Weekend rambles: Brockham (3 miles; easy)

The village green at Brockham, which was named Surrey village of the year in 2011

WALKER DUNELM makes a gentle start to the weekend with this short ramble in the Surrey countryside

This is a pleasant, mainly level walk, using part of the Greensand Way ramble route, which starts from the lovely village green at Brockham, with views of Box Hill. Continue reading

Posted in Activities, Outside Croydon, Walker Dunelm, Walks | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dear LibDems: I remain a liberal, a democrat and a councillor

Sutton LibDems’ suspension of Councillor Nick Mattey could have a damaging impact on the General Election campaign in their parliamentary constituencies, reports WALTER CRONXITE

Tom Brake’s efforts to be re-elected as MP for Carshalton and Wallington, the seat he has held for the Liberal Democrats since 1997, seems certain to become ever more mired in controversy over the Beddington Lane incinerator, Viridor’s £275,000 donation to a local church, and the suspension of a local councillor in Sutton.

Wallington and Carshalton LibDem Tom Brake: linked to church which received £275,000 funding from Viridor

Tom Brake: linked to Wallington church which received £275,000 funding from Viridor

Brake was the Deputy Leader of the House in the previous ConDem coalition government, and despite the LibDems nosediving in the polls elsewhere, he had seemed set-fair to maintain his advantage over the Tories. Their candidate is the heir presumptive to the inherited baronetcy of Constable Maxwell-Scott of Haggerston, a former Wandsworth councillor who is so posh that he has refused to canvass for Gavin Barwell in the Conservative marginal of Croydon Central.

But the revelation that incinerator operators gave £275,000 to the Holy Trinity church in Wallington, a favoured venue for Brake and Sutton LibDems to stage events and as a base for their election canvassing, could be just the sort of adverse publicity which undermines the government minister’s hard-won 5,000-vote majority.

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Posted in 2015 General Election, Business, Church and religions, Environment, Nick Mattey, Paul Burstow MP, Refuse collection, Sutton Council, Tom Brake MP, Waste incinerator | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Robshaw’s not the star of the latest Warlingham show

STEVEN DOWNES with a review of how the local rugby clubs, and players, have done over the course of the season, with some becoming unlikely stars of the small screen

Warlingham RFC could feature on Sky Sports this evening, the second time in a fortnight. That means that the area’s biggest and most successful rugby club will have been on the telly more often recently than Saracens or Toulon. Though not as much as Nigel Farage.

The next generation: England captain Chris Robshaw, together with Warlingham's first XV manager Peter Wrightson, watch over a minis' training session

The next generation: England captain Chris Robshaw, together with Warlingham’s first XV manager Peter Wrightson, watch over a minis’ training session

In fairness, the first visit, shown on Sky’s The Rugby Club last week, was bought and paid for by one of the game’s sponsors, QBE, as they featured some development work and showed the England captain, Chris Robshaw.

Robshaw was returning to the club where he learned the game as a mini and junior.

He was accompanied by his coach from Harlequins, Conor O’Shea, and another graduate of Hamsey Green who has made it all the way to England honours, Kay Wilson, the World Cup-winning wing.

You can see a video of Robshaw and Wilson’s homecoming here.

Tonight’s programme, if all goes to schedule, may be a little less stellar.

Sky’s cameras returned to the club last Saturday for Warlingham’s 4th XV’s final game of the season. The fixture pitched Warlingham (Played 15, Lost 11), the bottom-of-the-table side in Surrey Combination 3rd division (almost as low as you can go in the county league tables) against the league leaders, Bec Old Boys’ 3rds (Played 17, Won 15).

Continue reading

Posted in Chris Robshaw, Croydon RFC, Elliot Daly, Kay Wilson, Old Mid-Whitgiftians RFC, Old Walcountians, Old Whitgiftians, Purley-John Fisher, Rugby Union, Sport, Streatham-Croydon RFC, Warlingham RFC | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Positive Steps charity walk for Mind Croydon, May 9

Positive Steps 2015 Poster Continue reading

Posted in Activities, Charity, Health | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Barwell boasts of backing from woman who broke wage laws

The barrel-scraping exercise that is Tory Gavin Barwell’s election campaign effort to try to show that he has the support of “ordinary people” in Croydon Central has been exposed yet again.

Neelofar Khan is supporting Gavin Barwell. Let's hope he doesn't have to go to her for a job...

Neelofar Khan is supporting Gavin Barwell. Let’s hope he doesn’t have to go to her for a job on the minimum wage…

Earlier this month, Inside Croydon showed how gaffe-prone Gav had claimed as “supporters” fellow Tory party members, people who don’t actually live in the constituency and even one of his own employees in videos and his election leaflets.

Now, a Barwell campaign leaflet has been shown to include an endorsement from a south London businesswoman who was successfully prosecuted for failing to pay the minimum wage.

Neelofar Khan appears on the Barwell leaflet as “Croydon business owner”. For some reason, she has quotes attributed to her about the NHS and Barwell’s medical history, though her expertise in this area is unstated.

But there’s probably very good reason that Khan’s real “expertise” as a business-owner is not mentioned on Barwell’s leaflet.

In 2010, Khan put her business, which ran the Chilli Chutney restaurant in Streatham, into voluntary liquidation, owing more than £1 million to her creditors.

This followed an employment tribunal ordering Khan to pay more than £35,000 to an immigrant she had exploited on a salary less than the minimum wage. The wronged employee feared he would be denied his compensation when Khan’s company went into liquidation.

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Posted in 2015 General Election, Croydon Central, Gavin Barwell MP, Restaurants | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Addiscombe Carnival, Ashburton Park, May 24

addiscombe carnival Continue reading

Posted in Activities, Addiscombe, Addiscombe Residents Association, Ashburton, Community associations, Music | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Tom Brake link to church donation from incinerator company

It has suddenly got very heated in Sutton over the Beddington Lane incinerator.

Beddington Lane could have as many as 12 incinerators, according to one Sutton councillor, including a 300ft stack from the main Viridor plant

Beddington Lane could have as many as 12 incinerators, according to one Sutton councillor, including a 300ft stack from the main Viridor plant

The Liberal Democrats, who control Sutton Council, have today suspended one of their councillors, Nick Mattey, after he dared question their plans to allow incinerator operators Viridor to build an industrial plant to burn waste in his ward.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that a Wallington church with strong links to Sutton’s LibDems – including erstwhile MP Tom Brake –  has received generous funding of £275,000… from Viridor.

That’s not the sort of small change normally dropped into the collection box after evensong on a Sunday.

Mattey, an established local businessman who was elected to represent Beddington North ward last May, claims that his party’s leadership locally has refused to answer his questions about the incinerator scheme, and since last summer have referred all his correspondence to… Viridor.

He says that was threatened by a senior Sutton council official that he would be subject to ruinous legal action by Viridor if he is seen to “derail” the current legal challenge to the incinerator – a case which Sutton and their commercial partners appear likely to win. Mattey also claims that he has been warned to withdraw official emails that question the propriety of Sutton’s planning process for the incinerator.

Earlier this week, the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, was forced to scurry away from a LibDem rally at St Helier when confronted by protestors, including many from the Stop the Incinerator Campaign. But Clegg did not leave empty-handed, as he was given an anti-incinerator leaflet before he got into his official car… by Mattey.

“Everything about the incinerator runs contrary to what’s in the LibDem manifesto,” Mattey told Inside Croydon today. Continue reading

Posted in Broad Green, Business, Croydon Guardian, Environment, Health, London-wide issues, Planning, Refuse collection, Shasha Khan, Stephen Fenwick, Sutton Council, Tom Brake MP, Waddon, Waste incinerator | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The brave letter that got Sutton councillor suspended

Sutton councillor Nick Mattey: suspended by the LibDems for questioning their policy on the Viridor incinerator

Sutton councillor Nick Mattey: suspended by the LibDems for questioning their policy on the Viridor incinerator

NICK MATTEY was elected as a councillor for Beddington North ward in Sutton last year for the Liberal Democrats. Today, he was suspended from the party for sending his group a letter about the proposal to build a waste-burning incinerator in his ward

Under a title of, “Why the council should stop trying to help Viridor build an incinerator In Beddington and try to live up to its core Liberal Democrat values of treating all communities fairly and protecting our planet”, Mattey’s letter to his party colleagues states:

On April 28, the Stop the Incinerator Campaign is going to the Royal Courts of Justice for an oral hearing to try to prevent Viridor building the Beddington incinerator. Sutton Council have been standing shoulder to shoulder with Viridor to allow this incinerator to go ahead. I will not be lending my support to the council on this matter and instead I am backing the Stop the Incinerator Campaign.

As a Liberal Democrat I think that the council’s support for Viridor and its subservience to the demands of the South London Waste Partnership is wrong. Why are Liberal Democrats spending tax-payers’ money to defend Viridor’s right to burn other people’s rubbish in our borough? Less than 20 per cent of the rubbish comes from the London Borough of Sutton. We are being played for fools.

I urge councillors to forget behaving as a group and to begin thinking independently and critically about air pollution. Why did you become councillors? Do you think your overriding role is to help a company that is based in the West Country to make profits? Continue reading

Posted in 2015 General Election, Broad Green, Business, Croydon Greens, Environment, Nick Mattey, Planning, Shasha Khan, Stuart Collins, Sutton Council, Waddon, Waste incinerator | 3 Comments

Federation of Small Businesses election hustings, Fri Apr 17

FSB logo Federation of Small BusinessesThe Federation of Small Businesses will be holding a Croydon Central hustings at the Croydon Park Hotel, 7 Altyre, Croydon, CR9 5AA (ample parking), from 6pm on Friday, April 17.

Businesses are invited to question local parliamentary candidates, hear what candidates are promising and network with local business owners.

The event will be chaired by Julia Hartley-Brewer, the former Express journalist. Continue reading

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

Tory Right-to-Buy bonanza could cost £400m in Croydon alone

Offering £100,000 to housing association tenants to buy their homes is “plain bad policy” and “the worst idea yet” according to some experts. And in Croydon alone, it could cost the tax-payer £400 million. By STEVEN DOWNES

The spivocracy is back.

Chris Philp, out canvassing for the Tories today. Apparently

Someone who doesn’t look like Chris Philp, out canvassing for the Tories today. Apparently

After yesterday’s publication of the Conservative Party manifesto, including Right-to-Buy MkII, you might half expect to see Chris Philp knocking on every housing association property’s door in Croydon between now and May 7, waving a £100,000 wad under the nose of the tenant. 

In Croydon alone, where there are plans to build 8,000 homes over the next five years, that Tory bribe could cost the tax-payer up to £400 million. No surprise, then, that those working in the housing industry have ridiculed the Tory proposal as “unfair”, “the worst idea yet” and “plain bad policy”.

The extension of Right-to-Buy would do nothing to provide homes for the homeless, but it would do much to assist the profits of those whose businesses raise investment funds for developers. This would include people such as the millionaire Tory candidate in Croydon South, Chris Philp. It would also boost the bottom line for property owners such as the Whitgift Foundation – whose board of governors includes none other than Gavin Barwell, who is the Conservative candidate in Croydon Central.

Since Margaret Thatcher introduced Right-to-Buy after winning the 1979 General Election, the housing market in Britain has been skewed (or screwed?) on the supply-side, for the benefit of a few and the impoverishment of the many.

Continue reading

Posted in "Hammersfield", 2015 General Election, Business, Chris Philp, Croydon Central, Croydon South, Gavin Barwell MP, Housing, Planning, Property, Whitgift Centre, Whitgift Foundation | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gaffe-prone Gav takes Boris to 1-star caff for slap-up meal

In all her 60-plus years as Queen, Her Maj has never allowed the cameras in to formal dinners to record her eating. Those who have witnessed it claim she has all the table manners of Henry VIII, troughing it in extreme, in between knocking back extra large G&Ts. Though we have no way of verifying this.

"Just like school dinners, what!": Boris and Barwell tuck in at the New Cafe, which hs a 1-star hygiene rating

“Just like school dinners, what!”: Boris and Barwell tuck in at the New Cafe, which hs a 1-star hygiene rating. Note the Back Barwell badge: no mention of the C word

Clearly, Brenda is a wise old bird. Not for her the awkward pictures with a bacon sandwich. It is clearly a lesson from which all politicians should learn.

And that includes gaffe-prone Gavin Barwell, the “Don’t Mention the Tories” candidate in Croydon Central, whose stage-managed photo-op with Boris Johnson last week took in plates of fish and chips and liver and bacon at the New Café and Restaurant in Lower Addiscombe Road.

From reports of the event, it appears that those media who were invited along – Inside Croydon was not; a badge of honour – were not able to ask much in the way of serious questions of policy. But those who organised the Mayor of London’s visit to Croydon don’t seem to have asked many questions of the venue.

Barwell took the likely next leader of the Tory party to a Croydon caff which has just a 1-star Food Hygiene Rating, according to the Food Standards Agency

Continue reading

Posted in 2015 General Election, Addiscombe, Boris Johnson, Croydon Central, Gavin Barwell MP, Mayor of London, Restaurants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Croydon South election hustings, Croydon High, Apr 28

Croydon High hustings Continue reading

Posted in 2015 General Election, Chris Philp, Croydon South, Emily Benn, Gill Hickson, Kathleen Garner | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Free Yoga lessons at Stanley Halls, beginning Sat Apr 18

Stanley Halls detailStanley Halls in South Norwood is offering free Yoga classes, starting this Saturday, April 18, at 11am.

The free Yoga classes will be held on the third Saturday of the month, initially for three months, beginning this weekend.

There is only a limited number of Yoga mats available, so please bring your own.

The Gallery Cafe will be open for soft drinks and refreshments. Continue reading

Posted in Community associations, Health, South Norwood, Stanley Halls, Stanley People's Initiative | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Charity football match at Mayfield Stadium, Apr 19

Celeb football match Continue reading

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LibDems accused of bullying blind woman at Clegg rally

Yesterday’s back-firing LibDem rally outside St Helier Hospital has prompted further controversy over allegations that supporters of Nick Clegg acted in an intimidating and bullying manner towards the protestors, including a blind woman.

This is how Nick Clegg's kind and considerate LibDem supporters behaved towards Emily Brothers, who is blind

“In yer face”: This is how Nick Clegg’s kind “polite” LibDem supporters behaved towards Emily Brothers, who is blind. Photo by Chris Caulfield/Sutton Guardian

Emily Brothers is Labour’s candidate for Sutton and Cheam. She is blind. Yesterday, she began the protest holding up the “two faces of the same coin” banner ahead of the arrival of the Deputy Prime Minister.

Despite requests from her assistant, LibDem supporters confronted Brothers, pushing their placards in her face, causing concern for her safety.

Clegg, despite his Praetorian guard of secret servicemen and LibDem councillors and supporters –  many of whom, including their parliamentary candidate for Croydon South had travelled to the hospital in for the visit – opted to scarper from the event after barely five minutes.

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Posted in 2015 General Election, Croydon South, Environment, Gill Hickson, Health, St Helier Hospital, Sutton Council, Tom Brake MP, Waste incinerator | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nick Clegg feels the heat from anti-incinerator protestors

Deputy PM Nick Clegg in retreat, rather than taking part in a carefully stage-managed photo op at St Helier Hospital today

Two sides of the same coin: Deputy PM Nick Clegg in retreat from protestors, including the Stop the Incinerator Campaign, who disrupted a carefully stage-managed photo-op at St Helier Hospital today

Nick Clegg, soon to be the ex-Deputy Prime Minister and possibly also soon-to-be an ex-MP and ex-leader of the Liberal Democrats, was forced to abandon a carefully stage-managed photo-op outside St Helier Hospital in Sutton this afternoon, when protestors from the Keep Our St Helier campaign and the Stop the Incinerator Campaign hijacked the event.

Clegg’s visit lasted barely five minutes, before he was whisked away in his official BMW, clutching, according to the protesters, one of the anti-incinerator leaflets.

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Posted in 2015 General Election, Croydon Greens, Croydon North, Environment, Health, Refuse collection, Shasha Khan, St Helier Hospital, Sutton Council, Tom Brake MP, Waste incinerator | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Benn launches her election campaign. Not that you’d notice

STEVEN DOWNES on the non-existent General Election campaign across most of south London

Yesterday evening, I made one of my occasional appearances on a recording of Metroknobbers, the south London hyperlocal podcast organised by Jason Cobb, who writes on matters Lambeth with BrixtonBuzz, and Darryl Chamberlain, of 853blog.com, who concerns himself with events closer to the Meridian.

Emily Benn and Uncle Hilary get the Labour campaign in Croydon South underway... in Croydon Central

Emily Benn and Uncle Hilary get the Labour campaign in Croydon South underway… in Croydon Central

The talk was much about how deeply dull the General Election is turning out to be for many south Londoners. As a consequence of the first-past-the-post voting system and through accident of geography and house prices, many of us are disenfranchised, living in a “safe” Labour or Tory seat where how we vote matters little, and so are pretty much consigned to a deeply dull General Election.

There’s virtually no campaigning going on at all in Lambeth, nor in Greenwich, Woolwich and Eltham, where the parliamentary incumbents, or their party-picked successors, are all a bit of a shoo-in, allowing them to spend the next month campaigning largely for other party members in other, winnable, marginal seats.

Between the three of us, it turned out during the Metroknobbers discussion that only we here at Inside Croydon have we the frisson and excitement of the sort of key marginal to get Peter Snow’s Swing-o-Meter twirling in Croydon Central.

The disappointment of m’colleagues in their uncontested democratic elections was evident. You can hear the episode in full here. The disengagement with the electoral process was tangible.

Continue reading

Posted in 2015 General Election, Chris Philp, Emily Benn, West Thornton | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Rugby League season kick-off – Bears v Rhinos, Sat Apr 18

Bears rugby league Continue reading

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Tory peer Bates failed to declare ZRG interests, paper reports

The Sunday Times reported this morning that Michael Bates, the Tory peer who is married to Xuelin Bates, the UK-based “sponsor” of the failed £500 million ZhongRong Group proposal for a vast business and retail centre in Crystal Palace Park, may have been in breach of Parliamentary rules by failing to declare an interest in the scheme.

Xuelin and Michael Bates. They've helped run Chinese interests in London developments at least since their 2012 wedding

Xuelin and Michael Bates. They’ve helped run Chinese interests in London developments since their 2012 wedding

Inside Croydon reported last month on the complete collapse of the scheme, which was enthusiastically backed by London Mayor Boris Johnson and involved giving over a large chunk of the public park to the Chinese industrialists and would have had a long-term impact on the nearby National Sports Centre.

Lord Bates is a former Conservative party MP who has also been deputy chairman of his party and was a Home Office minister in the recent ConDem Government. His Chinese-born wife, whom he married in 2012, is a generous supporter of the Conservatives, having donated at least £160,000 to the party.

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Posted in "Hammersfield", 2015 General Election, Business, Crystal Palace Park, Gavin Barwell MP, Upper Norwood, Whitgift Centre | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Council planners powerless to halt bookies or pub closures

Among the many deceits of the last government was its supposed policy of “localism”. Under Conservative communities minister “Big Eric” Pickles, it was nothing of the sort.

On Grand National day, residents in  are spoilt for choice over where to lose their money. And now Paddy Power want to open yet another shop

On Grand National day, residents in Thornton Heath are spoilt for choice over where to lose their money. Each star represents a bookies’ shop. And now Paddy Power want to open yet another

Local councils have been stripped of so many of their powers over the past 20 years that last year’s Town Hall election in Croydon degenerated into a pissing contest between Tories and Labour over who would keep the streets cleanest. Local politicians have been rendered powerless in most other respects.

Under Pickles and his Conservative-led government, “localism” simply meant enforcing Tory dogma on every democratically elected body in England, whether they’d voted for it or not. This has been applied from the forcible academisation of the majority of the borough’s secondary schools – removing them from council control – to the 2 per cent cap on Council Tax increases which, coupled with the austerity cuts in central government grants, put such a stranglehold on all local councils that widespread reduction of services became inevitable. Continue reading

Posted in 2015 General Election, Business, Community associations, Croydon Council, Environment, Housing, Planning, Property, Pubs, Refuse collection, Schools, South Norwood, Thornton Heath | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Croydon election candidates undergo moving experiences

Signpost, political partiesSomeone recently posed the question: “Is Croydon boring?”

There’s only one answer to that as far as the General Election candidates for the borough’s three constituencies are concerned. Two too safe seats, one marginal, and not a single colourful candidate among all of those declared. Continue reading

Posted in 2015 General Election, Chris Philp, Croydon Central, Croydon North, Croydon South, Emily Benn, Gavin Barwell MP, Heathfield, Jon Bigger, Property, Sanderstead, Shirley, Steve Reed MP, Winston McKenzie | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments