Dis-Connected Croydon prepares to fritter away another £1.6m

Dis-Connected Croydon, that multi-million-pound scheme which has already left a trail of uneven paving, narrowed or closed cycle lanes and park benches conveniently placed near to open-all-hours off licences around the borough, is about to find more ways of spending lots of money to achieve very little, this time in South Norwood.

The idealised visualisation of what the thick-end of two million quid is about to be spent on in South Norwood...

The idealised visualisation (note the near complete absence of any road traffic) of what the thick-end of two million quid is about to be spent on in South Norwood…

In this case, there’s £1.65million about to be spent on some new kerbs and wonky pavements.

A public drop-in event about the proposed “South Norwood street improvements” (ha!) is being staged this Saturday, December 5.

The PR puffery for the meeting states: “We are significantly improving South Norwood.” Note that: significantly. Indeed.

“There are plans to improve the street scene of South Norwood in a series of phases, concentrating on areas that have been chosen by you,” they say. And then the reality: “The council has been drawing up proposals for areas in South Norwood based on the information gathered through consultation events that occurred earlier this year, where local people came together and told us what they would like to see in South Norwood…” Any one of the dozen bookmakers in Thornton Heath would offer you very short odds that the outcome of this con-consultation was very similar to what the council planned in the first place.

“… and which key areas to focus on for this £1.65 million project.”

£1.65 million

Just think about that figure. What are they going to spend it on, gold-plated drain hole covers?

“A great emphasis has been placed on creating generous and high quality public spaces that have a real identity that relates to South Norwood.” Yeah. A real identity. Not like the bogus identity which South Norwood has been labouring under all these years till now.

And according to Alison Butler, Labour’s deputy leader on the council, it would appear to be a new identity, too. “I’m so pleased that residents and local business have really got behind this project and helped us shape the plans to transform their area.”

... and the reality. This is one area of paving left after the "transformational" work in South End last year

… and the reality. This is one area of paving left after the “transformational” work in South End last year

Help us. To transform. Their area. How utterly patronising does that sound?

Of course, this is all part of a scheme dreamt up under the previous, Conservative administration at the Town Hall, aided by millions from Transport for London under Tory Mayor Boris Johnson.

This must be the sort of “continuity” which council leader Tony Newman spoke about when he confirmed the appointment of Nathan Elvery as the council’s CEO, to enable him to continue to apply previous Tory policy.

South Norwood residents might wish to examine the experiences of business owners and residents in the previous areas where this scheme was rolled out, such as South End and along George Street in central Croydon.

They endured months of road diversions, a decline in footfall for traders and shop-keepers, lengthy over-runs in the scheduled works, drains blocked, access to utilities – gas and electric – cut-off forcing the roads and pavements to be dug up a second time… And an overall finish which would be unacceptable in a third world backwater.

For what? Cosmetic “improvements” which are unnoticed and, actually, non-transformational?

It also ought to be noted that, in South End, there was nearly twice the budget for work as is to be spent in South Norwood.

The South Norwood proposals focus on the junction of Portland Road and High Street, in Station Road and in Market Parade, Portland Road. The contractors getting the work will be, again, Kier.

“These much-needed public realm works will enhance the quality and character of a major junction in South Norwood, and are just the first stage of a series of improvements in areas chosen by local people,” Butler said. “Breathing new life into our district centres is a major part of our plans and these works are about helping to make that happen.”

The public event this Saturday runs from 10am to 2pm in the Lower Hall at Stanley Halls. Afterwards, the plans will be available to view in South Norwood Library and at the Stanley Halls café for one month.

The plans can be downloaded by clicking here.

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This entry was posted in Alison Butler, Boris Johnson, Croydon Council, Environment, Fairfield, Mayor of London, People for Portland Road, Planning, South Norwood, Stanley Halls, Stanley People's Initiative and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Dis-Connected Croydon prepares to fritter away another £1.6m

  1. farmersboy says:

    Enhance the quality and character of a major junction? Good. I hate poor quality traffic lights that lack character
    Sensible Garden – couple of grand and a few days of hardwork, even managed to fit some greenery in. Rebranding Norwood Junction as Norwood Intergalactic – 20 minutes on photoshop and improved the character no end.
    Transforming some pavement into, erm, some pavement – £1.65m
    Thank God we’ve got the council to build community…

  2. jamie10000 says:

    I attended the public event and it wasn’t worth the effort. They weren’t able to discuss changes to the proposals, and they didn’t convince me they actually knew anything about the area either. There was no sign of any of the south norwood or woodside councillors (the proposals are split between both wards).

    I live just off station road, and the proposals fail to address our main concerns – which is crossing the road to the tunnel and the station safely. The current road markings are not good enough, and these proposals seem to remove the road markings completely. There’s still no specific crossing points, which is surely one of the main requirements.

    If they have this money to burn and are desperate to spend it in south norwood, i suggest they do something about fly-tipping and dog-fouling first. Otherwise we’ll just end up with shiny new pavement covered in dog shit and piss-stained-mattresses… A bit like it is right now…

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