Newman rescues food festival with £20,000 of council cash

The next time Croydon’s Labour-run council belly aches about grant cuts from central Government – after all, another 150-or-so council staff are expected to be made redundant in the coming 12 months under Tory “austerity” measures – just remind them of the South End Food Festival.

Council leader Tony Newman: the "saviour" of the South End Food Festival, with £20,000 of tax-payers' money

Council leader Tony Newman: the “saviour” of the South End Food Festival, with £20,000 of tax-payers’ money

Tony Newman, Labour’s council leader, claimed yesterday that, “We absolutely came to the rescue”, of an event which had failed to find a commercial sponsor for 2015. And Croydon Council is coughing up 10 times as much cash as Tesco did when the supermarket sponsored the same event as recently as 2013.

Croydon Council Tax-payers will be paying £20,000 towards the cost of staging the one-day event on June 28, the benefits of which to the wider community are hard to establish, while businesses in and around South End continue to close.

This council’s largesse comes on top of another chunk of public cash, £148,000, which is being paid to the organisers of a one-day cycle racing event staged in the town centre next week, as was exclusively revealed by Inside Croydon. Austerity? Not at Croydon Town Hall when it comes to bread and circuses, it seems. Continue reading

Posted in Activities, Business, Croydon Central, Croydon Council, Pubs, Restaurants, South Croydon Community Association, Tony Newman, Waddon | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Mail’s sex and scandals story has Tory MP Barwell “arrested”

UPDATED 5,45pm: There’s one thing which Gavin Barwell, no longer the MP for the Whitgift Foundation, may do with the right-wing Daily Mail which he has never been able to do to this website: sue them.

This is what Croydon Central has as their MP...

Arresting: This is what Croydon Central has as their MP…

The Conservative MP for Croydon Central who was returned to parliament earlier this month with a massive 165-vote majority has been reported by Mail Online, the newspaper’s interweb operation, as having his Wikipedia profile altered before the election to make him more electable. So far, so what…

But the Mail‘s website reported: “More than a dozen MPs’ entries were edited from computers traced back to Parliament in the run-up to May 7, including details of Conservative Gavin Barwell’s arrest…”

Now either Inside Croydon has missed something very significant in gaffe-prone Gav’s career, or the nice people at Derry Street might soon be getting a letter on behalf of Barwell from Messrs Sue, Grabbit and Runne. Continue reading

Posted in 2015 General Election, Croydon Central, Gavin Barwell MP, Mario Creatura | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wolmar: Choose a Mayor for real Londoners and London

The selection of candidates to stand for election as the next Mayor of London is under way in earnest this week, at least within the Labour Party, where the various constituencies are each asked to nominate a candidate. Here, one of those seeking selection, CHRISTIAN WOLMAR, makes his case

Christian Wolmar: the tram network is something that should be enhanced, not diminished

Christian Wolmar: believes Croydon’s tram network is something that should be enhanced by the Mayor of London, not diminished

At the Croydon South Labour Party meeting tonight, you will be choosing two people to nominate as the party’s candidate for the London Mayoral election and I am asking you to put my name forward as one of them.

I am Christian Wolmar, a writer, broadcaster and commentator who has specialised in transport for the past 20 years. For the past three years I have been campaigning to be selected as Labour’s London Mayoral candidate. I decided to find out what the grassroots of the party wanted from a Labour Mayor and so I jumped on my bike and cycled out to CLPs all over London to do just that. I have spoken at nearly 100 meetings across the capital and have run what The Guardian called “the most extensive grassroots political campaign the capital has seen in recent times”.

Two-thirds of the Mayor’s budget is spent on transport, and my expertise in this field guarantees that I can maintain control over Transport for London and that it delivers improvements for all Londoners.

When I visited Croydon during the election campaign, I heard several concerns about the future of the Tramlink service in relation to the huge Westfield and Hammerson development. Tramlink has been amazingly successful in helping economic regeneration in Croydon but the present Transport for London plans may damage the service. The road plans, too, seem ill-thought out. Not enough has been done to ensure that the development does not result in gridlock in the town centre. Continue reading

Posted in 2016 London elections, Cycling, Housing, London-wide issues, Mayor of London, Tramlink, Transport | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UnConnected Croydon where cycle lanes become dead ends

CROYDON COMMENTARY: AUSTEN COOPER, of Croydon Cyclists, responds to our exclusive report last week that a single night’s bike racing in the town centre is receiving £148,000 of public cash

Space for cycling? Not after the "improvement" works on South End were completed

Space for cycling? Not after the “improvement” works on South End were completed

The £50 million spent by Connected Croydon on ripping up not-so-old paving blocks, established trees and shrubs that were about to flower, and simply replacing them with new ones (or in the case of the long dead tree outside Debenhams, a litter bin) represents a colossal waste of public money.

By removing cycle lanes and replacing them with car parking spaces, those behind this scheme have given a two-fingered salute to cycling and to the lofty principles contained in Croydon Council’s own “Public Realm Design Guide”.

The irony is that this sum – £50 million – is exactly the same as that mentioned in the bid by the council to make the borough a “mini-Holland”, under Boris’s scheme to make it easier for anyone and everyone to travel by bike. The Mayor and his Cycling Czar, Andrew Gilligan, rejected Croydon’s effort on grounds which included the fact that our council had a poor record of investment in cycle-friendly infrastructure. The Connected Croydon project continues to follow that ignoble path.

Continue reading

Posted in Activities, Connected Croydon, Croydon Council, Croydon Cycling Campaign, Cycling, Environment, London-wide issues, Sport | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

North Wood Morris Men are Croydon’s lords of the dance

It was just a typical Saturday in London’s most diverse borough. A Polish film at the David Lean Cinema, Japanese food at Yo! Sushi, and then on a stroll back, there on the street outside the Royal Standard (a gem of a pub hidden beneath the flyover), a couple of hours of traditional folk music and Morris dancers.

Yes. Morris dancers. In Croydon. In 2015.

caption

It was all tremendously joyful good fun

The incongruity, as thousands of vehicles sped past on the six-lane urban motorway above their heads during their performance, was not lost on the dancers of the North Wood Morris Men.

With bells tied around their trousers, they strutted their quaint stuff on Sheldon Street in the evening sunshine, performing clashing stick dances or waving around outsized hankies, usually with the evocative accordion playing, and probably the worst euphonium player you will ever have the pleasure of hearing. Certainly the only one you’ll see dressed as a court jester. It was a better schtick than many on Britain’s Got Talent.

And it was all tremendously joyful good fun.

Continue reading

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From Waterloo to VE Day exhibition, St Peter’s, May 25-29

St Peter's Exhibition Continue reading

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LibDem’s visit to Sutton is a case of Lamb to the incinerator

Norman Lamb, the full-time Paul O’Grady impersonator and some time MP for North Norfolk, is visiting Wallington today to recruit Tom Brake’s support and so ensure that he will have the backing of at least one-quarter of the Liberal Democrat’s Parliamentary group in his party’s forthcoming leadership contest.

Norman Lamb: visiting Wallington today. Will he swap notes with Tom Brake about incinerators?

Right turn? LibDem MP Norman Lamb is visiting Wallington today. Will he swap notes with Tom Brake about incinerators?

While sniffing the soon-to-be-more-polluted south London air, Lamb might want to ask Brake about the very generous £275,000 donation that a local church – which coincidentally also happens to be a regular LibDem campaign base – has received from Viridor, who just happen to be the contractors preferred by Sutton LibDems to operate an industrial scale waste incinerator at nearby Beddington.

And Lamb might want to remind Brake, and all the local councils, including Croydon, who are involved with the South London Waste Partnership which has a £1 billion contract with Viridor, about what happened with a similar incinerator scheme in Norfolk.

Continue reading

Posted in Business, Croydon Council, Environment, Health, Refuse collection, Shasha Khan, Stuart Collins, Sutton Council, Tom Brake MP, Waste incinerator | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

£48m Tramlink changes will cause chaos in central Croydon

The changes proposed by Transport for London and Croydon Council to the trams in the town centre, mainly for the benefit of the £1 billion Hammersfield supermall, won’t just split the Tramlink into two separate networks. The engineering changes could cause traffic chaos as never seen before, even in central Croydon at Christmas time, since they will also ensure more delays for pedestrians and car users – the very people that the £48 million transport spend is intended to benefit.

The effective and relatively efficient tram network is about to be disrupted to breaking point

The effective and relatively efficient tram network is about to be disrupted to breaking point

That’s the view of David Wickens, who was a senior member of the engineering department at Croydon Council when Tramlink was conceived and introduced.

Wickens has contacted Inside Croydon this week in response to our report about the outcome of the TfL “consultation” (aka imposition of a pre-ordained scheme).

“I have previously commented that I had doubts about the ability of trams to make the tight left turn out of Lansdowne Road into Wellesley Road,” Wickens said.

“The plans show this being achieved by making Lansdowne Road one-way west and using the offside for trams, thus giving a gentler turn. This creates a problem for cars and road traffic using Lansdowne Road, Walpole Road etc, should they wish to head north or east. Continue reading

Posted in "Hammersfield", Addiscombe, Business, Commuting, Croydon Council, East Croydon, Environment, Planning, Tramlink, Transport, West Croydon, Whitgift Centre | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Night of the short knives as Newman sacks chief whip Ryan

WALTER CRONXITE, our man in the public gallery with a Twix bar and a copy of the Racing Post, offers the inside information on what passes for a reshuffle at the Town Hall

It was the sort of “hit” that would have made Tony Soprano proud.

"Look out, Pat! He's behind you!"

“Look out, Pat! He’s behind you!” What is Tony Newman, left, holding in his left hand?

The news was distributed just as the majority of Labour’s 40 councillors were sitting down for the out-going Mayor’s farewell charity dinner last Friday. The official email from the council leader’s office dropped into the cabinet members’ inboxes on their official Blackberries, and included all the details of a reshuffle of the key cabinet jobs at Croydon Town Hall.

As reshuffles go, it was quite modest. The principal casualty, left “sleeping with the fishes”, as Soprano might have put it, is veteran Pat Ryan, who has been sacked as Labour’s chief whip on the council.

It is a bitter blow to the septugenarian Upper Norwood councillor, despite his fierce loyalty to the Croydon Labour leader, Tony Newman.

And it demonstrates that Newman is prepared to abandon any sentimentality when it comes to dispensing with his patronage in the next three years of this Labour council.

Ryan is replaced as chief whip by Oliver Lewis, a rising star of the Labour group who has the advantage over Ryan of being around 50 years younger. After just one year as a councillor for New Addington, Lewis is moved from his deputy role in culture and leisure where he is replaced in that brief by another of Newman’s new boys, Stephen Mann. Continue reading

Posted in Andrew Pelling, Council Tax, Croydon Council, Hamida Ali, Humayun Kabir, Manju Shahul Hameed, Oliver Lewis, Pat Ryan, Patricia Hay-Justice, Sherwan Chowdhury, Simon Hall, Stephen Mann, Tony Newman, Upper Norwood, Waddon, Wayne Lawlor | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Police called in as £18,000 vanishes from Visitor Centre

Scotland Yard’s finest have been called in to investigate a theft of nearly £20,000 from the Croydon Visitor Centre in the days immediately after its closure.

The now empty Croydon Visitor Centre: why was so much cash left on the premises?

The now empty Croydon Visitor Centre: why was so much cash left on the premises?

The Croydon Visitor Centre, alongside East Croydon Station, was operated by Croydon BID – the business improvement district organisation formed by some of the bigger, richer companies based around the town centre.

As was first revealed by Inside Croydon, the CVC closed on May 1, to make way for the Boxpark development on the Ruskin Square site.

According to sources familiar with the situation, the theft saw around £18,000 in cash vanish from the outlet overnight. A report to the latest BID board meeting suggested that there were few, if any, signs of a break-in. And nor was any suspect(s) caught on CCTV.  The incident caused what has been described as a “heated debate” at Croydon BID’s most recent board meeting, since the Visitor Centre was only insured for losses of up to £1,500.

Continue reading

Posted in "Hammersfield", Addiscombe, Boxpark, Business, Croydon BID, Fairfield, Policing, Whitgift Centre | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Is it jobs for the boys as Shawcross stands down at City Hall?

Amid all the fuss this time last week about the withdrawal from the Labour leadership contest of the only south London candidate, Chuka Umunna, the news of another leading figure from the same party standing down from the political fray got almost overlooked.

Val Shawcross: the best Labour leader Croydon never (really) had?

Val Shawcross: the best Labour leader Croydon never (really) had?

Valerie Shawcross is probably the best Labour council leader that Croydon never (really) had.

The Norwood resident was Croydon Council leader, but only for a couple of years – not enough time to make a lasting impact – before she was elected in 2000 in the inaugural City Hall elections as the Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark. Last week, she announced that she would not be seeking a further term at the 2016 London elections.

Her decision drew compliments from politicians from across London and all political parties. “Val Shawcross has been a byword for integrity, decency and competence for many years,” was the view expressed by Dame Tessa Jowell.

But Shawcross, who was a Croydon Councillor for six years in the 1990s, never managed to secure herself the next step up the political ladder, to become an MP. In 2012, she lost very narrowly to Steve Reed OBE when Labour selected its candidate for ultra-safe Croydon North; when Croydon Central selected from a women-only short-list the following summer, Shawcross took no part.

And now, after 16 years at City Hall, Shawcross has decided she will not be standing for election for a fifth time – prompting immediate speculation that a leading contender to become her replacement might be one of the closest colleagues of her nemesis Reed. Continue reading

Posted in 2012 by-election, 2016 London elections, Andrew Pelling, Croydon North, Housing, Lambeth Council, London Assembly, Matthew Bennett, Steve O'Connell, Steve Reed MP, Val Shawcross | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Labour council spends £148,000 for one night of cycle racing

Austerity? Government grant cuts? Front-line council jobs under threat? On yer bike!

Action from the pro cycle tour event last year

Action from the pro cycle tour event last year. Coming to Croydon town centre next month

Here in Croydon, under our flip-flopping Labour-lite council, we are spending nearly £150,000 of public cash for a couple of hours of sport next month.

Croydon town centre is staging a one-night cycling criterium event on Tuesday, June 2, with men and women pro cyclists racing around a tight, 1-kilometre road circuit which takes in North End, the High Street and Surrey Street (if it rains, the action could get very bloody). Roads will be closed through the afternoon, the tram network curtailed, and the council is hoping that thousands of spectators will turn-out to line the route for a glimpse of the star riders in action. Continue reading

Posted in "Hammersfield", 2012 Olympics, Activities, Boris Johnson, Business, Connected Croydon, Croydon Council, Cycling, Cycling, East Croydon, Environment, Fairfield, Mayor of London, Nathan Elvery, Skanska, Sport, Tony Newman, Tramlink, Whitgift Centre, Whitgift Foundation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Summer Madness sees Lean times return to arthouse cinema

It is hardly summer madness for the David Lean Cinema to go back in time.

Director David Lean with his star, Katharine Hepburn, on location for Summer Madness in Venice in 1955

Director David Lean with his star, Katherine Hepburn, on location for Summer Madness in Venice in 1954

But that’s exactly what the Clocktower’s arthouse cinema will be doing in June, with a screening of the eponymous Oscar-winning director’s Summer Madness, and doing so with the sort of technology which Lean himself would have recognised, and probably approved – a 35mm projector.

Summer Madness is the first Lean film to be shown since the Save the David Lean Cinema Campaign got the venue re-opened last year. The sorry tale of how the then Tory-run council man-handled and mishandled the cinema’s equipment and fittings when the closed it down has been recounted in the past.

Viewing films using 35mm projectors may be a thrill for some of the regular cineastes who attend the David Lean Cinema, and for campaign chairman Adrian Winchester, he believes that it is something of which the director of Lawrence and Zhivago would have approved: “It’s impossible to be sure that Lean would have welcomed digital projection of his films,” Winchester said. Continue reading

Posted in Activities, Art, Cinema, David Lean Cinema Campaign, Fairfield Halls | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Our Kylie’s Gettin’ Wed at the Spread Eagle Theatre, May 29-30

Our Kylie's getting wedMay 28-30 at the Spread Eagle Theatre.

Bookings open here. Continue reading

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Barnado’s recruiting for new community hub at The Triangle

A neighbourhood hub is being launched by Barnardo’s in Crystal Palace this summer – and the children’s charity wants local people to get behind it.

Triangle manager Rajinder Nagra: the soft play area will be at the heart of the new centre

Triangle manager Rajinder Nagra: the soft play area will be at the heart of the new centre

The Triangle will feature a four-storey indoor soft play area, an outdoor playground, a café with direct access from Westow Park and a Barnardo’s shop stocked with baby clothes, toys and more.

It will also have dedicated meeting and conference rooms that will be available for hire by the community, businesses and professional groups, with any charitable income raised going towards Barnardo’s work with the most vulnerable children and young people in the area.

The charity hopes to employ local people at the Coxwell Road site and is looking for a team manager, service administrator and play leader along with a team of volunteers who can help build it up into a thriving local resource. Continue reading

Posted in Business, Charity, Education, South Norwood, Upper Norwood | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tour de Penge 2015, to Greenwich and back, June 7

Tour de Penge Continue reading

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MP Barwell quits Whitgift. Did he jump or was he pushed?

More than four years after Inside Croydon started an often lonely campaign for Gavin Barwell, the MP for Croydon Central, to quit his position as a governor of the Whitgift Foundation because of potential conflicts of interest with his public office, he has finally done the decent thing.

Gavin Barwell: has he done the decent thing? Or been told to do so?

Gavin Barwell: has he done the decent thing? Or been told to do so?

Barwell’s links with the borough’s biggest land-owners looked far too close, as the Foundation sought to impose a £1 billion commercial redevelopment scheme, with Westfield and Hammerson, on a large chunk of the Tory MP’s constituency, its residents and businesses.

The potential conflicts of interest were obvious and many-fold, but Barwell – private school- and Oxbridge-educated – always denied that any existed at all. And this despite his own gleeful boast when the deal was announced that he’d done much work “behind the scenes” to secure it.

But in a poll on this website, 65 per cent of respondents agreed that he should resign from the Foundation. That’s the sort of overwhelming majority which Barwell, recently returned as the MP for Croydon Central, can only dream about. He was  re-elected with the votes of a mere 29 per cent of his constituents.

Yesterday Barwell announced that he would be standing down as a governor of the Foundation and as the chairman of governors of his old school, £15,000-a-year fee-paying Trinity. Continue reading

Posted in Alisa Flemming, Boris Johnson, Croydon Central, Gavin Barwell MP, Mayor of London, Old Palace, Property, Schools, Toni Letts, Tony Newman, Trinity School, Whitgift Foundation, Whitgift School | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Stop the Incinerator fund-raising Quiz Night, June 8

Incinerator fundraiser Continue reading

Posted in Activities, Addiscombe, Community associations, Croydon Greens, Environment, Esther Sutton, Pubs, Refuse collection, Shasha Khan, Waste incinerator | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

TfL’s £48m loop schemes could break the link in Tramlink

Transport for London seems determined to double the cost of new Tramlink loops in the centre of Croydon – to around £48 million of public cash – and all at the behest of local council planners who want to reduce the number of trams heading across Wellesley Road.

Are Croydon Council and TfL plotting together for a scheme which will break apart the Tramlink link across Croydon?

Are Croydon Council and TfL plotting together for a scheme which will break apart the Tramlink link across Croydon?

That’s according to a local expert, who believes that the plans – which were subject to a public consultation last autumn – will split the Tramlink network in two, and all to help more cars drive into the car parks of the proposed £1 billion Hammersfield super-mall.

Shopping centre developers Hammerson and Westfield are contributing, between them, just £15 million to the changes in the tram network, which appear to be instigated mainly at their insistence.

Continue reading

Posted in "Hammersfield", Addiscombe, Boris Johnson, Business, Centrale, Commuting, Croydon Council, East Croydon, Environment, Fairfield, London-wide issues, Mayor of London, Parking, Planning, Tramlink, Transport, Whitgift Centre | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Save the David Lean Campaign takes on company status

One year after the Save the David Lean Cinema Campaign achieved its immediate goal of re-opening the arthouse cinema in the Clocktower, it has now formed itself into a Community Interest Company, or CIC.

Croydon's David Lean Cinema, a residents' campaign reversed council, and is moving towards running the facility full-time

The David Lean Cinema: a residents’ campaign got it re-opened and is moving towards running the facility full-time

The move will enable the group of cinema enthusiasts and residents to take on staff and move ever-closer to having the cinema operate on a full-time basis.

It is a notable step forward for the campaign group, which was formed following an article on Inside Croydon in 2011 when the previous, Tory-run council decided to close the cinema, despite widespread protests from hundreds of Council Tax-payers and the likes of Conservative peer Julian Fellowes and Croydon resident Ronnie Corbett.

After three years of campaigning and organising, the cinema campaigners were allowed access to the venue again in April last year, initially staging screenings once a week, something which they have successfully expanded upon since. Continue reading

Posted in Activities, Art, Cinema, Community associations, Croydon Council, David Lean Cinema Campaign | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment