Library campaigners: ‘Broken promises will be on our minds’

CROYDON COMMENTARY: ALUN and BARBARA THOMAS have sent an open letter to their local councillors, decrying the decision of Lambeth and Croydon councils to cut funding for Upper Norwood Library

We are concerned at the latest developments concerning the funding of the Upper Norwood Library. We have been misled in assuming that future funding was secured at a level to ensure the future of the library. Some nine months ago MP Steve Reed and Tony Newman launched the “Upper Norwood Library Declaration” which created a sense of false optimism.

Public Library generic - Upper NorwoodWe now learn that both Croydon and Lambeth are to reduce their commitment to a total of £100,000 per annum, which is insufficient to cover costs let alone the expansion promised in the “Declaration”. We are disappointed that this promise has been broken and remind you that the Upper Norwood Library is the vital heart of the Crystal Palace community.

It is not realistic for local residents, particularly the elderly and those with young children, to be expected to travel to Croydon or Brixton to access library services. Also students who regularly use the library for study will, like young families, have difficulty meeting the travel costs incurred.

Continue reading

Posted in Alisa Flemming, Croydon North, John Wentworth, Libraries, Pat Ryan, Steve Reed MP, Tony Newman, Upper Norwood, Upper Norwood Library Trust | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Croydon Airport project nears take-off with Heritage grant

Croydon Airport imageCroydon Airport Society has received a £10,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for its “Revealing the Hidden Heritage of Croydon Airport”.

The cash will allow it to recruit and train volunteers to meet growing demand at the Croydon Airport Visitor Centre, help keep it open and research the Society’s extensive archives, making them more accessible through new displays and an online platform.

Croydon Airport was Britain’s first major international airport and during the early 20th century was the starting point or finish for a range of record-breaking flights and technical innovation, laying the foundations of today’s worldwide air transport network. The magnificent Grade II listed airport terminal, built in 1928, was a global “first” and features the world’s oldest air traffic control tower.

Continue reading

Posted in Activities, Charity, Community associations, Croydon Airport, Croydon Airport Society, Education, History, Waddon | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Chinese art demonstration, Whitgift Centre, Mar 28

Hale Man Mar 28 Continue reading

Posted in Art | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Stand-up comedy at the Half & Half Bar, Sun Apr 5

Live Stand Up Comedy Night is back.

Half & Half BarSunday, April 5 will be the seventh installment of Comedy Night at Half&Half, so if you fancy a great night out, be quick to grab yourself a ticket – spaces are limited!

Line up confirmed so far:
Rick Kiesewetter – “…punchy observational gags about the little things that annoy everyone.” Evening Standard
webpage: www.kiesewetter.co.uk

Admission is £6.50, to include a free drink. Continue reading

Posted in Activities, Comedy, Pubs | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Shabden Park Farm farmers market, Sat Mar 28

March’s Farmers’ Market is this Saturday 28, trading hours are from 9.30am until 2pm.

spring lambThis month, Gill has naturally smoked haddock and fresh oysters in season, as well as her selection of wet and shellfish.

Little Honey Bee Michelle is back with Easter egg-shaped bath bombs!

Kirstie highly recommends Michelle’s ‘liquid soap'; not just for rinsing hands, use it in the bath for bubbles and washing.

Ruth of Pretty Good Stuff is back with her gorgeous cottage garden-style plants that she sells for Cystic Fibrosis and other charities. Continue reading

Posted in Activities, Coulsdon | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Grange Park Easter Eggstravaganza, Sat Apr 4

Grange Park Apr 4

Continue reading

Posted in Activities, Charity, Coulsdon, Friends of Grange Park | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Marlpit Lane Bowling Green open day, Sat Mar 28

Marlpit Lane open day Continue reading

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

How to get youngsters into work? Get them passing exams

CROYDON COMMENTARY: Much work has been done lately to try to improve the borough’s youngsters employability. But little was said about local schools’ GCSE results, writes CHARLOTTE DAVIES


Jamie Audsley, a young, energetic and enthusiastic new councillor, last week laid before the council’s education scrutiny committee a mini-review. It had been carried out with considerable assistance from Croydon Citizens, a youth group.

School“How can Croydon develop a high quality education to employment brokerage and support service?” was the report’s premise. The report was well-done and well-presented. There was no doubting the commitment of the councillor and the young people from Croydon Citizens to addressing the difficulties for youngsters in accessing the labour market.

But I was saddened to hear senior education professionals sounding like the Mad Hatter, stating that there was nothing more they could do without more money or more resources. One of the senior teachers claimed that during her career in teaching there had been a big change in the requirement for schools to make greater links with industry.

Continue reading

Posted in Croydon Council, Education, Environment, Paul Greenhalgh, Schools, South Croydon Community Association | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Developers’ PR company announces the #CroydonTakeover

The Croydon Flyover. The Croydon Facelift.

Now we have the Croydon Takeover.

Or #CroydonTakeover, as the council’s favouritest PR bunglers, Grey Label, managed to hashtag it when they were off on the jolly to the South of France for the MIPIM developers’ “junket” earlier this month.

Croydon Takeover Continue reading

Posted in "Hammersfield", Business, Centrale, CPO, Croydon Council, Jo Negrini, Planning, Stiles Harold Williams, Whitgift Centre, Whitgift Foundation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bromley goes public on ZhongRong’s 500-year Palace dynasty

Bromley Council has published explosive correspondence to expose how the ZhongRong Group, the Chinese company to which London Mayor Boris Johnson wanted to hand a large chunk of Crystal Palace Park, were demanding to takeover half of the public park on a 500-year lease, and to be allowed to build anything that they wanted, unanswerable to the local authority.

London Mayor Boris Johnson with Chinese industrialist Ni Zhaoxing on the steps of Paxton's original Crystal Palace in October 2013. Talks had already been going on over the scheme in secret for two years

London Mayor Boris Johnson with Chinese industrialist Ni Zhaoxing in October 2013

Mayor Johnson had launched the ZhongRong scheme on the terracing of the original, Victorian Crystal Palace in October 2013, alongside the head of ZRG, Ni Zhaoxing.

Johnson and Ni claimed that ZRG wanted to build a £500million replica of the original Crystal Palace on the site. The New Statesman described the scheme/scam as a “boondongle” and called it Johnson’s “grandest, most pointless project yet”.

It took more than a year to uncover that behind the scenes, the backers of the ZRG Crystal Palace scheme included a Tory peer and a Conservative Party donor, and that Johnson and his officials at City Hall had been negotiating in secret for almost two years.

Continue reading

Posted in Boris Johnson, Bromley Council, Business, Crystal Palace Community Association, Crystal Palace Park, Environment, London Assembly, London-wide issues, Mayor of London, Outside Croydon, Planning, Property, Transition Town, Upper Norwood | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Stanley Halls film club offers The Big Sleep this week

Big SleepThe Stanley Halls Film Club is showing the Bogart-Bacall classic film noir this Thursday, March 26. The screening is free of charge. Continue reading

Posted in Art, Cinema, Stanley Halls | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Agatha Christie drama brings courtroom to Braithwaite Hall

CODA, the Croydon Operatic and Dramatic Association, make a proud return to central Croydon next month, when they perform Agatha Christie’s gripping courtroom drama Witness for the Prosecution at the Braithwaite Hall on Katharine Street.

Witness

Bob Dann cross examines Jane Kortlandt at the Barithwaite Hall in CODA’s Witness for the Prosecution

CODA’s acclaimed productions have been forced away from Croydon in recent times, through cost and lack of availability of suitable venues, so this return to Braithwaite Halls marks an important pointer in the revival of the local cultural scene, coming in the same month when the Save the David Lean Cinema Campaign will be celebrating the first anniversary of the re-opening of the art house cinema next door in the Clocktower.

It will be the first time for 15 years since CODA performed in the Braithwaite Hall.

CODA’s Witness for the Prosecution stars Bob Dann as Sir Wilfrid Robarts, Owen Moore as Leonard Vole, and Jane Kortlandt as Romaine, with a full supporting cast. The production is directed by Michael Hall. Continue reading

Posted in Art, Braithwaite Hall, CODA, Theatre | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Gove joins Barwell’s ‘Don’t mention the Tories’ campaign

At least Gavin Barwell, the MP for the Whitgift Foundation, is consistent in one respect.

Tory MP Gavin Barwell, centre, out delivering leaflets yesterday with chief whip Michael Gove (in spectacles, to right of the picture)

Tory MP Gavin Barwell, centre, out delivering leaflets yesterday with chief whip Michael Gove (in spectacles, looking awkward, to right of the picture)

Barwell has just endured what he described as “a difficult week”, following his starring role on the front page of the Evening Boris for asking supporters to sign pre-drafted campaign letters that avoided mentioning David Cameron and the Conservative Party.

And yesterday, career politician Barwell was out in Croydon Central canvassing voters alongside Government Chief Whip Michael Gove, delivering his latest election leaflets.

The leaflets contain not a single mention of the Prime Minister by name. So no one can accuse Barwell of not being consistent when it comes to appearing to be ashamed of his own party leader.

The double-sided A4 leaflet includes no references in its copy to the Conservative Party, though it does have a couple of small party logos. It’s hardly what you might call nailing his Tory colours to the mast. But then, if you were a private school- and Oxbridge-educated MP in a marginal seat, being a Tory might be something else you’d want to avoid mentioning. Continue reading

Posted in 2015 General Election, Coulsdon West, Croydon Central, Gavin Barwell MP, Mario Creatura, Sarah Jones | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

South Croydon school helps pupils fulfil Paralympic dream

The Primary Sports Camp was staged this week, responding to demand for more sports competition following the 2012 London Paralympics

The Primary Sports Camp was staged this week, responding to demand for more sports competition following the 2012 London Paralympics

A sports team from St Giles School in South Croydon is celebrating after an action-packed day of inclusive sport opportunities at a Primary Sports Camp staged this week.

St Giles is a school for pupils, aged from four to 16, with physical disabilities and complex medical needs.

Activities at the Primary Sports Camp, led by top local coaches and volunteers, gave the disabled children the chance to try boccia, tennis, martial arts and sitting volleyball. Continue reading

Posted in 2012 Olympics, Education, Sport, St Giles' School | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Trash, ballet and vice: David Lean Cinema’s exotic April mix

HoffmannAs the Save the David Lean Campaign prepares to mark the first anniversary of its re-opening of the Clocktower’s art-house cinema, their April programme, announced today, continues the pattern of innovation – with The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel being screened on two dates – while offering rare opportunities to see movies not usually found in multiplexes.

Thus there are screenings of Dukhtar, a Pakistani movie, and the Anglo-Brazilian production Trash.

But the campaign surely comes closest to fulfilling the cinema’s original brief with the screening of the restored version of the 1951 Powell and Pressburger Technicolor production of The Tales of Hoffman, featuring prima ballerina Moira Shearer.

The film is also notable for the appearance of Robert Helpmann, who for many cinema-goers might be recognised for a performance in another movie 17 years later,  a performance which was rated by Empire magazine as one of the 100 most frightening ever filmed.

Continue reading

Posted in Art, Dance, David Lean Cinema Campaign | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Coulsdon residents elect UKIP figure as new chairman

The Old Coulsdon Residents’ Association has elected a controversial figure from UKIP as its new chairman.

Janet Stollery: called expensive Selhurst by-election before resigning from UKIP

OCRA’s new chair, Janet Stollery: called expensive Selhurst by-election before resigning from UKIP

Janet Stollery was elected as chair at OCRA’s annual meeting on Wednesday night.

Last month, Stollery, together with two other UKIP members, caused disgust across the whole borough when she called for a council by-election to be held in Selhurst ward, without waiting for the family of the former councillor to stage the funeral for the recently deceased Gerry Ryan.

Even the senior figure in UKIP’s Croydon “organisation” – if that’s the right word – decried the conduct of his members, including Stollery, as crass and insensitive. Not the sort of behaviour you’d usually look for in the leading member of a residents’ association.

Continue reading

Posted in Community associations, Coulsdon, Coulsdon West, Coulsdon West Residents' Association, Croydon South, Gill Hickson, Mario Creatura, Old Coulsdon Residents' Association | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Boris Flyover to cost more than Mayor’s annual bike spend

On your bike: London Mayor Boris Johnson wants to spend more on an urban motorway to help his developer mates in Croydon than he is spending on cycle schemes across London this year

On your bike: Boris Johnson wants to spend more on an urban motorway in Croydon than he is spending on cycle schemes across London this year

Mayor of London Boris Johnson wants to spend more on building a four-/five-/six-lane flyover through a Waddon park than his entire annual spend on cycling in the city for 2014-2015.

That’s the conclusion of Darren Johnson, the Green Party Assembly Member, based on official figures he has obtained which show that the supposedly “bike-friendly” London Mayor is spending £82million on cycling in the city this year.

The controversial Boris Flyover scheme, for the A232 from the Purley Way towards central London, could cost at least £87million.

In 2003, the entire borough of Croydon was designated an Air Quality Management Area due to serious concerns about air pollution in the borough. Emissions from vehicles are one biggest contributors to Croydon’s polluted air. Continue reading

Posted in "Hammersfield", Boris Johnson, Commuting, Croydon Council, Croydon Greens, Croydon South, Darren Johnson, Environment, Health, London Assembly, London-wide issues, Mayor of London, Parking, Transport, Waddon, Whitgift Centre, Whitgift Foundation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

This takes this biscuit: cuts start to hit Town Hall tea breaks

The Osborne-Balls austerity consensus is biting, and biting hard where it really matters: councillors’ hob nobs.

fondant fanciesAngry tweets have been sent from the Town Hall to complain about the lack of sandwiches at recent council meetings. Some outraged councillors cannot remember the last time they saw a jammy dodger in the Mayor’s Parlour.

And now an email has thumped into the Inside Croydon inbox from the fourth floor of Fisher’s Folly. Croydon Council may be able to afford a £144million council head office, but it’s run out of money to pay for fondant fancies.

Under the heading, “Refreshments at Council meetings”, a council official from a department called “Democratic Services and Scrutiny” writes: “You will be aware that the Council has been reviewing all areas of expenditure including refreshments at Council meetings. A decision has been taken that from now on food will no longer be provided at Council meetings.”

The real bombshell comes in the next sentence: “For this purpose food includes biscuits.” Continue reading

Posted in Croydon Council, Nathan Elvery, Tony Newman, Wayne Lawlor | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Library closure would be ‘disaster’ warns Society chairman

The chairman of the Norwood Society has sent an open letter to the Croydon councillors who represent Upper Norwood, and to the MP for Lambeth South, Steve Reed OBE, to appeal for help in raising more funds for Upper Norwood Joint Library, which he says will not survive the cuts announced in the past month by Lambeth and Croydon councils.

Tony Newman and Steve Reed sign their pretentious Upper Norwood Library Declaration that promised to guarantee its future. It lasted barely eight months

Tony Newman and Steve Reed sign their Upper Norwood Library Declaration that promised to guarantee its future. It lasted barely eight months

“Closure of the Upper Norwood Library would be a disaster for the local community,” Richard Lines warns the MP and councillors Pat Ryan, John Wentworth and Alisa Flemming.

It is less than a year since Reed and Tony Newman, the leader of the Labour group at Croydon Council, posed for pictures signing a pledge to guarantee the future of Upper Norwood Joint Library.

Lambeth’s “co-operative” council – where Reed was Labour leader until 2012 – announced in February that it planned to axe half its library service, including cutting its funding to Upper Norwood by 60 per cent. After winning the local council elections in Croydon last May, Labour increased funding for Upper Norwood by £50,000 for this year, to match Lambeth’s contribution.

But when Lambeth cut its funding, Croydon plans to do the same.

“It is clear that Upper Norwood Library will not survive, even with reduced staff and three days a week opening, with only £100,000 a year funding from Croydon and Lambeth together,” Lines has written to his local councillors and MP.

Continue reading

Posted in Alisa Flemming, Croydon North, John Wentworth, Lambeth Council, Libraries, Pat Ryan, Steve Reed MP, Tony Newman, Upper Norwood, Upper Norwood Library Trust | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

A day in the life of Sarah Jones: 24 hours well-spent

With 50 days to go to the General Election, Croydon Central’s Labour candidate can look back on the past couple of days as a turning point in her campaign. By STEVEN DOWNES

A long day's journey: Sarah Jones completed her 24-hour marathon tour of Croydon at Surrey Street

A long day’s journey: Sarah Jones completed her 24-hour tour of Croydon at Surrey Street just as stall-holders were readying themselves for another day’s work

It is fair to say that Sarah Jones, who is standing for Labour in Croydon Central at the General Election, has had a pretty good week so far.

While the mother-of-four was out pressing the flesh and seeing how Croydon works around-the-clock on Monday, the Evening Boris was splashing on its front page that her political rival, MP Gavin Barwell, was exhibiting unseemly reluctance to mention that he is, actually… errr… a Tory.

And yesterday, even gaffe-prone Gav’s former boss, Lord Cashcroft, was publishing his latest marginal constituency poll which showed that, try as he might, Barwell was not making any significant in-roads into Jones’s lead. And that in a survey which was conducted before Barwell got turned over by the Standard. Continue reading

Posted in 2015 General Election, Croydon Central, Gavin Barwell MP, Sarah Jones | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments