That Was The Year That Was: Readers pick their favourites

Croydon town centre 2Our second bite at a review of the year (also know as “driving traffic with links to previous articles”) hands over the editorial choices to our loyal reader from all parts of our borough, and beyond.

We approached a random selection of commenters, Twitterers and contributors for their three fave Inside Croydon articles of 2014, and a one-liner to explain why. Only one person we approached failed to reply. His name? Gavin Barwell

Here’s those who, thankfully, did take the time and trouble…

David White

Park Hill resident, former GLC member, local Labour Party alickadoo and keen Twitterer @DavidWhite020

Tory leader Fisher is caught red-handed with £10,000 pay hike

This was highly significant as it exposed Fisher’s unprincipled behaviour and contributed to his eventual resignation.

#WadGate the Movie. Or Mike Fisher: My Part In His Downfall

Associated with the #WadGate article above. The spoof video made by Arfur Z Towcrate (Who he? Ed) is surely the most brilliant piece of Croydon satire for years.

Labour and the hidden agenda as Elvery is handed top job

Croydon Council CEO and returning officer  David Brent: any resemblance to Nathan Elvery is entirely coincidental

Croydon Council CEO David Brent: any resemblance to Nathan Elvery is entirely deliberate

Among the many illuminating articles about Nathan Elvery was the one about his appointment as CEO of the Council by Labour without public advertisement of the post.  The matter wasn’t even on the published agenda of any Council Committee. Some believe we are now seeing the results of this as many of the Council’s policies continue unchanged from those of the previous Tory administration.

Also one would have hoped a different CEO might have had better political antennae, and, for example, warned the Labour leadership in advance about the disastrous “school playing fields” report.

Valerie Hunter

One of iC’s keenest correspondents, her regular and detailed updates on some planning matters – especially the fate of Queen’s Gardens – have been an invaluable assistance to our coverage of these important local issues

Croydon Council offices cost more to build than the Shard

The council hierarchy is either “in bed” with Laing and developers, or they are putty in their hands. But not until this did we realise just how much they were financially wiping the floor with residents.

The festering scandal of how London Road has been forgotten

Croydon South MP Richard Ottaway: we may never see his like again. Thank goodness

MP Richard Ottaway: we may never see his like again. Thank goodness

I live in the south of the borough, but the scandal over the slow and misdirected distribution of riots recovery money appalls me.

I might have been murdered, claims Croydon MP Ottaway

It was so difficult to limit the choice to just three articles. But this from last January was a favourite, as our MP dialled 999 when a dozen petitioning pensioners turned up for one of his surgery sessions.

Martin Tempia

Tempia is a television and film producer, and organiser of the Crystal Palace International Film Festival, who is also active in local community groups

The Lord Coe-National Sports Centre affair

Lord Coe and Lady Xuelin Bates, one of the named sponsors of the ZhongRong Palace scheme

Lord Coe and Lady Xuelin Bates, one of the named sponsors of the ZhongRong Palace scheme

A wonderful example of the lost art of investigative journalism, lifting a stone on a local issue and finding links, intrigue and underhand dealing stretching far beyond the borders of a south London park and even the UK.

The Winston McKenzie UKIP Carnival story

Comedy gold.

A story about a painting at St Andrew’s church by a long-dead local artist

A charming  reminder that Croydon does have another story to tell about itself and its past.

Jason Cobb

Stockwell- and Essex-based blogger behind the onionbagblog and Brixton Buzz, who is blocked on Twitter by Steve Reed OBE

Chump! UKIP candidate in legal threat against this website

Ho! Ho! Ho! Winston Ho, ho, ho: Winston McKenzie

Ho! Ho! Ho! Winston  McKenzie

I thought this was a comedy piece at first. On second reading, I suppose it is. CHAMP!

Politicians distrusted? Ask Lambeth’s housing co-ops

This reminded me that Lambeth’s loss is Croydon’s gain. Or something.

Anarchist wants Tory MP Ottaway to tell the truth

Any story about an anarchist telling a Tory what to do has to be in a Top 3 list.

Marzia Nicodemi

@MarziaNicodemiE was an unsuccessful Labour candidate in the local elections in her home ward of Shirley, where she is active at the local community centre

Could this be what Marzia Nicodemi means?

Could this be what Marzia Nicodemi means?

UKIP figures behind council-funded ‘apolitical’ talking shop
Because of the perfect picture.

Ten things we have learned from the 2014 Town Hall elections
For future reference.

Incinerator campaigners ask: WHO is Gavin Barwell?
Because I hold Barwell in contempt and the Tories’ greed responsible for the incinerator going up.

Bella Bartock

Our arts critic has had a less-than-busy year, largely thanks to the various grant cuts imposed over the last four years by the Tory council, closing the Warehouse Theatre and David Lean Cinema and driving the better AmDram companies out of the borough. However…

Not a dry seat in the house after five hours of Ken Dodd

Ken Dodd“Ken Dodd’s dad died.”

“Did he?”

“No, Doddy.”

That joke is less aged than most of the material delivered at the Fairfield Halls in what can only be described as a remarkable evening. Dodd remains a kind of comedy genius. Much like Winston McKenzie.

Einstein is back at his brilliant best at the Spread Eagle

Being reunited with my old friend Albert was one of the highlights of the artistic year in Croydon. One year after opening the Spread Eagle studio theatre above a public house in the centre of the town, they continue to produce some very entertaining shows

Willows could leave CODA weeping as they leave the Cryer

It is not only at Croydon Town Hall where the Philistines have been let loose with the pocket calculators. In Sutton, too, they know the price of everything and the value of nothing. Closure of the Charles Cryer Theatre in Carshalton could leave the Croydon Operatic and Drama Association struggling to find suitable, and affordable, venues for productions such as their outstanding Wind In The Willows.

David Callam

Another regular commenter and Commentary writer, Callam is a former local newspaper reporter and business reporter.

Coverage of the 2014 local elections

VOTE 2014 logoI have read most of the Inside Croydon articles during the year and enjoyed them, particularly the political ones, though some of them need to be taken with industrial quantities of salt. I couldn’t single out three specifically, but I was very impressed with the immediacy of your live feed during the local elections in May.

Having covered elections for both print and broadcast media, I prefer the speed of electronic reporting – specifically radio. Your reporting had that same feel. I hope we can look forward to something similar during the coming General Election.

Arfur Towcrate

The Waddon-based keyboard warrior, and producer of the “most brilliant piece of Croydon satire for years” (© David White, above)

#WadGate: Fisher is forced to resign as Croydon Tory leader

yes we khan franklin fontMike Fisher’s slow, agonising political death was definitely a highlight

Shasha Khan has definitely been my Croydon person of the year

84 per cent of Inside Croydon readers voted that they expect their council to scrap the deal with Viridor for the Beddington Lane incinerator. Instigated by the Tories, it is being continued under a Labour council. Only Khan has represented the people by taking Sutton Council and Viridor to the High Court.

Waking up on May 23 to find that the Tories had lost control of the Town Hall by more than anyone had predicted…

… with the exception of Inside Croydon’s 40-30 early call.

Ian Hunter

Another regular correspondent with detailed analysis of council proposals whose insights have often been very informative in our coverage.

Labour’s Newman’s waves the white flag over Viridor incinerator

Who is really in control at the council - elected Tony Newman, left, or unelected Nathan Elvery?

Who is really in control at the council – elected Tony Newman, left, or unelected Nathan Elvery?

The administrative power behind the political scene should be a big worry for those who think democracy has come to town.

Advisors reject Taberner House redevelopment as Eastern Bloc

A change of administration at the Town Hall, a promised change of the originally proposed scheme, and they come up with… something looking very similar. And all ignoring the council’s own conservation area committee’s comments.

One-fifth of an academy’s pupils ‘disappear’ before GCSEs

A most worrying report, originally from The Guardian newspaper but given a local twist by iC, which suggests how the schools league tables are being manipulated.

Inside Croydon’s Polish Cleaning Lady

A tireless example of the contribution of immigrants to the economy, iC’s Polish cleaning lady comes in to the offices at least twice a week, when she typically spends four hours sending emails to someone called Marek in Malbork using our less-than-high-speed interweb connections. But she also checks out the website…

The unbeatable Croydon meal deal

Meal DealWhen I saw this, I thought it looked very good value. But the editor of the website told me that a Mars bar isn’t part of my five a day.

The re-opening of the David Lean Cinema

What wonderful news this was. The editor even gave me the night off work to be able to celebrate. He didn’t give me a ticket for the opening, though, and they had free champagne and pop stars there for the occasion.

Dynamic duo on the wrong track over re-naming East Croydon station

I thought this was very funny: £200,000 to change the signs on a railway station. Bardzo dobrze, as we say in Malbork.

We’d like to thank our loyal reader for their massive support over the last 12 months.

Our loyal reader, and we suspect Gavin Barwell, have between them viewed this website nearly three-quarters of a million times since January.

That’s 40 per cent up on site traffic from 2013. Thank you for all the reads, but also for the comments, and especially the emails, articles, commentaries, tip-offs and documents that you have sent through to us which have all contributed to making this a vibrant, much-read and much-noticed website.

Please keep the emails, direct messages and Tweets (@InsideCroydon) coming.

Here’s wishing you all a healthy and prosperous 2015

  • Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough: 407,847 page views (Jan-Jun 2014) If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or local event, please email us with full details at

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in 2014 council elections, Inside Croydon and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply