have said there are not enough apartments, there are too many big houses. Now we have a lot of apartments, but we need more two- or three-bedroom houses that young people can It’s affordable, and seniors can downsize.
Two miles uphill to the south of the town lies the village of Old Coulsdon. This village of about 10,000 is the southernmost settlement in Greater London and has a more distinctly rural character relative to its larger neighbour. The village is considerably affluent and is home to larger semi-detached houses in the mock Tudor style.
Despite sharing a name, some Coulsdon residents see themselves as different from their leafier neighbours. Gary Beckett is one of those people. He told LDRS: “Old Coulsdon are more arrogant than us, they don’t like Coulsdon. They go to Caterham up the hill to do their shopping.”
While Old Coulsdon appears to display the hallmarks of an attractive village, including a communal green and duck pond, there is more diversity than meets the eye. The Tollers estate features a number of private and council-owned properties set against the backdrop of the nearby Happy Valley area.
One resident who was walking through Old Coulsdon Common during a break from the rain put it best when she told LDRS: “I love it here, it has all the perks of being in London but it also has a village feel.”
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