Croydon events & news at 25 March

Wednesday 29 March. 7.30pm. Croydon Air Quality Action Plan Discussion

Councillor Stuart King, Cabinet member for Transport and Environment will discuss the public consultation.

Croydon Debating Club. Project B, 1 Bell Hill, Croydon, CR0 1FB

It is not necessary, but would be most helpful if you would sign up here

For background seeing earlier posting of today Some Croydon Good News.


Wednesday 12 April. 7-10pm. Shaking Hands – Meet The Members Breakfast – Discussion Tables

Free at IKEA

Thursday 13 April. Gavin Barwell at Croydon Debating Club

Venue to be announced.

Improved help for small business?

Former Apprentice contestant to work with Sussex Innovation Centre to support growth for both pre-seed start-ups and SMEs in Croydon.

Live music and comedy gig venue Hoodoo’s has left Matthew’s Yard at “short notice” and the owners are searching for both a short-term and permanent new location.

Labour Own Goal on Ward Boundary Changes

Croydon Labour delivered itself of a major own goal in asking for a ward boundary review. It could not reach agreement with several submissions from the Party. As well as the Council, there were submissions from Croydon Labour Group, and Croydon South Labour Group. The Boundary Commission opted for the Conservative submission. It proposed to increase the number of wards from 24 to 28 of which 14 will have two and 14 three-councillors each. All wards are being reshaped.

The Commission is asking for comments by 8 May. Its consultation site is

Robert Ward, a member of the Tory Party and organiser of the Croydon Debating Club, discusses the Boundary Commission’s proposals at

Croydon’s pubs and bars in their death throes

Since 2002 the 180 pubs and bars in Croydon  has dropped to 90 last year. The number of people working in them has also dropped 44 per cent from 1,600 in 2001 to 900 in 2016.

This may reflect the trend nationally in drinking habits, plus the higher percentage of religious non-drinkers and the increasing social income divide. With drink available in so many shops and even 600 brands at a store in South Croydon, drinking is now largely a home and  on street activity.

Gareth Davies Joins Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Former Croydon Advertiser chief reporter Gareth Davies has joined the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Past and Present – 152 London Rd

The  latest history of property along London Rd researched and written by Kake  is about No. 152. Built on part of the old Oakfield Estate, it started life as a private house before being converted into a shop around the turn of the century. It spent three decades as Ropers Stores, a family-run hardware business. Today, it’s a traditional British cafe serving fried breakfasts, sandwiches, and mugs of strong tea throughout the day.

Croydon Museum Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Collection Listing

I have completed the listing on the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Collection at Croydon Museum. The listing will go into the Museum’s web catalogue in due course. A PDF is available on the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Network website at

The March newsletter is also on the website.

The Future of Arts in Croydon

Steve Packer,  Chair of South Croydon Community Association, discusses the debate at its public meeting on 16 March.

Are Apps needed for Croydon Tours?

From business directories to shopping apps and loyalty reward systems, mobile apps are relatively quick, easy and inexpensive to build. And they’re becoming a popular marketing tool for hundreds of UK towns and cities, reports the Locality umbrella group of development trusts and social actin centres. It cites Chipping Norton as a good example.

Andrew Kennedy discusses this on Historic Croydon Facebook:

‘Is this what Paula Murray the Arts and Culture director for Croydon Council is referring to with her ‘Make the High Street go Digital’? Well this is for a village of 6000 people. We have 50x that and we aren’t referring to just shopping. I suggest that Instead of the daily update taking place in a back room somewhere the idea is to have a visitor/information centre in the Town Centre in full view of people where people can visit and update their stuff and become informed about what’s going on in Croydon. ie: a prominent street level visitor centre where there are print out facilities too. Flyers still remain a major means of promotion. I’m referring to info on our industries too. Make it a showroom for Croydon. Comments please.’

Comments left so far include those of Susan Oliver, Ian Marvin and myself.

Why Fly-Tipping is a Misery

Liz Shephard-Jones discusses at

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How good is Croydon at taking enforcement action?

It is very difficult to assess the effectiveness of the various Council enforcement actions.

  • The planning enforcement team is down to 4 people
  • The food and safety team has been dragging its feet on the illegal smoking inside shisha cafes
  • The planning register website does not enable a full list of enforcement actions to the checked; it can only be searched by entering a known property or the name of a street.
  • The Council has declined to provide detailed information under Freedom of Information to a request by Mr Jake Lomax, for the full food hygiene inspection reports for: all ‘E’ rated premises which have not been subject to their alternative enforcement strategy within the past three years’. The Council says there are 483 reports which fit his criteria it will take too much time to do this. Instead it has provided an Excel spread sheet listing the name and address of these 483 businesses.

Adam Ali has submitted a FOI question asking how many Building Act 1984 Section 36 enforcement notices and injunctions have been issued in respect of residential and commercial/other property works since 1st January 2006 (reporting each calendar year separately if possible) ?

The Council response is awaited.

The failure to be seen to enforce does the Council’s image to protect the public no good.

Perhaps it is time that Scrutiny Committee carried out a review of enforcement action?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Croydon MIPIM Debate

For background on the MIPIM Croydon panel discussion see the previous posting.

Risk Taking

At the  CEO Jo Negrini argued that taking risks is helping to transform Croydon’s image. ‘She pointed to the arrival of Boxpark as evidence of a proactive approach towards changing people’s perceptions of the town.

  • “We had to do some interventions so where people would go ‘I didn’t expect to see that in Croydon.’”
  • “We proactively went and got Boxpark as the thousands of people who use or pass through East Croydon station every day to see that things were happening in Croydon.”
  • “Stanhope were fantastic to give us that site and actually that one intervention – when I was talking to Body Shop one of the biggest reasons they gave for coming to Croydon was Boxpark.”
  • “But it’s being provocative and taking a risk with things that has been a gamechanger for us and now we are looking for other people to work with – but they’ve got to be in it to help make it a great place to be.”
  • “We’ve got to take risks and the council took a big risk with Boxpark because it could have gone disastrously wrong but you’ve got to be risk-takers or else nothing is going to change.”

  • Fusing to-down with bottom-up

Jo Negrini also referred to various other developments commenting:

  • ‘… there’s been a lot of top-down interventions from all of these partners, but what makes the story slightly different is there’s a lot of bottom-up stuff coming through the residents and parties on the ground, to really create that energy where the top-down meets the bottom up and that’s where you get the regeneration sweet spot. And that’s what’s happening in Croydon now.’

Gavin Barwell commented that the fusion Jo Negrini talked about ‘is what makes the story such an exciting one.’

Croydon Key for Housing

Gavin Barwell’s main points were:

  • ‘…. Croydon is one of those key locations in the capital where there is the potential to build significant extra homes.’
  • The government is backing the Growth Zone deal and ‘relocating government uses down to some of the new office space that’s being developed next to East Croydon station.’
  • It ‘is a hugely exciting time for our town because we are seeing our town centre being completely redeveloped.

In a later contribution he added:

  • that among the people who live in Croydon ‘there is a huge sense of excitement about this transformation’ The Town ‘needs to extend southwards’.
  • We ‘are not just a dormitory suburb we are a real centre in our own right – if you took this borough and put it down in the countryside somewhere it would be the seventh or eighth biggest city in this country.’
  • ‘Because there is a desperate need in our country for more homes in the south, I’m keen as I ever was to urge anybody who makes the decisions to invest here it’s a great place to come and do business.’

Taberner as example of bottom-up

Steve Sanham of HUB which is developing the Taberner House site referred to bottom-up regeneration.

  • ‘we deliver some big schemes but we also really value the opportunity in Croydon to get stuck in at a grassroots level to go out, walk the streets, meet people in the local community and we spoke to 1,200 people before we put a planning application in for our scheme and we really valued that interaction.’
  • ‘We want to do more in Croydon, we want to work very closely with the guys at Croydon Council and see if we can deliver something that’s a little bit more special than just bricks and mortar.’

Oh I despair at the delusion that consultation is bottom-up and talking to Council officers certainly is not.

The importance of Marks & Spencer

Steve Yewman of Westfield stressed the importance of the agreement to provide ‘a  new flagship store for M&S.’

But no mention of John Lewis, which was supposed to be the retail flagship!

Social Change – Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Yewman explained:

  • that what ‘we’re really feeling from the work that we’ve done in Newham and in West London is that the social change, and the change in people’s lives’ is that it is ’about jobs, jobs, jobs.’
  • ‘Croydon has created a lot of jobs and a lot of that is to do with Jo her team and the leadership getting the schools up to a much better level and education and all that want to invest in.’

Yes organisations like EDF and Body Shop have moved in, and the Home Office and HMRC are due to move staff from elsewhere. This is no job creation, but job re-location. The number of jobs created by the Tech City movement is small in comparison with the loss of jobs in recent years. The new Whitgift will largely be offering low paid retail jobs.

Costly Croydon Vision

Yewman gives the game away about Croydon’s re-development when he says:

  • ‘Boxpark has been a good example of an hors doevre for the main event but they are doing a great job. And they’ve introduced to Croydon £10 burgers and £5 beers and I’m delighted with that because they will be more expensive when we turn up.’

Just got to get on with it

Later he added

  • Croydon’s ‘always been about big grandiose plans …’ Westfield/Hammerson ‘own a massive chunk in the middle of it but from a Westfield point of view and from Hammerson’s point of view we don’t make these sorts of decisions lightly. We’ve got lots of opportunities, both of us around the world, to invest.’ We’ve ‘just got to get on with it.’

Croydon  as a destination

Robin Dobson of Hammerson talked about the jobs and leisure benefits of development schemes elsewhere in the country.

  • ‘It’s all about creating the very best experiences, through the very best destinations in the very best towns and cities. And what I mean by that is it’s about lifting the benchmark for our town. It’s about architectural quality, about creating a much greater and wider leisure offer, and just about giving all-round experiences to everyone in particular families, which is so important in Croydon.’

What architectural quality? None of the new tower blocks provides it. The concrete brutalism of the 1960s is being replaced by glass brutalism.

Building confidence in Croydon

Robin Dobson added:

  • What I think we’ve done is also awakened the pride and the loyalty that does exist in and around Croydon. People want to come into cities, that is a changing demographic a change back to cities rather than towns, and actually I think what’s happening here is evidence of that confidence that we’re bringing back to Croydon.’

I am not sure this will change the minds of the large number of people who say they want to get out of Croydon because it has become a horrible place to live.

Fairfield Halls

On Fairfield Halls Kevin added that withthe biggest borough by population in London’ Croydon ‘needs a big cultural centre, a big new art gallery for spectacular visual arts – something that competes with the big boys up in town – to continue more people coming to Croydon to see our outstanding visual arts offering and cultural offering and to watch that develop from the ground up and from the top down together is exactly what we all hope for.’

The full report of what the panel members said can be seen at

One of the photographers the Develop Croydon website gives credits to for photos of the panel session is  Tom Lickley. Tom is a regular contributor supporting the developments in Croydon in Croydon Citizen and defender of Croydon’s involvement in MIPIM.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Big Sales Pitch for Croydon Re-development

With the recently held MIPIM conference in Cannes the big sell is back on for the re-development of Croydon.

Tuesday 28 March. 11.45am-2pm. Future Croydon 2 Years On

Sussex Innovation, 14-16 Addiscombe Rd , Croydon, CR0 0XT

Foundations for Success Group event to hear updates on the future of Croydon.  Speakers Tony Letts, Deputy Mayor on Vision of Croydon and ; Richard Plant (Styles Harold & Williams) on Delivering  the Masterplan: Progress with re-development. Followed by Q & A and lunch and networking. To book go to,6642,MOVKY,LA8D,1

 Wednesday 3 May. 9.30am-3.30pm. Landlords Descend on Croydon

National Landlord Investment Show – Croydon at Croydon Park Hotel, 7 Altyre Road, Croydon, CR9 5AA

  • New Developments

HMRC is due to move into a Ruskin Square office block  in the summer.

Chinese developer R&F Properties has paid £60m for the Minerva estate of the Nestle Tower and St. George’s Walk development site. Over the last 12 months Minerva has consolidated its wonrship of the area and re-named it Queen’s Square.

US backed Pocket Living is to develop 153 ‘affordable’ ‘one bedroom compact housing units.


  • Croydon at MIPIM

Croydon’s presentation at the annual world property conference MIPIM in Cannes was well attended. There was an informal sponsors’ supper for the Croydon delegation on 13 March, a Croydon Urban Edge panel discussion on 15 March followed by  an informal Croydon Beer on the Beach reception, and a Beach Lunch (invitation only).

The panel members were advertised as being: Steve Yewman, Development Director of Westfield; Jo Negrini, Croydon’ Chief Executive, RISE Gallery’s Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison, and Steve Sanham, Managing Director of HUB. They were joined by Gavin Barwell, Central Croydon MP and Housing & London Minister, Robin Dobson from Hammerson, and Stuart Cade from Rick Mather Architects. There was a lot of discussion about risk, top-down and bottom-up and the fusion between them, the importance of the leisure and culture offer, and the importance of Boxpark. Gavin Barwell has nailed his mast to the onward growth of the Town Centre southwards.

Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison of RISE Gallery stressed that culture ‘is so important within any kind of regeneration – any kind of place has to have an identity that makes it stand out from other boroughs.’

‘We’re very very lucky in Croydon that we’ve got a fantastic cultural offer which is growing. Old residents and new residents are being engaged much more to stay with us and spend with us so when they’re going out at night they’ve got plenty here to offer them.’

‘We ‘are very lucky in Croydon to have … the right local authority, the right corporations all balanced together which is helping things to move along much quicker. We’ve also got a community which has all pulled together in the balance.’

For a fuller summary of the panel debate go to the next posting.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Northumbria Festival comes to Croydon – May


If you are interested in the history of the North East have a look at the North East Labour History North East Popular Politics Project database, which I edit. I have just loaded up 40 more topic files dealing with leading families, slavery, abolition, coal mining and events in the 1830s and 1840s.. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Some Croydon Good News


(Croydon Council photo)

Bigbelly bins arrive around the Borough

Large capacity, solar-powered Big belly street bins are being installed  across the borough following a successful trial in the town centre.

They are a quality looking piece of street furniture. Not having open tops they cannot be overfilled like normal  bins with rubbish falling or being blown out. They have special containers for people’s cigarette butts.

Well done to Stuart Collins, the Cabinet member responsible for the waste service who is always open to new ideas to improve the service and change people’s litter dropping habits.

  • Air pollution consultation

The Council’s consultation on air pollution has started.

Note there is no link to the actual consultation details – and I cannot find them on the website.

For background see

The previous air quality action plan can be seen at

  • Museum Receives Accreditation

Croydon Museum service has received national Archive Service Accreditation.

  • Another success for the Police

Four men have been jailed for raids on ATM machines and stores including one on the London Rd.

  • CCCG backtracks on baby milk

The Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has backtracked on its plans to end prescriptions for baby milk. From April, specialist formulas will now be made available for babies under 12 months who are diagnosed with Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy. 6,000 people signed a petition objecting to the proposed ban.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Selhurst Community Ideas Fair 25 March


Image | Posted on by | Leave a comment