Croydon Knife Crime Seminar 20 February


For further details go to:

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Croydon review of events & news 13 January – 11 February

Meetings and Events 

Monday 20 January. 6.30pm. Council Cabinet


Wednesday 22 January. 2pm. Health and Wellbeing Board

It will consider the 2019 Annual Public Health Report, the Homelessness Strategy, a Mental Health update, and vaccination priorities within the London context.

Thursday 23 January. 6.30pm. Planning Committee

Applications for two mainly backlands housing developments (1) at  80 and land to the rear of 76 & 78 Waddington Avenue in Coulsdon; and (2) on land to the rear of 24-42 & 30 Moreton Road, South Croydon.

Holocaust Memorial Day Monday 27 January

11.50am. Ceremony

Croydon Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon CR9 1ET

‘This day is for remembering victims of the Holocaust and more recent genocides and will be marked in the traditional manner with a public candle-lighting ceremony in the foyer of Croydon Town Hall. This will be followed by a civic event from 12.30 -14.15pm in the Council Chamber. This will include a presentation by Mr Safet Vukalic who is a survivor of the Bosnian genocide.’

Whilst this is a public event, it would be helpful if you could confirm your attendance by clicking this link HMD2020 Confirmation of attendance to register via Eventbrite. Deadline date to register your attendance is midday Wednesday 22 January.

7.30pm. The Birdcatcher (15)

David Lean Cinema in the Clocktower is screening this film set in wartime Norway.

Holocaust Memorial Day resources for the community, including educational materials, are available through the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust at

Monday 27 January. 6.30pm. Council

There are very full reports by Cabinet members with a lot of detail which need to be read to keep up to-date with what the Council is doing. It will be agreeing (1) to delegate authority to the London Councils Transport and Environment Committee to make a byelaw to regulate dockless vehicles in Croydon as part of a Pan London byelaw; (2) to amend the boundaries of the Addington Village Conservation Area. The agenda pack can be seen at:

Tuesday 11 February. 7.30pm.

Next steps for Labour

John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor of Exchequer

Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly Open Meeting

Ruskin House, 23 Coombe Road, CR0 1BD

To book a free ticket go to:

See Labour Croydon Central MP Sarah Jones’ views in The Independent at

On of Labour’s weaknesses is its neglect of political education. In 2018 John McDonnell said:

“The Labour movement has a rich history of working-class self-education and because of new platform technologies we’re able to revive and expand on that tradition like never before. This work is at the cutting edge of the movement, and I look forward to its radical expansion over the coming year.”

The Political Education Together (PET) initiative of the Independent Working Class Education group and the Ella Baker School of Organising is meeting on Saturday 7 March (10.30am- 4pm) in Birmingham to discuss “Developing Political Education Today”. To book, go to:

‘To ensure that the meeting is productive, we are keeping numbers to a maximum of 30. If you would like to attend, then please register your interest below. We will then notify you if a place is allocated to you. Everyone who registers will be provided with an opportunity to participate in some way, even if this meeting is oversubscribed.

This free and open meeting will bring together a dozen or more key organisations to discuss and showcase their current work and look at overcoming barriers, area of potential joint working and building solidarity.’

Croydon in the Last Week

Council Leader ignores many of Croydon’s big problems

One of the high points of the last week was Council Leader Tony Newman’s outline of the three main challenges he thinks faces the Council, when he updated the Scrutiny & Oversight Committee.

  • Brexit uncertainty
  • A vulnerable retail sector
  • £10m deficit in funding for unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC)

Several more problems could be added to the list including

  • The lack of an up-to-date Town Centre Masterplan
  • The growing cynicism about Council’s planning and housing and ‘public consultation’ decisions
  • The contradiction between the Council’s environmental policies and building on green spaces

Of course the Leader cannot be expected to admit these problems, any more than both political parties still have not really addressed the elephant in the room: the causes and legacy of the 2011 riots, which have contributed to the  widening gap between community involvement and dysfunction. Relevant to that dysfunction has been  Stormzy recalling his tough upbringing in Croydon.

It’s the inability to acknowledge reality and to continue to try and paint a glowing picture that results in the Leader still being hopeful about the Westfield development. At the moment the Westfield/Hammerson partners are considering a major change to the design which will require a new planning application, with no public details and no start date.

Other Gloomy News 

According to the numbers released by the ONS in 19 years the total number of pubs and bars in Croydon has fallen from 165 to 80 pubs – a 52% decline.

Two thirds of Croydon adults are said to be overweight or obese

Welcome News

On the plus side the Council has announced that is offering £100 for information on fly-tippers, and that social care funding will be to be increased from property investment rentals.


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Martin Luther King Day 20 January


ML King

Monday 20 January sees the Martin Luther King Day holiday in the United States.

There are many complaints that American slavery and civil rights feature too much in Black History Month and school education in the UK.

This criticism can blind people from knowing about the important interactions between African Americans and Britain, such as the Liberationists like Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, the Crafts and Henry Highland Garnet, the actor Ira Aldridge, the influence of meeting the poet Paul Dunbar on the composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, and Welsh miners on the development of Paul Robeson’s politics.

Martin Luther King visited London in 1957 and met C.L.R. James. In December 1964 he spoke to a packed St Paul’s Cathedral audience. After his assassination his widow also spoke there,  A key figure involved in both Cathedral events was Canon John Collins, the anti-war and anti-apartheid activist.

In writing about the St Paul’s Cathedral speech The Guardian journalist High Muir recalled in his 2014 article:

‘While British activists took from him experience and encouragement to mobilise, King saw in the UK how victims of discrimination from many ethnicities suffered jointly but could also work together; a scenario more complicated than the black/white fissures in the US.

One direct result of his advocacy here was the Campaign Against Racial Discrimination, a body formed by activists including CLR James and Anthony Lester, now the Lib Dem peer Lord Lester of Herne Hill. It launched in 1964 and lasted three years. The government’s own Commission for Racial Equality was created 12 years later.’

King came back in 1967 and was awarded a doctorate by Newcastle University. He reminded his ‘audience that poverty, racism and war were shared problems, that there is “an inescapable network of mutuality,” and warned Britain that “all out troubles could soon be yours.”’

Brian Ward, author of In Newcastle Upon Tyne: The African American Freedom Struggle and Race Relations in the North East of England, explains why King’s visit to Newcastle has continuing importance at

The on-going commemoration of that event includes the work of the Martin Luther King Peace Committee.

It has produced Key Stages 2-4 teaching resources, which can be downloaded at:

In 1998 a statue to King was erected at Westminster Abbey:

In 2019 as its contribution to Martin Luther King Day London’s Evening Standard’s published quotes from his ‘best speeches and revolutionary sayings’.

Back in 2013 I reflected in Croydon Citizen on the question Does Croydon need its own Martin Luther King?

and the following year on contemporary racism:

Events such as the Windrush Generation Scandal and the current discussions on racism suggest we still face a serious challenge. The latest discussion contribution by Afua Hirsch and the news reportage about Soweto Kinch’s experience on in The Guardian on 16 January is very relevant to this:

Background reading

Jeffrey Green. Black Americans in Victorian Britain. Pen & Sword Books. 2018


Laurence Fenton. ‘I was transformed’ Frederick Douglass: an American Slave in Victorian Britain. Amberley. 2018

Various topics on the north East Popular Politics database:


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Launch of new Black British History Seminars 23 January


Dr. Caroline Bressey will chair this discussion reflecting on the development of Black British History in institutions, universities, colleges and schools over the past twenty years.

This is the launch of the Black British History evening seminar series at the Institute of Historical Research (IHR).

This builds on the IHR’s recent commitment to support the What’s Happening in British Black History workshops. alongside the  Institute of Commonwealth Studies.

The IHR Black British History: Concepts, Geographies and Debates seminar will cover all aspects of Black British History from the ancient to the contemporary. Like WHBBH, it aims to encompass research from within and beyond the university, bringing together scholars, activists, teachers, artists and writers, archivists and heritage practitioners to push the boundaries of this vital and growing field of historical enquiry. The seminar is open to all.

Entrance is open to all and is free.

Thursday 20 February. 6-7.30pm. Mapping Black British Archives

Pat Noxolo (University of Birmingham), Natalie Hyacinth (Royal Holloway, University of London

Thursday 5 March. 6-7.30pm. Visualising Black British History

Vanley Burke (artist), Catherine Hall (UCL)

Both at Keyworth Centre, Room K-503, London South Bank University- Southwark Campus

For the complete list of IHR Black British History seminars please see the


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Junction Jazz 2 February

junction jazz poster

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North East Labour History Society talks February – April

Tuesday 4 February. 7pm.

“Memory Lingers Here”: Are Newcastle’s Monuments Sites of Collective Memory?

Tlak by India Gerritsen. She was the winner of the Society’s 2019 Sid Chaplin prize for her essay about people’s memory of Newcastle landscapes and how they affect their consciousness. India’s essay: “Memory Lingers Here”: Are Newcastle’s Monuments Sites of Collective Memory? which will be published in the Society’s Journal North East History later this year.

The Old George Inn, Bigg Market.

Tuesday 3 March . 7pm.

History of the NUT in the North

Talk by by Peter Sagar

The National Union of Teachers, founded in 1870, ceased to be on 1st January 2019, as it merged fully with the Association of Teachers and Lecturers to become a new union, the National Education Union. As well as explaining the history he will ‘highlight the numerous ways in which we can learn from the history and use the knowledge to revive the trade union movement as we enter the third decade of the 21st century.’

The Old George Inn, Bigg Market.

Tuesday 7 April. 7pm.

The Miners Strike 1984/85 – my role as newly qualified solicitor with Thompsons

Talk by Janet Allen

In an effort to defeat the striking miners the government, judiciary and police used the law as a method of reducing the civil liberties of striking miners and their supporters by all possible means. Road blocks were employed to intercept suspected pickets. Those arrested on the picket line faced draconian bail conditions often including curfews to prevent further demonstrations. Medieval charges of riot and unlawful assembly were used against those attending the mass pickets at both Orgreave and Mansfield.

Mike Mansfield the leading barrister at the Orgreave trials referred to the cases as “the worst example of mass frame up in this country in this century”.’

Janet Allan joined Thompsons in September 1983 and Bill Etherington, then General Secretary of the Durham Colliery Mechanics Association, instructed Thompsons to be the union lawyers. The Durham NUM followed later. She  represented two Durham Mechanics arrested at Orgreave and one at Mansfield. Her day to day experience of representing striking miners during the period from March 1984 to March 1985 will form the basis of her talk.

Such talks are important in remind  us in times of despondency about the fortitude and resilience of past activists in the campaigns for democracy, social justice and workers rights, which will needed as a result of the General Election result.

The Old George Inn, Bigg Market.

The January meeting

William Parker the Chartist talk by Mike Greatbatch

Parker served as Secretary of the Ouseburn Working Men’s Association and was an original member of the Council of the Northern Political Union (NPU), Tyneside’s principal agency of Chartist agitation in 1838-39.

The People’s Charter was just one of a number of causes that Parker championed over an almost twenty-year period. A widower with three teenage daughters by 1841, Parker was an unskilled labourer competing for work in one of Tyneside’s most competitive labour markets, a lowly status that appears to have strengthened his self-belief in the justice of his words and actions, and his unwavering commitment to his fellow workers.

Such talks are important in remind  us in times of despondency about the fortitude and resilience of past activists in the campaigns for democracy, social justice and workers rights, which will needed as a result of the General Election result.

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Croydon Council Committees and news

Contents: Council meetings, Other meetings; Help protect two green spaces under threat, News, Croydon History News, Council Committees details, Latest Croydon Socio-Economic Data, New policy on rent charges for Council owned community buildings, Croydon Local Plan Review


The Council has announced that

the Local Plan Review consultation

has been extended  to 20 January.

Council Meetings

Tuesday 14 January. 6.30pm. Scrutiny and Oversight Committee – Question Time with Leader. See below.

Thursday 16 January Council Planning Committee. 6.30pm. Small victory re-multiple occupation. See below

Monday 20 January. 6.30pm. Council Cabinet. See below

Monday 20 January. Extension date for Croydon Local Plan review (Issues and Options) consultation. See below

Other Meetings

Thursday, 23 January 7pm. Croydon Communities Consortium Public Meeting

St Michael’s Church Hall, Poplar Walk

To ensure a seat please indicate attendance at:

Help Protect Two  Green Spaces Under Threat


Grangewood Park Victory

 GOAT closes at Boxpark

Steve Reed calls for action against SPAC Nation Church—mp-says

Has Croydon Got any Eco-friendlier? By Nicholas James, Wilson’s School

Croydon History News

206 London Road: The Codfather

Kake’s latest London Rd history posting:

West Croydon Station 1910

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, the composer, collapsed at West Croydon Station in 1912. An image of the Station in 1910 can be seen at

Croydon & New South Wales

Tuesday 14 January. 6.30pm. Scrutiny and Oversight Committee

The Committee will be questioning Tony Newman the Leader of the Council particularly about the Strategy & Policy Forward Plan 2020-2.

Thursday 16 January. 6.30pm.  Council Planning Committee.

A small victory for resident campaigners will be approved by the Committee when it  adopts the Article 4 Direction to limit multi-occupation with effect on 28 January.

‘The conversion of C3 housing to a small house in multiple occupation can be carried out under permitted development rights and unlike some permitted development rights, this change of use does not even require prior approval. Therefore, there is currently no consideration of the environment, neighbour amenity or the loss of family homes that would otherwise be required as part of a planning application process, determined in accordance with the development plan. Therefore and in accordance with paragraph 53 of the NPPF and the supporting guidance, it is considered that the most appropriate way to address these issues is to apply a borough-wide Article 4 Direction removing permitted development rights.’

50 representations were received during last year’s consultation ‘with the majority of representations (72%) indicating that they were supportive of the Article 4 Direction. ‘Many representations also took the time to highlight issues with current HMOs in their local area as a main reason for supporting the use of an Article 4 Direction. Other supportive representations cited the loss of family homes and the impact of conversions on the surrounding neighbourhood and infrastructure. Representations in some cases named specific areas where current HMOs were problematic (South Norwood, Bingham Road, Oval Road, West Thornton, Chatsworth Conservation Area, Norbury Crescent, Stanford Road and Blacksmith’s Hill). However, no area was identified multiple times.’

Monday 20 January. 6.30pm. Council Cabinet  

The Cabinet will be largely considering education and child care matters. It will be deciding to bring the out-sourced school services back into the Council, with the Council/Head Teachers organisation Octavo being wound up. It is bringing in a new rent policy for buildings it owns which are managed by community and voluntary sector organisations. It will agree that Veolia staff working in the community should report incidences of fly tipping and street cleansing if and when observed. It will also note that the feedback from the monitoring visit in October 2019 by Ofsted to Croydon’s Early Help Services Children’s Social Care service was very positive.

Concerted and dynamic leadership continues to drive rapid progress in the quality of services for children in Croydon. Improvements were evident in almost all areas of practice reviewed during this monitoring visit. Progress over the last eight months has been sustained and is continuing to gain further momentum.’

The full agenda items list can be see at

Latest Croydon Socio-Economic Data

The latest summary of Croydon Socio-Economic Data is contained in one of the education reports to the Cabinet meeting on 20 October.

Average gross earnings for male full-time workers is about £45 higher a week for those who work in Croydon than those who live in Croydon. For female full-time workers it is higher by about £12 a week

Out of work benefits claimants: March 2019 est. 10,105 people in Croydon claiming out of work benefits, a steady increase since March 2017. The proportion of out of work claimants is higher than the London and national (GB) proportion.

Homeless and Temporarily housed: 2,449 Croydon residents as at 31st March 2018. 5 in 10 are from the Black community. The majority applying for homelessness: 25–44 year old age group (58%)m – 29% of the total resident population in 2017. The most common reason for homelessness is parental evictions, followed by exclusions by relatives and friends.

Early Education Funding. 47% of the eligible 2 year old population benefitted from a funded early education place in January 2019, and  83% of 3 and 4 year olds. Take up is below the London and England averages.

Crime. ‘The overall number of offences committed in Croydon has fallen in recent years based on the last 10 financial years of reporting.’ The overall rate of offences per 1,000 population in Croydon is not as high as other parts of London.

Serious youth violence. ‘The number of victims of serious youth violence has increased slightly in recent years.’

Domestic Abuse. Croydon is in the top third of London councils for highest domestic abuse incidents: 18.2 per 1,000 of population for the 12 months to 31st March 2019. 76% were female. One in 3 (33%) in the 25-34 year age band. 23% were in the 35-44 year band and 18% were in the 18-24 year band.

Child/youth offences. 1,152 proven offences committed by children age 10-17 during the year ending 31 March 2018 . Increase of 29% on previous year. By far the highest proportion of proven offences committed is violence against the person. 88% of the youth offenders are male. 68.9% from BAME backgrounds (68.9% – London 63.5%).

Male Life Expectancy. Increased from c74 years in 1991-1993 to 80.3 years in 2014-2016. (London average for London 80.4; England 79.5.

Female Life Expectancy. Increased from just over 79 years to 83.6 years in the same period (London 84.2 years: England 83.1

Deprivation. ‘Croydon became relatively more deprived compared to other local authorities in England between 2010 and 2015 according to the Index of Multiple Deprivation (produced by DCLG). … There continues to be geographic inequality in the distribution of deprivation in the borough with the north and southeast of the borough remaining more deprived. Some wards have low levels of disadvantage whilst others are amongst the most deprived in England.’

Child Income Deprivation. 23.2% of children live  in families affected by income deprivation.

Child Population. 2017 est. 28,390 children aged under 5 and 52,368 aged 5 to 14.

Full details in:

New Policy on Rent Charges for Council

Owned Community Buildings

The Cabinet will be approving a policy on renting community halls its owns to voluntary and community sector organisations, to bring in a rent subsidy for three years ‘to provide some stability to VCS organisations, and enable them to plan in the medium to long term’. There  will be annual monitoring and the ability to amend or remove rent subsidy if the recipient no longer qualifies.. Organisations will need to be: Community led, a co-operative or a social enterprise; properly constituted, with good governance; capable of sustainably, legally and safely managing an asset and delivering services; compliant with the Equality Act 2010; and willing to offer space (if available) and support to smaller groups. ‘The organisations will also need to provide services that support the Council’s VCS strategy … and these services must be delivered primarily for the benefit of Croydon residents. At least 75% of beneficiaries must be Croydon residents.’

‘Profit making organisations (other than co-operatives and social enterprises), faith groups using premises mainly for religious purposes, and organisations providing services to a restrictive membership group will be excluded from receiving rent subsidy.’

‘Where an organisation wholly or mainly sublets the premises to other organisations, then the property may be eligible for rent subsidy on condition that the subtenants are VCS organisations approved by the Council and the amount paid by the subtenant is no more than a charge to cover the organisation’s reasonable costs of managing and running the building. The organisation’s rent subsidy will only be reduced if it is making a profit from the arrangement.’

‘If an organisation receives rental contributions from other council grants or commissioning, they will not be eligible to apply for rental subsidy. This ensures there is no duplication in funding contribution.;

Further details can be seen at:

Croydon Local Plan Review

The Council has extended the consultation period for the Review to 20 January.

Have your say online and/or download the Issues and Options consultation material and find out how you can respond at


‘We have declared a climate emergency, to tackle climate change and improve the environment for residents now and for future generations. We need more carbon neutral buildings, and we need new developments to be less reliant on the private car than ever before. Also, the importance of trees and green spaces in the borough has never been higher. Simultaneously, we have a duty to ensure we have sufficient and high quality homes for our population.

It is for these reasons above that we are currently reviewing the Croydon Local Plan. To assist us in this review, we are asking for your feedback on issues and options to plan for future development in the Local Plan.

This Issues and Options consultation stage presents the key issues and options for Croydon’s future, set out are three different possible strategies to direct growth across the borough, focused on different aspects of sustainability, and to meet housing need and the need for associated jobs and infrastructure.

The responses to the Issues and Options consultation will inform us how a reviewed Local Plan should be shaped and developed. Responding to the consultation online, will allow you to comment on the entire consultation or simply on the topics that mean the most to you.

The comments received during this consultation period, along with evidence based research, will be used to begin amending the policies and text within the current adopted Local Plan. We will publish a draft of the Local Plan review in autumn.’

Representations are welcomed by:

Taking part in an online survey at;

Emailing; or

Posting to Spatial Planning, Zone 6B, Bernard Weatherill House, 8 Mint Walk, Croydon, CR0 1EA.

My personal submission

I have personally submitted suggestions on a number of Issues, which can be read here:

Pantomies 2019-20 (3)Local Plan Review Sean Creighton Personal Comments

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