Brick by Brick’s profitable Blairite response to Right to Buy

The tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire has, rightly, focused attention on safety around the nation’s low-cost housing. But underlining the lack of attention given to the conditions of such homes and the ongoing under-investment in council housing has been another scandal of neglect in housing for nearly half a century.

An even greater scandal is how a handful of people have, as a result, managed to become very, very rich at the expense of society’s poorest and most vulnerable. Continue reading

Posted in Alison Butler, Brick by Brick, Business, Chris Philp MP, Colm Lacey, Croydon Council, Housing, Jennifer Brathwaite, Lambeth Council, London-wide issues, Planning, Property, Southwark Council, Steve Reed MP, Taberner House, Tony Newman | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Addiscombe Communities Summer Fair, Jul 15

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Artful’s Grenfell tribute removed while council backs graffiti

How the work by the graffiti artist The Artful Dodger appeared in Crystal Palace this week

Croydon Council’s attempts to paint itself, literally, as a hip and happening location for street art is, at you might have guessed, more than a bit bogus and ripe with hypocrisy and blatant double standards.

Because in the same week that council cabinet member Mark Watson is using thousands of pounds of public money to “celebrate” his stripping Surrey Street of half of its market stalls and replacing them with over-priced derivative artworks, a genuine piece of protest art has been allowed to be obliterated. Continue reading

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South Norwood’s movie nights include a moon shot

Stanley’s Film Club’s July programme, with screenings mostly in its new home on South Norwood Hill, has been released, and their line-up features a celebration of LGBT cinema and an incredible, little-known story of black women’s role in the Space Race at NASA.

The month begins with a special dance and movie performance, in association with The BRIT School, of Oscar-winner La La Land, being staged at St John’s Upper Norwood (click here for booking details). Continue reading

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Wandle wanders and fishy treats in London Rivers Week

Londoners will be pulling on waders, jumping into canoes and going on waterside walks this week as part of London Rivers Week, a free festival which flows from June 26 to July 2.

London Rivers Week helps to show off the capital’s rewilded areas

Many of the week’s activities are coordinated by Thames21, the waterways charity, whose chief executive Debbie Leach said, “Many of our rivers are great natural green spaces which can help Londoners ward off stress, obesity and social isolation.

“But too often they have been hidden behind buildings and fences, or even forced underground, making them hard to access.

“New river rewilding projects across the city, such as with the Wandle in Croydon, have removed some of these barriers, increased the amount and variety of plants on the river banks and created new community spaces. A total of 12 miles of river have been restored since 2008. In some cases, buried rivers have even been brought above ground again.” Continue reading

Posted in Activities, Charity, Croydon parks, Environment, Outside Croydon, Walks, Wandle Park, Wildlife | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Experts express doubts over £1.1m spent on Surrey Street

The council’s own set of architecture and design experts have suggested that much of the Town Hall’s £1.1million spend on the gentrification of Surrey Street Market may have not been the best use of public money, Inside Croydon has learned.

Mark Watson’s “new” Surrey Street. The council has not quite managed to drive away all the stalls just yet

Croydon’s Place Review Panel was formed by the council at the end of last year to offer guidance on new builds and other schemes around the borough.

In the PRP’s report on the proposals for Surrey Street, seen by Inside Croydon, the design experts have raised a wide range of questions about the works, including poor use of and non-existent signage, they aired doubts about the level of consultation with the market traders, and they even deemed some of the proposals to be  unworkable.

The Panel also questioned the wisdom of the biggest single expenditure, the bulk of the £1.1million budget being used for the resurfacing of Surrey Street. Resurfacing forced the closure of the market for 10 weeks, at massive cost in lost business to stall-holders and shops, effectively driving away half of the stalls which had traded on the market as well as many of the local shoppers who relied on the “Pound a Bowl!” value offered by the fruit and veg traders.

Yet months before the works commenced, the Place Review Panel had cast doubt on the whole exercise when they asked “whether resurfacing the highway would be the best prioritisation for the budget available”.

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Posted in Angela Brady, Art, Business, Croydon Council, Mark Watson, Paul Scott, Place Review Panel, Planning, Surrey Street | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Swann song for NHS chief who has departed unannounced

Paula Swann has been replaced as the chief executive of the Croydon NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, the CCG.

Paula Swann: gone

No official announcement has been made from the CCG’s offices in Fisher’s Folly, the council headquarters, although a member of staff this morning said that Swann had “left a few weeks ago”.

Swann was at the head of an organisation which oversees all the borough’s GP practices, part of the NHS’s “infernal [sic] market”, which they say is “responsible for commissioning (buying) health services for the residents of Croydon”.

Swann, a qualified accountant, was appointed to the job in April 2013. According to NHS pay scales, Swann’s job could have paid her up to £125,000.

On her watch, Croydon CCG was placed in special measures 12 months ago when unable to make the books balance while being forced to make significant cuts to spending, and Croydon became the first London borough to withdraw IVF fertility treatment from its residents as a means to meet its cuts targets. Continue reading

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