Dis-Connected Croydon is set to dig up South End again

Just the matter of a few weeks after the “improvements” to South End were (almost) completed – months later than scheduled – council contractors are going to be digging the road up again next week.

More road works and closures are coming to South End next week

More road works and closures are coming to South End next week

An email has flooded into the inbox here at Inside Croydon Towers. Local businesses are being informed of the impending road closures, though no one at Croydon Council appears to have bothered telling any local residents.

“Please note road surfacing works are scheduled for the 23/24 February from 10pm to 5am, local diversions will be in place to support these works. The area in question is from the junction of Aberdeen Road and South End through to Ledbury Road including the Junction of South Bridge. Apologies for any inconvenience caused,” states the cursory advisory note, sent yesterday afternoon, from Paul Forrester, who apparently is something called a “senior project manager” at Croydon Council.

Inside Croydon has learned that the resurfacing work is necessary because of drains being blocked or utilities – gas, water and electricity – access being damaged or blocked when the major road works project was undertaken over the course of the last year.

Part of the £3m "improvements" conducted under the "Connected Croydon" scheme using riot recovery funds

Part of the £3m “improvements” conducted under the “Connected Croydon” scheme using riot recovery funds

Businesses and residents living near this stretch of road, and elsewhere along South End, in central Croydon just to the south of the Flyover, had to endure months of one-way systems, road closures, bus diversions and other disruption throughout 2014.

Starting in March last year, the council was due to spend £3million of riot recovery money, in an area left relatively unscathed by the infamous night of August 8, 2011, with the exception of shops Richer Sounds and Cycle King being looted.

Businesses we have spoken to are adamant that the council’s “improvements” programme undoubtedly affected their trade adversely during 2014.

The road works were due to be completed within just six weeks, but dragged on through the summer and into November. Cosmetic work to the shop fronts of some properties continued even into this month. Similar “improvement” work has recently begun in the area around East Croydon Station and George Street.

On South End, the road works merely served to widen the road, narrow the pavements, create a few extra car parking bays, and to eliminate a designated cycle lane, dangerously so in the opinion of cycling groups. Raised flower beds were replaced with lonely-looking solitary saplings. A few chairs were bolted to the pavement, offering seats with views of the traffic. Or a convenient place to sit for anyone making use of the Tesco Express’s 7am off licence…

Under the scheme, around £500,000 has been spent on painting and upgrading several shop fronts, mostly on properties owned by the very wealthy Whitgift Foundation. The whole scheme was devised and authorised under the council’s previous Conservative administration.

The name given to what appears to be a poorly implemented misuse of millions of pounds of public money? Connected Croydon.

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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 inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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