October proved to be a bumper month for Croydon in the regional and national headlines.
These are the stories most read by Inside Croydon’s loyal reader:
This story was followed up nationally, as attempts to de-stabilise the leadership team of Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, fronted by West Thornton councillor The Hon Emily Benn, back-fired spectacularly when we revealed that she had been encouraging people to join a rival political party.
Plans by neighbouring local authority to close half its public libraries, turning some into “bookish gyms”, out-sourced to Greenwich Leisure, caused widespread dismay, especially since the plans announced had never been included in the public consultation. The scheme by Lambeth impacts Upper Norwood Joint Library, for more than 100 years run in conjunction with Croydon.
Our motoring correspondent, Jeremy Clackson, discovered more worrying evidence that public servants’ time and money was being wasted by Coulsdon’s one-man motoring campaign, abusing multiple identities.
More closures – this time of the Fairfield Halls for two years, while a property speculation scheme cooked up by Croydon Council and Croydon College seeks to build a few hundred flats nearby. This is all to take place while, across Wellesley Road, the Whitgift Centre is to be closed for redevelopment, too. The Fairfield Halls desperately needs investment and much renovation work, but the closure will have wider impact, the results of which got discussed further during the month.
Another Inside Croydon exclusive, as we reported that developments of new homes – built without adequate parking provision – and road schemes in Coulsdon’s town centre are causing several key businesses to close down and move away from the area.
Lambeth’s approval of its plans for library closures (see 2 above) provided an object lesson in how local authorities run public “consultations”.
Coulsdon must be such a lovely place to live, if only they had somewhere to park the car, or a train service worthy of the name. There’s local outrage over proposals by train operators to diminish services for the commuter belt.
Ahhh. The voice of commonsense.
More uncertainty and disruption seems likely to be ladled upon the town centre, as it emerged this month that it will be at least five years before the supermall vision of local Tory MP, Gavin Barwell, and his chums at the Whitgift Foundation is delivered by developers Hammerson and Westfield. Odd how none of the expensively hired PR spinners, the MP, the developers’ executives nor the council bothered to announce this important nugget of information for the public and for the businesses and employees currently trading through uncertainty in the Whitgift Centre.
Some of the consequences of the Fairfield Halls closure plans began to emerge, including a large number of redundancies while the arts venue was closed for refurbishment, even though an official report to the council said, quite callously some might suggest: “There are no human resources implications from this report”.
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