Fisher’s suspension lifted but the Progress purge continues

Andrew Fisher, addressing the People's Assembly in Croydon earlier this month

Thumbs up: Andrew Fisher, addressing the People’s Assembly in Croydon earlier this month

The Labour Party this afternoon announced that it had lifted the suspension on Andrew Fisher, the socialist author and party member from Croydon who has been appointed as policy adviser to Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader.

The decision is likely to be bitterly disappointing, and embarrassing, to The Hon Emily Benn and those from the Progress party-within-a-party in Croydon Labour, who may have encouraged Benn, the young West Thornton councillor, to put her name to the complaint against Fisher, based on little more than a couple of tweets posted on social media over the course of almost two years.

Throughout this Progress attempted purge, Fisher has maintained the stout support of the party’s leadership, with shadow chancellor John McDonnell telling a meeting held at Croydon’s Ruskin House earlier this month that Fisher had campaigned longer and harder for the Labour Party than The Hon Emily had ever done: “Andrew’s knocked on more doors for Labour than Emily Benn’s had hot dinners,” McDonnell said, without waving around any examples of 20th Century Far Eastern literature.

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Posted in 2015 General Election, Andrew Fisher, Croydon Central, Croydon North, Croydon South, Emily Benn, Steve Reed MP, Tony Newman | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Howard Primary School’s Christmas Fair, Dec 5

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Mind in Croydon’s Positive Steps 2016, June 26

Positive Steps Continue reading

Posted in Activities, Charity, Croydon Ramblers, Mind in Croydon, Walks | Tagged , | 1 Comment

New school to be ‘sealed off’ from Purley Way’s polluted air

Pollution masks Purley Way school

Could this be an everyday scene coming to Croydon soon? It will be if the Harris Federation gets its way and insists on building a primary alongside the polluted Purley Way

Pass the inhaler: this will have you gasping, and not in a good way.

The sight of children, some as young as five, walking to or from their school wearing anti-pollution masks could soon be a commonplace on the streets of Croydon, following discussions at a council planning meeting last night.

On the agenda was a pre-application proposal to build a primary school alongside the heavily polluted Purley Way – a site which the council’s own planning officials had previously rejected as being unsuitable for the four-form-of-entry primary wanted by the sponsoring academy group, the Harris Federation. The same site had been abandoned as unsuitable for young children five years ago, when the previous schools there were closed and moved to a less polluted environment.

Such is the official concern about the poor air quality along the busy, four-lane A23 that the plans submitted last night even include a scheme to seal off parts of the building from the outside world and have the school “internally ventilated”.

And here’s another sentence you won’t have seen on Inside Croydon much in the past: Croydon Conservatives agree with this website.

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Posted in Croydon Council, Cycling, Education, Environment, Harris Primary Purley Way, Health, Jason Perry, Joy Prince, Parking, Paul Scott, Planning, Property, Purley Way, Schools, Segas House, Transport, Waddon | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Parking the tow trucks is another sign that cuts don’t work

WALTER CRONXITE on another cut in council services which seems to offer irresponsible drivers free rein to park their cars wherever they like

What follows is a sentence that has never before appeared on Inside Croydon: We agree with Phil Thomas.

Cheerio: but inconsiderate car parkers no longer have the threat of being towed in Croydon

Cheerio: but inconsiderate car parkers no longer have the threat of being towed in Croydon

Since the start of this month, the council’s tow trucks, used to remove illegally parked cars, have been off the road, no longer operating, the latest consequence of Tory cuts to local services.

Now this is probably not something which will directly benefit Councillor Thomas, who is notorious for having claimed two parking permits to be able to park his cars free of charge, as long as he is on “official council business”.

“Two Permits” Thomas, who is known for his frequently florid-faced and phlegm-specked speeches in the Town Hall chamber, described the decision to scrap the council’s tow trucks as a “complete and utter shambles”. Continue reading

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Tory MP threatened Tesco with shoppers’ strike over BID bid

Croydon South’s new Conservative MP has admitted that he threatened the local branch of the country’s biggest retailers with a shoppers’ strike if they did not support a business scheme he was backing.

Purley Tesco: operating 24/7, sucking in business

Purley Tesco: operating 24/7, sucking in business

Tory Chris Philp told Tesco in Purley that he would organise a boycott of their superstore if they voted to oppose proposals for a Business Improvement District.

A BID is a defined area within which businesses pay a levy towards projects within the district’s boundaries; there is a long-standing BID operating in central Croydon, where traders have additional street-cleaning services and extra policing. Most of the businesses on the high street in Purley were keen to have a BID of their own.

But the relationship between the small independent traders in Purley and Tesco has tended to be one of innate distrust ever since the mega-store, with its vast car parking space, opened on the other side of Purley Cross from the town’s high street, sucking trade away from the smaller shops.

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Posted in Business, Chris Philp MP, Croydon South, Parking, Purley, Purley BID | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Walks and talkies to mark the Great Fire of South London

Before The Blitz, there was The Blaze.

On Monday night at Crystal Palace, there are a couple of public events to commemorate the fire which destroyed the building that gave its name to the area.

On Nov 30, 1936, the Great Fire of South London could be seen across eight counties

On Nov 30, 1936, the Great Fire of South London could be seen across eight counties

The 1936 blaze was the Great Fire of South London, a vast conflagration which could be seen from the city centre and drew curious spectators from miles around.

An estimated 100,000 people gathered on and around Sydenham Hill on the night of November 30, 1936, to view what one of their number, Winston Churchill, described as, “The end of an age.”

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Posted in Charity, Community associations, Crystal Palace Community Association, Crystal Palace Park, Education, History, Upper Norwood, Walks | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Okoye goes on the offensive to save his American dream

Three years ago, he was a poster boy of the London Olympics.

In two short years, Croydon Harrier Lawrence Okoye has become a poster boy for British athletics

In 2012, Lawrence Okoye recreated a 1948 London Olympics poster to promote the Games’ return to the city. Three years later, his NFL career has stalled

National record-holder in the discus in his first senior season, and qualifying for the final of a throws event at the 2012 Games, with a scholarship to study law at Oxford University lined up, Lawrence Okoye looked to have it made.

But a couple of NFL try outs later, and the then 21-year-old was chasing the dream of a career in one of the richest, and toughest, of sports on the planet, with a contract with the San Francisco 49ers which made him a very wealthy young man, even though he’d never played a game of American football in his life. But into his third season in the NFL, and 6ft 6in tall 21-stone Okoye is now on his third team in a matter of a four months, and he has still yet to play in a game. Continue reading

Posted in 2012 Olympics, Athletics, Elliot Daly, Lawrence Okoye, Marland Yarde, Sport, Whitgift School | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Croydon Bach Choir Christmas Carols, St Matthew’s, Dec 16

Bach Choir Christmas Carol Concert-page-001 Continue reading

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Christmas tree-dressing, Norwood Park, Dec 13

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Notorious Norbury Winter Market and Fair, Nov 29

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Ruskin House gets a case of the Blues for December

Ruskin House’s schedule of music events for December has just been released, with low-cost folk and blues club nights – and the cheap prices in the bar.

ruskin houseThe Folk and Blues Club meets at 8pm on Sundays, with a charge of just £2.

Mondays are Croydon Folk Club night, with a modest charge for some performers, but there is also a shanty group – both start at 8pm each week. Continue reading

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Grammar school in Croydon would be unlawful and divisive

CROYDON COMMENTARY: The idea that a new secondary school, run as an “annex” of a Sutton grammar, would improve education in Croydon is wrong, according to one local teacher*

Chris Philp, the MP for Croydon South, in his Croydon Commentary earlier this week, makes a number of ill-informed, misleading and politically blinkered arguments in support of his divisive proposition to re-introduce academically selective education into Croydon.

Grammar SchoolMuch evidence exists to demonstrate that grammar schools produce the very opposite of the social mobility that he claims for the 11-plus system. Selection at age 10 favours the children of those families with enough income to pay for private tutoring dedicated to training for the entrance examinations.

This process is very evident in Sutton, which retains a selective system, with grammar schools with hugely skewed cohorts of pupils displaying exceptionally low numbers of those coming from economically and socially disadvantaged backgrounds.

All of the conventional benchmark data, be that numbers in receipt of pupil premium, free school dinners or those statemented, demonstrate the inequality and exclusivity rendered by such an educational system. Continue reading

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St Mildred’s Christmas Market, Addiscombe, Dec 5

St Mildred's Continue reading

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Evening all: Police commissioner Hogan-Howe visits Croydon

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, is addressing a public meeting in Croydon next week.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe: open to questions in Croydon

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe: open to questions in Croydon

The event is free and does not require booking, but places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

The event is from 6.30pm on Wednesday December 2 at Croydon College. Doors open at 6pm, and some refreshments will be available.

Hogan-Howe is expected to talk about his vision for policing in London, but there will be time for questions from the audience: Continue reading

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Crystal Palace Triangle’s businesses show off their indies

And there’s to be FREE BEER, too.

The Crystal Palace Triangle is proud of its many diverse, independent traders and family buisnesses who provide an antidote to the increasingly identi-kit high streets found all over London. As part of this year’s Small Business Saturday, dozens of businesses in SE19 are joining forces to bring a bit of extra cheer to festive shoppers.

There's more than 40 small retailers in the Crystal Palace Triangle, many of them co-operating for Small Business Saturday

There’s more than 40 small retailers in the Crystal Palace Triangle, many of them co-operating for Small Business Saturday

On December 5, visitors to Crystal Palace will be able to whizz through their Christmas lists and be rewarded with a free beer, coffee or treat. Crystal Palace shops are “buddying up” with cafes, restaurants and pubs to show customers that Christmas shopping is to be enjoyed rather than endured, and that supporting small businesses benefits us all.

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Posted in Business, Community associations, Pubs, Restaurants, South Norwood, Upper Norwood | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

St Alban’s Christmas Market, Whitehorse Lane, Nov 28

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Skanska’s ‘lightbulb moment’ over Purley street lights

So where would you position a lampost? Right in the middle of the pavement, obviously, if you're Skanska

So where would you position a lamppost? Right in the middle of the pavement, obviously, if you’re Skanska working in Purley

There have been plentiful and regular complaints about the quality of workmanship and service from some of the council’s out-sourced contractors, whether it be the shabby My Croydon App mishap, the trail of rubbish left after the bin men have been, or the poor quality of road repairs.

But the long-term street lighting replacement programme, under a £151 million 25-year contract handed to Skanska, is a regular bug-bear with Croydon residents.

The loss of the old-style light stands, replaced by the supposedly modern and efficient but unappealing street lights, the hideous stumps left for months at a time after de-commissioning, and the glacially slow progress of the project have all been raised repeatedly by Inside Croydon‘s loyal reader.

Outages of street lighting, leaving entire neighbourhoods in pitch darkness through long winter nights, sometimes caused by the replacement works, have been a cause of anxiety. Continue reading

Posted in Croydon Council, Purley, Skanska, Street lighting | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Chris Philp: Why I’m working for a Croydon grammar school

Chris Philp wants Croydon to be able to offer a traditional grammar school education for future generations. It never did him any harm...

Chris Philp wants Croydon to be able to offer a traditional grammar school education for future generations. It never did him any harm…

Chris PhilpCROYDON COMMENTARY: Croydon South’s Conservative MP, CHRIS PHILP, pictured left, makes his case for backing the establishment of the first grammar school in the borough for nearly half a century

Croydon parents wanting a grammar school education for their sons or daughters have to send their children to a neighbouring borough. But we recently saw news that the Weald of Kent Grammar School in Tonbridge has been given permission to expand on to a satellite (or annex) site in Sevenoaks. This has opened up the possibility that one of the grammar schools in Bromley or Sutton might open up a similar satellite school here.

At a recent Croydon Council meeting at the Town Hall, Labour’s cabinet member for education, Alisa Flemming, claimed that enough new secondary schools are being created to cater for demand until 2020, thus making the possibility of any grammar annexes being built redundant for the next four years. However, recent reports have suggested that the council’s school expansion plans are already behind track, and population growth is in any case accelerating.

Furthermore, the demand from parents for grammar school places is extremely high and far outstrips supply – for example, Sutton’s grammar schools have 10 applicants for every available place; 30 per cent of these schools’ pupils come from Croydon. With the population going up and housing developments such as Cane Hill being built, demand is only going to increase. The presence of a new grammar school in Croydon would help satisfy this demand and avoid pupils as young as 11 having to travel into other boroughs to get the education their parents want for them.

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Posted in Alisa Flemming, Chris Philp MP, Coulsdon, Croydon South, Education, Schools, Sutton Council, Waddon | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

EcoLocal charity gets £1m lucky Brake from Sutton Council


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

Carshalton and Wallington LibDem MP Tom Brake

That’s the value that Tom Brake has had put on his reputation.

Brake is the last London LibDem MP standing. The MP for Carshalton and Wallington, in Sutton, served as Deputy Leader of the House in the ConDem coalition.

No longer in government, lately Brake has been bandying around threats on Twitter against some constituents who have dared question his involvement with a property deal with Sutton Council.

Sutton’s Liberal Democrat-controlled council has handed a 125-year lease on The Lodge, a landmark building by Carshalton ponds, to EcoLocal for around £1 million less than the property’s full commercial value. Brake just happens to be a trustee of EcoLocal, and two of the Sutton councillors who took the decision on The Lodge also happen to be members of the MP’s own staff. But they forgot to mention this among the disclosures of interest before the council meeting when the decision was taken.

Now Inside Croydon hears that Brake has set his lawyers on the Guido Fawkes website and on the Sutton Conservative opposition group, for “smearing” him.

Brake’s lawyers have written to demand an apology, and Sutton Tories have been told to pay £500 to cover his legal costs. Yep… all of 500 notes. Is that all that Brake’s lawyers think the MP’s reputation is worth? Continue reading

Posted in Environment, Nick Mattey, Outside Croydon, Property, Sutton Council, Tom Brake MP, Waste incinerator, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments