Barwell backs further spending cuts that hit Croydon hardest

Tory economic policy

The ConDem government announced ever more cuts to local authorities this week, with Croydon Council losing another £5.8 million from its spending power.

This really is the politics of cowards, with David Cameron and his Chancellor, Gideon Osborne, unwilling to take the economic flak, but happy to pass the impact of their failed policies down the line, with Labour-controlled local authorities often carrying the biggest burden.

It is deeply, darkly divisive. While the largely Conservative-run authorities in the shire areas saw a cut on spending power of -0.6 per cent, councils in London have suffered a cut seven times deeper, -4.3 per cent between 2014-2015 and 2015-2016. Independent research shows that the cuts to local government have hit the most deprived areas hardest, with reductions in spending of more than £100 per person compared to more affluent ones. Continue reading

Posted in 2015 General Election, Croydon Central, Croydon Council, Gavin Barwell MP, Sarah Jones | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas live music and jam night, South Norwood, Dec 28

South Norwood event Continue reading

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#WadGate report delayed as inquiry seeks more information

Mike #WadGate Fisher, and the rest of Croydon’s Tories, have at least another three weeks to wait for the outcome of the inquiry into how the former Conservative council leader managed secretly to claim an extra £11,000 in Town Hall allowances.

Mike Fisher's rarely been seen at the Town Hall lately, and has appeared distracted when present

Mike Fisher’s rarely been seen at the Town Hall lately, and has appeared distracted when present

Fisher was forced to stand down as the Croydon Tories’ leader in September when he was caught with his hand in the cookie jar to top-up his council allowances of £53,223. His opportunistic opposite number Tony Newman opted to prolong the agony by setting up an “independent” inquiry, chaired by former headteacher Anne Smith.

Fisher’s been rarely seen at the Town Hall since his fall from grace. Losing the leadership completed a triple whammy for Fisher, who in the previous 12 months had failed even to get on the shortlist for the Tories’ parliamentary selection in Croydon South, and then presided over his party’s defeat in the local elections.

Newman seized upon Fisher’s greedy misjudgement to make as much political capital as he could. It is hard to know what else Smith’s inquiry might unearth. We already know that Fisher was not alone among senior Croydon Tories in considering his behind-closed-doors financial top-up scheme, since Steve O’Connell, the country’s most overpaid local councillor, plus the Tories’ Croydon North parliamentary candidate Vidhi Mohan and Fisher’s long-standing pal, Steve Hollands, were considering making similar claims. Continue reading

Posted in 2015 General Election, Croydon Council, Croydon North, Gavin Barwell MP, Julie Belvir, Mike Fisher, Nathan Elvery, Steve Hollands, Steve O'Connell, Tony Newman, Vidhi Mohan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spoiler alert: Croydon’s Apprentice looks to be the business

Has Bianca Miller, the Croydon-based contestant in Sunday night’s final of the BBC’s Apprentice, let the cat out of her Mulberry handbag over the outcome?

Croydon businesswoman Bianca in the Apprentice boardroom with Mark Wright. Who will be hired?

Croydon businesswoman Bianca Miller in the Apprentice boardroom with Mark Wright. Who will be hired?

The 10th series of the programme reaches its climax at the weekend, with Miller in a head-to-head with Aussie web marketing whizz Mark Wright, competing for £250,000 of investment from Lord Sugar.

The outcomes of the various pre-recorded tasks in the 12-week elimination process have been a carefully guarded secrets, to maintain the air of mystery over who will finally be pointed at by the millionaire East End market trader and be told, “You’re hired”. Continue reading

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Labour’s Newman waves white flag over Viridor incinerator

Just six months in to their new administration, and the Town Hall’s Labour leadership has confirmed that its “ambitious” promise “to make Croydon the cleanest and greenest borough in London” is in shreds, as they have abandoned all opposition to the Beddington Lane incinerator without so much as a whimper.

Tony Newman: another election promise abandoned, this time over opposition to the Beddington incinerator

Waving the white flag: Labour leader Tony Newman has abandoned his election promise to oppose the Beddington incinerator

Council leader Tony Newman ran up the white flag in the Town Hall chamber on Wednesday night. Without much prompting, he said, “Notwithstanding the current legal situation with it,” referring to the on-going appeal over the Judicial Review against the incinerator taken to the High Court by local Green activists, “it’s clear we’ve been left with a situation where it would cost not an insignificant sum of money to get out of a contract.”

The contract is that between the South London Waste Partnership, or SLWP, made up of Croydon and three other boroughs, and Viridor, for them to build and operate an industrial plant to burn waste.

Newman and his fellow Labour cabinet members have so far refused to reveal what penalty clauses, if any, may exist in the contract were Croydon to withdraw.

“From discussions that I’ve had with, among others, the leader of Sutton Council, it is quite clear to me that whatever Croydon Council’s position is, we should remind ourselves that this [the incinerator] is not in fact in Croydon, it’s under the planning authority of Sutton, and that whatever position we take, the incinerator will be built,” Newman said.

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Posted in "Hammersfield", Andrew Pelling, Bernard Weatherill House, Broad Green, Business, Croydon Council, Environment, Nathan Elvery, Refuse collection, Shasha Khan, Stuart Collins, Tony Newman, Waddon, Waste incinerator | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

McKenzie backed as candidate, but not to run branch of UKIP

The comedy capers at a Croydon branch of UKIP carry on… with the national party (ie. Nigel “Pound Shop Enoch Powell” Farage) backing Winston McKenzie as their parliamentary candidate for Croydon North at next May’s General Election, while deciding to remove “the Chump from the Dump” as chairman of his local party.

Winston McKenzie: incapable of running a party branch, but good enough to be a UKIP election candidate

Winston McKenzie: incapable of running a party branch, but good enough to be a UKIP election candidate

Inside Croydon understands that as many as seven motions of no confidence in McKenzie and his closest aide, branch treasurer Marianne Bowness, were discussed at what was described as “not a formal branch meeting held at a member’s house” last night. “I’ve given up trying to keep count of the number of motions of no-confidence there’s been over Winston,” said one source.

The meeting had to be held at a private home because McKenzie’s Lambeth and Croydon North branch of UKIP has been barred from using its usual meeting venue and offices in South Norwood after gay activists dumped a pile of steaming horse shit in a protest on the door step on World AIDS Day.

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Developer price tag for New Addington pool is £10m too much

David Cameron and Gideon Osborne, the Tory Prime Minister and his Chancellor, have been described as “two posh boys who don’t know the price of milk”.

Croydon’s own career politician, Gavin Barwell, the MP for the Whitgift Foundation, has himself struggled to guess correctly the price of a typical loaf of bread.

The Tory-led campaign to save Purley Pool, including councillors who were part of the decision to close the the pool in 2014

The Tory-led campaign to save Purley Pool, including Conservative councillors who were part of the decision to close the the pool in 2014

Now it is a Labour politician, the council leader Tony Newman, who is struggling with his valuation figures.

Our Brave Leader does not know the price of a public swimming pool.

At last night’s Town Hall scrutiny meeting, he was asked how much it cost to build the Waddon Leisure Centre, which opened in January 2013. Newman did not know. He had to turn to senior council official Richard Simpson for the figure: “Just over £15 million.” Continue reading

Posted in Bernard Weatherill House, Croydon Council, Croydon South, Leisure services, Nathan Elvery, New Addington, Planning, Property, Purley, Purley Pool, Sport, Swimming, Tony Newman, URV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

For Winston McKenzie, UKIP’s Farage is just like Jesus Christ

THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING (Part 94): Winston McKenzie is at it again, with another outbreak of foot in mouth disease from his erstwhile party HQ in South Norwood.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Winston McKenzie is better than any Christmas cracker

Ho! Ho! Ho! Winston McKenzie is better than any Christmas cracker

This time, the “Chump from the Dump” has compared Nigel Farage, his UKIP party leader, to Jesus Christ.

McKenzie is the failed professional boxer and failed politician who is standing as UKIP’s candidate in Croydon North at the General Election in May.

His latest piece of self-regarding overstatement was provided in an interview for an online politics site run by a couple of students. Wind him up, and away he goes…

Not content with describing Croydon as a “dump” on national television, or with banning from his branch one of his few remaining committee members, or issuing threats of expulsion against his branch members who dare stage fund-raising Christmas parties, McKenzie has this time gone OTT in his arslikhan adoration of Farage, someone recently cuttingly described as “a pound shop Enoch Powell“.

“Jesus was one man, we are his army,” McKenzie said. “Farage is one man, we are his army and that’s what it’s all about.”

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Posted in 2015 General Election, Winston McKenzie | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Coulsdon darts league recruiting players for new season

dartsThe Individual Darts League (The IDL) in Coulsdon is accepting new players to join its new season, starting in the first week of January.

Based at Frames Sports Bar, the league caters for all abilities from complete beginners to Super League/County standard players, and everyone in between.

Surrey’s Tony Oak was crowned the Grand Champion in the league’s first season. Continue reading

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Elvery may have to go back to school to make things count

CROYDON COMMENTARY: Responding to the suggestion from Gavin Barwell that the council’s chief executive is considering staging three separate poll counts for next year’s General Election, ROD DAVIES provides this insight

Few people have actually managed any part of an election. I have…

polling stationIn the first instance, there are very few potential venues in Croydon capable of handling the three counts. Really, it comes down to a very large school premises, or Fairfield Halls. Both Trinity and Fairfield are expensive. Trinity has the edge with all the counts being on one level, good vehicle access and generous parking. The logistics involved in building the count venue in Fairfield Halls is difficult due to it being spread over several floors and separated areas.

The question of cost is a significant one. As Trinity School is part of a very wealthy charitable foundation that arguably exerts tremendous influence in the town for its own benefit, one might ask “shouldn’t Trinity allow the use of the space for a very low cost or free?”

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Posted in 2015 General Election, Croydon Central, Croydon Council, Croydon North, Croydon South, Gavin Barwell MP, Nathan Elvery | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Croydon NHS crisis as only 51% of ambulances achieve target

Lives of the elderly, frail and ill could be at risk this winter, as Croydon’s NHS ambulance service struggles to cope with demand.

Ambulance genericBarely half of ambulance call-outs in Croydon achieved their target response times this autumn – and that was before the cold, dark winter nights and the annual winter increase in demand for emergency NHS care.

“These figures raise real concerns that more lives are being put at risk in Croydon,” said Sarah Jones, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Croydon Central. “For people in a life-threatening state, every second counts and that is why this slump in standards cannot continue.”

The London Ambulance Service has a Category A response target of eight minutes, from receiving a 999 call to attending a medical emergency.

But in Croydon in September, ambulances managed to attend an emergency within eight minutes in just 51 per cent of cases.

In October, Croydon ambulances responded within eight minutes to 999 calls in 54 per cent of cases.

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Posted in 2015 General Election, Croydon Central, Gavin Barwell MP, Health, Sarah Jones | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sticking the rock into South Norwood Country Park

South Norwood Country Park, a slice of nature in the midst of suburbia, is about to rock.

rockThe South Norwood Tourist Board are channeling Donald McGill by getting their sticks of rock out for the new year, to have “South Norwood” written all the way through.

A note was slid under the door at Inside Croydon Towers overnight. It reads: “For a meagre sum of money, people who visit South Norwood will be able to purchase a stick of rock to cherish the memory of their visit. What better way to remember your visit to South Norwood than by a hard stick-shaped boiled sugar sweet with South Norwood running through the middle of it?

“It is usually seaside resorts that spring to mind when thinking about rock, or the popular George Formby song about ‘His little Stick of Blackpool Rock’, but we want to change this by becoming the first London borough to produce this traditional seaside piece of confectionery.”

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Barwell’s aide attacks Labour for implementing Tory policies

Those members of Croydon Conservatives who have privately expressed concerns about their party’s new leadership at the Town Hall had their doubts firmly underlined this morning when Sara Bashford made the political error of publishing her innermost thoughts about the conduct of last night’s council cabinet meeting.

A bit rubbish: Croydon Tories' deputy leader doesn't know why she's at the Town Hall. Nor do we

A bit rubbish: Croydon Tories’ deputy leader doesn’t know why she’s at the Town Hall. Nor do we

Under the illiterate and over-stated headline “Last nights [sic] fiasco” on Croydon Conservatives’ website, Bashford chose to highlight for criticism three areas of policy where council leader Tony Newman’s flip-flopping “Labour” council is merrily continuing to apply the same measures that she and the Tories were implementing as recently as May.

Bashford’s inspired areas of attack on Croydon’s Labour-lite council were…

The Beddington incinerator: Bashford and the Tories enthusiastically signed up Croydon to a multi-million-pound contract with Viridor to build a toxin-belching incinerator on the borough boundary.

In 2010, Bashford’s Conservative colleagues even campaigned saying that they would not allow an incinerator to be built in or on the borders of the borough; once elected, they did exactly the opposite.

In opposition, Labour long campaigned against any incinerator, but since coming to power this year they have gone along with the previous Tory council policy. This, Bashford seems to think, is something worthy of her disapproval. Continue reading

Posted in Gavin Barwell MP, Sara Bashford, Selsdon & Ballards, Tim Pollard, Waste incinerator | 3 Comments

Elvery considers staging election count at separate venues

The count for the three Croydon parliamentary constituencies at next May’s General Election could be held at three separate venues.

Trinity School crestThat’s according to Gavin Barwell, the MP for the Whitgift Foundation, who will be trying to retain his parliamentary seat in Croydon Central, the borough’s one marginal seat.

Given the problems encountered at the count for the local and European elections last May, when they were all held at a single venue, some might think that Croydon Council’s returning officer is heading for triple trouble by using separate counting halls. Continue reading

Posted in 2015 General Election, Chris Philp, Croydon Central, Croydon North, Croydon South, Gavin Barwell MP, Nathan Elvery, Richard Ottaway MP, Steve Reed MP | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

La Spezia – a little piece of Italy in a corner of South Croydon


La Spezia 1

Buon Natale from La Spezia

photo 2South Croydon’s own slice of Italy is stocking a range of panettone, chocolates and Christmas goodies for the festive season.

Please make your way down to Selsdon Road to get your hands on these essential sweet seasonal treats, with prices starting from as little as £1.99.

Giorgio’s gorgeous Italian panettone are available in a range of sizes, chocolate to classic, from lemon to pistachio, and many more – ideal to help stock your holiday season larder, or for gifts for family and friends.

photoLa Spezia’s regular range of cold meats, olives and salads are still available of course.

And the shop is open for lunch, 11.30am to 3pm every day (check for special opening times over the Christmas period)

  • If you’re looking for a plate of delicious hot pasta for lunch
  • If you want buffet platters for a function at the office
  • If you’re looking for choice cold cuts for a family party
  • If you need specialist ingredients for some home cooking
  • Or if you just want to come in, sit down, read the paper and enjoy some real Italian coffee

then the charming La Spezia delicatessen in South Croydon is the place for you, offering a wide range of speciality foods and seasonal products.

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