Are street improvements a waste of money?

This Saturday sees two events seeking residents views about how to improve Thornton Heath High St and South Norwood.

  • Thornton Heath Walking Workshops: 10am-12.30pm, 1pm-3.30pm, 4pm-6.30pm
  • South Norwood – 10am–2pm

There are many people who are sceptical about improvements in pavings, street furniture, shop fronts etc. Inside Croydon suggests the money is wasted:

On the other hand residents frequently and rightly complain that their high streets are being run down by Council and building owners neglect resulting in an increasing number of empty shops. They want action. One of the reasons for empty shops is of course the way in which greedy landlords force up the rents on shop units.

The improvements that have already been carried out along London Rd leading up to West Croydon Station show what can be done.

It appears that the improvements along South End High Street have resulted in a 20% drop in vacancies – see

The main problem though in the public expenditure on shop fronts is that it increases the value of the property and could be used as a justification to increase rents. It is to be hoped that when the Council gets owners’ permission to do the shop front improvements there is an agreement that this will not happen and that if the owner sells the building the Council has to be paid back. Similarly the improvement should be exempted from any business rate re-valuation.

Thornton Heath Walking Workshops

‘What do YOU value about Thornton Heath? And what do you wish was different? Join us for some ‘public archaeology’ of the High Street and Brigstock Road. YOU&ME architects have been appointed by Croydon Council to make improvements to building frontages and to commission artworks for blank flank walls, along Thornton Heath High Street and Brigstock Road. The first important step is to understand the existing character of Thornton Heath: what you, as the local community value most about the look and feel of the area as it is now and what you would most like to change. These ‘walking workshops’, in partnership with public archaeologist James Dixon, will allow us to gather information from the people who know Thornton Heath best – those who use the area every day.’

Times: 10am-12.30pm, 1pm-3.30pm, 4pm-6.30pm

Meet at  Meeting Room, Thornton Heath Leisure Centre, 100 High Street

How to join: Please RSVP to Daisy Froud at; or on 07870 691630

Places are limited to ensure a good quality conversation.

Do also contact Daisy if you have any questions or would like more information about the project.

Please wear sensible shoes and dress for the weather.

Refreshments will be provided.

This event is  part of an on-going programme of public events about Thornton Heath. You can see my assessment of one in May at

Further details about that event and the documents used at it can be seen at

South Norwood Improvements

‘As part of the overall regeneration plans for the London Borough of Croydon there are proposed Street Improvements being undertaken in South Norwood.’ The emerging concept designs will be on view at The Lower Hall, Stanley Halls 10am–2pm, ‘so please pop in at any time.’

‘If you cannot make the event the plans will be available to view in South Norwood Library and at the Stanley Halls café for one month after the event.

The plans can also be viewed online at

and please email the Regeneration Manager for South Norwood, Tony Kavanagh  on 

if you have any questions.’


About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy, housing and environment issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly. I am a member of the Love Norbury Residents Associations Planning & Transport Committees, and Chair of Nobury Community Land Trust. I write for Croydon Citizen at I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and edit the North East Popular Politics database. History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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