Contents: events, Windrush, David Lean Cinema, Council Cabinet, Invisible Play, 20mph, climate emergency, leasehold law ruling, Japanese knotweed, digital strategy, crematorium, small libraries and industrial unit growth
Diary of Events
Here is Bernard Winchester’s Diary of events for July.
Monday 1 July. 6.30pm – 8.30pm. Windrush TEDx Talk: Past, Present and future – fully booked
Talk by Councillor Patsy Cummings about the Windrush movement and how it impacted the UK.
Followed by a Q&A panel including me. I will also be running my bookstall.
See details of other Windrush events etc below.
Monday 8 July. 6.30pm. Council Cabinet
The Cabinet will be discussing the 2019/20 first quarter financial outcomes, new provision of SEND support, and adopting an up-dated Digital Strategy. The papers on the latter topic can be accessed at https://democracy.croydon.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=183&MId=1874
Council announces new measures after agreeing to declare climate emergency
Is this Council tokenism? It could ensure that small green spaces were planted with wild flowers. But yet again it is identified a site on Covington Way in Norbury Park Ward on a list of possible sites where houses could be built that has been submitted to the London Mayor’s Office. Due to officer incompetence the site was identified as being in the pre-re-organisation ward. A large group of residents protested to the local Councillors at their surgery on Saturday 29 June at St. Oswald’s Church. I attended to explain the position of the four London Residents Associations Planning & Transport Group on the need to protect small green spaces, and that the case for it to be designated as one needs to be put together for the Local Plan Review. The Chair of Norbury Park RA (NPRA) also attended to lend his support. As discussed at the Norbury Regeneration Steering Group of Councillors, Residents Associations, Friends of the Parks and other community groups, there is a need to help form residents associations on the new parts of Norbury Park Ward. I suggested that they use the campaign on the site to develop an association for their area east of NPRA’s.
How much progress has there been on Digital Strategy?
As with all strategy documents the Digital Strategy looks very good in terms of its aspirations, however, it is the implementation that is all important. The Scrutiny Committee reviewed the previous Strategy and made some fundamental criticisms, suggesting that progress of the previous strategy had been slow. Its recommendations have been accepted in a separate report to the Cabinet and incorporated into the Strategy.
(1) ‘that the Strategy should specifically reference how the Council’s social media presence will be improved.’
Officer comment on separate report: ‘The strategy contains a specific commitment to review and improve the council’s social media presence in conjunction with the communications and contact centre teams’.
(2) ‘To ensure that improvements are delivered the Strategy needs to develop a work plan that can be monitored by the public and by Councillors, that have measurable outcomes, where progress against targets can be assessed.’ Officer comment on separate report: ‘Strategy will be accompanied by a public roadmap with measurable outcomes using the format of OKRs (Objectives and Key Results).’
(3) ‘The concepts of transparency and open data need to be embedded within the new strategy, and the strategy needs to include how it will assess improvement of these concepts over time’. Officer comment on separate report: ‘The strategy includes a whole section on data with numerous commitments on open data and transparency.’
In 2016 Tory Councillor Yvette Hopley gave an excellent speech on the issue of the digital divide. It will be interesting to know whether she considers significant progress has been made since then on the issues she raised.
In 2014 the Croydon Trades Council working party analysing the Council’s Growth Plan recommended: ‘that the Growth Plan should have measures to reduce the digital divide, such as building broadband access into the proposed new 800 Council homes and the two blocks being leased for housing homeless families.’
The new Digital Strategy report states:
‘6. Deliver our already published action plan for connectivity in Croydon, working with providers of fixed, wireless and mobile solutions in a holistic manner to deliver ultrafast broadband to all homes (prioritising social housing) and businesses, public WiFi where it is needed most, and prepare Croydon for the future with 5G and small cell networks’
I wonder how many new Council homes being provided under the various housing schemes including those of Brick by Brick and those for which Brick by Brick has planning permission are or will be linked to broadband, and whether the blocks of flats used for homeless families being linked to broadband with digital equipment for homeless people to use.
Leasehold Tribunal Case in Thornton Heath
A dispute over a lease renewal in Thornton Heath has been subject to a tribunal decision in January. Leaseholders trying to negotiate extensions may which to see if it has any implications for them.
Japanese knotweed Infestation
According to the Environment Agency Pollards Hill is the centre of a 4 sq kilometre area of Japanese knotweed infestation.
It would be helpful to try and obtain more detail as to infestations in the two Norbury wards.
As the report does not appear to have been posted on the Agency website Council officers should get a copy to find out which parts of Croydon are affected. This may to lead to needing to altering the public, landlords and developers and a programme of action to deal with it, especially if on Council owned parks, green spaces and estates.
Architecture students redesign Croydon crematorium as multi-faith space
The Tory/Labour row over whether some small libraries will be closed
Surge in Croydon industrial units to meet huge demand
‘The Croydon industrial and logistics market could be about to see a surge in development. After seeing no new spec development since 2008, SHW data highlights that no less than six new schemes, totalling around 500,000 sq ft, are in the pipeline.
The first, which will be completed this month, is Standard Life Aberdeen’s Affinity scheme, comprising 46,250 sq ft in two buildings on Beddington Lane, an area that, with nearby Purley Way and Beddington Farm Road, forms the south-east London borough’s main industrial hub.
“Prior to building speculatively, a pre-let to Ocado had been agreed but planning permission was not forthcoming due to fears over increased vehicle movement,” says Alex Gale, head of business space, Surrey, south London and Kent, at SHW.’
If this continues then the Council will need to ensure that it resists replacement of current employment sites by housing, an adds protection for them in the Local Plan Review.
The Council does seem aware of the potential because
It has increased capital funding of £0.45m towards the development of the Crosfield Industrial unit up to a lettable standard and allow the Community Equipment Service, currently based at Boulogne Road to fulfil its commercial objectives of generating new income and delivering social impact for the Council. (JULY FINANCIAL REVIEW. Cabinet 8 July)
- Windrush Exhibition, Croydon Museum, Clocktower until October. (Tuesdays to Saturdays. 10.30am-5pm)
- Black Cultural Archives Windrush Looking Back, Moving Forward exhibition until 14 September exploring the concept of belonging and raising questions about Britishness, citizenship and identity. £3 admission. This is being supported by a series of events, including:
- Saturday 6 July.10.30am-4.30pm. Day of presentations about three outstanding women: Evelyn Wauchape who stowed away on the Empire Windrush, entertainer Mona Baptiste who travelled first class on the Empire Windrush and Edna Chavannes who first trained as a nurse in the UK. Q & A sessions will be led by Arthur Torrington of the Windrush Foundation. The presenters are Roxanne Gleave, Bill Hern and David Gleave. The Gleaves are active promoters of British Black History in South London.
Ticket £10 orderable at
- The Unwanted: The Secret Windrush Files. There are still just under two weeks to watch David Olusoga’s BBC TV film about the secret government files showing how the Windrush scandal and the ‘hostile environment’ for black British immigrants has been 70 years in the making.