Business owners from London Road – probably the area worst affected by the riots in Croydon last August – took to the streets on Thursday with their brooms and spray guns.
More than 50 local traders were joined by residents, faith groups and local charities to sweep the pavements and shopping areas along London Road in West Croydon.
On the same day, Boris Johnson, London’s part-time mayor, just back from a promotional tour in the United States for his latest book, rolled up in Croydon to admire the murals painted on the hoardings around the old Croydon General Hospital site, a costly bit of post-riots PR spin that seems unlikely to achieve any real “recovery”.
The more practical sweep was part of an awareness drive organised by London Road Traders’ Association to highlight to Croydon Council how neglected their area is when it comes to action on fly-tipping and street cleansing. Local businesses are frustrated at how the area is often overlooked when it comes to regeneration and investment in local businesses.
Ganapathy Tasinathan, the chair of the London Road Traders Association, said, “Lots of promises were made to us after the riots by Croydon Council officers and politicians to help the businesses get back on track and improve the environment. Those have all been empty promises.
“The roads are still dirty, the police are still absent, and there has not been any physical improvement to the area despite the millions Croydon has got in funding off the back of the riots.”
Julie Agbowu, from All Inclusive Training, has been supporting some of the local businesses after the riots and explained that local frustration has been compounded by problems with insurance claims.
“It’s a disgrace that the insurance companies are not paying out and in the meantime many small businesses on London Road are going to the wall and are having to close down,” she said.
Croydon Council and London Mayor Boris Johnson have been fond of repeating that £23million has come into the borough from the Mayor’s Fund after the riots. Around £2.7million is expected to be spent on the London Road area as part of the High Streets Improvement Plan.
The West Croydon Community Forum, which includes the London Road Traders’ Association, is working with Croydon Council planning officers to ensure local residents and businesses have a say in how that money is spent to improve the area.
- For more information or to join the West Croydon Community Forum contact Bhupendra.firstname.lastname@example.org. To join the London Road Traders Association contact email@example.com.
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