‘I’m not influential’ says influential Labour figure

Andrew Fisher, the Croydon resident who is policy adviser to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, has said that his ranking as the ninth most influential figure on the left is “obviously nonsense”.

Thumbs up: Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are influenced by Andrew Fisher

Thumbs up: Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are influenced by Andrew Fisher

But as Corbyn’s speech to the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool this afternoon demonstrated, Fisher’s protestations may be overly modest.

Corbyn, re-elected Labour leader with a 61 per cent vote of members, affiliates and supporters, included in his speech a name check for Alison Butler, the deputy leader of Croydon Labour, and mentioned favourably the council’s recently formed house-building company.

There were at least four standing ovations in the hall for the Labour leader, as Corbyn spoke of “a fairer Britain in a peaceful world” in his hour-long key-note speech.

And some of the policy points raised in Corbyn’s speech – including building 500,000 council houses, re-nationalising the railways – appeared to have the hallmarks of Fisher’s… ahem… influence. Continue reading

Posted in Alison Butler, Andrew Fisher, Brick by Brick, Croydon Council, Housing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Developer offers new homes in Addiscombe on 5% deposit

House builders at Penhurst Square, off Addiscombe’s Grant Road, have decided to offer their new homes on a 5 per cent deposit, as they try to push through the sales using public subsidies of up to £3,000 through a government scheme.

Get a public subsidy to buy new homes in Penhurst Square

Get a public subsidy to buy a new home in Penhurst Square

Developers Bellway have built 70 homes on a site which is handy for the tram network and close to Addiscombe Railway Park, the properties ranging from one-bed flats priced at more than a quarter of a million pounds, to four-bedroom terraced houses which they are trying to market at £525,000.

The Tory Government’s Help to Buy in London scheme can only be used on a property worth £450,000 or less, which makes some of the Penhurst Square homes ineligible already. Recent research reckons that the property market is continuing to grow at such a rate that by March next year the average price of houses will be too expensive to qualify for the scheme in nearly half the country. London will be particularly badly hit.

Which may explain why Bellway have looked to provide an incentivised scheme for their Croydon development.

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Posted in Addiscombe, Ashburton, Housing, London-wide issues, Property | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Ex-Palace striker Johnson strolls to launch of Active Eagles

Former Crystal Palace striker Andrew Johnson, always known for his ability to out-pace defenders, last week helped to launch a scheme which deliberately encourages footballers to stroll their way into the penalty box.

Former Palace stroker Andy Johnson at last week's Active Eagles launch

Former Palace stroker Andy Johnson (centre, in black) at last week’s Active Eagles launch

Johnson was the star turn at the launch of the CPFC Foundation’s over-40s Active Eagles programme.

Funded by the Mayor of London, the scheme aims at getting older residents in Croydon, Sutton and Bromley to be more active – including through playing  walking football. Continue reading

Posted in Age UK Croydon, Crystal Palace FC, Football, Health, Louisa Woodley, Sport | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Viridor incinerator doomed to be our Splott on the landscape

The waste incinerator at Splott, outside Cardiff, which is causing operators Viridor so many problems

The waste incinerator at Splott, outside Cardiff, which is causing operators Viridor so many problems

“PFI is distorting the decision-making process because big incinerator plants are more attractive to investors than small-scale recycling projects.”

That was Tom Brake, speaking in 2001, when he was the LibDems’ environment spokesman. Then, the Carshalton and Wallington MP described government policy of the time as likely to reduce recycling and encourage incineration, which he said was “clearly a serious problem”. He also said that toxic ash from incinerators had “turned up in some weird and wonderful places”. So prescient.

Fifteen years later, and these days Brake is an ardent advocate of incinerators. He has never explained his change of mind, though it may be that a generous £275,000 “gift” from incinerator operators Viridor to a church in Wallington where he and his local party activists regularly held meetings was persuasive. Continue reading

Posted in 2014 council elections, 2018 council elections, Croydon Council, Environment, Refuse collection, Stuart Collins, Tom Brake MP, Tony Newman, Waste incinerator | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Croydon NHS in urgent need of injection of new funding

JAMES KILLDARE, our health correspondent, reports on a worrying report, much of it due to be discussed in secret at the Town Hall tonight, where wide-ranging cuts are expected to be suggested

You might do well to give a miss to tonight’s coverage on the interweb of the council’s health scrutiny committee  – it could see your blood pressure rising to dangerous levels.

nhs-nurse-genericCouncillors will try to quiz GPs and health managers who are responsible for Croydon’s NHS commissioning, in particular about how much healthcare in the borough is about to undergo some serious surgery.

The most grizzly bits will be revealed only in private, with our local councillors sworn to secrecy about the plans for healthcare reductions.

If the cuts to be proposed go ahead, then NHS services in this part of London will probably need treatment in intensive care, with the closure of one of the area’s hospitals again under serious consideration.

Continue reading

Posted in Croydon CCG, Croydon Council, Croydon NHS Trust, Health, Healthwatch Croydon, Mayday Hospital, St Helier Hospital | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

New pub donates old pictures to locals at Stanley Halls

The Antic Pub Co, which recently acquired the William Stanley pub in South Norwood from Wetherspoons, has been as good as its word, donating a wide collection of old photos and pictures which used to adorn the wall of the boozer to Stanley Halls.

Pictures from the former Wetherspoons on South Norwood High Street await hanging at Stanley Halls

Pictures from the former Wetherspoons on South Norwood High Street await hanging at Stanley Halls

Locals, including the influential South Norwood Tourist Board, have welcomed the generous move, which was chivvied along by regular on-site interventions from Croydon councillor Karen Jewitt.

The re-designed and re-decorated pub, to be called the Shelverdine Goathouse, is due to open this Thursday, September 29.

The Goathouse will be rapidly expanding pubco Antic’s 45th pub to open in London, with several others still “fermenting”, according to the company’s website.

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Posted in Karen Jewitt, Norbury, Pubs, South Norwood, South Norwood Tourist Board, Stanley Halls | Leave a comment

Purley’s derby day delight as MidWives fail to deliver

It took a last-minute try to win the game for Purley John Fisher against Old Mid-Whitgiftians last Saturday

It took a last-minute try to win a tightly fought game for Purley John Fisher against Old Mid-Whitgiftians in Surrey 1 last Saturday

RUGBY ROUND-UP: Local derbies galore, a first league win for one club in two years, and a tough first few games have characterised the opening month of the season

Purley John Fisher claimed an important win on Saturday, with a hard-fought 20-17 victory over Old Mid-Whitgiftians at Parsons Pightle in Old Coulsdon.

Yet despite their unbeaten start to the season so far, with two wins and a draw, PJF remain just one place off the bottom of the Surrey 1 table, as they have carried over penalty points from last season when they were sanctioned for not having the required number of specialist front-row forwards.

“The club can firmly draw a line under last season’s chapter and now we have our destiny firmly in our own hands,” a spokesman said, with a strong sense of relief.

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Posted in Croydon RFC, Old Mid-Whitgiftians RFC, Old Walcountians, Old Whitgiftians, Purley-John Fisher, Rugby Union, Sport, Streatham-Croydon RFC, Warlingham RFC | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sing Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, St Matthew’s, Nov 12

bach-nov-12 Continue reading

Posted in Art, Croydon Bach Choir, Music | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Boundary Commission rejects Tory proposal for 60 councillors

WALTER CRONXITE reports on initial findings from an independent local boundary review which suggest that Croydon’s councillors are overworked

Croydon's 24 wards are due for an overhaul

Croydon has 24 wards at present. The Boundary Commission is looking to change that

Croydon Conservatives’ politically inspired proposals to the Boundary Commissioners to get one over the Labour-run council by suggesting a reduction in the number of councillors from 70 to 60 has been firmly rejected.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England has decided that, with Croydon’s population booming, even with 70 councillors, a typical ward with three councillors will have 12,084 electors by 2022. That’s half the size of some parliamentary constituencies.

Croydon Tories’ proposals just did not add up for the Commissioners.

“The Commission decided that the evidence for retaining 70 councillors provided a more persuasive analysis of the way the council conducts its business and its plans for the next few years,” a spokesman for the Commission told Inside Croydon.

“The Commission was persuaded that the role of councillors, particularly their workload in the community, is likely to increase at ward level over the coming years.”

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Posted in 2014 council elections, 2018 council elections, Croydon Council, Fairfield, Heathfield, Jo Negrini, Sanderstead, Selsdon & Ballards, Tony Newman | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Southern Failways: Passengers plan mass demo at Victoria

Our transport correspondent, JEREMY CLACKSON, reports on the latest exhibition of discontent from angry commuters

Commuters are planning possibly the biggest demonstration yet against Southern Rail’s poor service and the Tory government’s role in undermining the railway network, to be held at Victoria Station later this week.

southern-railKitted out in judges’ wigs, robber outfits and carrying swag bags, members of the Association of British Commuters and the campaign group Bring Back British Rail will be calling for greater transparency over the agreements and payments between DafT – the Department for Transport – and Govia Thameslink, or GTR, the operator which is in charge of Southern and Thameslink’s services.

“The Southern Rail crisis cannot be resolved until we achieve the clarity that can only be found in essential documents currently redacted or undisclosed by the DfT,” said one of the organisers of the platform demo, due to start at 6pm on Thursday.

“They have so far failed to reveal these documents, either to lawyers, the public or to the parliamentary select committee for Transport itself.” Continue reading

Posted in Chris Philp MP, Commuting, Croydon South, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, TfL, Transport | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Newman breaks manifesto promise over Boxpark festival

Tony Newman’s Labour council has broken one of its 2014 manifesto commitments, after diverting £160,000 of public money from its intended free annual music festival to pay towards private business Boozepark’s opening shindig next month.

Rose tinted glasses: Tony Newman's acquaintance with the truth is becoming more fleeting

Old rocker: Croydon Labour’s leader Tony Newman

The council-run Ambition Festival was first staged in the summer of 2015, with a series of free concerts and arts events around the town centre. Some plans were announced earlier this year by the council that the 2016 Ambition Festival would be staged at Boozepark, the food and bar enterprise being constructed from shipping containers alongside East Croydon Station.

But as Boozepark’s planned opening date slipped from “Summer 2016” to, eventually, the weekend before Bonfire Night, so the public cash earmarked for a free festival for the Croydon public got swallowed up. Tickets for the first day of Boozepark’s opening weekend cost up to £30 each, although it seems highly likely that Newman and his mates will score a few freebies.

Boxpark only agreed to move to Croydon after the council loaned it £3 million of public money.

It all means that there is no Ambition Festival in 2016, as was first reported by Inside Croydon.

This runs against the promises made by Newman in Labour’s 2014 election manifesto: “We will work with community groups, the voluntary sector and investors to bring back a summer festival to Croydon.”

Continue reading

Posted in 2014 council elections, 2018 council elections, Ambition Festival, Art, Ashcroft Theatre, David Lean Cinema Campaign, Fairfield Halls, Music, Riesco Collection, Theatre, Timothy Godfrey, Tony Newman, Warehouse Theatre | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Croydon Craft Beer Festival music programme, Oct 13-15

craft-beer-festival-music-programme Continue reading

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Croydon Tories still don’t grasp meaning of data protection

Croydon Tories clearly do not understand the meaning of the word “Protection” in the title of the Data Protection Act.

Ian Parker: Croydon Tories' full-time agent hasn't grapsed what "Protection" means in Data Protection Act

Ian Parker: Croydon Tories’ full-time agent

Last week Inside Croydon published a report on how the local Conservative Party, and its Town Hall group leader, Tim Pollard, had committed what appears to be a prima facie breach of the Data Protection Act by sending out a political campaign email to residents who have never signed off their permission for their personal information to be used by the Tories in such a manner.

Some time after our report appeared, the local Tories agent, Ian Parker, the former Coulsdon West councillor and go-to fall guy for the local Tories when they end up before a judge, finally responded to our enquiry which had been addressed to Pollard.

We have never had the courtesy of an acknowledgement from Councillor Pollard (council allowances, paid for out of Council Tax, paid to Tim and his partner, fellow Tory Helen Pollard, over the course of the current four-year term: more than £200,000).

Continue reading

Posted in Coulsdon, Helen Pollard, Ian Parker, Tim Pollard | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Council does High Court U-turn to stop Purley Way racers

Croydon Council officials have performed a sharp U-turn and decided to go to the High Court later this week in efforts “to ban illegal high-speed road races at Imperial Way”.

The move to the law, for an injunction against those taking part in the weekly “Croydon Cruise”, was announced by the council on its Twitter feed.

The High Court hearing will be on Friday, September 30. Continue reading

Posted in Andrew Pelling, Chris Philp MP, Crime, Croydon Council, Croydon South, Joy Prince, Robert Canning, Waddon | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Arthouse cinema appeals for support in London awards

time-out-poster Continue reading

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

John Lennon Tribute Night, Ruskin House, Oct 9

john-lennon-night Continue reading

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Progress MP Reed can’t make Top 100 ‘figures of the left’

A Croydon political thinker and activist who survived an attempt to have him kicked out of the Labour Party is included in the top 10 of a respected political commentator’s “100 Most Influential People On The Left”, published ahead of next week’s Labour annual conference.

Andrew Fisher: now Corbyn's policy adviser

Andrew Fisher: now one of the most influential figures of the British left

Andrew Fisher, Jeremy Corbyn’s policy director and a previous contributor to this website, is included at No9 in Iain Dale’s ranking list.

But Steve Reed OBE, the Progress MP for Croydon North/Lambeth South (delete to taste), who took part in the “chicken coup” by the Parliamentary Labour Party to oust Corbyn, doesn’t even manage to make it anywhere in the 100, which is made up of various Grauniad columnists, trades unionists, Green Party figures, the leader of Plaid Cymru and even a not-very-funny comedian.

The joke could yet be on Reed.

Given the result announced today of the unnecessary and prolonged leadership election, and with a new National Executive Committee about to start its work, former shadow cabinet member Reed may need to give his own future some serious consideration. Continue reading

Posted in Andrew Fisher, Croydon North, Steve Reed MP | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Croydon could be about to get its first black top cop

Croydon could be about the get its first BAME top cop.

Jeff Boothe: to be Croydon's Borough Commander

Jeff Boothe: tipped to be Borough Commander

According to information shared at a Safer Neighbourhood Team event this week, Andy Tarrant, the present Borough Commander, is to step down and be replaced by Chief Superintendent Jeff Boothe.

Boothe, 51, is originally from Thornton Heath and from November will take over responsibility for policing in Croydon after 18 months in a similar job in Bexley.

Boothe has spent the majority of his career in London, including 24 years with British Transport Police. He has extensive Public Order and Events Experience performing key leadership roles for events covering the Olympics, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Notting Hill Carnival and the capital’s New Year’s celebrations. Continue reading

Posted in Andy Tarrant, Jeff Boothe, Policing, Sadiq Khan | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tories could face £5,000 fine over alleged breach of data law

Tim Pollard, the leader of Croydon Conservatives, has been accused of breaking data protection laws with an email widely circulated to residents asking them to support his party’s latest petition over council policy.

Tory councillor Tim Pollard: did you give him permission to use your email details for party political purposes?

Tory councillor Tim Pollard: did you give him permission to use your email details for party political purposes?

If enough Croydon residents complain, Pollard and his Tory mates could face a fine of up to £5,000.

It is not the first time that Croydon Tories have been accused of abusing residents’ personal information, with local MP Gavin Barwell having been let off with a warning for a similar offence in 2012, when he was found to have abused constituents’ data for party political purposes.

Yesterday, some Croydon residents began receiving the latest Tory email, titled “Stop the Council’s disastrous Local Plan”. Pollard, described as the “Leader of the Opposition”, was named as the sender.

In the email, residents are invited to sign up to a petition opposing a wide range of issues in the Local Plan, though it is clear from the petition page that Croydon’s Tories are keen to exploit fears and prejudices over gypsies and travellers, since they have utilised a large aerial image of the permanent camp site proposed for Purley Oaks. Continue reading

Posted in Croydon Council, Gavin Barwell MP, Planning, Purley, Sanderstead, Tim Pollard | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Council CEO’s selfie with Mayor Khan is far too ‘chummy’

Jo Negrini, recently installed as Croydon Council’s £185,000 per year chief executive, has been accused of being politically compromised after a picture of her taking a selfie with London Mayor Sadiq Khan was plastered all over the Town Hall’s intranet.

Caught on camera: Jo Negrini and Sadiq Khan, as they appear on the council's computer system. Too chummy?

Caught on camera: Jo Negrini and Sadiq Khan, as they appear on the council’s computer system. Too chummy?

Members of the Conservative opposition who have seen the photograph, taken during Khan’s visit to Boozepark earlier this month, suggest that it shows that the borough’s most senior public official is “too chummy” to the Mayor’s political party and that this could undermine her credibility if, as they hope, the Tories win back control of Croydon Town Hall in 2018.

Some backbench Labour councillors are also unhappy about the use of the photograph, which they say shows a serious lack of judgement by Negrini and whoever in the press office decided to use the picture on the staff’s website.

Negrini was promoted to the CEO’s job earlier this summer and immediately had her salary boosted by a juicy £5,000 by the council’s Labour leadership, an inflation-busting 2.7 per cent, coming just a few months after the latest round of redundancies among Croydon staff. Continue reading

Posted in 2018 council elections, Croydon Council, Jo Negrini, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments