Politically partisan Croydon Mayor Eddy Arram courted further controversy this week at a community unveiling of heritage plaques in South Norwood.
Arram boasted of “our” Conservative council and Transport for London spending money on a mural in the public subway under Norwood Junction Station, before remembering the obligations of his office and admitting that he should not boast about party political achievements as mayor.
As well as being a Conservative councillor, Arram’s “day job” is as a state-paid assistant to local Tory MP, Gavin Barwell.
While the mayor was abusing the office as the borough’s apolitical first citizen on Tuesday, other politicians and community leaders were strictly non-party political.
Among the many people thanked by Paul Scott, who is a Labour councillor for Woodside ward and chair of People for Portland Road, for bringing about the erection of plaques were Conservative London Assembly Member Steve O’Connell, and his PA at City Hall, Joanne Oywer.
O’Connell told Inside Croydon that he and his office had worked hard to move on bureaucracy that blocked the placing of the plaques that celebrated the 100th centenary of the completion of the first reinforced concrete underpass.
A very well-attended couple of unveilings south and north of the railway line had local historian John Hickman regaling the audience with the story of the long “agitation” that was required to secure the works. Agitation, the mayor observed, seemed to be an ingrained tradition in South Norwood.
South Norwood Tourist Board was also represented – yes such a body really exists, set up after “council initiatives have been a conspicuous failure”.
Hickman and Ian Bone of SNTB both say that they are looking forward to securing more historical plaques in the area that would help develop tours of an area that has a very strong Victorian heritage.
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