There’s something bittersweet about the announcement this week that Croydon Council has been awarded £58,800 from City Hall towards the cost of improving pedestrian and cycling access to Wandle Park.
Sweet, because it is a cause that Inside Croydon’s loyal reader readily supported.
But bitter because fewer than 900 other Croydon residents bothered to complete the online voting form.
More bitter still, because while the spending on making it easier for people – whether on foot, on bikes or pushing baby buggies – to traverse the railway lines beside Waddon New Road is very welcome, the amount being doled out by the Mayor of London is just crumbs from the table compared to the millions being frittered away on new paving slabs and extra parking bays elsewhere in the borough, the misspending of “riot recovery funds” under the DisConnected Croydon scheme.
And bitterest of all, because while Boris Johnson and Croydon’s Labour-lite council is making a modest effort with a few thousands of public money to improve things for non-motorised transport to use a park in one part of the borough, a short walk away, the same public bodies want to spend many millions more to bulldoze through another public park so that more cars can drive into central Croydon.
According to the announcement from the Mayor’s office on Thursday, “The improvements will include: upgrading the Waddon New Road entrance to Wandle Park to make it more welcoming and accessible by relocating the bus stop, providing a wheeling channel on the bridge for bicycles and pushchairs, and new planting; tree planting, better lighting and the installation of zebra crossings between West Croydon Station and Wandle Park around the Factory Lane car park on Pitlake; and, a new staircase with a wheeling channel on to the Jubilee Bridge at Cairo New Road to create a more direct route to the northern entrances of the park.”
So quite modest really. Worth a “Hip!”, but maybe not an additional “Hip! Hooray!” One cheer rather than three.
It looks very much like that, of the seven schemes across London being considered for funding, Croydon’s attracted the least amount of public support. Hardly a ringing endorsement of the council’s publicity department, is it?
A comment attributed in the press release to Councillor Kathy Bee, Croydon Council’s cabinet member for transport and the environment, makes interesting reading, especially if placed in the context of her enthusiastic support for spending £87million on the Boris Flyover over Waddon Station and building a four-lane urban motorway through Duppas Hill Park.
“Open spaces will become more and more important to Croydon residents as our borough’s regeneration continues,” Councillor Bee is supposed to have said, “so this Big Green grant will make a real difference alongside our own match funding from local developer contributions.”
Could it be that those “developer contributions” include money from Hammersfield? So that for a mess of pottage, less than 60 grand, Westfield, Hammerson and other developers are making it easier for Croydon residents to access one local park, while Transport for London and Croydon Council are to spend nearly £90million of tax-payers’ money on building a motorway through another park, to make it easier for people from outside Croydon to access the developers’ supermall and luxury apartments.
And this is what they called “Connected Croydon”. They really mean #CroydonTakeover.
- Perhaps we could get more people to sign the petition opposing Kathy Bee and Boris Johnson’s Flyover to the Croydon Flyover than signed up to support the worthy Wandle Park funding appeal?
- Mayor’s new road scheme “will leave motorists worse off”
- Flawed Purley Way scheme “intended to deceive”, says expert
- MP Barwell backs road scheme which could bulldoze Waddon park
- Inside Croydon Events: for dates and links to what’s happening in and around Croydon, updated daily, click here
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