Britain’s biggest ever survey wants your views on covid crisis

The first and largest survey of its kind in Britain to document the impact of covid-19 and the lockdowns on the lives of 17,000 ethnic and religious minority people wants your input – but you need to participate soon, as the deadline for contributions is June 30.

The Evidence for Equality National Survey – or EVENS – sets out to influence government policy and local and national campaigns for racial justice by generating robust evidence on a comprehensive range of issues facing black and ethnic minority and religious minority groups during the pandemic.

Topics covered in the survey include employment, finance, education, economic wellbeing, health, housing, policing, community, identity and experiences of discrimination and racism.

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Flood warning: after six years, Riddlesdown works set to start

Yesterday’s heavy rain – with a month’s rainfall in 24 hours – exposed again flooding issues around the borough

More than a month’s average rainfall was deposited on Croydon and parts of southern England yesterday, exposing once more the areas of the borough more prone to flooding, and in many cases also illustrating the failures of council contractors’ to carrying out routine unblocking of flood drains.

While much work on major roads falls under the responsibility of Transport for London, on routes which are the borough council’s responsibility, that comes under the control of Steve Iles, who was awarded an MBE for all the hard work of his staff and department during the extensive Croydon floods seven years ago. Continue reading

Posted in Croydon Council, Helen Redfern, Kenley, Purley Oaks and Riddlesdown, Steve Iles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Government inspector’s concerns over BxB sweetheart deal

CROYDON IN CRISIS: Jenrick’s improvement board raises serious questions over whether the quick sale of the council’s failed development company could end up costing tax-payers many millions of pounds, while its latest report criticises borough officials’ ‘lack of self-awareness’.

Going cheap: the sale of Brick by Brick is  unlikely to end the council’s losses on the failed project

The government-appointed chair of the improvement panel that is overseeing Croydon’s battle with bankruptcy has suggested that the council’s choice of a single preferred bidder to buy loss-making development firm Brick by Brick could cost tax-payers millions.

Tony McArdle, who last weekend was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to local government, has been checking Croydon’s recovery plans for the past six months. At the end of April, he submitted his second progress report to Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Last night, MHCLG published McArdle’s report, and Jenrick’s response to it, in which the Tory minister warned that it is “essential” that “the affairs surrounding key assets and investment vehicles… are unravelled”. Continue reading

Posted in Adult Social Care, Brick by Brick, Chris Buss, Croydon Council, Hamida Ali, Improvement Board, Jo Negrini, Katherine Kerswell, Tony McArdle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Parents of fire-bomb attacker feared terror-style ‘mass killing’

EXCLUSIVE: Owner of business at the centre of terrifying petrol bomb assault claims police failed to act despite repeated threats.

Terror attack: a business premises on Beddington Farm Road was turned into a crime scene on Wednesday morning

The man arrested by an armed police operation after a fire-bomb attack against business premises on Beddington Farmlands Road on Wednesday morning has been named as John Harris.

Sources present at the incident claim that the initial 999 call to emergency services was made that morning by the man’s own parents, out of fear that Harris was about to commit a terrorist-style “mass killing”.

Harris, 32, appeared at Croydon Magistrates Court yesterday. He has been charged with arson with intent to endanger life, and possession of an offensive weapon.

He was remanded in custody and will next appear at Croydon Crown Court on Wednesday July 14.

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Covid pop-up centres to open for ‘final lap’ of vaccinations

More than 320,000 vaccines have already been administered in Croydon

Croydon’s NHS is encouraging everyone in the borough to come forward for their life-saving covid vaccinations and join more than 320,000 residents who have already had the jab.

The concerted drive for mass vaccination will see walk-in clinics established to make it easier for people to get their vaccination, where no booking is required. Continue reading

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Claim £10,000 green energy grant with Croydon Healthy Homes

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#Macarnage: Planning officer’s ‘leaving present’ to Coulsdon

EXCLUSIVE: The revolving door between the council planning department and private developers and architects is exposed over a scheme for 39 flats in Coulsdon. By STEVEN DOWNES

Macarnage: The huge block proposed for a quiet residential street was given pre-app approval by the council

Before Jan Slominski was hired as a senior planning adviser for the architects working on the latest proposal for a monstrous block of flats in Coulsdon, he had been Croydon Council’s case officer on the very same project, providing crucial official planning advice to the developers on their pre-application submission.

Inside Croydon has discovered correspondence from the council which admits that it was Slominski himself who had provided developers Macar with generally approving comments for their crass seven-storey megablock in a residential street in Coulsdon. Continue reading

Posted in Business, Coulsdon, Coulsdon East, Croydon Council, East Coulsdon Residents' Association, Heather Cheesbrough, Planning | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sanderstead mum’s Channel swim closes in on bionic target

An amputee from Sanderstead has added “Channel swimmer” to her list of accomplishments after a 15-hour relay effort at the weekend gave the latest cash boost to her fund-raising campaign to pay for a bionic hand.

Delighted: Nicola Wilding after completing her last effort towards her Channel swim this week

Nicola Wilding, 44, was part of a five-person team which set off from Folkestone on their 21-mile-plus journey in the pitch black at 1.10am on Monday as part of the #NickyNeedsAHand campaign.

Each member of the “Dover Darlings” team was scheduled to swim three one-hour spells from their boat, Masterpiece. – which cast off at such an unfriendly hour in order to make the best of the treacherous tides in the English Channel.

And 14hr 53min and 22sec later, they arrived safely in France.

“I’m not sure how many female one-armed swimmers have attempted the crossing, but I’ll say I’m the first from Sanderstead aged 44,” Wilding said. Continue reading

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No casualties as 8 fire engines deal with Sydenham Road blaze

The cause of the fire in a Sydenham Road flat is now under investigation

An investigation is underway into the cause of a fire at a flat on Sydenham Road, Croydon, last night that needed eight fire engines and around 60 firefighters to deal with it.

No one has been reported hurt, but most of the first floor and the roof of a terraced house converted into flats was damaged by fire. One person left the building before the Brigade arrived. Continue reading

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House sale prices in London suffer biggest fall for a decade

Hopes that some quick sales of Brick by Brick’s long-overdue and hugely overpriced homes might help to ease Croydon Council’s financial woes took a knock yesterday with publication of a report that showed that London’s “gravity-defying” house price rises had suffered a rare set-back.

Hard sell: falling London house prices could make Brick by Brick’s overpriced properties more difficult to shift

The London property market suffered its biggest monthly fall in a decade in April.

The housing market in London and the south-east had proved itself to be remarkably resilient, even to the worst impact of the global economic downturn in 2008 and even shrugging off Brexit fears. London estate agents and property developers – with the exception of council-owned loss-making Brick by Brick – had even been in the money in a mini-boom last year that followed the end of the first pandemic lockdown.

The average price of a London home in March 2021 even touched half a million pounds for the first time, but in April that estimate fell by 2.01 per cent, to £491,687, wiping around £10,000 off its value. Continue reading

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Wilfried Zaha Academy summer camp, Purley, Jul 26-Aug 27

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Men’s Mental Health Walk and Talk group, Beddington Park

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Whyteleafe league exit raises doubts over property investors

The Steven Gerrard Football Academy has tried to distance itself and the eponymous former Liverpool and England captain from any mention in the public outrage caused by two non-league football clubs being forced to quit their home grounds after they were bought by a property company based in Singapore.

Club man: Steven Gerrard steered Rangers to the Scottish title this year. Whyteleafe FC’s future, meanwhile, is far less certain

One of the now-homeless clubs is Whyteleafe FC, who on Monday night issued a strongly worded statement announcing their withdrawal from the Isthmian League because they could not negotiate a new lease on their Church Road ground with new owners, Irama Sport.

Irama Sport have done much in the past to publicise a close association with another giant of Liverpool FC, Ian Rush.

Irama Sport’s company logo says it is “powered by Ian Rush”.

But as they encountered fans’ anger over the threat to the existence of two non-league clubs, Irama were describing the former Wales international striker as “a real estate investor and partner with Irama in all our football grounds…”, adding that the former player should not be held responsible for any of Irama’s acts.

“Irama own these football grounds and have no affiliation to the clubs and teams using the grounds,” they said. Continue reading

Posted in Football, Kenley, Outside Croydon, Property, Sport, Surrey, Tandridge District Council, Whyteleafe FC | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tories accused of ‘giving London a kicking’ over TfL funding

With the government exploiting difficulties arising over covid-19 to turn the financial screw on Transport for London, a Labour Assembly Member has accused the Tories of “giving London a kicking”.

London Assembly Members say that Londoners should have a say over their transport networks

Elly Baker AM’s report, TfL Funding Settlement – Another short-term sticking plaster, says Londoners must be given a say over major changes to their buses, Tube, trains and trams.

And Baker has called on the Department for Transport (DfT) to hold a full public consultation before bringing in any further changes affecting the capital’s transport network.

When the first covid-19 lockdown hit last March, virtually all TfL’s income from fares ceased for almost four months. Fares revenue has not fully recovered even now, while the organisation’s costs have continued at pre-pandemic levels.

The government stepped in, imposing commissioners on the TfL board and a series of demands including a fares hike, an increase in the congestion charge, an increase in Council Tax to maintain free travel for under-18s and over-60s, and a freeze on frontline workers’ pay. Continue reading

Posted in Boris Johnson, Commuting, Elly Baker, London Assembly, London-wide issues, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, TfL, Transport | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Trinity sixth-former lands role in Netflix’s latest teen series

Will Hardy, a sixth-former at Trinity School, has been cast in Heartstopper, an adaptation of Alice Oseman’s graphic novels which is to be screened by Netflix.

Hardy was selected after an open audition in which 10,000 young actors took part, according to a report on the Shirley private school’s website. Continue reading

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Croydon business badly damaged in alleged fire-bomb attack

The London Fire Brigade and an estimated 60 police were quickly on the scene after this morning’s alleged fire-bombing on a business at Beddington Farm Road

NOON UPDATE: At least three fire engines and an estimated 60 police, including some armed response officers, were called out just after 8.30am today after an alleged fire-bombing attack on a business close to Ikea off the Purley Way.

A 32-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of threatening behaviour and causing criminal damage.

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Accelerate your accounting with Croydon-based firm MyT


Now live on Seedrs

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Refugee Week cricket festival, Norbury Park, Jun 20

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Rashford-backed charity delivered 1m meals in Croydon in 2020

FareShare, the country’s biggest charity fighting hunger and food waste, redistributed enough food in Croydon in the past year for almost 1million meals.

Food delivery: Marcus Rashford has been backing FairShare’s work

The charity, which has the backing of England footballer Marcus Rashford, says that the extent of its work “show the devastating impact the pandemic has had on communities and families in Croydon”.

FareShare’s annual statistics confirm that between April 2020 and April 2021, it redistributed 388tons of food to people at risk of hunger in Croydon.

That’s the equivalent of 924,654 meals.

Across the UK, FareShare redistributed more than 132million meals, or four meals every second of every day.

FareShare takes delivery of surplus good-to-eat food which is unsold or unwanted by the food industry, sorts it in one of its 30 regional warehouses and passes it on to a network of nearly 11,000 charities and charity groups. Continue reading

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Business leader issues plea to government for financial help

The government needs to provide greater support for those firms worst-hit by the extension of the covid-19 lockdown or risk losing Croydon’s “beating heart”, according to the head of the largest business group in the borough.

Barely coping: Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced to admit a delay in easing of lockdown

Matthew Sims is the chair of Croydon BID, the business “improvement” district, which represents nearly 600 commercial concerns in and around the town centre.

With Croydon’s shopping centres already on their knees, thanks to a decade-long development blight caused by Westfield, Sims was quick yesterday to speak up for his organisation’s members after the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced that the move to ease lockdown restrictions on June 21 was now being delayed by at least a month because of the “exponential” increase in positive covid cases from the Delta, or Indian, variant. Continue reading

Posted in "Hammersfield", Business, Croydon BID, Health, Whitgift Centre | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ali’s latest gaffe attracts ridicule over landlord licensing

CROYDON IN CRISIS: Council leader reacts with dismay at loss of £20m in licence fees, as Labour councillors question lack of support from their new chief executive. By STEVEN DOWNES

Under pressure: Hamida Ali

Hamida Ali, the council leader, opened herself up again to widespread ridicule over the weekend when she responded to the news that the government had rejected her Labour-controlled authority’s application to extend its landlord licensing scheme when she said, “We’ll do everything in our power to protect residents.”

Many respondents to Ali’s tweet mentioned two words: “Regina” and “Road”, where tenants in dozens of council flats with water leaks, black mould and multiple other shortcomings had their complaints ignored, in some cases for four years.

Inside Croydon broke the news on Friday of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s decision to end Croydon’s controversial landlord licensing scheme, a pet project of Ali’s erstwhile close colleague, Alison Butler, when she was the council’s cabinet member for housing. Continue reading

Posted in Hamida Ali, Housing, Katherine Kerswell, Landlord licensing, Tony Newman | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Price match nursery offer for under-2s from The Butterfly Patch


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Paul Sowan: a man with Croydon history at his heart

BERNARD WINCHESTER pays tribute to a learned and much-admired teacher and stalwart of the Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society

Paul Sowan 1940-2021

It has been said that Paul Sowan was an unworldly man, and in a sense he was, as the commonplace passions for family, fame, status and money passed him by.

Paul Wenning Sowan, who has died aged 81, was for more than half a century one of the great characters of Croydon.

The force which dominated Paul’s life was his thirst for knowledge, a thirst which also drove him to impart what he learned to others.

He was known to thousands in the borough and beyond for his work in schools and learned societies, as the many fond tributes paid to him on social media by former pupils attest.

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Start It Right launch party, Old Town Youth Club, Jul 4

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Use your little corner of Planet Earth to make a big difference

What was once a patch of bare earth in an alleyway behind David Morgan’s home is now a bee-friendly piece of summer colour

In his small patch of south London, DAVID MORGAN has been doing his bit in the battle to reduce the impact of climate change, and here he offers suggestions about how you can help, too

“Every plant counts and too many places where plants might flourish and flower have been lost.”

That sentence uttered by one of the Royal Horticultural Society team at Wisley stuck in my mind. I have only got a small garden, but in the last few years I have tried to make sure that I made every plant count. Continue reading

Posted in Croydon parks, David Morgan, Environment, Gardening, Wildlife | Tagged , , | 2 Comments