Croydon news at 9 March

Croydon’s social media, Tech City and Borough of Culture debates

News in Brief

Croydon Citizen March print issue now out.

Underfunding increases Croydon schools class sizes. (Croydon Advertiser. 8 March)

Fairfield Halls Director becomes Chair of Croydon BID.

Not all the most expensive streets in Croydon are in the South nor all the least expensive in the North (Croydon Advertiser. 8 March).

Imperial Lounge & Restaurant, in Airport House has had its food hygiene rating increased from 0 -4. (Croydon Advertiser.)

Roll out of pavement art begins. (Your Croydon. 9 March)

Apprentices recognised. (ditto)

CALAT’s Learner Support Fund. (ditto)

Hammerson News

Hammerson has raised £1.5bn to finance Intu debt liabilities. (Global Capital website). It has also partnered with Concrete, a proptech start-up platform set up to invest in and support the most promising technology start-ups in the property industry focused on driving efficiencies and responding to changes in sector. (Hammerson website)

Croydon Neighbourhood Watch may fold

Croydon Advertiser reports that Croydon Neighbourhood Watch may fold due to lack of funding.

Comment. This is not bad news. Neighbourhood Watch was ill conceived from its start, because it focuses only on crime and community safety. Instead the effort should have been put into Residents Associations so that these issues are acted up in the wider context of their work. The future is RAs considering their crime and community safety role, which they partly due by sharing local safer neighbourhood team information and having police speak at their general meetings. Where none exist then any NW supporters should put their effort into starting them up. For a discussion on the role of Residents Associations see my thoughts on the role of Residents Associations at:

Protecting Private Renters

Is it time for a Private Tenants Renters’ Union in Croydon? There are efforts to build up a Renters’ Union in London. You can find out more at

Researchers from the Universities of St Andrews and Glasgow are looking for renters to interview as part of a study into the frustrated housing aspirations. They would like to hear from people who are aged 18-35; renting from a private landlord in England or Scotland; not studying full-time; and earning less than £27,500 a year. In return for a 1-hour telephone interview covering your housing experiences, challenges and aspirations, you will get a £20 high street voucher.

Email Dr Adriana Soaita on

or 0141 330 1705 to get involved.

Generation Rent is recruiting a Policy & Public Affairs Manager. The deadline for applications is 9am on 26 March – for full details and how to apply, download

 Good news for Matthews Yard

1 Matthews Yard has been granted Asset of Community Value (ACV) status.

You can also vote for it in Time Out’s Love London Awards

Two weeks left to help fund Croydon’s Marc Wadsworth

More on Council review of improvements to Library Service

I have received a response to some Freedom of Information questions.

1. Is it possible to move a percentage of stock between Libraries so that titles that have been on display at one Library for some time can be on display at another which has not got those titles?

‘We are reviewing the stock provision at the libraries, including asking customers for their priorities for their local library, and consideration of whether any stock should be moved around to different branches will be part of this process.’
2. Given the problems of funding expanded book etc buying would the Council consider the idea of asking members of the public to donate books etc to the Libraries?

‘We do currently accept donations of books to the libraries from customers, and add them to stock when appropriate. We are not currently planning an initiative whereby we actively ask for donations to stock.’

3. What plans are there to improve the activities programmes in the Libraries so that they become improved community education, leisure and information hubs?

‘Now that libraries have come back in-house, the council is taking the opportunity to ask residents, customers and staff for their ideas about priorities for the library service and about how we can improve the library service. We will be seeking ideas online, in our libraries and through targeted focus groups (with non-users as well as current users) and will use the results of this engagement to inform future plans for the libraries.’

4. Given the diversity of Croydon’s local population what plans are there to reach out and to help ensure that the library service reflects not only the needs of current users but potential use by the local population, particularly given the centrality of the local library service that as part of Croydon’s bid for Year of Culture?

‘Response is as for question 3 above. We are also working closely with the team responsible for Croydon’s bid for Borough of Culture to ensure that libraries are an integral part of the borough’s cultural offer.’

Where can you park on the pavement in Croydon?

Under Freedom of Information the Council has made available the lists of streets where people can park on the pavement or grass verges.

The first list (exempted list) has set boundaries and any vehicles outside of these boundaries may be issued a PCN. The 2nd list is a suspended list. Any road that appears on this list is completely unenforceable so the Council does not enforce at all even if it doesn’t conform to the parameters as described in the wording.
For the lists see


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Croydon events from 10 March

Saturdays 10 & 17 March. 7pm. See Mercury

Croydon Astronomical Society is opening its observatory at Kenley airport to let members of the public see Mercury.

Sunday 11 March. 8 pm. Dave Marshall and Singers’ Night

Ruskin Folk & Blues Club. at Ruskin House. £2

Friday 16 March – 29 April. New Turf Project exhibition

Friday 16 March. 10.30am. Wildlife of the River Wandle

Talk Coulsdon Library

Saturday 17 March

  • 30pm. Author Lisa Jackson

talks about and reads from her most recent book, Your Pace or Mine: What Running Taught Me about Life and Laughter and Coming Last at Ashburton Library, 5.30pm

  • 30pm. St Patrick’s Night concert

The Emerald Aces, Aidan & Vicky Keolane, George Lloyd, John Wild & Eddie Greene. Doug Field & Kim Brett, Tony Field,

Liz Beaumont, Luke Davey. £4 includes free buffet

Sunday 18 March. 8pm. Singers’ Night

Ruskin Folk & Blues Club. at Ruskin House. £2

Saturday 24 March. 2.30pm.  A Third Miscellany of the John Gent Postcards Collection

John Hickman and Carole Roberts (CNHSS) show scenes of Croydon from the close of the nineteenth century until after the Second World War at Norbury Library.

Saturday 24 March.  8pm. ‘Kitty Foyle’ (Ginger Rodgers) 1940 and ‘Painted Stallion’ (episodes 9 & 10)

Cinema Ruskin – £2.  Ruskin House  

Sunday 25 March. 8pm. Anne Sumner and Singers’ Night

Ruskin Folk & Blues Club at Ruskin House. £2

Monday 26 March. 2.15pm. Talking Trees

Jennifer Hawkins will talk about the work of the Woodland Trust and their aim to make the UK rich in trees both for people and wildlife at Shirley Library.

Saturday 31 March 

  • 12.30-2pm. Street Art Walking Tour 

Starts Rise Gallery, 7-9 St George’s Walk. 

First of 12 tours until October.

  • 8.30pm. Jazz with Soft Wind. Standards, Latin, ballads and be-bop on sax, flute, clarinet, guitar and bass.  Free. Ruskin House 

Sunday 1 April. 8pm.  International Men of Mystery and Singers’ Night

 Ruskin Folk & Blues Club. Ruskin House. £2

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Brick by Brick debate 15 March

Brick by Brick Meeting 15th March 2018_preview.png

Views about Brick by Brick are divided.

  • Those totally against it.
  • Those who support it regardless of where the schemes are built because  we need housing,  housing, housing.
  • Those who agree that the Council should have its own development company to build housing, but are against it building on amenity space on Council estates, and on greens spaces in residential neighbourhoods, e.g. Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly. They also want Brick by Brick to more accountable.
  • Those that support it where the schemes made a contribution e.g. East Coulsdon Residents Associations.

This meeting gives all of these groups the opportunity to discuss the issues and to decide whether to totally oppose the company or support a set of proposals to improve what it does, including its accountability.

It was worth remembering that the sites being, or proposed to be, built on by Brick by Brick might well have been sites to be developed under the former CCURV partnership with the private developer J. Laing, if t he Conservatives had stayed in power from May 2014. . CCURV built the overly expensive Bernard Weatherill House,  The Labour administration elected in 2014 ended the partnership and set up Brick by Brick.

Debate on Brick by Brick





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Croydon Rotary & Broadmead Primary Back Purple Pinkie for Polio

Rotary 4

Broadmead pupils with Club President Peter Spalding (with chain)

and Club member John Cheetham on the right

23rd February celebrated the founding of Rotary in 1905 by Paul Harris and is therefore designated as Rotary Day. This year across Rotary International Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI) it was decided to hold a “Purple Pinkie for Polio Day.’ The purpose of the day was twofold:

  • To raise funds needed to finish the job of eradicating polio;
  • To raise awareness about the seriousness of the disease and how it can be prevented.

Purple Pinkie refers to when Polio vaccine is given to children in those countries where polio is still endemic the children dip their little finger in a purple dye to show they have received the vaccine. This is called a “Purple Pinkie”.

Rotary 5

In the autumn of 2017 Broadmead Primary School, Croydon, joined with Croydon Rotary Cub to plant crocus bulbs to further raise awareness of polio. On 23rd February 2018 the school and the Rotary Club of Croydon joined in a further activity as part of “Purple Pinkie for Polio Day”.

The school produced a large poster made up of crocuses. Children then dipped their little finger in a purple paint before putting their fingerprint inside the flower. Each class had a separate crocus, so every child in the school was able to contribute. A group of 10 pupils of varying ages started off the process whilst Croydon Club Rotarians were in attendance.

Rotary 3

Croydon Rotary Club is proud to be linked with Broadmead Primary School whose Head teacher Sarah Hunter is keen to develop the link further. In her newsletter she sent the information about polio to all the families who have children in the school. In addition the school organised a cake sale which raised nearly £110.


Photos (c) Croydon Rotary Club

Photos with children used with permission of Head following parental agreement to make them publicly available.

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Croydon Assembly upgrades its website

Croydon Assembly has improved its website.

Manifesto 8 (Medium)

Manifesto 1 (Medium)

National Union of Education members panel on school cuts

(c) Peter Arkell

You can download the Assembly’s Local Election Manifesto from the site, the views of the working groups on education at its Save our Schools Conference with the National Union of Education (formerly National Union of Teachers) on schools on 24 February, and access the video message from Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell shown at it.


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Croydon Votes for Women Banners on Parade at March4Women

Whole group with Sandy

(c) Museum of Croydon

Banners made by the Museum of Croydon to commemorate the winning of the Parliamentary vote for women aged 30 and over in February 1918 were on the March4Women demonstration from the Houses of Parliament to Trafalgar Square on Sunday 4 March.

FromDorinda Neligan Banner

From Croydonist website

The Dorinda Neligan banner commemorates the former Head of Croydon Girls School, and was made with the pupils at the School. The True Patriots All banner is based on a 1907 Croydon suffragette banner.

Dorinda Neligan

Dorinda Neligan was Irish, educated in France, and  worked for the British Red Cross in the Franco-Prussian War.  She was Head of what is now Croydon Girl’s School.  She joined the Pankhursts’ organisation the Women’s Social & Political Union, but  left it for the Women’s Freedom League set up by those who disagreed with the Pankhursts’ way of running the Union and the use of violence.  She was arrested in June 1909 for being part of a deputation to the Prime Minister.   She refused to pay taxes in protest at not having the vote. Her goods were seized and sold.  Many of her former pupils were also active in the movement. One of them a Miss Bonerjee, who was Secretary of a suffrage group in West London, may have been one of the daughters of Womesh Bonerjee who lived in Croydon, the daughters going to the Girls School.

The Croydonist report on the Museum banner project is at:

For more information about Croydon’s suffragette movement see:

KS2 Primary Assembly

This morning I did a presentation to the Key Stage 2 Assembly about International Women’s Day and Votes for Women at Norbury Manor Primary School. As they came into the hall the video of A Million Strong song from the January 2017 women’s march on Washington was playing. The presentation  included the pupils shouting out the campaign slogan: ‘Deeds Not Words’  and reading out loud the first verse of The March of the Women song. I asked them to consider linkages between the school values and aspects of the campaign for the vote. Extracts of the views of Keir Hardie and Charlotte Despard were read out by the elected Head Boy and Girl. The pupils walked out of the hall with the video of The March of the Women song playing.








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With over 4,200 members Croydon Credit holds AGM on 21 March

Since starting its online membership in January 2016 Croydon Plus Credit Union has signed over 1,400 (32%+) of its members have signed up to manage their accounts on line.

All members get their  opportunity to meet together at the AGM on 21 March at 6.30pm for 7pm in Braithwate Hall at the Clocktower.

The Credit Union offers both savings and loans services for people in Croydon, Merton and Sutton.  The savings are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.  It now offers the special Credit Unions Engage Classic  Visa debit card.

It has obtained funding from Lloyds Banking Group and the Credit Union Development Fund to help it maintain its capital level required once its membership exceeds 5,000.

Junior accounts can be set up to help people under 18 save.

The CroydonPlus Team attended many events and visited several organisations with the local community.

Many members are able to save direct from their pay by standing order or direct debit.

The Credit Union is a co-operative and is therefore keen to involve members in its running. They are looking for members to volunteer directors.

Further details are on

Credit Unions Nationally

At the end of  June 2016 there were

  • About 305 credit unions across England, Scotland and Wales employing more than 1,700 staff
  • Nearly 1.3m people using credit unions
  • Total assets of £1.5 billion
  • Total loans of £803 million
  • Total deposits of £1.25 billion

Their annual turnover was £113 million (year to June 2017)

There is a national association:



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