Labour councillor Watson opts to jump before de-selection

STEVEN DOWNES reports on the latest shift of power at the Town Hall

He’s off: soon-to-be ex-councillor Mark Watson

Addiscombe councillor Mark Watson, an influential member of the council cabinet, last night stunned Labour Party members in his ward by announcing his withdrawal from the selection process for candidates for next year’s local elections just hours before a crucial short-listing meeting.

It means that Labour-lite council leader Tony Newman’s “Gang of Four”, which exercises complete control of the Labour group at the Town Hall, is set to become, at best, a Troika.

Watson announced his decision in an email sent to councillors and ward members, citing the pressures of work, as he has continued in his job as a director of an international tourism charity while drawing down more than £40,000 per year in council allowances.

But the reality – as ever – is somewhat different. And it was predicted correctly by Inside Croydon nearly a year ago. Continue reading

Posted in 2018 council elections, Addiscombe, Addiscombe East, Andrew Rendle, Ashburton, Business, Jerry Fitzpatrick, Mark Watson, Patricia Hay-Justice, Paul Smith, Sean Fitzsimons, Stephen Mann, Surrey Street, Tony Newman | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fe! Fi! Fo! Fun! Win a family ticket to the Croydon Panto

Fe! Fi! Fo! Fum! We smell the scent of another outstanding offer exclusive to Inside Croydon subscribers

Jonny Awsum and Paisley Billings are the stars of the Croydon Panto

This year’s Croydon Panto is Jack And The Beanstalk, starring Jonny “Britain’s Got Talent” Awsum and Paisley Billings, plus a cast of West End performers who will be making a song and a dance at the Waddon Theatre on the Purley Way, from December 7 to 31.

And thanks to the producers Q Productions, Inside Croydon is delighted to offer as a competition prize tickets for a family of four to see the great show.

The competition is open exclusively to Inside Croydon subscribers, and is the latest special offer available to the site’s rapidly growing band of supporters. To find out more about our patron scheme, and how to sign-up to it, just click here. Continue reading

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Posted in Activities, Art, Comedy, Inside Croydon, Music, Theatre | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Westfield’s 20% affordable housing ‘unacceptable’ to GLA

BARRATT HOLMES on a serious problem with the £1.4billion development in the town centre which was given planning permission – for a second time – by the council this week

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan: he wants 35% affordable homes in new schemes. Westfield are only offering 20%

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is likely to demand almost twice as much affordable housing as has been proposed by Westfield and Hammerson in their £1.4billion supermall development.

Having waited for five years for the developers to get their shit together and re-draft their blueprint for the town centre around the sites of the current Whitgift Centre and Centrale, Croydon’s planning committee waved the scheme through earlier this week, now promising up to 967 homes. Continue reading

Posted in "Hammersfield", Business, Centrale, CPO, Croydon Council, Housing, Jo Negrini, John Burton, London-wide issues, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, Whitgift Centre | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Car lobbyist Morgan now insists: don’t walk, it’s dangerous

Walking to school is dangerous.

That’s the considered advice of a … car campaigner from Coulsdon, as he tries to block a Croydon Council initiative to reduce polluting exhausts and to get some of the borough’s primary-aged children daily exercise on their journeys to school.

Peter Morgan cuts an increasingly ridiculous figure in his strident pro-vehicle rants, through social media and emails. He has been caught out using multiple digital identities to pervert the course of online consultations, been accused of illegally plastering campaign stickers over public property, while his bid to take over as chairman of the East Coulsdon Residents’ Association recently failed to muster much support, especially after he tried to block a 91-year-old Holocaust survivor from giving a talk to their meeting.

Having been kicked out of both the Croydon Conservatives and UKIP – where he was considered a constantly disruptive figure – this latest intervention really ought not surprise anyone. Nor be taken particularly seriously. Continue reading

Posted in Coulsdon, Coulsdon East, Croydon Council, Environment, Parking, Schools, Stuart King, Transport, Walks | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Cash-strapped Carillion can’t pay their library paper bills

Carillion, the building company which somehow landed the contract to run Croydon’s public libraries, is so strapped for cash that they have unpaid bills from their suppliers for use of photo-copiers and paper.

Carillion is a construction company which was seeking juicy profits by grabbing outsourced libraries

The value of the company’s shares plunged a further 30 per cent this morning, as the troubled firm issued the latest in a series of profit warnings and trading updates.

Carillion announced to the London Stock Exchange that it is to try to recapitalise, it downgraded profit expectations, and revealed higher than anticipated debts and said it expected to be in breach of covenants – agreements to pay loans – by the end of the year.

Carillion’s problems relate mostly to its construction business, but it is having a knock-on effect to the subsidiary which is running Croydon’s and other local authority libraries.

The state of the business prompted one City analyst to say this morning, “The Carillion horror show continues.” Continue reading

Posted in Business, Carillion, Croydon Council, John Laing Integrated Services, Libraries, Timothy Godfrey | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Ombudsman rules council neglected Down’s Syndrome woman

A Government Ombudsman ruling will see Croydon Council pay nearly £5,000 to a family after it was found to have failed in his duties to a young disabled woman.

Jo Negrini: another ruling against her council

This is the second finding of this kind against the council this year, amid a growing mass of evidence that the council’s social services is not delivering the service expected.

Eleanor Brazil, a Government-appointed commissioner, is currently in charge of the council’s children’s services department after Ofsted inspectors in September ruled that that element of the council’s operation, overseeing children in care, fostering and adoption, was “inadequate”.

Brazil is expected to deliver a report on the progress in bringing the department up to an acceptable standard next month, and the expectation is that she will recommend that Whitehall officials continue to supervise the council department. Continue reading

Posted in Adult Social Care, Barbara Peacock, Children's Services, Croydon Council, Jo Negrini | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Labour’s new slate in Fairfield as Momentum makes a mark

Our political editor, WALTER CRONXITE, with the latest weekly round-up of the ins, and outs, in a tortuous selection process

Mary Croos out campaigning with Sadiq Khan and Steve Reed OBE, who is a big fan

Boundary changes, demographic changes and the Jeremy Corbyn-inspired swing towards Labour has made Fairfield ward in the town centre a key battleground in next May’s council elections.

And following a long selection meeting last night, with a voting process almost more complicated than the X Factor’s new format, Labour will seek to win the ward from the Tories with a team which includes a union official who worked in Corbyn’s office during the General Election, an activist who took much credit for the Momentum fringe activities at the party conference, and a single mum who is more closely aligned with former Progress vice-chair Steve Reed OBE. Continue reading

Posted in 2018 council elections, Addiscombe, Alisa Flemming, Carole Bonner, Chris Clark, Clive Fraser, Croydon Council, Fairfield, Fieldway, Jane Avis, John Wentworth, Mary Croos, New Addington North, Niro Sirisena, Pat Ryan, Patricia Hay-Justice, Patsy Cummings, Simon Hall, South Norwood, Sue Winborn, Upper Norwood, Vidhi Mohan | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment