You don’t know whether to laugh in derision or cry in embarrassment.
Certainly, residents in South Norwood don’t know which way to turn after street signs and a map of the local area were installed last month, with the signs literally pointing in the wrong direction, and the map outside Norwood Junction station identifying landmark buildings and features that have long since been moved or closed down.
One of the signs, installed at a likely cost of thousands of pounds, went up on the junction of Portland Road and the High Street, outside the Albion pub. It points the wrong way and will need to be re-orientated 90 degrees clockwise.
There’s another signpost on Market Parade, Portland Road, which is also pointing the wrong way.
And then last week, there was one of those “You Are Here” modern map monoliths installed outside the busy railway station.
Much of the landmark information on the map is years out of date.
It shows a local Co-op supermarket. The Co-op closed in around 2016 and is now an Aldi (how about that to confuse visiting tourists?).
It points to a Post Office that closed in 2015 and moved inside Nisa.
And the map shows the South Norwood Police Station which City Hall ordered to be closed permanently seven years ago, and which is now a school.
Meanwhile, the new library being built by Brick by Brick – and more than a year late in being completed – just across the road from the station does not feature on the map at all.
One angry resident has written to Transport for London, saying, “This shows a startling disregard for the residents of South Norwood. You must review why appropriate surveying of the area has not been conducted before producing these signs.
“Someone in your team is lazy and incompetent.”
But TfL deny that the signs and maps have anything to do with them. While the style of the signs and the You Are Here installation appear remarkably similar to TfL signage elsewhere in the capital, they claim that the appropriate roads authority for Portland Road is… Croydon Council.
Other locals have taken the road signs with a shrug and consider them to be one of the first impacts of Brexit and “taking back control”, intended to confuse and confound anyone who is not local.
“We don’t want any johnny foreigners coming to South Norwood and being able to find where they want to go,” no one actually said.
But there are gathering and real concerns that some other signage that has gone up recently around the soon-to-open new library with Brick by Brick flats above could attract the wrong sort of visitors entirely.
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