It could turn out to be a metaphor for the whole £1 billion Hammersfield redevelopment of our town centre: Attract thousands of people, many with small children, into central Croydon with promises of a few (short-lived) bright lights and sparklers.
Croydon’s ceremonial Christmas light switch-on last night, “organised” by the Croydon BID business lobby group, saw several spectators, many of them children, burnt and injured by fireworks that had been set-off on the roof of Centrale. Inevitably, some might suggest, these fireworks fell to the ground nearby, in the midst of the crowds of spectators.
“There were hot rocks actually falling into people’s heads,” one spectator said, according to the Evening Standard.
Others have said that there was screaming and some panic, with children diving to the floor to take cover.
It was “like a rain of fire”, they said. “They were embers, little stones, they were very hot. I got some on my face, and my hand, it just wouldn’t stop burning.
“It was scary, it was only maybe 10 seconds, but I saw people moving away. I put the hood over my daughter’s head, but luckily it stopped.”
Croydon BID – which represents many of the town centre’s biggest traders – has apologised for the injuries caused and say they are investigating the incident.
Tony Newman, the leader of the council, has so far opted not to take the opportunity to issue his thoughts on how handing over chunks of the town centre exclusively to the interests of big business might be working out.
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