Asthma’s postcode lottery: ‘We all have a right to breathe’

Asthma attack: conditions in Croydon are worse than anywhere else in London for asthmatics

Croydon is the worst place in London to have asthma, analysis from charity Asthma UK has shown.

Yet Bromley, the borough next door to Croydon, is rated as the best place in the capital for asthmatics.

The charity’s findings are a shocking indictment of poverty, poor living conditions and wretchedly polluted air quality in Croydon, where people with asthma are more likely to be hospitalised or die from an asthma attack than anywhere else in London.

Asthma UK’s 2018 report On The Edge: How inequality affects people with asthma, using official government data from the Office of National Statistics, found that people in the poorest areas in England are more likely to be exposed to worse air pollution and higher smoking rates, have challenges accessing care, a lower awareness of asthma management and have poor housing conditions. Continue reading

Posted in Environment, Health, Peter Underwood, Regina Road Residents' Support Group, Waste incinerator | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Death of David Amess reminds us we still have a long way to go

CROYDON COMMENTARY: After the second murder of an MP in five years, PETER UNDERWOOD reflects on the importance of our politicians being able to meet the people they are supposed to represent

Solemn: the book of remembrance for Essex MP Sir David Amess at a local church yesterday

I am writing this on Sunday morning, two days after the dreadful killing of the MP, Sir David Amess.

My first thoughts are with David’s family and friends. It’s difficult to imagine what they are feeling and what they are going through right now. It’s something I hope none of us ever have to deal with and I wish them all the strength, love and support they need to see them through this time.

Like many other politicians and people who work in the political world, I am overcome with immense sadness for all those who knew David and still in shock to see a politician killed while doing their job. Continue reading

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Council issues urgent warning over Regina Road cold callers

Danger warning: the council issued this leaflet, a day after Inside Croydon’s reports

It took the council 24 hours after Inside Croydon published its report on the bogus cold callers who had descended on the blocks of flats in Regina Road.

But yesterday, a council-produced flyer was posted in the entrance halls of each of the three blocks, and in the lifts. Leaflets were not distributed door-to-door, however.

Marked “Urgent notice to all residents at Regina Road”, the council’s leaflet confirmed our report of three men claiming to be solicitors, surveyors or even council staff, but without any proper proof of identity. iC was aware of at least 20 residents who had raised their concerns.

“We strongly urge you, for your own safety, not to let anyone into your home without checking that they have valid ID,” the leaflet stated. Continue reading

Posted in Community associations, Regina Road Residents' Support Group, South Norwood | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

South Croydon’s Waddell elected to church’s General Synod

At least one Labour member in Croydon has proven that they can win an election, after Paul Waddell, a former councillor candidate from South Croydon, was this week announced as one of the successful candidates for the Church of England’s ruling body, the General Synod.

Paul Waddell: church leader

The Church Times somewhat tweely described this year’s elections, for a five-year term, as “a new departure for the new quinquennium”, which attracted record numbers of candidates across the country, many of whom posted video statements to support their case for election, while others, including Waddell, published statements about their outlook for the church.

“This was the first time in the Synod’s 50-year history that the elections had been advertised nationally,” The Church Times reported, seemingly a little shocked by the very notion, while William Nye, the Synod’s secretary-general, said of the attempt to modernise the organisation through the elections, “We are praying that the leadership of the Church of England, including bodies like General Synod, may become more representative of the people of England — and that means younger and more diverse.” Continue reading

Posted in Church and religions, Paul Waddell | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Trinity pupil hits all the right notes to win Steinway competition

Ed Warner has been named as the winner of the 2021 Trinity-Steinway Scholarship, after a day-long set of performances under the gaze of staff at the Royal College of Music.

Right note: Ed Warner, the 2021 Trinity-Steinway scholar

The Trinity-Steinway Scholarship is a collaboration between Trinity, Steinway and Sons and the Royal College of Music which offers a £1,000 prize to the winner to pay for lessons with the RCM’s Professor Vanessa Latarche.

The scheme has been running since 2012. It is an advanced scholarship intended to introduce the school’s pianists to the highest levels of study and performance.

It also leads to attendance at the Mallorca International Piano Festival as well as recitals in Venice and at Steinway Hall.

“It’s an award that gives our pianists a real insight into the world of professional musicians, opening the door to conservatoire education and opportunity,” according to a statement from Trinity School.

Continue reading

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More Labour disarray as BAME councillors Wood and Ali quit

Political editor WALTER CRONXITE on two shock withdrawals from the selection process for next year’s local elections

Cllr Muhammad Ali: opted not to stand again for discredited local party

Croydon’s Labour group is in further disarray this morning after the sudden withdrawal from its candidate selection process of two BAME councillors who have both held senior positions at the Town Hall.

Muhammad Ali, the cabinet member for “sustainable Croydon”, announced ahead of this morning’s ward shortlisting meeting that he would not be putting his name forward to stand for another four-year term in Broad Green.

This follows less than 48 hours after David Wood, until recently also a cabinet member in the cash-strapped council, dropped out of the process at a similar stage in Selhurst.

The abrupt withdrawals of Ali and Wood mean that 16 people who were Labour councillors at the beginning of this year will now not be standing for re-election in 2022 – a drop-out rate of nearly 40 per cent from the scandal-hit Town Hall group.

Continue reading

Posted in 2022 council elections, Broad Green, David Wood, Manju Shahul Hameed, Muhammad Ali, Selhurst, Stuart Collins | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Hodgson rules himself out of the running for ‘impossible job’

By our Town Hall correspondent, PEARL LEE

Hodgson’s choice: the former England boss with soon-to-be former councillor Skipper at the Mayor’s dinner on Thursday

Roy Hodgson, Croydon lad, Freeman of the Borough and all-round local hero, has firmly ruled himself out of the reckoning to become the first directly-elected mayor of Croydon next year.

Hodgson was at a sumptuous, black-tie mayoral dinner on Thursday night, attended by around 200 people, including the majority of Labour councillors from the cash-strapped council, and some Tories, too, who were all keen to stick their snouts in the trough of the freebie meal provided by the Grand Sapphire Hotel off the Purley Way.

Oddly, Inside Croydon never received an invitation to buy any tickets to attend the event from the people who bankrupted the borough. Continue reading

Posted in 2022 council elections, Crystal Palace FC, Roy Hodgson | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

City Commons’ work recognised with 7 Green Flag awards

Award-winning: Farthing Downs in Coulsdon and six other City Commons areas in and around Croydon have been given Green Flag status

Seven green spaces in and around Croydon which are protected by the City of London Corporation have been granted prestigious Green Flag status.

Coulsdon Common, Kenley Common, Farthing Downs and Riddlesdown, plus Spring Park and West Wickham Common in Bromley and Ashtead Common in Surrey all picked up the prize.

Six of the spaces, managed by City Commons, have also won Green Heritage Awards in recognition of their historic features and the high standard of conservation – with it being the first win for Coulsdon Common. Continue reading

Posted in City Commons, Environment, South London Downs NNR, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Chief whip worked with group that attacks council policy

CROYDON IN CRISIS: Evidence has emerged that shows a Labour councillor negotiating with an anti-LTN group over illegally obtained documents. And now he’s been put in charge of party discipline at the scandal-hit council. By STEVEN DOWNES

Clive Fraser: has acted illegally, but now is supposed to uphold party rules

The Town Hall’s Labour councillors have this week managed to reappoint as their chief whip a colleague who has been working with a group of residents that are seeking to undermine and reverse the council’s own policies on Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.

Clive Fraser has been in correspondence with the same Open Our Roads group which has opposed the traffic-reducing road closures and restrictions in and around Crystal Palace, Upper Norwood and South Norwood. As well as its members celebrating acts of vandalism against council property and the LTNs’ infrastructure, Open Our Roads has also threatened to take legal action against Croydon’s Labour-controlled council.

Last year, Open Our Roads raised nearly £10,000, telling supporters that the money would be used as a legal fighting fund. But the campaign appeared to be more than a little embarrassed when it was revealed that among their donors were members of freight haulage groups and a leading official of the Association of Bad Drivers. Continue reading

Posted in Clive Fraser, Commuting, Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood, Cycling, Inside Croydon, Local media, Louis Carserides, Pat Ryan, South Norwood, Stuart King, Transport | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Residents warned to take extra care after suspicious visits

By JANE NICHOLL

Regina Road flats: three men obtained access to all three blocks and behaved suspiciously and aggressively, residents have said

Worn down after months of indifference from the council, followed by a string of broken promises, residents in Regina Road are now being subjected to aggressive cold-calling tactics by suspected scammers posing as surveyors offering building repairs services, potentially seeking to exploit the vulnerable.

One of the group of three men wore a purple-coloured lanyard, as if he was a member of Croydon Council staff.

The unwanted visits have been reported to the police.

There is, though, no suitable CCTV footage available to assist with any enquiries: Croydon’s cash-strapped council has never installed cameras at the entrances to the three blocks (though they did put in a camera to cover the car park, to ensure there was no illegal parking).

At least 20 residents across the three blocks reported receiving what have been described as “menacing visits” yesterday, with persistent knocking on their doors and their letterboxes being opened to see if anyone was in.

A group of three men were calling from flat to flat in the blocks on Regina Road. These are the same blocks which, earlier this year, were exposed in television news reports as suffering from “appalling” conditions, including widespread damp and mould. Continue reading

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Regina Road residents shiver as they face £2,000 heating bills

CROYDON IN CRISIS: ‘My kids suffer so badly with their breathing. I am scared for this winter.’ The words of one mother as she and other residents in the damp and mouldy flats in South Norwood face sky-high heating bills, while their children’s asthma and breathing problems get steadily worse

Signs posted: Regina Road residents’ problems with their flats are about to get worse as winter arrives

Stephen Tate, the “director of growth, employment and regeneration” at Croydon Council, told Regina Road residents at a recent meeting that the external cladding of the blocks “had failed in places” and that it “does not provide the level of insulation it should”.

What with the “failed” windows and the blocks’ heating systems also “needing updating”, residents living in the “appalling” council flats exposed by ITV News earlier this year are now facing an unimaginably tough winter ahead, as they try to adequately heat their homes.

It was March when the conditions endured by council tenants in Regina Road caused a national scandal after being shown on television. An independent investigation found evidence of systemic failure and incompetence at Croydon Council. Continue reading

Posted in Alison Knight, Croydon Council, Health, Housing, Regina Road Residents' Support Group, South Norwood | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jamaican artist’s design chosen for £1m Windrush memorial

Basil Watson’s Windrush memorial, due to be unveiled at Waterloo Station next year

A statue designed by the internationally renowned Jamaican artist Basil Watson has been selected by the Windrush Commemoration Committee to be a national monument to the dreams, ambition, courage and resilience of the pioneers who arrived in Britain from the West Indies after the Second World War, and the generations that followed over the years.

The monument will be positioned at Waterloo Station, the arrival point in London for so many Windrush arrivals in London as they travelled by train after their ship docked at Southampton. With the backing of £1million government funding, it is intended that the monument should be unveiled on June 22 next year – Windrush Day. Continue reading

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Londoners among worst-hit by UK petrol and food shortages

A survey reports that 1-in-5 Londoners were unable to purchase essential food items in the past two weeks.

Running on empty: 20% of Londoners have experienced shortages at their supermarkets

The research, conducted by delivery management experts Urbantz, used data from the Office for National Statistics to analyse the percentage of people who were unable to access essential food in a period up to October 3.

The study found that 12 per cent of people in London bought less food than usual as a result of the shortages. Continue reading

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Cummings and Lewis start the ‘chicken run’ for safe wards

WALTER CRONXITE, political editor, on the unedifying scramble among some Labour councillors to find a safe ward to stand in at next May’s local elections

Chicken run: established Labour councillors are jostling for position over selections

The chicken run is underway among the borough’s Labour councillors, with at least one  current cabinet member and the party’s London Assembly candidate desperately scouring around for a ward which will offer them safe refuge from what is expected to be an uncomfortable set of results when the quadrennial Town Hall elections are staged in 2022.

First out of her blocks is Patsy Cummings, a former parliamentary assistant to Jeremy Corbyn who last night popped up on a shortlist of candidates for Bensham Manor ward. Cummings is a sitting councillor in what has been regarded as the safe Labour ward of South Norwood. Continue reading

Posted in 2022 council elections, Addiscombe East, Alison Butler, Bensham Manor, Hamida Ali, Humayun Kabir, Jamie Audsley, Jeet Bains, Louisa Woodley, Maddie Henson, Mike Bonello, New Addington, Oliver Lewis, Patsy Cummings, Paul Scott, Raj Rajendran, South Norwood, Steve Reed MP, Tony Newman, Woodside | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Goats settle in for their winter’s work at Riddlesdown Quarry

There are goats in Croydon. No kidding.

New home: the Downlands Trust turn out their goats at Riddlesdown this week

That was the announcement made by City Commons yesterday, as goats were turned out to graze at Riddlesdown Quarry.

City Commons is the part of the City of London Corporation which manages large tracts of open space in and around Croydon, including parts of Coulsdon, Kenley, parts of Sanderstead, all the way towards Purley, much of which has now been given status as the South London Downs National Nature Reserve.

Working together with the Downlands Trust, cattle, sheep and goats are being used to graze down the open spaces, to maintain and enhance the natural habitat. Continue reading

Posted in City Commons, Coulsdon, Croydon parks, Environment, Kenley, Nature Notes, New Addington, Old Coulsdon, Purley, Sanderstead, South London Downs NNR, Whitgift Foundation, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Mayor Khan orders urgent review into council homes building

Is Sadiq Khan looking to set up a super-sized Brick by Brick for housing delivery? And another London borough sacks its housing repairs contractors

Must do better: Sadiq Khan is reviewing the GLA’shousing delivery performance

The Mayor of London has all but admitted that the Greater London Authority has not been building enough new homes on his watch.

Sadiq Khan announced today that he has commissioned a review of mayoral bodies’ housing delivery as he seeks to fulfil a manifesto pledge to boost the number of homes built on GLA-owned land. Continue reading

Posted in Brick by Brick, Business, Housing, London-wide issues, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Serious concerns that ‘Croydon Cat Killer’ may have returned

There are serious concerns that the notorious “Croydon Cat Killer” is on the prowl once again, with pet owners being warned to be especially cautious over the whereabouts of their pets following a grisly incident at Sanderstead over the weekend.

Take care: cat owners have been advised to take extra care over the whereabouts of their pets overnight

Animal protection campaigners have described as “truly awful” an attack on a family pet in Sanderstead at the weekend, which they believe has many of the tell-tale hallmarks of the cat killer, following several months when there were few, if any, similarly vicious and senseless killings.

The Metropolitan Police abandoned its search for the cat killer in 2018, after a £130,000 investigation concluded that the reported cases of dead pets were most likely due to collisions with vehicles or attacks by urban foxes.

This despite more than 400 reports of dismembered, decapitated and killed cats and other animals, beginning in Croydon in 2014 and spreading across London and the rest of the country. Continue reading

Posted in Charity, Community associations, Crime | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Sharon’s ‘tuppenny all off’ helps raise £770 for cancer charity

With her colleagues and the residents of the care home where she works cheering her on, a Croydon woman agreed to an old-fashioned “tuppenny all off”, her drastic hair cut helping to raise £770 for Macmillan Cancer Support

Clipped: Sharon Gant’s partner John starts the fund-raising hair cut

Sharon Gant has worked at Bupa’s Red Court nursing home in Park Hill for more than two years. She agreed to have her hair shaved off as part of Macmillan Cancer Support’s “Brave the Shave” initiative which has seen brave shavers raise more than £22.7million since 2015.

Gant took part in the fundraiser in memory of her best friend who died from cancer 17 years ago. One of her close friends has also recently been diagnosed with cancer.

Through her sponsorship efforts, Gant has raised £385, which was matched by her employers at Bupa, bringing the total donation to £770.

“This is a cause extremely close to my heart,” Gant said. Continue reading

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Crimestoppers kick off campaign to stop hate crime at football

Game over: Crimestoppers is looking to deal with hate crime at football matches

With discrimination and incidents of hate crime taking place at football matches across the country, Crimestoppers has begun a campaign urging London football fans to take action and report information about crimes 100 per cent anonymously.

The four-week campaign will be delivered mainly on social media will urge fans attending all matches to make a difference by speaking up to make hate crime a thing of the past. Continue reading

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Leisure centre is an asset of community value. Treat it like one

Still waters: if Purley pool and leisure centre is ever to reopen, the local community and campaign groups need to take decisive action

CROYDON COMMENTARY: The time has long passed for polite petitions seeking to save the council-owned Purley Pool. It’s time for the community to take the initiative.
By STEVEN DOWNES, Editor of Inside Croydon

While Save Purley Pool petitions and banners may have worked in the past to prick the consciences of the conscience-less pricks who run the Town Hall, the chances are that the same approach won’t be successful in saving the public amenity from closure this time around.

The community campaign will need a more robust, initiative-seizing approach, to put Oliver “Shit Show” Lewis, the officer-led cabinet member in charge, on the back-foot.

And the thing is, the proactive approach has had some recent precedents in and around Croydon to show Purley campaigners the way forward.

Public assets, often large and complex properties, can be run by the public, in the interests of the public. And protected by the public. Continue reading

Posted in Inside Croydon, Oliver Lewis, Purley, Purley Pool | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Purley Pool closure planned to help GLL repay £279,000 loan

CROYDON IN CRISIS: Cash-strapped council’s case for closing down leisure centre depends entirely on made up figures and abandoning terms of a 20-year management agreement. EXCLUSIVE By STEVEN DOWNES

Inside Croydon’s exclusive report two weeks ago about proposals to cut another £38million from council budgets provoked a peculiarly Croydon-style version of Groundhog Day.

Groundhog Day: Purley Pool protesters have been dusting off their posters and petitions

For here we are again, witnessing the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the swimmers, gym bunnies and primary schools in the south of the borough over the announcement that Purley Leisure Centre, which has been closed since the start of lockdown in March last year, will never open again.

Purley Pool has been under constant threat of closure for the past decade, the building seemingly the option of first resort for the council’s Tory administration as their government’s austerity bit in 2012, and then again for Labour in 2015, and ever since when there’s a review of Town Hall spending. Continue reading

Posted in Community associations, Coulsdon, Croydon Council, Oliver Lewis, Purley, Purley Pool, Sarah Hayward, Schools | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Callous’ Universal Credit cuts are about to hit 1m Londoners

While Croydon Labour plans on cuts of up to £29 per week in Council Tax benefits for tens of thousands of the poorest households in the borough, the party’s politicians at City Hall have been describing the Tory government’s £25 per week cut to the Universal Credit uplift as “callous”.

Almost 1million Londoners claim Universal Credit; around two-fifths of claimants in the capital are in employment, according to Labour’s London Assembly economy spokesperson, Marina Ahmad.

“These figures give a hint of the scale of the impact of the government’s callous and short-sighted cut to Universal Credit on low-income Londoners,” said Ahmad. Continue reading

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Labour wants to cut voluntary sector funding by a ‘full Negrini’

CROYDON IN CRISIS: A year after they gave a ‘golden handshake’ to the council CEO who helped bankrupt the borough, part of the £38.4m Town Hall budget cuts will impact dozens of charities and community groups.
EXCLUSIVE By STEVEN DOWNES

Hamida Ali: her community fund is about to suffer £400,000 in cuts

It is barely 12 months since the leadership at Croydon’s cash-strapped council authorised a secret payment of £440,000 to the discredited and departing chief exec, Jo “Negreedy” Negrini. Now, in a particularly perverse version of robbing Peter to pay Paul, Croydon Labour’s leaders are planning to reduce grants to the borough’s voluntary sector by a similar amount in 2022-2023.

This is the budget cut that did not get discussed at Monday night’s council meeting, and it seems unlikely that Labour will want to air it at its cabinet meeting next week.

But on top of the massive cut to Council Tax benefits also proposed, the reduction in grants to the voluntary sector will come as a harsh double-whammy for the borough’s vulnerable and least well-off. It is also a massive slap in the face, coming after two years where many voluntary groups have been in the frontline of providing support through the covid pandemic.

Croydon Voluntary Action, the council-funded umbrella body for the sector, this morning issued a statement on behalf of two dozen charity and community groups, expressing the hope that their funding levels will somehow be maintained.

Where these further council cuts will really sting with the inheritors of the crass mismanagement of the bankrupt borough’s finances is that the Croydon Community Fund, which is to lose £400,000 in the next financial year, was the creation of Hamida Ali when she was the cabinet member responsible for the voluntary sector. Continue reading

Posted in Age UK Croydon, CAYSH, Charity, Community associations, Croydon CAB, Croydon Council, Croydon Vision, CVA, Hamida Ali, Jo Negrini, Mind in Croydon, South West London Law Centres, Steve Phaure, Whitgift Foundation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Newman’s Nark v Steve’s Snitch: Town Hall’s Hobson’s choice

The Town Hall Labour group, shellshocked after last Thursday’s massive rejection of their status quo stance at the mayoral referendum and still reeling from a series of resignations, suspensions and selection blocks, faces another rats-in-a-sack internal election tomorrow night.

Cheers: Clive Fraser, aka ‘Newman’s Nark’

Jerry Fitzpatrick, the genial retired lawyer who took over as group chief whip earlier this year, has stood down from that position with immediate effect, it is understood on health grounds.

This has prompted a contest between two councillors from South Norwood ward: Newman’s Nark (“Thirsty” Clive Fraser, chief whip just six months ago and bidding to take the group back to the bad old days) or Steve’s Snitch (Louis Carserides, being pushed forward to strengthen further MP Steve Reed’s grip over the council).

The choice is so unpalatable, some of Labour’s 41 councillors are considering not voting at all.

“Now I know how Hobson felt,” said one. Continue reading

Posted in 2022 council elections, Clive Fraser, Croydon North, Louis Carserides, Norbury, Shafi Khan, South Norwood, Steve Reed MP | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Cynical, hypocritical and devious: benefit cut to hit thousands

Pinch point: TV news cameras were outside the Town Hall last night as trades unions, pensioner groups and disability campaign organisations were protesting against council budget cuts

CROYDON IN CRISIS: For weeks, the Town Hall’s Labour leadership has been planning a cut to Council Tax discounts that will cost some of the borough’s poorest £25 per week or more – and see ‘means testing’ used in the borough. By STEVEN DOWNES

Hard hit: the Council Tax benefit cut will affect the poorest most

The presence on the steps of the Town Hall last night of protestors from trades unions, pensioner groups and disability campaign organisations – almost all of them Labour Party supporters – was the clearest sign yet of the multiple and abject failures of the Labour administration at Croydon Council.

In an act that plumbed the depths of civic cynicism, Hamida “Apologetic” Ali’s council had waited until gone 5pm last Friday before releasing details of some of the latest, harshest cuts to be inflicted on the people of Croydon as a consequence of the council leader and her colleagues’ bankrupting the borough last year.

It had been a piece of cruelly calculated timing by Ali and her cabinet colleagues, Stuart King and Callton Young, intended to protect their own backsides. Continue reading

Posted in Callton Young, Council Tax, Croydon Council, Hamida Ali, Stuart King | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments