Croydon’s retail crisis and other news

Council to hit homeless who do not accept support

https://www.croydonadvertiser.co.uk/news/croydon-news/croydon-council-launches-town-centre-1649919

http://news.croydon.gov.uk/scp-steps-up-plans-to-help-stop-town-centre-begging

Contrast this with the practical help provide by the Salvation Army.

https://thecroydoncitizen.com/politics-society/supporting-croydons-homeless-salvation-army

As retail store chains collapse Council Leader welcomes new hope for Westfield Centre

http://www.swlondoner.co.uk/council-leader-praises-impact-of-whitgift-centre-redevelopment

But John Lewis is only coming because it has negotiated a 5 year rent free period. Westfield must be desperate, while partner Hammerson is avoiding for the time being the closure of the House of Fraser store in Centrale.

What is the future of retail units?

It is clear that the future of retail  shopping units is in a head long dive. Whether Westfield’s proposed units will be filled remains to be seen. Croydon already has too many retail units. Yet the Council continues to approve other developers proposed retail units on the ground floors of their schemes.  It is time for a review of what alternative uses can be put to ground floors of new housing blocks, e.g. community facilities for the residents; play facilities for their children; token rentals to community and voluntary organisations. A review is also needed of what the growing empty shops in district centres and what other uses they can be put to.

Meanwhile poor management and maintenance sees another national chain store TK Maxx fall foul of health rules.

https://www.croydonadvertiser.co.uk/news/mouse-urine-droppings-discovered-food-1641266

Boots does not pay London Living Wage

38 Degrees campaign is asking for people to sign its petition urging Boots to pay at least the London Living Wage.

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/boots-to-pay-staff-in-london-the-london-living-wage

As the Council is a LLW supporting authority it should be discussing with Croydon TUC and Croydon Citizens UK what actions can be taken locally to put pressure on Boots including for Westfield to require it to be at least a LLW employer as a condition of letting it rent a unit in the proposed Westfield Centre.

What Next for Boxpark?

The debate about the financial state of Boxpark has been taken up by Eater London

https://london.eater.com/2018/6/7/17393380/boxpark-croydon-shoreditch-half-million-pound-loss-what-happens-next

If you have not already done so, please read my discussion pieces on Croydon Citizen.

https://thecroydoncitizen.com/politics-society/roger-wade-boxpark-right-concerned-future-town-centre-part-one

https://thecroydoncitizen.com/politics-society/boxparks-boss-right-croydon-town-centre-part-two

Boxpark’s Roger Wade did email me about these articles with a view to meeting up, but then decided that it would be better to do side at a Meet the Developer public discussion meeting he was hoping to arrange with Croydon Citizen. No news on progress as yet.

Croydon housing affordability – house prices 12 times average salary

https://www.croydonadvertiser.co.uk/news/croydon-news/croydon-house-prices-now-twelve-1650501

Council loses 140 homes to Right to Buy

In 2017 Croydon Council lost 140 homes for renting to tenants exercising their right to buy (RTB).

https://www.thecanary.co/uk/2018/05/31/revealed-the-london-boroughs-topping-the-tables-for-getting-rid-of-council-homes

Inside Croydon has chosen to use this as a stick to criticise the Council, despite the fact that the Council cannot stop RTB, and tenants see it as sensible to buy as they may in the future be able to sell at a much higher price.

Croydon Local Elections 1968

Postgraduate student Dan Frost writes about the Croydon local elections 50 years ago.

https://thecroydoncitizen.com/politics-society/looking-back-croydons-local-elections-1968

Dan and I will be giving talks on peace movements in Croydon on 21 June at 7.30pm at Ruskin House, 23 Coombe Rd.

Primary School Rolls

In response to the following Freedom of Information request I sent the Council ‘ How many children are on roll in all the primary schools in Croydon by type of school: local authority, church/faith, Academy, Free School, independent?’ the Council has replied: 

‘The information required can be found in the document titled ‘Local authority and regional tables: SFR28/2017 via the weblink below.  Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 therefore applies, ‘Information reasonably accessible to the applicant by other means’. This acts as an exemption notice.  Section 21 is an absolute exemption and therefore does not require the public interests balancing test to be applied.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/schools-pupils-and-their-characteristics-january-2017

The next update – January 2018 – will be published towards the end of June and you will be able to access the data via the above weblink.’

Children with education, health and care statements

 I also asked: How many children have SEND or education, health and care statements, by each category? The Council has replied:

‘The DfE publishes annual data which sets out the number of EHC Plans, and historically Statements of SEN maintained by every Local Authority in England this dataset is known as the SEN2 return and is available to the public.  The link can be found below. Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 therefore applies, ‘Information reasonably accessible to the applicant by other means’. This acts as an exemption notice.  Section 21 is an absolute exemption and therefore does not require the public interests balancing test to be applied.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statements-of-sen-and-ehc-plans-england-2017

Croydon Council currently maintains 2600 EHC Plans (January 2018) and 0 Statements of SEN’

In response to the question ‘How many children are currently being assessed for education, health and care plans?, the Council says 125.

I further asked:  ‘What is the minimum, average and maximum time taken to assess each application for a plan?’ The reply:

‘Croydon completes 95% of EHC Plans within the 20 week deadlines.  Your request asks for maximum and minimum timescales, 5% of plans are completed within a timescale that exceeds 20 weeks and is within 4 weeks of this deadline.’

The full reply is at

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/special_educational_needs_155?nocache=incoming-1169110#incoming-1169110

The problem facing schools with the time it takes to process statements means that schools have to try and provide the support the children need from elsewhere in the budget, until a plan is approved and money allocated to implement it.

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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 http://thecroydoncitizen.com. 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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