For what is supposed to be among the most diverse and colourful boroughs in the country, parts of Croydon appear to be very… pale if the expensively commissioned architects’ drawings of some council schemes are anything to go by.
Take the “major improvements” – meaning a few new paving slabs, the latest in the DisConnected Croydon programme – promised for South Norwood in a council press release this week, a project close to the hearts of Alison Butler and Paul Scott, the couple which forms half of the Gang of Four that have an iron grip over the Labour group that runs the council.
The image accompanying the council bumpf, which also includes a quote from Butler, shows what the council must regard as an idealised South Norwood high street after the works are completed, portraying an area which is anything but “bustling”. And not a brown face to be seen anywhere.
“It’s as if we don’t exist,” said someone of Asian heritage who contacted Inside Croydon, although we feel obliged to point out that this was not Hamida Ali, the cabinet member and councillor for neighbouring Woodside ward, since she fails to respond to her correspondence.
It’s not the first time something as insensitive and unthinking as this image has been pumped out from the propaganda departments of the council and their acolytes.
“This is our local authority, a public body, spending public money on illustrations to ‘sell’ to us their plans for the future, and yet they do not seem to have any real awareness of the people who live in the borough,” another annoyed resident said. “And this in the week when the Labour Party was accused of being out of touch with working people and the people it is supposed to represent.”
When Boozepark did something similar last year, they at least had the grace to issue an apology and get the illustrations re-done to better reflect the ethnic mix of the area. Just as well, because given the couple of weeks he’s had, grime global star Stormzy might have had something to say about it before he performed at the East Croydon venue last night.
After this latest PR gaffe by the council, will Councillors Butler or Scott manage to apologise to the people of South Norwood, too?
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