Walk with bats, birds and trees with Great North Wood project

Great North WoodThe Great North Wood project, run by the London Wildlife Trust, is an initiative that aims to engage local people to help protect and enhance an invaluable landscape.

The Great North Wood is one of London’s most valuable Living Landscapes.

Once covered in woodland and wooded commons, the area of ancient woodland stretched from the Thames at Deptford to what we know today as Streatham Common and Norwood – which owes its name to “North Wood”.

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Posted in Activities, Crystal Palace Park, Education, Environment, Outside Croydon, Upper Norwood, Walks, Wildlife | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

BBC producers seek family to go Back In Time

Back in Time

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Robbed Norwood charity sends thanks to community donors

An appeal from a Norwood lunch club to replace stolen food and equipment has hit its target in less than 24 hours – thanks in part to a donation from one local businessman who read about the charity’s plight on Inside Croydon.

Charity manager Karen Jewitt out campaigning recently with Sadiq Khan

Charity manager Karen Jewitt out campaigning recently with Sadiq Khan

Yesterday, we reported that the South Norwood and Woodside Community Association, off the High Street, had been victim of a break-in which had emptied its freezers and fridges of more than £500-worth of food intended for the elderly and adults with learning difficulties who use the venue for meetings and meals through the week.

By this morning, the online appeal had exceeded its £750 target by £100.

“I am truly overwhelmed by the kindness of friends and strangers towards our lunch club,” Karen Jewitt, the Labour councillor who manages the charity’s lunch club, told Inside Croydon.

“I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. We have reached our target and a bit more but I have been asked by donors to keep it up a bit longer so we can take the learning disability group to Brighton for fish and chips.” Continue reading

Posted in Charity, Karen Jewitt, Nick Mattey | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Danger on the rail tracks: urgent need to fix overcrowding

CROYDON COMMENTARY: A Tory MP has demanded that Southern should lose its franchise for operating services from Coulsdon, Purley and Croydon into London. But for regular commenter ROD DAVIES, the acute overcrowding of trains between East Croydon and London Bridge and Victoria is becoming dangerous

When was the last time you readily nabbed a seat for your morning journey into London Bridge?

When was the last time you readily nabbed a seat for your morning journey into London Bridge?

It is virtually an annual event that I, as a commuter, at 07.30 in the morning get a seat on the train to London Bridge.

It is equally galling to get off the train at the end of the day together with large numbers of other people and then watch what appears to be a half-empty train leave on the onward journey to some station to the south.

As it is planned that tens of thousands of new residents will move into central Croydon, the demand for trains will only increase on this section of track.

Not only is the overcrowding uncomfortable, it is in my opinion verging on the dangerous.

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Posted in Chris Philp MP, Commuting, Croydon South, East Croydon, TfL, Transport, West Croydon | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

‘Scandal’ of £388m-worth of Croydon homes standing empty

Croydon Council was this week celebrating bringing 137 homes in the borough back into residential use for those on the housing waiting list.

Yet according to figures published today, based on data from the Land Registry and property website Rightmove, that means that there’s “just” another 900 homes, valued at around £388million, still standing empty in Croydon.

Across London, there's an estimated £12bn-worth of property standing vacant, often derelict

Across London, there’s an estimated £12.4bn-worth of property standing vacant, often derelict

This high number of unused homes is part of a national scandal, according to the people behind today’s report.

The figures have been collated by the property crowdfunding platform Property Partner, who claim that across England there are more than 200,000 long-term empty homes which have an estimated value of more than £38 billion.

In London alone, there were 20,915 homes sitting idle for more than six months in 2015 – that is almost £12.4-billion-worth of empty property, in a city facing an extreme housing shortage.

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Posted in Alison Butler, Croydon Council, Housing, London-wide issues, Mayor of London, Planning | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Thieves steal £500-worth of food intended for charity meals

Clock_Tower_South_NorwoodThieves have broken into a hall in South Norwood which provides lunches for the elderly and adults with learning difficulties, and stolen around £500-worth of food and equipment, much of it paid for through donations raised by the community group’s volunteers.

“Absolutely devastating and disappointing,” is the description of her feelings after the break-in from Karen Jewitt, the local councillor who manages the South Norwood and Woodside Community Association.

Jewitt is now running an appeal for cash donations so that the lost food can be made good, and to fund an outing for the Association’s regulars.

“Someone decided their need was greater than ours, broke into our building and stole the contents of our freezers and fridge,” Jewitt said. “Sainsburys had just delivered our large order a few days before.” That delivery included about £400-worth of food.

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Posted in Karen Jewitt, South Norwood | Tagged | 1 Comment

Thornton Heath In Bloom competition is now open

Thornton Heath in bloom

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Jones wins election in Croydon Central; will she stand again?

Sarah Jones is the new chair of the Croydon Central Constituency Labour Party.

Sarah Jones giving her declaration speech last May. Will she take on Gavin Barwell again?

Sarah Jones giving her declaration speech last May. Will she take on the glum-looking Croydon Central MP, Gavin Barwell, again?

Jones’s election comes a little more than a year since she narrowly lost another, slightly bigger, vote, that to elect the MP for the constituency, when she missed out on unseating Tory Gavin Barwell by just 165 votes.

Becoming chair of the CLP may strengthen Jones’s own resolve, and her position within the local Labour Party, for her to seek selection again to try to win the seat, which has been held by the Conservatives since 2005. Continue reading

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Croydon really is ‘put on the map’ with latest Tube guide

Tube Map 2016

After 16 years, the tram network has finally been added to the London Tube map

It is undoubtedly one of the laziest and nonsensical of cliches – “putting Croydon on the map”. Which is probably why we hear it used so often by local politicians and attention-seekers. Because, of course, Croydon has been on maps for around one thousand years.

But this week, Croydon, and its pride and joy, the tram network, is finally, and really, “put on the map”, with its inclusion on the latest version of one of the most famous pieces of graphic design of all time: the London Tube map. Continue reading

Posted in East Croydon, TfL, Tramlink, Transport, West Croydon | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tory MP demands rail service be handed to TfL ‘immediately’

Nearly a year after first making the threat, Chris Philp, the MP for Croydon South, has written to the transport minister to demand the immediate withdrawal of the multi-million-pound franchise from Govia Thameslink Railway for operating Southern and other commuter train services. He says he has acted now after nearly 1,000 train services were disrupted on one day earlier this week.

Not sure if he's in or out: Croydon South MP Chris Philp

MP Chris Philp:

The Conservative MP’s letter calls for the suburban service to be handed over to Transport for London “immediately”.

Philp today told Inside Croydon that the final straw for him over the deteriorating service levels was on Monday, when nearly 1,000 train services operated on Southern, Thameslink and the Gatwick Express were delayed or cancelled in one 24-hour period.

“I said I would give GTR until May to improve,” Philp said. “It seemed only fair to give them until the end of May, which I have done.

“For me, the terrible performance on Monday was the final straw.” Continue reading

Posted in Chris Philp MP, Commuting, Coulsdon, Croydon South, London-wide issues, Transport | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Marathon grant helps playground scheme cross the finish line

A children’s playground in Grange Park in Old Coulsdon has received a £20,000 grant from the London Marathon, allowing the community-led re-building project to begin work this summer.

A small part of the surplus from staging the London Marathon is helping to build a new playground in Old Coulsdon

A small part of the surplus from staging the London Marathon is helping to build a new playground in Old Coulsdon

Separately from the tens of thousands of individual runners who raise millions for their own chosen charities, the London Marathon Charitable Trust distributes money to sporting causes each year from the surplus made by the event, once they’ve covered their staging costs and paid out millions in appearance fees and prize money to the star runners.

The Trust is making a total of 31 grants to schemes in and around the capital in 2016, worth a total of £2.5million. Of that, £1million is being shared between just two projects, in Ealing and Hounslow.

Eight sports schemes in Surrey – now included in the grants because of the Trust’s involvement with the Ride London cycling event which occupies the county’s roads for a weekend each year – are to receive more than £420,000 between them, plus a £200,000 loan.

Yet Grange Park is the only project in the whole of Croydon, London’s most populated borough, which is receiving any of the London Marathon cash.

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SERA and NGRA Norbury Big Lunch, Jun 12

Norbury Big Lunch Continue reading

Posted in Activities, Community associations, Norbury, Norbury Green Residents' Association, Scots Estate Residents' Association | Tagged | Leave a comment

Council pimps out £144m offices in £7.5m 10-year deal

Croydon’s cash-strapped Labour-run council is today celebrating clawing back just £7.5million-worth of the costs of Fisher’s Folly, the borough’s vastly over-priced civic headquarters. Over a period of 10 years.

So only another £136 million to go.

£7.5m down. Only another £136m to go to pay off the cost of Fisher's Folly

£7.5m down. Only another £136m to go to pay off the full cost of Fisher’s Folly

At this rate, it will only take nearly 200 years to recoup the full £144million cost of the country’s most expensive council office, a building sometimes known as Bernard Weatherill House.

A 10-year lease agreement has been signed with Arcadis, the Dutch-based design and management consultants. They say that they will move 250 of their UK staff to Croydon, a move which of itself will be helpful to the local economy.

Council officials could not contain their excitement. “This is great news for Croydon and for our residents,” gushed Tony Newman, the council leader.

“We’ve always said that we’re absolutely committed to delivering value for money to local taxpayers,” Newman added. Newman appears, again, to have forgotten that he also said that he would hold a forensic investigation into the extravagant costs of Fisher’s Folly – which was built under a secret “partnership” with John Laing under local Tory leader Mike “WadGate” Fisher, and when the council’s current CEO, Nathan Elvery, was responsible for the borough’s finance and procurement.

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Posted in Bernard Weatherill House, Business, Croydon Council, Nathan Elvery, Tony Newman, URV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Brexit would cost London tourism billions, Twycross claims

Fiona Twycross, the London Assembly Member who lives in Croydon, has today joined the European Union referendum debate by claiming that Brexit would create a “devastating loss to London’s tourist economy”.

Assembly Member Fiona Twycross: Brexit could cost London's tourist economy billions

Assembly Member Fiona Twycross: Brexit would threaten thousands of London jobs

London has been named as the world’s most popular tourist destination in five of the last seven years, including 2015. But Twycross said today that a vote to leave the EU would send the message that the UK was “pulling up the drawbridge” and signalling the capital is “closed for business”.

“For years London has been the world’s prime tourist destination precisely because we are renowned for our openness and welcoming of visitors,” Twycross said.

“Leaving the EU would effectively signal that we are pulling up the drawbridge and that London is closed for business.

“Not only would this diminish our great city, it would discourage the tourists who contribute so much to our economy. For London’s tourism sector, Brexit could mean a devastating loss of billions of pounds and put at risk thousands of jobs.”

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Posted in 2016 EU referendum, Fiona Twycross, London Assembly, London-wide issues, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan MP, Val Shawcross | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Surrey Town and Country Show, Lloyd Park, May 29-30



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Coulsdon councillor highlights Southern Railway’s profiteering

It took a hitherto little-regarded local Conservative councillor to flag up the futility of Chris Philp, the Tory MP for Croydon South, staging a public meeting with executives of Southern Railways.

Southern TrainsPhilp has threatened to demand that Southern lose its franchise for the commuter “service” which it delivers, badly, to thousands of his constituents, commuters who have to travel in to London each weekday on often late-running, over-crowded trains from Coulsdon, Purley and Croydon South.

Southern has been shown to provide the worst rail service in Britain. But rather than act on his oft-repeated threat, Philp opted to stage a meeting in Purley last night, attended by a couple of suits from the train operators. As if they are accountable to the public or something. Continue reading

Posted in Chris Philp MP, Commuting, Coulsdon, Coulsdon West, Croydon South, Luke Clancy, Transport | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Dress for Dinner, Sanderstead Dramatic Club, Jun 2-4


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North Wood Morris at the Dog and Bull, Jun 9

North Wood Morris Continue reading

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Addiscombe Communities’ summer fair, Jun 18


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Free guided history walk in Beckenham Cemetery, Jun 19

Beckenham Cemetery walk

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