The threat to Matthews Yard – the strange case of religious entrepreneurship


(From Matthews Yard campaign website)

The threat to Matthews Yard reveals a strange case of religious entrepreneurship.

Joint applicant for the controversial plans to redevelop 5-9 Surrey St where Matthews Yard is based is  the building’s owner the Folly’s End Fellowship Trust.

The Trust is linked is a charitable company limited by guarantee. Its purpose ‘is to advance the Christian faith’: ‘the worship of God, the instruction of Christians, the care and Christian instruction of young people and children, the evangelisation of non-Christians, the relief of sickness and poverty and the advancement of the Christian faith generally.’

Its activities are through Folly’s End  Church and the Folly’s End Christian  Preschools (Hop Skip and Jump). It licences the use of Surrey St to Croydon Conference Centre and Conference Events Ltds ‘allowing them to let out excess space… to 3rd parties.’

The Directors are Mary Melinda Wilson Fish, a Christian worker who lives in the United States; Margaret Katherine Kitchen, a social enterprise consultant; and Frank Geoffrey Stonelake (retired)  of 34a Alexandra Road in Croydon.

Its Hop, Skip and Jump Pre-Schools are at the United Reform Church, Addiscombe Grove and at Christchurch, Sumner Rd. It used to run one at Home Start Croydon, 1-4 Ramsey Court, Church Street.

The Trust company has 3 loan charges with Barclays Bank including on 5- Surrey St and 9 South Park Hill Road.

Its December 2016 annual accounts state that it is linked to Ambushed, Walk Right In and Folly’s End Ltds. These three are dormant companies. The Fellowship’s Church Leaders are the Directors: David Leonard Markee of Ambushed and Folly’s End, and he and Rosina Ethel Markee, of Walk Right in Ltd. Their address is 8a Spencer Road, South Croydon.

Companies House records show that the Markees are also Directors of Croydon Conference Centre Ltd, which has two fixed and floating charges from the Croydon Enterprise Loan Fund Limited. The accounts for the year ending 31 December 2016 show that the company was in deficit of £2,322.

Both Markees have previously been Directors of Daze Ltd (dormant), and David of River of Souls Ltd and Croydon Jazz Festival CIC (both dissolved).

Both Markees are also Directors of Conference Events Ltd,  at 1 Phillimore Road, Southampton, along with David Martyn Williams, whose address is given as 5-9 Surrey St. Williams holds several Directorships including Kingston Business Management Ltd, Charities Back Office Services Ltd, with its registered office at 5-9 Surrey St. He has  previously been a Director of Croydon Conference Centre Ltd.

Ironically he is a Director of Community Organisers Ltd (CoLtd) the membership body for Community Organisers across England and the home of the National Community Organising Academy.

It says that it is ‘committed to ensuring that residents can act together to transform their communities for good’. It objects are laudable seeking to build a more active and democratic society where all people feel and are able to participate in the world around them; to provide training courses and programmes that enable the study of the practice, theory, and techniques of community organising; to work with people to build their collective power to tackle poverty and injustice; and to promote and advocate for a more just society where people are able to challenge constructively for change.

It says it believes in listening and putting the common agenda of people first, seeking to create the conditions for making change possible and encouraging individuals to take responsibility and ownership for creating the change that they want.

It is committed to supporting people in the belief that they have the ability and potential to create change and transform their community for the common good.

It promotes collaboration through building strong relationships and powerful networks, that value individuals, people can achieve lasting social change.

It wants to unleash the potential of every human being in community and to achieve equality of autonomy where every person should have the right to decide and control their life situation.

So you would have hoped that with Williams involvement in the conplex Folly’s End entreprenurial network, that 5-9 Surrey St would have been redeveloped to ensure that the local community’s views about the future of the building/site would be paramount.

Matthews Yard requests objections to plans for 5-9 Surrey St

Following wide support within Croydon Matthews Yard won Asset of Community Value listing . It now wants its supporters to object to the planning application submitted by Regent Land and Development Ltd and the Folly’s End Fellowship Trust.

Matthews Yard suggests you look particularly at:

  • Loss of light or overshadowing 
    This is particularly applicable to local residents of The Exchange and Bridge House and to traders on Surrey Street
  • Overlooking/loss of privacy
    This is particularly applicable to residents of Bridge House and The Exchange.
  • Traffic generation
    Residents will have cars and need to load and unload vehicles. Delivery vehicles for residents and existing retailers already cause significant problems and bottlenecks on the High Street and Scarbrook Road.
  • Noise and disturbance resulting from use
    There are proposals for a Live Music Venue in the basement of the building which will be operated by an organisation which generated numerous noise complaints to the council when they operated at Matthews Yard in the past.
  • Effect on listed building and conservation area
    The proposed development is in a conservation area and proposals will create undue volumes of disruption to recently refurbished Surrey Street Market and surrounds.
  • Asset of Community Value status of 1 Matthews Yard
    The basement of the building has been designated an Asset of Community Value by Croydon Council. Demolition plans would involve the total loss of this vital community asset for two years and developers have so far refused to engage in dialogue with Save Matthews Yard Limited.

For more detail from Matthews Yard see

The 98 planning application documents are available here:






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How effective is Croydon’s Enforcement Action?

At its meeting on Monday 19 March the Croydon Council Cabinet will have a report on Safety Enforcement

Enforcement is carried out by the following services: Public protection, Houses in multiple occupation, Selective licensing and housing, Trading standards, Anti-social behaviour, Pollution, Food and safety Neighbourhood operations, Neighbourhood safety, and Environmental enforcement.


The report sets out what the Council regards as its enforcement successes inc.:

600 improvement notices on properties in disrepair and 15 prohibition orders on properties unsuitable for habitation among the 31,000 properties on the landlord licensing scheme.

16 prosecutions for trading offences, with the maximum sentence handed down of 4 years and 3 months imprisonment.

42 voluntary closures of food premises, 11 food and/or health and safety prosecutions, 45 health and safety improvement or prohibition notices

The ASB team have successfully applied for 30 premises closures, 34 injunctions (including 12 youth injunctions), 18 outright possession orders and 3 criminal behaviour orders (CBO).

Almost 500 houses in multiple occupation inspected and licensed.

The report also includes the successes in penalties for litter  and fly-tipping.

Failure re-shishas

The Cabinet is not being told about the failure to end illegal smoke in shisha bars. In Norbury the owner of the two Havana cafes was successfully prosecuted, but he ignored the conviction and continued to allow smoking to continue. The Council was preparing further court action. This  had to be abandoned because he sold the two premises to two brothers based in Bristol (one to each). They have allowed illegal smoking to continue.

Planning Enforcement

The report does not include Planning Enforcement. The approach there is to try and negotiate the ending of the breaches by the submission on a planning application. The success is patchy. A property in Norbury Ave has been extensively added to and a building added in the back garden by a developer who has been in conflict with other local authorities. The Council has been dragging its feet on taking action for several months. A café in Norbury has been in breach of one of its planning conditions, and the owners have side stepped enforcement by putting in an application to lift the condition.

One of the flaws in the planning system is that if a developer decides not to use the Councils Building Control Service then there are likely to be more building construction safety infringements  putting both building workers and the public at risk.

The Role of HSE

There is where the Health & Safety Executive comes in. In January the HSE served notice on property developers active in  Croydon to stop their building works at 150 Norbury Crescent.

Having been alerted to the problems of the site involving conversion to flats Neil Fry, HM Inspector of Health and Safety (Construction Division – Group 21), visited  on 20 January. He found issues with such matters as site security, good order, scaffolding, and welfare. He served a Prohibition Notice on Residential Property London Ltd prohibiting all construction work on site.  The Notice has since been complied with.

The Notice will appear on the HSE Public Register of Enforcement Notices for a period of 5 years (after 5 years, Notices served on companies are placed in the Notice History Database):

The cost of the full intervention will be recovered from the company.

Fry also notified the Council’s building control who added the works onto its register of sites being looked at by it.

So if you have concerns about (a) the way scaffolding has been erected, (b) overflowing skips, lack of protection of the site from the pavement, site security, etc, then please contact the Construction Division – Group 21 at 1SW Rose Court, 2 Southwark Bridge, London, SE1 9HS.

You can check all the notices on the register in Croydon re-HSE breaches for construction, manufacturing etc, at

Residential Property London Ltd

The company is based at London at 38 Tankerville Road,  SW16.  It was registered in 2004; No. 05228105. There are two Directors Mark Joseph and Pamela Jayne Fitzsimons, the latter also being Secretary, and both living at a flat in 2 Buckleigh Rd, SW16.

Their legal charges are funded by among others Barclays and HSBC Banks.

Their last audited accounts submitted to Companies House are for the year end 31 March 2017.

Full details can be seen on the Companies House website at You can search by company name, or number.

In the past they have been involved in other companies including 72 Leigham Vale, 287 Norbury Avenue, 64 Barcombe Management Company Ltds, and Mark in 2 Buckleigh Road MCL.


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Croydon news at 16 March

Saturday 31 March. 11am-4pm

Thornton Heath CR7 Market

Stalls at Whitehouse roundabout,

Job Centre and Salvation Army

I will be running a bookstall at the Market.

Thursday 5 April. Goodbye Croydon Tech City Drinks

Matthews Yard, off Surrey St.

To let the organisers know in advance that you can attend please go to

You can follow the history of Croydon Tech City in the back postings on Croydon Citizen.


News in Brief

Claim made that Westfield will generate £ £745m annual turnover (Croydon Advertiser. 15 March)

Khan provides £750,000 TfL money for health work in New Addington following tram crash. (Croydon Advertiser. 12 March)

Poundworld Croydon fined £1.2m for mice infestation.  (Croydon Advertiser. 13 March)

Hammerson pays women 47% less than men. (Times. 13 March)

Cityscape leaseholders lose on cladding charges. (Guardian. 14 March)

Government cuts are forcing Councils to consider selling off parks to developers. (Guardian. 14 March)

More than £500,000 of Councillors community ward budgets has been spent funding 400 local projects, as councillors continue to put residents at the heart of spending in their wards. (Your Croydon. 16 March)


Construction Skills Academy Opens

The Building Futures Academy to provide residents training and qualifications in construction has been opened in New Addington today, as part of the new multi-million pound New Addington leisure and community centre development, and will provide training and qualifications for local people interested in working in construction. (Your Croydon. 13 March)

Croydon Citizen debates

The councillor’s charter (social media – Robert Ward)

What is an Asset of Community Value and does it even matter? (Saif Bonar)

The way forward (Croydon’s challenges – Barnaby Powell)

Local Plan Clarification

Steve Dennington, Service Head – Spatial Planning, who led the Council team on the Local Plan, has sent me the following information clarifying the timetable of the Local Plan:

  • ‘The Local Plan is adopted, regardless of any judicial review and has been used to determine applications against since adoption on the 27th February.’

This means that residents and other should be using the Plan’s policies and explanations to support their comments whether supporting or objecting, or submitting neutral comments.

  • Draft Suburban Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document

‘Any comments or observations you have on the presentation can be sent through …, but this is not the formal consultation period, this is planned for the summer of this year.  The Council’s programme, at this point, can be viewed in the Local Development Scheme via the link below.’

The presentation referred to was made to Residents Associations at meetings at the end of January and beginning of February.

It can be downloaded here:

SPD Suburban Design

More flaws in the Public-Private Partnership development model

Inside Croydon is keeping the spotlight shining on the Council’s relationship with developers e.g. at the MIPIM Conference in Cannes and about Brick by Brick’s relationship with private  developers.

Two leading  banks are not attending this year. (Telegraph. 14 March)

Meanwhile the Northern Powerhouse concept has been seriously damaged in Liverpool and Manchester by failings of developers. (Guardian. 14 March)

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Croydon inequality, fuel poverty, and housing plans at Committees 19-22 March

Monday 19 March. 6.30pm. Council Cabinet

Coast to Capital Presentation,  Delivering Culture in Croydon, Education Quality and Standards, Croydon Carers’ Strategy 2018-2022, Safety Enforcement Policy, Community Fund programme, Implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Equality and Inclusion Annual Report 2017, Croydon Healthy Homes, proposed acceptance of recommendations arising from  Scrutiny Sub-Committees. It will also be asked to approve the sale of a Council industrial (employment) site to a housing charity for move on housing for single people in hostels

Tuesday 20 March. 6pm. Cycle Forum

The Forum will discuss Bicycle Policy Audit, update on junction changes at East Croydon (Cherry Orchard Road/Addiscombe Road/etc.), provisions for cyclists in proposed town centre developments, DfT Major Road Network funding, Cycle Parking, Cycling Strategy, Met Police on Closing Passing Update, cyclist plans for newly pedestrianised portion of High Street and North End, dockless bike hire in Croydon, cycle route signs, and general updates (TfL plans for Fiveways report on the consultation, Liveable Neighbourhoods bid, Cycle hub at East Croydon, on way route on Bedford Park).

On cycling issues see

Tuesday 20 March. 6.30pm. Scrutiny Streets, Environment & Homes Sub-Committee

TfL will give a presentation on trams.

Thursday 22 March. 6.30pm. Planning Committee

40-60 Cherry Orchard Rd (demolition for 94 homes), 23 Park Rd, Kenley (demolition for 7 flats), garages and forecourt off  Avenue Rd, S. Norwood (demolition for 12 flats), plus Brick by Brick Coulsdon schemes: land at Lion Green Road Car Park, (157 units), 2 applications re- former CALAT at 41 Malcolm Rd, and Coulsdon Commnunty Centre, Barrie Close )demolition for for 33 homes), Documents accessible at

East Coulsdon Residents Association is supporting the Brick by Brick schemes – see Charlie King’s article on Croydon Citizen.


The report to the 19 March Cabinet meeting shows that a quarter of Croydon’s children are in poverty. The report examines employment, child poverty, attainment, community safety, social Isolation, community cohesion, health, and the Council own workforce.

Tackling Fuel Poverty

Groundwork London has been awarded a 3 year Croydon Healthy Homes contract worth £96k, funded through S106 contributions to improve the energy efficiency and thermal comfort of the homes of vulnerable Croydon residents living in private sector housing and likely to be in fuel poverty or have health conditions exacerbated by the cold.

Future of Croydon’s Culture

The 19 March Cabinet meeting is being told:

‘Croydon was unsuccessful in its bid to be the London Borough of Culture for 2019. The programme developed and its priorities, however, remain relevant for the next two to three years which is a key time for Croydon in terms of major cultural development. The Museum Service will be preparing to make an application for reaccreditation of the service, the Library Service is undergoing a major review following being taken in house after the announcement of liquidation by Carillion PLC. The Fairfield Halls refurbishment is well underway and the design team working closely with the operator to ensure that all opportunities to make it fit for purpose are maximised.’

Don’t forget the Council wants our views on the future of the Library Service:

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St Patrick’s Night 17 March Ruskin House


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History events & news at 11 March

History lectures

A lot of history lectures by academics are being cancelled due to the strike action over University staff pensions. Some will be re-scheduled. An example is Voluntary Action History seminar by Alex Murdoch on food banks on 12 March at Senate House. The organisers state:

‘This is one of days on which the university lecturers union has called for strike action in support of their dispute with the employees over the future of their pensions. This will include a picket line at Senate House which we have no intention of crossing. At time of writing it is possible that the action might be suspended if the employers return to the negotiating table but we cannot depend on that happening  and wanted to be sure that those wanting to take part were not let down at short notice.’

The seminar will now take place at 6pm on Monday 25 June.

7 March onwards. Family Ties – The Adamah Papers Exhibition

New exhibition at Black Cultural Archives follows the Adamah family’s journey to rediscover their connection to a Ghanaian King and the preservation of their family traditions here in Britain.

For more details and for other events at BCA go to

Tuesday 13 March. 6pm. Memorials in Lambeth Project

Introductory meeting of the joint heritage project between the Friends of Carnegie Library and Lambeth Archives to restore and interpret a collection of memorials, many of which come from the former All Saints, South Lambeth. The project is looking for local people who would like to be involved. There are lots of volunteering and training opportunities  which will be outlined at this meeting.

Lambeth Archives, Minet Library, 52 Knatchbull Rd, SE5 9QY

Saturday 7 April. Noon-3pm. Chartism drop-in day

Focus on honorary Mancunian Ernest Jones.

Working Class Movement Library, Salford.

Lambeth Local History Walks

NHS 70th Anniversary

Steve Reed, Croydon North’s Labour MP reminds us that the NHS will be 70 years old on 5 July.

‘What a perfect opportunity to celebrate one of the country’s best loved institutions that has transformed the health and wellbeing of the nation. None of this would be possible without the extraordinary dedication of NHS staff, as well as many charities, volunteers and communities who work tirelessly, every day, to support the service.’

He is backing the NHS awards scheme – see:

A video showing NHS history highlights can be seen at:

Manchester University has a project to record memories.

For a working class and people’s history perspective see:

The Independent article on the creation from 2008 is still worth reading

It reminds us that the Tories voted against the formation of the NHS 21 times before the Act was passed, including both the Second and Third reading, partly because they feared the feckless poor would overload the service!

Jo Stanley postings

These are just two more of the many postings Jo is making:

Paul Robeson

  • Jackie Robinson at HUAC

*       Peekskill Concert Riot 1949

Photo at

For story see History Today article from 2012:

  • Review of Jeff Sparrow’s biography

has been published by the Times Literary Supplement.

Commemorating song writers – John Latouche

The cult of singers often means that people do not know about who song composers were, like the American John Latouche whose songs included Taking a Chance on Love sung by Ethel Waters and Ballad of America sung by Paul Robeson. See review of Howard Pollack’s biography of Latouche, which includes a video of Walters singing the song.


The British Mosque. An architectural and social history. Shahed Saleem. (Historical England. March 2018). 9781848020764

Prefabs. The social and architectural history of 20th-century prefabricated housing. Elisabeth Blanchet & Sonia Zhuravlava. (Historic England. July 2018). 9781848023512

Baroness Amos backs Cecil Rhodes protest

Reflections of Leo Panitch on growing up in post-war Canada and the anti-communist climate

Mike Seifert remembered


Tayo Aluko on Martin Luther King

‘50 years ago this April, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was taken from us. As it happens, my first public performance this year was as part of a celebration of his life in Brooklyn, New York on January 14. That performance provided additional meaning to my being in New York, where I happened to be promoting my two plays again at a huge performing arts conference/market which will hopefully result in several more performances in the USA later this year and next year.’

Tayo’s Lawyer show is being performed

March 17: Riverside Barn, Walton-on-Thames
March 29: The Lowry, Salford


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Blue plaque to FWW British West Indies Regiment 12 March

Monday 12  March

Noon- 12:50pm

Seaford Station,  Station Approach,   East Sussex,  BN25 2AR

Unveiling of a Blue Plaque to celebrate the


In 1914 many West Indians left the colonies to enlist in the army in the UK, and were recruited into British regiments. The 1st Battalion was formed in September 1915 at Seaford, West Sussex, England.  It was made up of men from British Guiana, —A Company, Trinidad – B Company, St Vincent – C Company, and Grenada and Barbados —D Company.

The regiment’s battalions saw service in East Africa, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, France and Italy.

A total of 397 officers and 15,204 other ranks served in the Regiment. It was a volunteer regiment consisting of troops from the British colonies of the West Indies. The Regiment was awarded 5 DSOs, 9 MCs, 2 MBEs, 8 DCMs, 37 MMs and 49 Mentions in Dispatches.

The unveiling, has been organised by the Nubian Jak Community Trust. , with support from the Councils of Seaford, Lewes and East Sussex.

The Mayor of Seaford, Councillor Linda Wallraven, says: “I am so pleased that a Blue Plaque is going to be unveiled at Seaford Station in recognition to the British West Indies Regiment which was established here in Seaford in 1915. The Regiment is part of Seaford history.  Yearly we have a service of Remembrance for those who lost their lives many of whom are buried at Seaford Cemetery.”

Beulah Coombs, Lecturer and niece of a WW1 BWIR Private, says: “It is a great privilege to be included in the proceedings to commemorate and honour soldiers from the West Indies, who fought for Britain in WW1.  Recognition and acknowledgement of their brave contributions to the war effort have been long overdue.  My uncle, Private Robert Smith, of the 7th Battalion of the British West Indies Regiment, and whose grave is in Belgium, was one of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  My relatives and I are extremely proud of his and his comrades’ legacies”

Robert A Peedle MBE, Chairman, Seahaven Branch The Royal Society of St George & Volunteer Broadcaster, Seahaven FM, says: “I have two interests in this day, one that as Chairman of the Seahaven Branch of The Royal Society of St George we always support the annual commemoration at the Seaford Cemetery of the West Indian, Canadian and Irish troops who served and died here during the First World War. This is always well supported by members of our branch. My other interest is that as a Volunteer Broadcaster on Seahaven FM (96.3 fm) my programme, Forces on Parade is always conscious of the great contribution members of the armed forces from our then colonies and now the Commonwealth have made over the centuries to the defence of the Realm. Their efforts and commitment should never be forgotten which is why this plaque at Seaford Railway Station is so important.”

Jon Freeman, Seaford to Brighton Line Director, says: “Sussex CRP and Seaford Station are pleased to host the unveiling of a blue plaque on behalf of the British West Indies Regiment.  Seaford Station has recently celebrated 150 years of being a railway town with a steam train coming to add to the historic moment.  Now the Regiment will re-capture their past influence in Seaford following the unveiling, with a reception, in the Steamworks Craft Bar enjoying their hospitality and maybe tasting some of the 150 craft beers brewed in Sussex further bringing the station concourse to life.  The old and the new meet yet again in memory of our heritage!!”

Nubian Jak Community Trust:

See for the Trust’s Memorial to the contributions of Africans to Britain’s wars at

Black Poppies

See my review of Stephen Bourne’s Black Poppies. Britain’s Black Community and the Great War at




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