Almost 30 people from South Norwood, Shirley, Penge and Crystal Palace united to transform a long neglected piece of greenery on South Norwood High Street at the weekend.
Crystal Palace Transition Town joined forces with South Norwood Tourist Board and Councillor Jane Avis to help push forward their plans for a community garden on land opposite the Harris Academy.
The patch was a depressing blight on the area strewn with rubbish and fly tipped builders waste for a number of years.
However the South Norwood Tourist Board and Avis have plans to create a community garden and have had wooden bollards installed to deter further fly tipping.
The site is set to be transformed into the “Sensible Garden”.
The South Norwood Tourist Board, the inspiration behind the area’s best-loved beauty spot, Lake Conan Doyle, has arranged for punk star Captain Sensible to dedicate a bench to be erected in the garden.
Sensible, aka Raymond Burns, the founder of 1970s punk group The Damned, is noteworthy as being the only person ever to have a single released with the title “Croydon” that includes mention of both the Virgo Fidelis school and Fairfield Halls’ toilets.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that Burns was furious a couple of years ago when Croydon Council, together with Sustrans, proposed a “portrait bench” featuring some of the borough’s noteworthy figures: apparently, it was not the fact that Captain Sensible was left off the council’s short list altogether, but that he was passed over when Ronnie Corbett was selected that irked the most.
Now, it looks as if South Norwood will get a bench dedicated to Captain Sensible and no one else, positioned opposite his old school, the former Stanley Tech.
On Sunday, the volunteers filled close to 50 bags of rubbish and other discarded items. Among the jetsam of south London life found on this neglected corner of South Norwood was a sofa, a bath, three toilets, broken window panes and plenty of rubble.
The community co-operation came about when Crystal Palace residents Nuala McLaughlin and Robert Gibson met the South Norwood Tourist Board and Councillor Avis at the recent lake-naming ceremony.
Crystal Palace Transition Town “Palace Pick Up” initiative led by Anna Kostyrina has already cleared several other Croydon sites in Upper Norwood.
“When I first saw the site it was terribly depressing, but the community response was fantastic,” said Gibson who is on the steering group of Crystal Palace Transition Town.
“People made new friendships on the day and were really buzzed up with a sense of empowerment of reclaiming their space for their community. The gratitude and support of those walking past made it all worthwhile and Jane Avis seemed quite emotional about what we achieved on the day.
“I also have huge respect for the South Norwood Tourist Board and how they are strengthening the sense of community.”
Coming to Croydon
- This War! St Gertrude’s Theatre group, Feb 19-22
- Welsh myths children’s event, Upper Norwood Library, Feb 20
- Norwood Society talk, Upper Norwood Library, Feb 20
- Mr Pooter comes to Croydon, Feb 20-22
- Warm and Well event, Upper Norwood Library, Feb 22
- Croydon Male Voice Choir concert, Feb 22
- Stop the Incinerator fund-raiser, Feb 24
- Fairtrade Film night, Antenna Cafe, Haynes Lane, Feb 27
- Fairtrade event, Upper Norwood Library, Mar 1
- Coulsdon and Purley Debating Society, Mar 3
- Patchwork and quilting workshop, Upper Norwood Library, Mar 3
- Fairtrade stall at Food Market, Haynes Lane, Mar 8
- Upper Norwood Library Book Club, Mar 15
- Norwood Society talk, Upper Norwood Library, Mar 20
- South Norwood Lakes Playground group workshop, Mar 25
- Croydon Half-marathon, Mar 30
- Crystal Palace Overground Festival, June 26-29
Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough: 516,649 page views (Jan-Dec 2013)
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