Don’t persecute cyclists as they are forced off the roads

Kristian Gregory on his bikeCROYDON COMMENTARY: Earlier this week, another cyclist was killed on the roads of south London, this time after a collision involving a local authority dust cart. When it comes to traffic control, KRISTIAN GREGORY, pictured left, believes the police have their priorities wrong

Earlier this month, I was pulled over by a PCSO on the New Kent Road while riding a bike along the designated shared pavement and given a £50 fine. The incident was captured on my helmet camera and on seeing the footage, Mark Williams, the cabinet member for transport for Southwark, asked the Southwark borough commander to stop carrying out enforcement there.

Jenny Jones, the London Assembly member, raised my case as an example of over-zealous policing with Matt Bell, the head of roads and transport policing, who has in turn sympathised with my case and suggested that I challenge the fine.

However, the fine has not been cancelled and I face a court case and legal costs ranging from £400 up to £2,000, depending on whether the case is dropped before going to court or not.

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Posted in Transport, Commuting, Crime, Environment, Planning, Upper Norwood, Policing, Cycling, Croydon Cycling Campaign | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Festival of Code youth competition is coming to Centrale

Children from Croydon with a keen eye for coding are being urged to sign up to a competition taking place across the country between July 28 and August 3.

Festival of CodeThe LNK unit, in Centrale’s Upper Mall, is a host centre for the Festival of Code, which will see under-19s from the area be presented with real world problems which they will be challenged to address through their self-taught computing skills.

The annual Festival of Code is organised by Young Rewired State, a not-for-profit organisation whose aim it is to foster a love of coding and a determination to teach themselves technological skills in every young person. The initiative is being supported by The Met Office and The University of Plymouth.

Those entering will be supported by Young Rewired State’s team of experts to help them create websites, prototypes and inventive applications, alongside peers with the same passion for coding.

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Posted in Centrale, Education, Lives Not Knives, Tech City | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stopped and searched? Contact new monitoring group

stop and searchA new group, the Croydon Stop and Search Community Monitoring Group, was formed in May to provide independent oversight of stops and search conducted in the borough.

If you wish to get involved or to talk about a grievance you may have, please email or phone or text the chairwoman, Marzia Nicodemi, on 07940 415532.

“Your voice will be heard. It is a promise,” Nicodemi said. Continue reading

Posted in Policing | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Let’s be a borough of old scrubbers, says Captain Sensible

Captain Sensible has called on the people of Croydon to “get up off their arses” and take up their scrubbing brushes, their brooms and buckets, and start to get the borough cleaner, doorstep by doorstep.

Get off your arses, Croydon! Captain Sensible has always been known for his happy, happy talk

Get off your arses, Croydon! Captain Sensible has always been known for his happy, happy talk

The former Damned frontman is due to attend the official unveiling of the Sensible Seat, a park bench named in his honour on a piece of reclaimed waste ground opposite his old school, the one-time Stanley Tech in South Norwood, this Saturday.

And the Captain, also known as Raymond Burns, wants the whole of Croydon to be more “old school” when it comes to taking pride in our neighbourhood, starting with a bar of carbolic on our own doorsteps.

“Despite this event being a bit tongue in cheek, I do believe that people shouldn’t just wait on their local council to keep everything in their area looking nice and dandy,” Captain Sensible wrote on Facebook.

“If folk don’t wish to live in squalor, get off your arses and tidy the place up yourselves,” he said.

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Posted in Environment, Fly tipping, Gardening, Music, Refuse collection, South Norwood, South Norwood Tourist Board, Stuart Collins, Transition Town, Upper Norwood, Upper Norwood Library Trust | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Cancer forced me to dance with the shadow of fear’

Susan Oliver Susan DavisOccasional Inside Croydon contributor SUSAN OLIVER, pictured left, has not written for us for a while. Here she explains why

Winter 2013 was lousy for me.

And then it got a whole lot worse.

The downturn started last November. I became disenchanted with Twitter. I had been an enthusiastic tweeter for a couple of years under the handle of @beesnbeans, so it was surprising when I started to lose interest in it.

I deleted my account. Then in a fit of “What have I done?!?!” I went back and tried to un-delete it, but it was too late: Twitter had taken me seriously.

I continued on living… but around January I knew something was not right. I started feeling massively sad. I underwent a lot of catharsis – a lot of emotional cleansing. Looking back, I think it was a mini mid-life crisis where some unhealed residue from childhood surfaced.

Then, in mid-January I decided to take the small lump that was growing on my neck seriously. Being a modern gal, I had diagnosed myself with the help of the internet and had concluded that it was a cyst, nothing to worry about. When I finally went to the doctor and she started to get panicky, I helped myself to a generous serving of humble pie. Continue reading

Posted in Activities, Education, Environment, Health, Susan Oliver | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tory MP wants election helpers to work unpaid for six months

Croydon Central’s gaffe-prone MP Gavin Barwell is seeking a couple of slaves, or possibly a pair of recent graduates who are gullible enough or desperate enough, and also have well-heeled parents who don’t mind subsidising the Tory MP’s election campaign for up to six months.

MP Gavin Barwell: an expert in offering a pig in a poke

MP Gavin Barwell: an expert in offering a pig in a poke

That’s the nub of the without-scruples deal in what passes for a job ad which was published yesterday. And according to one campaign group, Barwell may even be breaking employment law in seeking to use long-term, unpaid interns.

As a Government whip, Barwell – salary £67,000 per year –  should be well aware that since 1998, it has been illegal to employ someone and not pay them at least the National Minimum Wage. Continue reading

Posted in 2015 General Election, Croydon Central, Gavin Barwell MP, Ian Parker | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Not a single question asked over £180,000 CEO appointment

The French have a phrase for it: “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose“.

In England, the tabloids devised a game for their prize competitions: Spot the Difference.

Croydon CEO Nathan Elvery pictured in the office this week

Croydon CEO Nathan Elvery pictured in the office this week

Last week, at the first full council meeting of the Labour administration since winning the local elections, under agenda item 11, namely, “The appointment of a permanent chief executive”, a £180,000 per year position (plus expenses, at least), was decided upon by this meeting of the 70 elected councillors.

The item was towards the end of the agenda, when the meeting was close to finishing and running out of time for any proper discussion. Those making the appointment, and the appointee, may have wanted things that way.

The amount of time, thought and public debate given to the matter may be instructive of the manner in which the business of the council is conducted.

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Posted in 2014 council elections, Croydon Council, Julie Belvir, Nathan Elvery, Tony Newman | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fisher’s Folly shows problems addressing council services

Our loyal reader’s been in touch again.

They’ve just received a letter from one of the council departments working in Fisher’s Folly, the country’s most costly borough offices, the £220 million glass palace on Cost A Mint Walk from which all our local “services” are dispensed.

“They don’t know their own postcode,” Inside Croydon’s loyal reader observes.

Council letterThe correct postcode for the council headquarters should be CR0 1EA.  Continue reading

Posted in Bernard Weatherill House, Croydon Council | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Fragile feelings are pub theatre’s latest acclaimed offering

The Spread Eagle Theatre’s summer season comes to a close this week with a production of an acclaimed, but also disturbing, new play, Fragile.

FragileThe Katharine Street pub theatre’s partner company, Birmingham’s Old Joint Stock Theatre, presents Geoff Thompson’s chilling new semi-autobiographical drama which charts a broken man’s journey through abuse, reconciliation and redemption. Nigel Francis plays “One” – abandoned and alone, he tells his story to a tape recorder in the hope of finding peace.

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Posted in Spread Eagle Theatre, Theatre | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

‘I feel ripped off after being towed away on a Sunday’

The “Do as we say, not as we do” attitude of some Croydon Council contractors has caused our loyal reader to submit another image demonstrating a somewhat casual attitude to the rules of the road.

Council parking enforcement in Crystal Palace in July 2014

Council parking enforcement in Crystal Palace in July 2014

“Maybe it is not illegal but it’s a bit galling for those getting parking tickets to see that Traffic Wardens can park on double lines with impunity on Church Road in Crystal Palace,” our loyal reader said.

Surprisingly, such hypocrisy is not uncommon in the way residents and road users are treated.

Even more surprisingly, we discover that Inside Croydon may have more than one loyal reader.

The following message has flooded into our email inbox… Continue reading

Posted in Croydon Council, Fairfield, Lansdowne Road RA, Parking, Upper Norwood | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The £3m South Croydon facelift with no obvious effect

From Monday, July 21, parts of South End will be closed for “essential improvements”, according to Croydon Council. The disruption will last for at least six weeks.

This follows previous lengthy road closures to Aberdeen Road and Southbridge Road as part of the “improvements” work.

This is what the street looks like after some of the “improvements” have been completed:

South End improvements

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Posted in Croham, Croydon Council, Environment, Parking, Restaurants, South Croydon Community Association, Waddon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Benn’s selection is another sign that the voters always lose

Jon BiggerCROYDON COMMENTARY: Next year’s General Election candidates in the borough’s southern-most constituency confirm the political consensus, says JON BIGGER

The Labour Party today selected the Hon Emily Sophia Wedgwood Benn to stand as their candidate in Croydon South at the May 2015  General Election. My friends in Ruskin House suggest that the vote in favour of Benn was so overwhelming that those backing the two other candidates, in total, would not number enough to constitute “a crowd”.

This selection tells us a lot about the party machines that run our country.

The first thing to note in this instance is that Labour don’t have a chance of winning in Croydon South. Continue reading

Posted in 2015 General Election, Chris Philp, Croydon South, Emily Benn, Jon Bigger, Richard Ottaway MP | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Wandle Park sows seeds for a community with flowers and veg

wandle park skyline

By Catherine Graham

Wandle Park Community Garden will be sowing the seeds of future success next weekend when the park’s annual garden party is staged on Saturday, July 27.

The garden party, in its second year since the revamped town centre park was re-opened, will feature acoustic music by Freedom of Expression, storytelling in a yurt, poetry from Poets Anonymous and a barbecue by the park café. Volunteers from the community garden will run seed-sowing activities for children, as well as face painting, hopefully allowing adults to spend time looking around the garden and learning more about this community-based project.

Since February, the volunteers,  led by Thomas Smith, the council’s volunteer and learning officer for the park, and supported by Croydon Transition Town and Friends of Wandle Park, have come together on Sunday mornings to work on nine raised beds on what used to be a simple patch of grass. Continue reading

Posted in Broad Green, Community associations, Education, Environment, Friends of Wandle Park, Gardening, Transition Town, Waddon, Wandle Park | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Upper Norwood Library offers some a-maze-ing activities

Public Library generic - Upper NorwoodLots of activities coming up for the school summer holidays at the Upper Norwood Library, and in the maze in Crystal Palace Park, all beginning this week with the Summer Reading Challenge.

Library users aged between five and 10 are challenged to read six books of their choice over the summer holidays.

“This year the theme is Mythical Maze and we have lots of fun things for you to do, as well as rewards for each book you complete, topped off with a certificate, medal and an invitation to our award-winners party in September.”

The Summer Reading Challenge is free to enter, and has started this week. Sign in when you next visit the library.

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Posted in Activities, Libraries, Upper Norwood, Upper Norwood Library Trust | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Cinema club gets in the swing with One Way Pendulum

Cinema Ruskin, the movie club with the eclectic programme of screenings all staged at a very reasonable £2 per person, continues this Saturday with the rarely seen 1964 British comedy, One Way Pendulum, featuring the late Eric Sykes, George Cole and Jonathan Miller.

Eric Sykes stars in Saturdays Cinema Ruskin main feature

Eric Sykes stars in this Saturday’s main feature at the Cinema Ruskin monthly screening

Cinema Ruskin meets once a month in Ruskin House, the large Georgian town house at the junction of Coombe Road and Park Lane (23 Coombe Road, Croydon CR0 1BD). The venue is well-served by local buses and a short walk from East Croydon and South Croydon stations.

The programmes may be subject to change, but they will start by 8pm, while the Ruskin House club bar is open from 7pm.

On the double-movie bill this Saturday is Northern Frontier – a 1935 Mounties film featuring Kermit Maynard. Continue reading

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