Croydon Council to honour former police commander who was criticised over Stephen Lawrence racist murder investigation

The Labour leadership on Croydon Council “should be ashamed”, according to a leading black activist, over their decision to award one of the borough’s highest civic honours to a former senior Metropolitan Police officer who was heavily criticised over his conduct in the investigation into the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence.

Stephen Lawrence: the role in the murder inquiry of David Osland has been subject of widespread condemnation

Stephen Lawrence: the role in the murder inquiry of David Osland has been subject of widespread condemnation

For 20 years until he stood down last May, David Osland was a Conservative councillor for the Croydon ward of Coulsdon West.

But in April 1993, at the time of 18-year-old Stephen Lawrence’s brutal murder in Eltham, Osland was the third-highest ranking officer at Scotland Yard. As the deputy assistant commissioner for south-east London, he was directly responsible for the original investigation, which failed to get a conviction.

It was 2012 before the police finally managed to obtain a conviction for the murder of Stephen Lawrence, although the Daily Mail newspaper had published a front page identifying five prime suspects in 1997.

Dissatisfaction with senior Met officers’ handling of the investigation eventually led to a high-profile public inquiry chaired by Sir William McPherson in 1999. The inquiry’s findings were extremely critical and infamously accused the Metropolitan Police of being “institutionally racist”.

Osland gave evidence to the inquiry over two days, which saw him booed from the public gallery. The resulting report singled him out for particular responsibility for allowing the breakdown in the police’s relationship with Stephen Lawrence’s family and their lawyer.

“Mr Osland should not be surprised that some who heard his evidence might regard this as another example of institutional racism at work,” the report said.

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Posted in Andy Tarrant, Ashburton, Avril Slipper, Coulsdon West, Crime, Croydon Council, David Osland, Eddy Arram, Graham Bass, Janet Marshall, Knife crime, London-wide issues, Policing, Shirley, Tony Newman | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Howzat! Girls open a new innings at Addington cricket club

One of the country’s oldest cricket clubs is opening a new chapter in its history next week with the start of a two-year project with backing from The Oval, the Lord’s Taverners and Croydon Council to offer free introductory sessions in the game for girls.

Addington cricket clubStarting next Wednesday, October 8, Addington (1743) Cricket Club – a clue to the club’s formation more than 250 years ago is in its title – is offering special cricket coaching sessions to girls aged between nine and 13 years. Over the autumn and winter, the sessions will be held every Wednesday, from 4.30pm, in the plush new facilities at Quest Academy’s Monk’s Hill Sport Centre, a short walk from the Gravel Hill tram stop. During the summer, the sessions will be at the cricket club’s ground.

“Whether you’re a complete beginner, have played just a little at school, or play at a club already, we would love to see you come along to make new friends, learn new skills from qualified coaches and have some fun,” the organisers say.

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Posted in Addington, Addington (1743) CC, Addiscombe, Cricket, New Addington, Sport | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Bishop gives backing to primary head ousted by Ofsted

The Bishop of Southwark has publicly praised the outgoing headmaster of Parish Church junior school, who retired following a controversial Ofsted report which downgraded the school’s rating from “outstanding” to “inadequate”.

Bishop of Southwark, Christopher Chessun: Parish Church School is "wonderful", he said

Bishop of Southwark, Christopher Chessun: Parish Church School is “wonderful”, he said

Bishop Christopher Chessun was the guest of honour on Tuesday at the the opening of an extension to the Parish Church Schools, an event which turned into a celebration of the work and career of David Morgan, the junior school’s former head.

In his blessing, the bishop described Parish Church as “a wonderful school”.

Colin Boswell, the Vicar of Croydon, joined the bishop on the podium and pointedly singled out Morgan as being “rightfully in his place” as a head teacher who had given “dedicated and faithful service over 12 years”.

The bishop referred to the need for all to pull together as a community in this time of challenge, while Boswell talked of how the joy of the new building was combined with the sorrow of the entirely unexpected Ofsted report. It was a lesson in the travails of the realities of life, Boswell said. Continue reading

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St Giles’ School open morning, Nov 5

St Giles Continue reading

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Spread Eagle jazzes up the re-staging of The Goon Show

The Spread Eagle pub is next door to Croydon Town Hall. What better venue, then, to perform a live re-staging of The Goon Show?

Goon ShowThe latest production at the Spread Eagle Theatre next week seeks to recreate the comic lunacy of Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe as Seagoon, Eccles, Bluebottle, Major Bloodnok and Minnie become embroiled in the case of the heinous Phantom Head Shaver (of Brighton), and tell a terrifying tale of family greed and murder.

Using two classic Milligan radio scripts, the Old Joint Stock Theatre Company and Birmingham Comedy Festival present a live stage show, complete with sound effects and a jazz band.

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Apprenticeship scheme gets to work on the Wandle Valley

A horticulture training scheme in the Wandle Valley is being launched tomorrow by Groundwork London.

river_wandleBIGWorking together with housing associations and local authorities, Groundwork London uses environmentally sustainable schemes to try to fulfill three main aims: “creating better places”; “greener living and working”; and “improving people’s prospects”. Their new Green Teams working along the River Wandle, through Merton and Croydon and along the Wandle Trail footpath, is looking to deliver across all three of those objectives.

“There has been a long-held ambition to integrate training and employment opportunities for young people into the development of the Wandle Valley Regional Park and with a recent successful bid to the Mayor’s Big Green Fund we’re thrilled this has now become possible with the launch of the Wandle Green Team,” said Sue Morgan, the chief executive of the Wandle Valley Regional Park. Continue reading

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Fairchildes staff run Croydon 10km so Malachi might walk

A group of around 40 teachers, staff and friends from Fairchildes Primary are running in this month’s Croydon 10km road race to raise money for one of their pupils to have a life-changing operation in the United States.

Malachi Reid: dozens of teachers, staff and friends are running to give him the chance to walk

Malachi Reid: needs £80,000 to pay for a life-changing operation in the United States

Malachi Reid is 10 years old and has cerebral palsy. He has been accepted to have an operation called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) to improve his mobility and which could even allow him the chance to walk unaided. SDR operations are not available on the NHS as this is a new procedure in Britain and is not available to someone of Malachi’s age.

The runners are trying to help Malachi’s family get close to the £80,000 needed to cover the cost of the operation and all of the intensive physiotherapy that he will need.

The Croydon 10km, sponsored by Lexus and organised by Croydon Harriers, takes place on October 19.

The race starts at Lloyd Park Avenue before heading out to Sandilands and the surrounding area. Entries are still open, for serious road runners and fun runners alike. Continue reading

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Commuters face 18 months’ disruption as bus station closes

West Croydon Bus Station closes this weekend, with 18 months’ worth of disruption ahead for bus, tram and rail passengers as works are undertaken to reconfigure the interchange at the north end of the Whitgift Centre.

An artist's idealised imagining of the new West Croydon Bus Station. Notice the near-total absence of buses. Or people...

An artist’s imagining of the new West Croydon Bus Station. Notice how few buses, or people, there are …

Each year, eight million passengers use West Croydon Bus Station, which as well as being an interchange with the Overground service into Canary Wharf and east London and other rail lines, plus Tramlink, is also served by 23 bus routes, nine of which terminate there.

Around 150 buses pass through the bus station every hour.

Until early 2016, those buses and passengers will be re-assigned to stops and bus stands on other nearby roads, some several minutes’ walk from the railway station.

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Posted in "Hammersfield", Broad Green, Centrale, Commuting, Connected Croydon, London-wide issues, Planning, Tramlink, Transport, West Croydon, Whitgift Centre | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Fun Palace coming to Whitgift Centre this weekend, Oct 4-5

Croydon’s to have its very own Fun Palace this weekend.

Fun PalaceThe Fun Palace idea was conceived more than 50 years ago by the great theatre director Joan Littlewood – Fings Ain’t What They Used To Be, and Oh What A Lovely War! – and the architect Cedric Price. They imagined the Fun Palace as a “laboratory of fun”, “a university of the streets” – a place where everyone could be encouraged to be creative in both the arts and sciences.

A national movement has been launched to mark the centenary of Joan Littlewood’s birth in October 2014, with the aim of fostering local, independent Fun Palaces.

The Fun Palace in Croydon is one of many popping up over the weekend of October 4-5, with no admission charge, bringing arts and science together, built on community participation. “They intend to transform spaces, they transform the makers, and they transform the participants,” the organisers say. Continue reading

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Record seven screenings in October at David Lean Cinema

The Save the David Lean Cinema Campaign will be screening seven films at the David Lean in October – a record number since the arthouse cinema was re-opened in March.

Belle posterOne innovation in the diverse, international programme is a trail 11am screening to suit parents and grandparents who have afternoon school-run commitments.

The film, on October 16, will be Finding Vivian Maier, an intriguing documentary about a reclusive nanny who was later discovered to have been a talented and prolific street photographer.

Another highlight for the coming month is Boyhood on October 9 – the groundbreaking film which was shot over 12 years, during which the central character ages from six to 18.

The month concludes on October 30 with two screenings of Belle for Black History Month. This British film tells the story of a naval officer’s mixed-race daughter, raised in the Georgian splendour of Kenwood House. Continue reading

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Surrey’s going round in circles over captaincy at The Oval

JASON COURT wraps up the county cricket season by posing the question: who will be Surrey captain in 2015?

At the start of the season, I suggested a good run in the T20 would be possible, but promotion first year to the first division of the County Championship was probably a stretch too far. And so it turned out.

Kevin Pietersen: could he take Surrey in a new direction in 2015?

Kevin Pietersen: could he take Surrey in a new direction in 2015?

If you look at the starting line-ups for the first game versus Glamorgan and the last championship game with Derbyshire, a demoralising eight-wicket defeat, they are remarkably similar.

So the season has been one primarily of consolidation, particularly after the blow of losing the club captain for the second consecutive year.

The permanent departure of Graeme Smith has at least meant Surrey will start 2015 with a captain who, for the first time in since 2012, should be at the club the whole year. But who?

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Posted in Cricket, Graeme Smith, Jason Roy, Kevin Pietersen, Surrey CCC | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

East Croydon community group first public meeting, Oct 7

The East Croydon community group will be holding its first public meeting at 8pm on October 7 at Oval Primary (doors will open around 7.45pm).

East Croydon buildingOne of the first decisions for the meeting will be what to call the group.

“Our aim is to bring people together to form a community body that can do more than just complain about refuse collection, traffic and developers,” the meeting organisers say.

“We also hope to become a means by which people can get together to do things they want together.

“It is our aim to build upon the sterling work that was done following the riots by various community groups.

“The immediate need for a coherent community representative body is critical. Without an effective voice for East Croydon, others will make the decisions on our behalf. Continue reading

Posted in Addiscombe, Cherry Orchard Gardens, Community associations, East Croydon, Fairfield, Housing, Menta Tower, Planning, Property | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

‘Help me improve services for families affected by autism’

andrew rendleANDREW RENDLE, pictured left, wants to hear from those in Croydon affected by autism, to share their experiences of the services they receive

After I was elected to the council in May, I was honoured to be made the deputy cabinet member for people and communities which among over things covers health and adult social care. I was delighted also to be made Croydon’s champion for autism.

The champion role is something I wanted from the moment I decided to stand for election in Ashburton. As the father of a four-year-old who has been diagnosed with ASD and another on the waiting list to be diagnosed, it’s a subject I have immersed myself in. With the support of the new administration, I want to make Croydon a flagship borough in helping those on the spectrum, and their carers.

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Croydon MP Barwell was a target in Mirror’s “sext” sting

Gavin Barwell, the Croydon Central MP and a government whip, was one of a number of Tories targeted by the Sunday Mirror as part of the Twitter sleaze sting which led to the resignation yesterday of government minister Brooks Newmark.

Sleaze: Brooks "No Mark" Newmark was not the only Tory MP targeted in the Mirror sting

What has he been doing with that hand? Brooks “No Mark” Newmark was not the only Tory MP targeted in the Sunday Mirror Twitter sting

Newmark today admitted to feeling a complete dick. The newspaper has reported that he sent X-rated pictures of himself to a bogus Twitter account set up by Mirror journalists in the name of a supposedly young, blonde Tory activist “Sophie Wittams”.

Newmark sent his resignation letter to Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday, just hours before the scandal was published on the front page of the Sunday tabloid.

It capped off a dire afternoon for the Tories, who had just seen another of their MPs, the appropriately named Mark Reckless, jump ship for UKIP. This double blow came on the eve of the Conservative party conference in Birmingham.

In the overall scheme of things, as Cameron takes Britain into a third war in Iraq in 25 years, losing a second sitting MP to UKIP inside a few weeks is a lot bigger than Newmark’s todger. 

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Crystal Palace library celebrates record reading figures

Staff at the Upper Norwood Joint Library have celebrated helping 140 Crystal Palace children complete a six-book reading challenge over the summer.

kids books children'sThis year’s Mythical Maze-themed Summer Reading Challenge was the latest, annual event, organised nationally, by the Reading Agency.

Children aged between four and 12 years old who signed up were challenged to read six books and were encouraged, with stickers and other rewards along the way.

The Upper Norwood library team is particularly proud that it encouraged 235 children to participate, which is a 25 per cent increase on the number who registered last year.

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