There’s people on the pitch.
They think it’s all over.
It is now!
OK, it may not be quite the same as winning the World Cup, but the generosity and encouragement offered by Inside Croydon’s readers over the past day in contributing to our #BoxparkBallsFund has been so uplifting that as the target amount was reached this lunchtime, the website’s Editor was seen dancing down North End a little like Nobby Stiles did around Wembley 51 years ago.
There were a total of 77 donors to the fund, which is to be used to pay legal and related costs incurred as a result of a vexatious solicitor’s letter sent from lawyers acting on instruction of Boxpark.
“We are truly grateful to everyone who contributed to the #BoxparkBallsFund, or spread the word on social media, and for all the encouraging remarks and support we’ve had in the past day,” Steven Downes, the site’s Editor, said.
Inside Croydon received the Boxpark solicitors’ letter over a report about the bar and restaurant venue’s launch. The report suggested that rents charged to operators at Boxpark would rise steeply after an initial period.
It had been Inside Croydon’s reporting which had revealed that Boxpark was given a £3million loan by the local council to set up next to East Croydon Station, plus a public subsidy of £180,000 taken from the borough’s arts budget for the venue’s launch party. The council loan and subsidy had been recommended in a report to Croydon Council by a council employee who later went to work for… Boxpark.
Since the legal response was sent from libel lawyers on behalf of Inside Croydon, the website has heard nothing more from Boxpark.
“We have an automatic right of reply system, and we also always try to ensure that if we do make an error in our reporting, we will correct and clarify.
“But Boxpark went straight for legal threats, and pretty badly handled ones, too. It looked like a blatant attempt to try to intimidate us and shut us down,” Downes said today.
“The frustrating thing is that while they can fall back on their council subsidies, we have had to respond to their vexatious complaint from our own resources. All publications face this issue daily: they might be in the right, but have no legal means to recover their costs.
“Someone suggested we crowdfund, and within the first hour we had raised half the money. We’ve hit the target in 26 hours.
“The financial support has been wonderful, but in some ways the messages we have received from our readers and supporters are even more valuable than cash. They are so encouraging. We’ve had backing from local councillors, including from neighbouring boroughs, and even a freeman of Croydon.”
It was that freeman, Adrian Dennis, a Croydon councillor for 25 years, who posted alongside his donation: “Inside Croydon is an invaluable source of information and an alternative opinion of great value.
“Also being seen to donate will upset some who should know better.”
If you have any idea who former councillor Dennis was referring to, then please send your answers, on postcards only, to:
c/o Fisher’s Folly
Cost A Mint Walk
And look out for more revelations about Boozepark coming very soon…
- Inside Croydon is Croydon’s only independent news source, still based in the heart of the borough. In 2016, we averaged 17,000 page views every week
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