Negrini refuses to act on ‘conflicts of interest’ over planning

Jo Negrini, the chief executive of Croydon Council, has refused to intervene over complaints, from the public and one of the borough’s MPs, over potential conflicts of interest of senior councillors in the planning process.

Block by Block: Croydon Council CEO Jo Negrini

Croydon’s cabinet member for housing and regeneration is Alison Butler, who is driving the council’s policy of building 1,000 homes through the Town Hall-owned company, Brick by Brick. Butler is married to Paul Scott, a councillor for Woodside ward and the chair of Croydon’s planning committee which sits in judgement on all planning applications, including those from Birck by Brick.

Brick by Brick is the development vehicle introduced by Negrini when she was head of the council’s planning department; she appointed her council planning department deputy, Colm Lacey, as the company’s managing director. It would be fair to suggest that Negrini’s professional reputation has much at stake over Brick by Brick.

By a happy coincidence (for those firms being handed the juicy, publicly funded contracts), Brick by Brick appointed around a dozen firms of architects to conduct the design work on its housing schemes, just around the same time that RIBA, the Royal Institute of British Architects, made Negrini an honorary fellow.

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Posted in Alison Butler, Brick by Brick, Colm Lacey, Croydon Council, Jo Negrini, Paul Scott, Planning | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Surrey Street shops losing £800 a day during council works

Contractors working in Surrey Street this week. Some shops report their trade is down by 65%

The word on the street – Surrey Street – is that shopkeepers are suffering huge losses of trade while the council conducts its bout of largely cosmetic road works in Croydon’s ancient market. WALTER CRONXITE reports

“Good progress is being made on the improvement works to Surrey Street and the project remains on schedule to finish in early June,” was the party line pumped out by Croydon Council, four weeks into its £1.1million project.

But shopkeepers who continue to trade while the stalls have been displaced to North End and Queen’s Gardens report a crippling loss of trade in the absence of Surrey Street’s traditional traders.

One cafe, which relied on stallholders buying teas, coffees and bacon rolls through the long trading hours, reckons its business is down by 65 per cent since the road works started on March 27. Continue reading

Posted in Business, Mark Watson, Surrey Street, Tony Newman | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sutton councillor takes on LibDem Brake over incinerator

Tom Brake, the only London LibDem MP to retain his seat at the last General Election following five years as a Tory enabler in the coalition, is to have an extra challenge in his Carshalton and Wallington constituency on June 8 – from a former Sutton Liberal Democrat councillor who wants to make the Beddington Lane incinerator the burning issue on polling day.

Nick Mattey: LibDems expelled him for questioning the Viridor incinerator

Nick Mattey, who continues to represent Beddington North ward as an independent on Sutton Council, has decided to stand at this year’s General Election to force Brake into debating his record on the environment and other local issues, in the midst of what has become known as #SuttonBinShame.

Veolia, the refuse contractors whose rubbish service has been a long-running irritation for Croydon residents, took over the bins contract in Sutton on April 1. It was an appropriately chosen date, and the chaos since has put mounting pressure on the FibDem-run council.

Sutton’s switch to Veolia was a cost-cutting decision made through the South London Waste Partnership, to provide similar services across all four member councils, including Croydon. SLWP is the same barely accountable public-funded quango which is inflicting Viridor’s £1billion Beddington Lane waste incinerator on the public of south London.

The incinerator is in the heart of Mattey’s ward, and it was the councillor’s whistle-blowing about the costly scheme and the environmental damage it will cause for decades which saw Sutton FibDems move to gag him, then expel him from the party.

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Posted in 2017 General Election, Environment, Nick Mattey, Sutton Council, Tom Brake MP, Waste incinerator | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Plan rejected for primary on busy Thornton Heath road

Education correspondent GENE BRODIE reports on an important decision for the future health of generations of school children taken at last night’s planning committee

Councillors on Croydon’s planning committee last night unanimously rejected a proposal to build a three-form-of-entry primary school on a small site beside a busy and polluting main road in Thornton Heath, in a belated about-turn from their recent decisions.

Paxton Principal Johnette Barrett and her staff face another year teaching their pupils in Portakabins

It means that the Paxton Academy, a science and sports specialism free school, faces the prospect of beginning its fourth year with its pupils housed in Portakabins at a nearby rugby club, presenting a further complication for the Department for Education’s land acquisition agency.

A local councillor said that the school’s pupils and their parents have “been let down terribly by the Department for Education, which should have found a suitable site for this school long ago”. Continue reading

Posted in Bernadette Khan, Education, Environment, Jamie Audsley, Paxton Academy, Planning, Schools, Stuart King, West Thornton | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Tesco helps turn waste food into Norwood community spirit

An innovative community kitchen opens its doors for the first time in South Norwood tomorrow, helping take what might otherwise be valuable food allowed to go to waste, and turn it into delicious meals for the homeless and poor, and anyone else who wants to turn up, in an effort to bring local people together.

The Community Kitchen aims to help bring together all parts of the community in South Norwood

The South Norwood Community Kitchen will be serving up free meals each Saturday lunchtime from tomorrow in the hall of South Norwood Baptist Church on Oliver Avenue. But to continue to do so, the founders, Paul Mitchell and Laura Whittall, need another £5,000 in donations in their appeal for equipment and support.

Mitchell and Whittall are not professional foodsters, but they arrived in South Norwood, liked the area and its people, and wanted to try to do something to help others while dealing with one of the flagrant wastes of our modern age: discarded food.

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Posted in Charity, Community associations, South Norwood, South Norwood Community Kitchen | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Celebrate St George’s Day with folk music at Ruskin House

English folk band Morrigan are visiting the Ruskin House Folk and Blues club this Sunday night to help celebrate St George’s Day.

All are welcome.

There will be other English-themed music too, a light buffet, hot sausages also available and English real ale at the bar.

Entry is only £2 each, as usual, including free wine raffle. Continue reading

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Bag a bargain at NCT’s Nearly New Sale, Sanderstead, Jun 24

Savvy parents and parents-to-be in Croydon can find top quality baby and toddlers’ clothes, toys and equipment at the NCT Nearly New Sale.

The Croydon branch of the National Childbirth Trust is staging its Nearly New Sale on Saturday June 24 from 10am till noon at All Saints Church in Onslow Gardens, Sanderstead.

NCT Nearly New Sales offer excellent quality used baby and children’s items. Baby products on the high street can be pricey but shoppers at the NCT sale can save up to 75 per cent on the price of most goods.

Families with baby and toddler items they no longer need can ensure they go to a good home through the sale. They’ll make some cash, too, as sellers keep up to 70 per cent of the proceeds. Continue reading

Posted in Charity, Sanderstead | Tagged , | Leave a comment