“Radically pragmatic” Negrini exhibits award-winning chutzpah

Nathan Elvery’s up to his old tricks.

And Croydon Council looks like a shoo-in for another empty “award“, to be handed over by the council’s mates in the property market, for being “pragmatic” planners.

 Jo Negrini: Croydon is an economic powerhouse, apparently

Jo Negrini: Croydon is an economic powerhouse, apparently

MIPIM UK is a property developers conference being staged next month at Olympia. It’s the London-based version of the annual jolly staged in the spring in the South of France, where Elvery’s predecessor and one or two Tory councillors used to enjoy a few days on the piss in the sun at the tax-payers’ expense.

Croydon Council is up for an award, for its town planning. Seriously. A borough which has 130 Compulsory Purchase Orders being taken in front of a High Court judge next year, and which was supposed to have got a detailed transport report from Transport for London last November, which has thus far failed to materialise. Prize-winning stuff indeed. Continue reading

Posted in "Hammersfield", Allders, Business, Capita, Centrale, Croydon Council, Jo Negrini, Nathan Elvery, Planning, URV, Whitgift Centre | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

St Peter’s Church Book Sale, South Croydon, Sep 20

Book sale

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Croydon Honey Show 2014, Selsdon, Sep 20

beekeepers Continue reading

Posted in Activities, Community associations, Croydon Beekeepers, Environment, Gardening, Selsdon & Ballards, Wildlife | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ottaway milked MPs’ pay system for £250,000 last year

Conservative MP Richard Ottaway has hit the parliamentary jackpot again.

According to the latest official figures from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, or IPSA, in the financial year to May 2014, Tricky Dicky cost the taxpayer the grand total of:


Show me the money: Tricky Dicky Ottaway makes the likes of Mike Fisher appear to be just an amateur when it comes to coining it

Nice little earner: Tricky Dicky Ottaway makes the likes of Mike Fisher appear to be just an amateur when it comes to coining it

And of that amount, the Ottaway household managed to bank around £100,000 in their own wages.

For all the outrage and scandal of #WadGate, with Croydon Tories trying to claim back-dated allowances, Mike Fisher’s £11,000 is small change compared to Tricky Dicky when it comes to snouting in the trough.

Ottaway is less than nine months away from being detached from his access to the public purse, when he stands down as MP for Croydon South after 23 years.

A peerage in the dissolution honours next spring will, of course, ensure that Ottaway continues to be allowed to dip into the public purse in his semi-retirement.

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Posted in 2015 General Election, Croydon Central, Croydon North, Croydon South, Gavin Barwell MP, Richard Ottaway MP, Steve Reed MP | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Rogers calls on planners to build homes in “empty” Croydon

One of the world’s leading architects has called for the radical re-building of central Croydon to provide homes to help meet the national housing crisis.

“You could put two new towns in the centre of Croydon without any problem because the centre of Croydon is practically empty if you look at a plan of the place,” Richard Rogers said last week, expressing a view unlikely to be popular with Westfield and Hammerson, or landowners the Whitgift Foundation, who have earmarked much of the town centre to build a money-spinning shopping mall.

Richard Rogers: Croydon is empty enough to be right for new housing

Richard Rogers: Croydon is empty enough to be right for new housing

Lord Rogers was advocating the use of brown field sites rather than allowing the building of “garden cities” on the Green Belt, which he dismissed as “a ridiculous concept”.

Government projections suggest the UK needs 6 million new homes in the next 30 years. But Rogers was dismissive of a proposal to “take a confident bite out of the Green Belt” and build homes in 150,000-person new towns across the country, which was awarded an important economic prize.

The Labour peer said he was saddened by the re-emergence of ideas to build several million new homes on green field sites.

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Posted in "Hammersfield", Allders, Boris Johnson, Business, Centrale, Environment, Housing, Ken Livingstone, Planning, Whitgift Centre, Whitgift Foundation | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Music At The Unit, Lives Not Knives: Sep 20

LNK poster

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Mead speaks out at cabinet on behalf of his “inner circle”

In an extraordinary outburst of arrogance, entitlement and pomposity, Dudley Mead, the deputy leader of the Conservative group on Croydon Council, last night underlined exactly why neither he, nor any other councillor with vested interests outside the Town Hall chamber, should be allowed to compromise their positions as elected officials by holding seats on the boards of some outside bodies.

Dudley Mead: one of seven Whitgift Foundation members with connections to Croydon Council

Dudley Mead: one of seven Whitgift Foundation members with connections to Croydon Council

Veteran councillor Mead, a former Mayor of Croydon and ex-leader of the council, was speaking at the first council cabinet meeting after the summer break. But he really wasn’t speaking on behalf of the residents of Selsdon and Ballards, the ward he was elected to represent.

For it was clear that Mead was speaking on behalf of the Whitgift Foundation.

The conflicts of interest are abundant. The Whitgift Foundation is among the borough’s richest land-owners, and they own the majority of the freehold of the Whitgift Centre and have engaged Westfield, acting together now with Hammerson, in a £1 billion commercial redevelopment of the town centre.

Mead, as he admitted to the less-than-packed meeting last night, looks after the finances of the Whitgift Foundation, a registered charity with income of £50 million per year and assets amounting to £240 million, according to the latest figures available from the Charity Commission. The Foundation’s investment portfolio is likely to undergo something of a transformation over the next few years.

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Posted in "Hammersfield", Allders, Business, Centrale, Croydon Council, Croydon South, Dudley Mead, Education, Emily Benn, Jo Negrini, Mike Fisher, Planning, Property, Selsdon & Ballards, Steve O'Connell, Tim Pollard, Toni Letts, Tony Newman, Whitgift Centre, Whitgift Foundation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Light at the end of the tunnel with Subway exhibition

An exhibition to celebrate one of the area’s truly hidden gems, the Crystal Palace Subway, will open this weekend, marking the 60th anniversary since the closure of the high-level station it once served.

This weekend offers a rare chance to view the extraordinary Victorian architecture of the Crystal Palace Subway

This weekend offers a rare chance to view the extraordinary Victorian architecture of the Crystal Palace Subway

And there is also guided walk along some of the railway route which once served the station, as part of the 2014 Open House weekend.

“Inspired by the Subway” is a multimedia exhibition documenting the history of the stunning pedestrian subway which provided first-class passengers a route from the high-level station directly to the central transept of the vast Crystal Palace. The exhibition is being held on September 20 and 21 at the Concert Bowl in Crystal Palace Park (from 10am to 3pm each day).

The Crystal Palace itself burned down in 1936, but the high-level station (called that to distinguish it from the low-level station, which still operates Crystal Palace rail services today at the bottom of Anerley Hill), continued to operate at the top of Sydenham Hill until 1954.

The subway beneath Crystal Palace Parade was opened in 1865. The subway is a Grade II listed structure and is one of the last surviving elements of the Paxton-designed Palace, which was was originally used for the Great Exhibition of 1851 in Hyde Park, before being dismantled and re-assembled in Sydenham. Continue reading

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Oh Phlip! Philp gets the name of fellow Tory candidate wrong

Philp Mohan tweetIt was Mario Creatura, who has risen from desperate wannabe politician to become an MP’s gobby fac totum and a councillor for one of the safest Tory wards in the borough, who infamously said of Croydon North’s parliamentary constituency that it is “unwinnable and a waste of effort” for his party.

But you would still expect Creatura’s senior party colleagues at least to go to the trouble of spelling the name of their Croydon North Tory candidate correctly when they take to the twatosphere.

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Posted in Chris Philp, Croydon North, Croydon South, Fairfield, Gavin Barwell MP, Steve Reed MP, Vidhi Mohan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Secret meeting to dole out council’s Trumpton-esque honours

There’s another example of just how “open and transparent” the business of the council has become since Labour took control of the Town Hall after the local elections.

Sir Frederick Edridge

Sir Frederick Edridge was five times Mayor of Croydon as well as Deputy Lieutenant for the county of Surrey, and High Sheriff in 1909. It was a wonder he wasn’t made Lord High Water Buffalo as well

Tonight, before the main business of the cabinet meeting, there is another meeting, “the Mayoralty and Honorary Freedom Sub-Committee”.

The invitees list is a select bunch, just council leader Tony Newman, Whitgift Foundation governor Toni Letts, and Pat Ryan, the Labour group’s veteran chief whip, plus two Tories, Dudley Mead, another Whitgift Foundation governor, and the ex-leader of the Croydon Conservatives, Mike “I decided I was going to need to take some of the money, which is what I did” Fisher. It’ll be intriguing to see whether the florid-faced one turns up, or whether his loyal deputy, Tim Pollard, takes his place.

The last time this sub-committee met was in January. It was the first time it had convened for a year. A measure of how important it must be is that Newman, then the leader of the opposition, didn’t bother to turn up, and didn’t send any apologies, either. The meeting was done and dusted in seven minutes. Continue reading

Posted in Croydon Council, Dudley Mead, Eddy Arram, Mike Fisher, Pat Ryan, Tim Pollard, Toni Letts, Tony Newman | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Opportunity knocked as council halts office-to-flat conversions

Croydon’s Labour council is putting its pro-business reputation on the line by calling a halt to the often lucrative conversion of the borough’s empty offices into housing.

Central CroydonLast week, owners and occupiers of office buildings in what the council has called – apparently without intending irony – the “Croydon Opportunity Zone”, received letters from the council telling them that the Town Hall is ending a government initiative to boost run down town centres.

The “Opportunity Zone” runs from West Croydon through to East Croydon, from South End to Wandle Park. Basically, its is that part of central Croydon closest to where Hammersfield will be spending £1 billion to build a shopping centre.

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Posted in "Hammersfield", Bernard Weatherill House, Business, Croydon Council, Housing, Planning, Property, Ruskin Square, Tony Newman, URV | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Ruskin Square could include theatre if council refunds £3m

Croydon could get a purpose-built, modern 200-seat studio theatre to replace the much-lamented Warehouse Theatre, provided that the council re-allocates a £3 million grant originally intended for the purpose by private developers Stanhope.

Ruskin Square adverts

Hello future: But does that future include the new Warehouse studio theatre that was included in the Croydon Masterplan?

The news comes as the now Labour-run council cabinet meets tomorrow night to discuss push through spending £34 million on a “Croydon Cultural Quarter” (we know, we know…) which will include a rejuvenated Fairfield Halls and re-developed College Green site.

The plans as laid out in the council officials’ report do not include any arts provision in Ruskin Square, the mixed-use development on the former coal merchants’ site next to East Croydon Station that has been a decade in the planning by Stanhope and their financial backers Schroders. Continue reading

Posted in "Hammersfield", Art, Ashcroft Theatre, Business, Cinema, Comedy, Croydon Council, David Lean Cinema Campaign, Dudley Mead, Fairfield, Fairfield Halls, Jo Negrini, Music, Planning, Property, Riesco Collection, Ruskin Square, Theatre, Timothy Godfrey, Warehouse Theatre | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Surrey end summer pot-less, despite Roy’s batting power

So near, yet so far.

Whitgift old boy Jason Roy is the most exciting batting prospect for many years

Whitgift old boy Jason Roy is the most exciting batting prospect in English cricket for many years

Surrey’s last, albeit outside, chance of success this summer – promotion back to the first division of the County Championship – somehow slipped through their batting-gloved fingers on Friday at New Road Worcester, when from a commanding first-innings position, they were spun out by Moeen Ali and the left-armers of Jack Shantry.

Needing 217 for victory, from 122 for 2 at lunch, Surrey were bowled out for 189.

The four-day game against Derby, which begins at The Oval tomorrow (10.30am September starts) is therefore a bit of a dead rubber, and might have offered a chance to experiment with the line-up, maybe give a bit of first XI playing time to the likes of young leg-spinner Freddie van den Bergh, fresh from his five-fer in the final second XI game of the season. That such an opportunity has been spurned with the naming of the same 13-player squad as lost at Worcester is just the latest example of the enigma that is Surrey cricket.

Nothing is ever straightforward with the county side, of course. Following the near disintegration of the team a couple of summers ago, the abortive captaincy of Graeme Smith left a big hole to fill when the South African suffered injury.

As skipper, Gary Wilson has certainly impressed this season, and he has had the mighty benefit of captaining a side which has had the most exciting batting prospect in English, if not world, cricket, in Jason Roy.

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Posted in Cricket, Graeme Smith, Jason Roy, Kevin Pietersen, Sport, Surrey CCC, Whitgift School | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Inflation, Inflation, Inflation: C4 gives house prices a bump


For sale signsThere. Did you feel that?

That was the sensation of property prices in Croydon jumping another one, two, even 10 grand following the latest visit from that estate agents’ wet dream which is Channel 4’s Location, Location, Location.

In the past week alone, Inside Croydon Towers has been deluged with those little cards from four different estate agencies, offering a free valuation of our stately pile if only we consider putting it on the still over-heated market. But with property prices in London rising, we are told, by £4,500 per week, why sell now? This time next year, Rodders…

This is the 20th series of the programme, which has an enduring fascination for home-owners and home-seekers, somewhat like that of a moth to a naked flame.

In Thursday’s episode, Krustie Allstropp, who some might suggest has an expanding portfolio of her own, wandered the streets of Addiscombe and West Croydon gushing about the area in a manner not heard since Jonny Rose and Anne Piles first gazed into each other’s eyes over coffee at the Glee Club.

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Posted in Addiscombe, Altitude 25, Broad Green, Housing, IYLO, London-wide issues, Planning, Property, Waste incinerator | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Multi-tasker Gill is dreaming of FA Cup giant-killing at Arena

BRIAN GRANVILLE, our non-league football reporter, is up for the cup today

FA CupNON-LEAGUE NEWS: South Norwood’s Croydon Arena is hosting what will likely be Croydon FC‘s biggest game of the season this afternoon.

It is the first qualifying round of the FA Cup against Burgess Hill Town.

There are four qualifying rounds, before the FA Cup’s first round proper in November, with the glamour of January’s third round, including the giants of the Premier League and clubs in the Championship, a tantalising six games away. Barring replays, of course.

Croydon FC’s road to Wembley started at the height of summer in the extra preliminary round at Arundel. There followed an emphatic 4-1 derby success over Epsom and Ewell in the preliminary round, the reward being today’s lucrative cup tie. Continue reading

Posted in AFC Croydon Athletic, Croydon FC, Football, Sport, Whyteleafe FC | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment