Lend Lease land £40m deal to build Metro Bank HQ

landscape office image Ruskin SquareBuilders Lend Lease have been given the £40 million construction contract to build the first office block at Ruskin Square, the site alongside East Croydon Station.

The building will be the headquarters office for Metro Bank, who are moving from Holborn in one of the largest office lettings in Croydon.

The Lend Lease appointment follows the fast-progressing work on the Vita residential block and the beginnings of the Boxpark retail area, which is set to open for business next summer.

Lend Lease are already on the site, working on what is the first of five office buildings to be developed at the Schroder and Stanhope-owned Ruskin Square. Continue reading

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Palace offers youngsters sporting chance with One Goal

Crystal Palace Football Club has teamed up with London & Quadrant Housing Association to take part in a project called One Goal, which is offering free sport and arts activities over the summer holidays, as well as the possibility of an apprenticeship for youngsters who achieve necessary qualifications under the scheme.

Palace playersPalace is one of nine London clubs involved in the project, which is backed by £387,000 from the L&Q Foundation.

One Goal aims “to involve, motivate and inspire young people across the city”.

More than 5,000 young Londoners should be involved over the summer holidays. Participants can choose to take coaching qualifications, or access sport sessions and skill workshops, as well as creative activities including arts and creative writing. Thanks to the funding from L&Q Housing, the programmes are free of charge, removing any financial barrier for young people to get involved.

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Top Hat and some tall tales coming to Cinema Ruskin

Cinema Ruskin, the informal monthly movie club staged at Ruskin House, resumes its eclectic programme of films next month.

Cinema projectorFilms, some 80 years old, from the golden age of cinema and featuring long-forgotten Hollywood stars such as Dana Andrews and Tex Ritter, or British film idols Jack Buchanan and Basil Rathbone, are all included in the mix.

The highlight is probably the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers classic Irving Berlin musical Top Hat, which was made in 1935, and is being shown at Cinema Ruskin on September 19.

Cinema Ruskin is open once a month, on Saturdays, with admission at just £2. The club – and club bar – is open from 7pm, with the films starting at 8pm. The programme may be subject to change.

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£700 in prizes await winners of Centrale’s Ping tournament

Table Tennis TournamentCroydon’s top table tennis talents have the chance of winning a total of £700 in prizes in a tournament being staged at the Centrale shopping centre on July 16 – which apparently is National Table Tennis Day.

The tournament is one of the various events being staged as part of Ping, which has delivered up a set of tables and table tennis equipment to a range of venues around the borough in an effort to bring the Olympic sport to the people of Croydon. Continue reading

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Developers are not the answer to London’s housing crisis

CROYDON COMMENTARY: Borough councils, including Croydon, have leant heavily on speculative developments to build new homes. But London needs a far more radical approach, according to CHRISTIAN WOLMAR, who is seeking selection by Labour to be the party’s Mayoral candidate

Christian Wolmar: transport expert has battled his way on to Labour's shortlist

Christian Wolmar: London’s councils need radical help to build homes for Londoners

The London Labour Housing Group holds its hustings for the party’s mayoral candidates this Thursday. It will be a fascinating hustings because housing is the central issue facing Londoners at the moment. It will also be interesting because none of the candidates have really been tested on their housing policies.

What is clear to me is that developers are not the solution to our housing problems. The reason is a little-known thing called “viability”.

That’s why a radical council-led social housing building scheme is one of the core policies of my campaign.

But first, let’s look at what is happening on the ground:

Lambeth Council has a 40 per cent affordable housing target in the borough. An intuitive way to deliver this ambitious but desperately needed target is to ensure that 40 per cent of all new developments are affordable housing. Not so for the high-end Keybridge House development in Vauxhall – of the 419 new homes, a mere 19 will be affordable – that’s just 4.5 per cent.

What is worse is that the story is the same across London. Just down the road, the ultra-luxury (and ultra-lifeless) Nine Elms development in Battersea will see the development of 491 flats, the vast majority of which will all cost more than £1 million. How many affordable houses? A shade better than Keybridge House with a paltry 52, just over 10 per cent.

The trend is the same across London. In March the Greater London Authority released figures showing the number of affordable homes completed is now at a six-year low, despite annual pledges by Boris Johnson to build some imaginary number of affordable homes.

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Posted in "Hammersfield", 2016 London elections, Business, Christian Wolmar, Croydon Council, Housing, London-wide issues, Mayor of London, Planning | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Walsh drums up support to help bring jazz to the high street


The Streets is an Arts Council-backed  project which aims to bring live music and performance to the high streets of six outer London boroughs this summer, including Croydon.

Internationally renowned percussionist Ben Walsh will be drumming up interest in music in South Norwood on the evening of July 28, when there will also be performances from local musicians. Continue reading

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Mozart Players launch appeal to fund schools recording

The world premieres of Jonathan Dove’s For an Unknown Soldier played before sold-out audiences at Portsmouth Cathedral and the Fairfield Halls in November last year. The project and performances touched the heart of the Croydon community, bringing together the old and very young in a joint commemoration of the First World War.

For An Unknown Soldier ImageNow, The London Mozart Players have ambitious aims of crowd-funding a recording of this piece in collaboration with four Croydon schools: Monks Orchard, Croydon Parish Church Primary, Castle Primary and Ecclesbourne.

Commissioned by The London Mozart Players and Portsmouth Grammar School, For an Unknown Soldier is a cantata that commemorated the First World War Centenary. It was a nine-month community project that involved more than 300 children from the choirs of Portsmouth Grammar and the Croydon primaries. Continue reading

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St Peter’s School Summer Fair, July 4

St Peter's Poster 2015 Continue reading

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South Norwood Primary is forced to become an academy

Parents and guardians of children at South Norwood Primary received the dread note of execution for their school yesterday.

"What do you mean, it's not a 'failing school'? Hand it over anyway": Nicky Morgan, the Tory Education Secretary

“What do you mean, it’s not a ‘failing school’? Hand it over anyway”: Nicky Morgan, the Tory Education Secretary

John Phillipson, the chairman of the interim executive board (IEB), has already overseen the forcible academisation of one Croydon primary school – Oval.

Now, he is driving the Department for Education’s juggernaut in top gear at South Norwood.

As Inside Croydon reported earlier this month, parents at the school felt that they and their children had been treated in a “disrespectful, insensitive and immoral” manner by the IEB, which had been imposed on the school earlier this year by Nicky Morgan, the Tory Education Secretary. The interim governors, led by Phillipson, forced out the long-time headteacher who was “the heart and the soul of our school” on the last day before the half-term holiday. Continue reading

Posted in Alisa Flemming, Croydon North, Education, Hamida Ali, Paul Greenhalgh, Paul Scott, Schools, South Norwood, South Norwood Primary, Steve Reed MP, Tony Newman, Woodside | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Quality and service see Clarets maintain its high standards

ANDREW LENG, Inside Croydon’s Pubs Correspondent (how do you get a gig like that?), visits the Pub of the Year and calls on locals to sign up for CAMRA

The Claret Free House, or “Clarets” on Lower Addiscombe Road, has been named the Croydon CAMRA pub of 2015 – the second consecutive year that it’s seen off competition from The Oval Tavern and The Green Dragon.

Feeling flushed: Clarets' landlord, Don Burton, right, collects another CAMRA pub of the year award

Feeling flushed: Clarets’ landlord, Don Burton, right, collects another CAMRA pub of the year award

The award was presented to Clarets’ landlord Don Burton by the chairman of the Croydon and Sutton Campaign for Real Ale branch.

Clarets’ bar walls are already adorned with CAMRA awards; Burton is fast running out of space to display them all. This latest, the bar’s seventh, is well-deserved recognition for selling consistently good beer.

According to the friendly bunch of CAMRA members at the presentation, Clarets was chosen because of its beer quality, attention to cleanliness, sympathy with CAMRA aims and good service. As a fixture in the Good Beer Guide, Clarets really does tick all the boxes. Continue reading

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Pat Mear art exhibition, Cafe Adagio, July 1-31

Cafe Adagio Continue reading

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Barnado’s steps in to help Croydon’s trafficked children

A scheme run by the charity Barnardo’s, with funding from the Home Office, has helped 20 at-risk young victims of human trafficking in Croydon over the past 12 months – almost as many as in the whole of the Midlands or in Greater Manchester respectively.

Children silhouettesCroydon is the only London borough covered by the trials, in which Barnardo’s expert advocates support, advise, guide and help young people navigate the maze that confronts them when seeking help, such as children’s services and the criminal justice and immigration systems.

The charity worked with 26 children in the south-east, 20 of them in Croydon, 23 in the Midlands and 22 in Greater Manchester.

“We know that children as young as three years old are being trafficked into the country,” said Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan.

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Fairness Commission provides Blue Labour with opportunity

The consequences of the General Election result continue to roll out. Such as: What does Croydon’s Labour-run council do with its very Ed Miliband-esque Fairness and Opportunity Commission?

Feeling blue? Maurice Glasman is coming to Croydon next week

Blue sky thinking? Maurice Glasman is coming to Croydon next week

“Fairness” is so redolent of the Milband era, it appears that Croydon’s Commission is being subtly altered before anyone notices, from a council-controlled inquiry into issues affecting residents, to a debating society with a sprinkling of Blue Labour “magic”.

Next Tuesday evening (July 7), Lord Glasman is the star turn at the Fairness and Opportunity Commission’s next session, being held in the public space in Fisher’s Folly from 6.30pm, where we are told that he will “speak and answer questions about the power of citizen-led change”. Continue reading

Posted in 2015 General Election, Bishop of Croydon, Croydon Council, Fairness Commission, Steve Reed MP | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Plane nonsense is choking Croydon, one toxic gasp at a time

CROYDON COMMENTARY: In the week when the Airport Commission is expected to deliver its verdict on runway expansion – Heathrow or Gatwick – PETER UNDERWOOD expresses his concern at the uncritical outlook of our local politicians

One of Chris Philps’ first acts as the new MP for Croydon South was to host an event for the rich developers behind plans to build another runway at Gatwick.

Gatwick airportPutting aside the negative impacts expanding airports will have on the climate and the fact that even people in the air industry think that expanding Gatwick is a bad idea, it is disappointing to see that Philp is not willing to take a stand and defend his constituents from yet another plan to reduce air quality in and around Croydon.

We know that poor air quality is killing thousands of people every year and it is clear that airport expansion at Heathrow or Gatwick will breach air pollution laws. You might hope that our elected representatives would stand up for the best interests of their constituents.

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Posted in Business, Chris Philp MP, Croydon Council, Croydon Greens, Croydon South, Duppas Hill Park, Environment, Peter Underwood, Sarah Jones, Waddon, Waste incinerator | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Mr Holmes screening sees David Lean extend booking period

Ian McKellen’s portrayal of the fading years of Mr Holmes is the headline attraction of the latest programme from the David Lean Cinema, but with a twist. The volunteers of the Save the David Lean Cinema Campaign are taking bookings for the screenings for Mr Holmes now, even though the film, which is not released until next month, is not scheduled to be shown at the David Lean until August.

The 60-seat arthouse cinema in the Croydon Clocktower has been enjoying strong bookings of late, and the anticipated popularity of a new movie that combines McKellen and the world’s best-known detective character has persuaded them to extend the booking period. Continue reading

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Park Hill Schools’ Association Summer Fair, July 4

Summer fair poster Continue reading

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All too quiet about Quietway closures on Norbury Avenue

"Filtered permeability": what many people would call a road block

“Filtered permeability”: or what many people would call a road block on Norbury Avenue

Once the school run was over yesterday morning, official-looking blokes wearing hi-viz jackets blocked off a one-mile stretch of a suburban street in Croydon.

It’s a new “Quietway” on Norbury Avenue. Which might explain the near-silence from Croydon Council about the road closure, which stretches from the end of Sandfield Avenue as far as Kensington Avenue. For years it has been a rat-run for cars driving between Norbury and Thornton Heath.

Well, it won’t be for the next three months. Continue reading

Posted in Commuting, Croydon Council, Croydon North, Cycling, Environment, Jo Negrini, Kathy Bee, Norbury, Norbury Green Residents' Association, Norbury Village Residents' Association, Parking, Planning, Steve Reed MP, Thornton Heath, Transport | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

2015 South Norwood Community Festival, July 5

South Norwood Festival Continue reading

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Folk and Blues Festival, Ruskin House, July 11

Folk and Blues Festival Continue reading

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Croydon’s Search for a Star, Centrale, July 4

Search for a star Continue reading

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