£10,000 donation to Jowell’s campaign rings alarm bells

Sports and community groups in south London have expressed concerns that Dame Tessa Jowell has been hired by a company founded by Mrs Thatcher’s former spin doctor, and which has strong connections to backers of the controversial Garden Bridge project and has advocated the demolition of athletics facilities at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.

Tessa Jowell worked with Lord Coe on the Olympics. They now both hold executive positions in subsidiaries of Chime Communications

Tessa Jowell worked with Lord Coe on the Olympics. They now both hold executive positions in subsidiaries of Chime

Jowell, who is 67, retired from Parliament in May. When she was still the MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, the former Olympics Minister was one of the most senior voices to speak out against the Tory Mayor of London’s plans to bulldoze the National Sports Centre.

But now Jowell has been appointed as the non-executive chair of a company owned by Chime Communications. It was another Chime subsidiary, CSM Strategic, which conducted the heavily criticised Crystal Palace NSC consultation on behalf of London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Jowell’s appointment as executive chair at Chime Specialist was announced earlier this month. The company is a subsidiary of Chime, the global communications and sports marketing firm which was founded by Tim Bell, the former PR adviser to Thatcher.

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Posted in 2016 London elections, Crystal Palace Park, London-wide issues, Mayor of London, Tessa Jowell | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Labour’s London Mayor candidates coming to Croydon, Aug 10

Diane Abbott: Labour Mayoral contender

Diane Abbott: Labour Mayoral contender

Croydon’s Ruskin House will stage a Labour London Mayoral hustings on Monday week, August 10.

The event is being co-ordinated on behalf of 10 outer London constituency Labour parties by the same officials from Croydon Central who are staging an open meeting with Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn next Tuesday.

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Posted in 2016 London elections, Christian Wolmar, Croydon Central, Fairfield, London-wide issues, Mayor of London | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Carlsberg gets a result in Beddington without choking

If south London did parks…

Beddington Park, just down the road in Sutton, features in the latest Carlsberg lager TV and cinema advertisement, released for the start of the football season.

“If Carlsberg did kickabouts” features cameo appearances from former Manchester United and Denmark goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel and Sky Sport’s Soccer Saturday host, Jeff Stelling, who plays a role in which he is clearly impressed by the standard of football being played in the park, far better than anything he might see at Hartlepool. Continue reading

Posted in Croydon Greens, Environment, Sutton Council, Waste incinerator | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Permission refused for Purley Town Hall’s underground flats

Croydon Council has refused planning permission to developers who wanted to dig under the former Purley Town Hall to create eight new flats.

The old Town Hall Purley: developers want to increase the number of flats on the site by 25 per cent

The old Town Hall Purley: developers wanted to increase the number of flats on the site by 25 per cent by digging underneath the building

The majority of the listed building’s existing two dozen residents were concerned by the plans, which were submitted in May by Herald Holdings, and a petition was raised to object to the scheme.

The proposals never got as far as the council’s planning committee, as Town Hall officials refused the proposals on a range of grounds: “… the development would have a detrimental effect on the architectural and historic character of a listed building and would thereby conflict with policies SP4.1, SP4.2, SP4.12 and SP4.13 of the Croydon local plan. Strategic policies (2013), the NPPF and Policies 7.6 and 7.8 of the London Plan (consolidated with amendments since 2011)”.

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Park Hill Allotments Open Day, Aug 16

Parkhill Allotments open day Continue reading

Posted in Activities, Addiscombe, Community associations, Croham, Environment, Fairfield, Gardening | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Young Harriers break records at London Olympic Stadium

Three sprint relay teams from Croydon Harriers tasted victory in London’s Olympic Stadium at the Anniversary Games last Friday evening.

One of Croydon Harriers' relay squad in action in the Olympic Stadium last Friday

One of Croydon Harriers’ relay squad in action in the Olympic Stadium last Friday

Eight teams of Croydon Harriers sprinters got the chance to stretch their legs on the big stage alongside Usain Bolt and Jessica Ennis in front of around 30,000 fans in a series of 4×100 metres races staged by British Athletics.

English Schools trio Marcia Sey, Rhiannon Gayle and Mariam Ojobowale were joined by Kayla Bowley to clinch victory in the under-15 girls’ race in 48.15sec by just 0.05sec from north Londoner powerhouse club Enfield and Haringey.

That performance puts the Croydon quartet No1 in the British rankings for their age group – even ahead of county squads – and it also betters the club record they set earlier in the season.

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Posted in Athletics, Croydon Harriers, Herne Hill Harriers, James Dasaolu, Martyn Rooney, Sport | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Red faces for Reed and supporters as CLP picks Corbyn

WALTER CRONXITE reports from the back row of a Thornton Heath church hall at a local Labour Party meeting, where the Blairites are becoming increasingly shrill in their discomfort

Steve Reed OBE, the Progress MP for Lambeth South, is looking increasingly out of step with the grassroots members of his own Constituency Labour Party, who last night chose Jeremy Corbyn as their nomination for the party leadership.

Steve Reed and Ken Livingstone campaign against police cuts earlier in the year

Steve Reed didn’t complain about “the lunatic wing of the Labour Party” when Ken Livingstone helped get him elected as an MP in 2012. Livingstone is one of Corbyn’s most notable supporters

Reed gave last night’s Constituency Labour Party meeting a miss as he is officially “on holiday”, though he did find the time to spend part of the day sending messages from his MP’s Twitter account seeking assistance with his runner bean crop, which has failed to deliver (we’ll leave you to devise your own punchlines for that one).

Earlier this month, Blairite Reed caused anger among rank-and-file members when he endorsed  a column in the Daily Torygraph under a headline which said “the lunatic wing of the Labour Party is still calling the shots”.

The column appeared after enough Labour Parliamentarians got to together to endorse Corbyn for the leadership, giving the Islington North MP a slot on the short-list. Since then, “Jezzamania” has taken hold among Labour Party members, with the veteran MP receiving the nominations of 120 CLPs, plus now – probably much to Reed’s embarrassment – Lambeth South (which is also known as Croydon North).

Reed has described Corbyn as representing “the toxic legacy of the hard left”, and that Corbyn’s candidancy will “make Labour unelectable again”. Oh to be a fly-on-the-wall when they next meet in the Westminster tea rooms.

The members of the Labour Party appear to disagree with Reed profoundly. A report in today’s Daily Mirror puts Corbyn on 42 per cent, 20 per cent ahead of Yvette Cooper according to some private polling. Continue reading

Posted in Catriona Ogilvy, Croydon Central, Croydon North, Croydon South, Malcolm Wicks MP, Patsy Cummings, Steve Reed MP | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Marlpit Lane’s Morris bowls along for volunteer award

Peter Morris, foreground, has done much volunteer work to re-open the bowling green at Marlpit Lane

Peter Morris, foreground, has done much volunteer work to re-open the bowling green at Marlpit Lane

Peter Morris, one of the people behind the re-opening and running of the Marlpit Lane Bowling Green in Coulsdon, has been selected as one of three finalists as Volunteer of the Year in the Croydon Community Civic Awards.

“It’s great to acknowledge of all his hard work over the years to keep the green open,” the Friends of Marlpit Lane Bowling Green, the group who have managed the local amenity since 2012, said.

“Last year, Peter and his wife Pat turned their hands to any number of roles to keep it in good condition for the community, even training as coaches in their own time so they could coach groups on the green.

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Posted in Bowls, Community associations, Coulsdon, Friends of Marlpit Lane Bowling Green, Marlpit Lane, Sport | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Banners binned by council which won’t prosecute fly-posters

Our council officials’ inconsistent approach to aspects of enforcement of some local rules and laws continue to baffle the public.

Chris Philp, MP for Croydon South, fighting for the rights of local estate agents: what's happened to the school fair banner?

Chris Philp, MP for Croydon South, fighting for the rights of local estate agents: what’s happened to the school fair banner?

The difference in approach has been highlighted through a complaint by one of our local MPs over the over-zealous removal and destruction of banners promoting nothing more sinister than a primary school fair and the Purley Festival. The banners had been paid for, were readily removable and caused no damage.

Yet elsewhere, a well-funded political campaign which plastered public property with illegal posters and stickers, and which all had to be removed at public expense, has been allowed to pass without any penalty – even though the council had the address of at least one perpetrator.

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Posted in Business, Chris Philp MP, Community associations, Coulsdon, Croydon Council, Croydon North, Croydon South, Purley, Schools, Tony Newman | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Sensible? Norwood garden party goes ahead – despite rain

The scene in the Sensible Garden in South Norwood at the weekend, as celebrations were held to mark the first anniversary of the transformation of a bit of scrub into a public space

The scene in the Sensible Garden in South Norwood yesterday, as celebrations were held to mark the first anniversary of the transformation of a bit of waste land  into a public space

Despite unpromising weather, around 30 hardy souls turned out to celebrate the first anniversary of the Sensible Garden in South Norwood on Sunday afternoon.

Members of the South Norwood Tourist Board, Crystal Palace Transition Town and local residents enjoyed calypso tunes, and lots of generously contributed food and drink in the brightly decorated community garden. Continue reading

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Legal case against landlord scheme comes from Bury, Lancs

The leadership of Croydon Council will be up before a High Court judge next Tuesday, August 4, at the start of a Judicial Review of its landlords licensing scheme which is being brought by a company registered in … Bury, the Lancashire town 240 miles north of our  London borough.

Bury: a long way from Croydon

Bury: a long way from Croydon

According to official records at Companies House, The Croydon Property Forum Ltd, which has brought the expensive legal action against the council, was registered at the end of May. Its only named director is Brian Ronald Walmsley.

It has a registered office at what appears to be an industrial estate on Todd Street on the outskirts of the town.

It all seems very far removed from the plight of private tenants in a south London suburb.

Landlord licensing was one of the flagship policies for Labour when they won control of the Town Hall last year. The landlords’ group is challenging the manner in which the council conducted its consultation – which Croydon was forced to extend by 10 weeks after an earlier concern that the law had not been complied with.

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Posted in 2014 council elections, Alison Butler, Business, Croydon Council, Housing, Jo Negrini, Julie Belvir, Planning, Property, Tony Newman | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Corbyn comes to Croydon for free public meeting, Aug 4

Jeremy Corbyn, the outsider who now appears to be running away with the Labour Party leadership contest, is to speak at a public meeting in Croydon on August 4.

Coming to Croydon: Jeremy Corbyn

Coming to Croydon: Jeremy Corbyn

The meeting, from 7pm at Ruskin House on Coombe Road, has been organised by the Croydon TUC and, unlike other events locally staged for national political figures such as Tory Mayor Boris Johnson – which charged an entry fee – David Cameron or Ed Miliband, it is free and open to all.

Corbyn’s candidature has prompted the Daily Torygraph to encourage dyed-in-the-blue Conservatives to donate £3 to Labour to try to undermine the party’s open primary, which allows “supporters” each to have a vote alongside party members and affiliated members of unions. Corbyn’s groundswell of popularity around the constituencies has panicked some in his own party into calling for the leadership contest to be halted.

So far, Corbyn has more nominations from Constituency Labour Parties than any other candidate (though this does not necessarily reflect individual voting intentions), with 109 to Andy Burnham’s 101, Yvette Cooper’s 87 and the paltry 14 for Liz Kendall.

Notably, though, those 14 for Blairite Kendall include Croydon South (the other two Croydon constituencies have yet to declare), as well as Streatham (the seat where Chuka Umunna is MP), Camberwell and Peckham (Harriet Harman) and Dulwich and West Norwood (formerly the seat of Dame Tessa Jowell).

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Posted in Activities, Community associations, Croydon Central, Croydon Council, Croydon North, Croydon South, Steve Reed MP, Tony Newman | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Croydon Comedy Festival at The Oval Tavern, July 26

Oval Comedy Continue reading

Posted in Activities, Comedy, Pubs | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Amy Winehouse and Orson Welles are highlighted on screen

Amy, which charts the life and tragic death of Amy Winehouse, a little-seen Falstaffian tale starring and directed by Orson Welles,a modern-day take on the Old West and the first ever feature film shot in Lesotho being shown in the week of its release are among the gems on show at the David Lean Cinema next month – all together with an extra screening of the in-demand Mr Holmes.

Amy Winehouse: documentary recounts story of a great lyricist

Amy Winehouse: documentary recounts story of a great lyricist

Asif Kapadia’s documentary uses family video and archive footaage as well as more than 100 interviews to tell the deeply moving story of the immensely talented Winehouse, a one-time attendee of Croydon’s BRIT School.

The film has been widely acclaimed, not least by record producer Mark Ronson, who worked with the winger-songwriter on her seminal Back to Black album.

“You see the lyrics on the screen, you remember how amazing they were, even the lyrics from before I worked with her, like ‘Stronger than Me’,” Ronson said.

The film, Ronson said, is “a bit like hanging out with an old friend again”.

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Posted in Art, Cinema, David Lean Cinema Campaign | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Progress MP Reed fails to gag local Croydon website

Steve Reed OBE, the MP for Lambeth South, has threatened to sue this website for libel – for a SECOND TIME.

Steve Reed OBE: bandying around threats. Again

Steve Reed OBE: bandying around threats. Again

Over the same story.

A news story which reported an official account from the local authority over which Reed himself used to preside.

The latest challenge from the MP for what was formerly known as Croydon North came a month ago, and was a repeat of the complaint that the Blairite politician first made when we reported an official answer from Lambeth Council.

This showed that officials had been ordered to “audit” the emails of a Labour councillor – and that the instruction had come from the then leader of the council, Reed himself.

When Reed first tried to gag Inside Croydon, the site’s editor, Steven Downes, stood by the story. “It’s based entirely on an official written answer given by Lambeth Council. There was nothing libellous about it,” Downes said.

“It has clearly made Reed uncomfortable for his conduct towards a party colleague to be more widely known.

“We stood by the report, and it remains published to this day.” The report in question is published here. Continue reading

Posted in Croydon North, Steve Reed MP | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Boxpark’s food court plan poses threats to existing firms

Fans of Boxpark, the retailing centre to be built from discarded shipping containers next to East Croydon Station, yesterday evening gathered for a glitzy launch (by Croydon standards, anyway; beer and pizza, staged in a tent by a bogus beach).

Boxed in: Jo Negrini, Croydon's planning chief, among the rapt audience at last night's Boxpark launch

Boxed in: Jo Negrini, Croydon’s planning chief (extreme right), among the rapt audience at last night’s Boxpark Croydon launch

But there are growing concerns among already established Croydon businesses that the venture, due to open next summer, will enjoy a competitive advantage, having received a multi-million-pound subsidy from the Labour council, and that it will freeze out smaller Croydon artisan traders with its annual rents – expected to be set at around £14,000.

Boxpark’s previous venture, the highly successful pop-up shopping mall in Shoreditch, is noted for its chic, designer label fashion stores, using the shipping containers as “flexible, low-cost retail spaces that stack up to make a brand-new breed of retail destination”, according to their own publicity. Continue reading

Posted in "Hammersfield", Boxpark, Business, Croydon Council, Jo Negrini, Tony Newman, Whitgift Centre | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Un-Appy ‘Arry gets all wound-up in court action over debt

Red-faces all-round in Fisher’s Folly, the council’s over-expensive offices, after the company which was set up to provide a smart phone app to help keep rubbish off the borough’s streets has been dragged through the courts after just 18 months with a pile of unpaid debts.

Purple phase: How's Sensemble is listed as the creators of My Croydon, which launched on Nov 30 last year. Sensemble was incorporated on Nov 8

Purple phase: Sensemble remains listed as the creators of My Croydon, which launched on Nov 30 2013. Sensemble was incorporated on Nov 8

Sensemble Ltd faced a High Court winding up order earlier this month for unpaid bills to one of its suppliers.

According to senior council figures this week, the council’s “officers” – that’s the borough’s civil servants – responsible for this important area of work were unaware of the legal action against one of their own contractors.

It is reasonable to assume that if it hadn’t been for Croydon Council, Sensemble as an operating company may never have come into existence.

The company was only formed in November 2013 by Harwinder, or Harry, Singh, who operated the business out of a flat in Battersea. Despite his having no track record in app development, within a fortnight of registering Sensemble at Companies House Singh had landed himself the contract to develop the MyCroydon app to allow residents to report dumped cars, dead cats and fly-tips to their council. The contract was arranged during the previous Conservative administration, when the cabinet member responsible was Councillor Phil Thomas.

Singh’s tech company didn’t even have a functioning website when Croydon Council awarded him the deal.

And he landed the business all without having to go through competitive tendering.

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Posted in Business, Croydon Council, Environment, Fly tipping, Nathan Elvery, Phil Thomas, Refuse collection, Stuart Collins, Tech City | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Before and after: But Newman still avoids the F word

If a Croydon politician tells you that they don’t read Inside Croydon, it is entirely possible that they’re being economical with the actualité.

As evidence, please see the Twitter profile summary of the leader of the council, Tony Newman, at the beginning of this week… Continue reading

Posted in Tony Newman, Woodside | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Tory MP Barwell off the hook again with an “honest mistake”

Gavin Barwell’s been a naughty boy again. And got away with it with nothing more than a very mild slap on the wrist. Again.

Gavin Barwell: has he done the decent thing? Or been told to do so?

Gavin Barwell: Made a mistake. Again

Oh, how the Tory Government’s Holder of the Royal Bed Chamber Pot must quake in his boots every time he gets a call from the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner.

Mind you, that is an oxymoron waiting to happen: “parliamentary” and “standards” in the same sentence? The public are right to be cynical about “parliamentary standards” when the likes of Barwell is caught bang to rights on an issue of integrity and abuse of office for a fourth time, and the authorities opt to take no action. Again.

This time, Barwell, the cheerleader-in-chief for all things Westfield and Whitgift in the town centre, slimed his way off the hook of a complaint that he broke the MPs’ strict code of conduct in his now notorious appeal to Conservative supporters to write letters of support for his campaign, but not to mention his own party’s leader, David Cameron, nor the Tory Party. Presumably, this was done because Barwell considered that Cameron and the Tories would damage his hopes of being re-elected as MP for Croydon Central. In the event, he won the seat by a 165-vote margin. Continue reading

Posted in Croydon Central, Gavin Barwell MP, Mario Creatura | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Croydon Animal Samaritans cats homing show, Purley, Aug 8

Croydon cats Continue reading

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