Organisers – including at least one member of the British National Party – who wanted to hold a meeting in New Addington on Sunday have been told that they will not now be able to stage their event in the local community centre.
“There’s no meeting. I’m not saying any more on the matter,” an official at the Addington Community Association centre, clearly uncomfortable at the controversial nature of the meeting and its organisers, told Inside Croydon today.
Sources in Katharine Street suggest that the decision to withdraw permission for the meeting was taken by the hall’s manager after Croydon Council reminded them of the terms of the Central Parade venue’s lease agreement.
Earlier this week, in an unprecedented move, local Labour and Tory politicians issued a statement jointly to condemn the meeting and the motivations behind it.
The meeting is believed to have been organised by John Clarke, a New Addington resident who stood for the British National Party in Fieldway ward in May’s local elections, polling the grand total of 210 votes.
Clarke is one of four BNP local candidates in Croydon who have been investigated by the police for failing to submit their election expenses within 35 days, a criminal offence. Clarke, who acted as election agent for the BNP in Croydon, admitted that he failed to comply with the law, blaming the borough’s returning officer for failing to send him the forms.
It is not the first time that Clarke has had a brush with the law over election procedures: Clarke sought election as a BNP candidate in Merton in 2006 but used a false address on his nomination papers to get round the rule that council candidates must live or work in the borough.
Clarke is understood to be behind the New Addington “community campaign”, including a petition against a mosque – something for which there are no plans.
“They are pretending to run a community campaign, claiming it’s not political. They are leafleting, knocking on doors, as well as running a street stall once or twice per week,” one concerned local resident told Inside Croydon.
“There is no doubt it is causing tensions.”
Our source suggests that the non-existent New Addington mosque has in some ways become a symbol of discontent and deprivation across the community in difficult times.
There are around a thousand Muslims living in New Addington, according to the 2011 census. “Muslims in our community are feeling concerned. Other black and minority ethnic groups will also be feeling some concern because they are seeing the BNP being so prominent and, seemingly, a number of local residents being favourable to them.”
The cancellation of Sunday’s public meeting in the community centre may help in easing some of those tensions and concerns.
Coming to Croydon
- Mind-Loosing Workshop, Aug 16
- David Lean Cinema: The Love Punch, Aug 16
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Aug 16
- RAF Kenley Battle of Britain fly-past, Aug 17
- Mythical Maze stories, Crystal Palace Maze, Aug 20
- David Lean Cinema: Stop The Pounding Heart, Aug 21
- Mythical Maze stories, Crystal Palace Maze, Aug 27
- David Lean Cinema: Frank, Aug 28
- Upper Norwood Library well-being groups, Aug 30
- David Lean Cinema: The Two Faces of January, Sep 4
- David Lean Cinema: Fading Giglolo, Sep 6
- David Lean Cinema: Camille Claudel, Sep 11
- Warlingham rugby dinner with international Richard Hill, Sep 12
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- David Lean Cinema: Chef, Sep 18
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Sep 20
- David Lean Cinema: A Night At The Cinema in 1914, Sep 22
- David Lean Cinema: Jimmy’s Hall, Sep 25
- Streatham Common 6M race, Sep 27
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Oct 18
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
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