Lunchtime recitals at Croydon Minster, Fridays, Oct 7-Dec 2

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Perry promises council will restore Thornton Heath Clocktower

Jason Perry, Croydon’s part-time Mayor, has blamed the council – over which he presides – for the fire that wrecked Thornton Heath’s historic clocktower.

Burnt out: the Clocktower at Thornton Heath after an early morning fire gutted the 122-year-old landmark

Addressing the situation somewhat late (with tweets on Friday afternoon, 36 hours after the fire), Perry said, “there is more the council could and should have done”.

Tory Perry failed to address the 12 years of Tory-imposed austerity on local authorities across the country, which has stripped communities such as Thornton Heath of many of the essential services that used to help make them places people wanted to live in and took pride in.

Mayor Perry did make a firm commitment to the council funding the repair work to the Thornton Heath Clocktower, which was paid for by the community and erected in 1900.

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Posted in Croydon Council, History, London Fire Brigade, Mayor Jason Perry, Thornton Heath | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

#TheLabourFiles: MP Reed, Evans and the Croydon connection

By STEVEN DOWNES, Editor, Inside Croydon

Al Jazeera investigation: producers describe The Labour files as ‘the biggest leak of confidential documents in British political history’

More than six months in the making, Al Jazeera’s investigations unit last night released the fourth part of their documentary series The Labour Files, this episode called “The Spying Game”, a detailed report on the lawless conduct of the Labour Party in Croydon.

The programme focused on the illegal and malicious hack attack against this website in February 2021 and how unlawfully obtained data was used by party officials to hound and harass Labour councillors and long-serving local party officials.

But from documents obtained by the Al Jazeera producers that did not form part of their programme, it is clear that the Labour Party and its leaders in Croydon had been conducting a campaign to gag Inside Croydon since 2016.

And we also know that at least one of those featured in last night’s programme, Croydon North MP Steve Reed OBE, had indulged in spying activities against fellow Labour Party members and elected councillors as long ago as 2012. Continue reading

Posted in Alison Butler, Andrew Pelling, Clive Fraser, Crime, Croydon Council, Croydon North, David White, Jerry Fitzpatrick, Pat Ryan, Paul Scott, Robert Canning, Stephen Mann, Steve Reed MP, Tony Newman | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

‘Inside Croydon – The Movie’: Labour’s role in a hack attack

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Posted in Clive Fraser, David Evans, David White, Hamida Ali, Inside Croydon, Local media, Steve Reed MP | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Former council exec drops employment case on technicality

Case dropped: former Croydon exec director Guy van Dichele

Guy van Dichele, the former council exec director who was suspended in February 2021 as part of the “Kerswell Kull” of senior staffers who had run the borough in the lead-up to its financial collapse, has dropped his Employment Tribunal case.

But Katherine Kerswell, the council chief executive, and her legal advisers are still waiting on the outcome of two other Employment Tribunal cases brought against Croydon, including one from another senior executive which alleges that racism was a factor in their dismissal. Continue reading

Posted in Croydon Council, Guy van Dichele, Hazel Simmonds, Jacqueline Harris-Baker, Jo Negrini, Katherine Kerswell, Lisa Taylor, Shifa Mustafa, The Penn Report | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Wetherspoons confirm closure of Purley pub as Brexit bites

The Foxley Hatch in Purley is to close by the end of October, one of 32 Wetherspoons pubs put up for sale across the country.

Going soon: the Foxley Hatch in Purley closes at the end of October

The Foxley Hatch will be the third Wetherspoons in Croydon to close this year, following the Skylark in South Croydon and the Milan Bar in the town centre. Neither of those venue has yet re-opened under new management.

The widescale sale of pub properties by Wetherspoons, the company run by Brexit enthusiast Tim Martin, has been widely interpreted as one of the latest consequences of the cost-of-living crisis that has been, at least in part, aggravated by the impact of Brexit.

A Wetherspoons spokesperson was quoted this week as saying that the closures and disposals were because repairs and staff costs rendered their no-nonsense drinking culture financially perilous. Continue reading

Posted in Business, Property, Pubs, Purley | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

33% Labour lead puts Tories on alert for Forestdale by-election

There is to be a council ward poll on November 3 – which will test voters’ devotion to Thick Lizzy and Croydon’s part-time Mayor Perry.
By our political editor, WALTER CRONXITE

Having a laugh: Croydon’s part-time Mayor, Jason Perry, supported Liz Truss for the Tory leadership

Croydon, or at least a small bit of its leafy suburbs, will soon get its own chance to show what it thinks of Liz Truss’s disaster of a government, as well as providing a snapshot of opinion on part-time Jason Perry after nearly six months as the borough’s first elected Mayor.

Polls released yesterday showed Labour having a lead nationally of a stonking, barely believable 33per cent, one week on from Kamikaze Kwasi Kwarteng’s Mini-Budget that saw the bond markets in meltdown and the pound nose-dive to previously unseen depths.

And here in Croydon, a council by-election has been called for Thursday, November 3, for Selsdon Vale and Forestdale ward following the death of Conservative Councillor Badsha Quadir. Continue reading

Posted in Andrew Stranack, Badsha Quadir, Chris Philp MP, Croydon Central, Croydon South, London-wide issues, Mayor Jason Perry, Sarah Jones MP, Selsdon Vale and Forestdale | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Campus students will get their ‘chiropractice’ from Monday

The South Bank student campus on Wellesley Road, in the old Electric House, opens its doors on Monday for Croydon’s newest chiropractic clinic.

Open for practice: the LSBU chiropractic clinic will be offering treatment from Monday

LSBU says that the clinic “will be student-led and deliver complete chiropractic care at very affordable rates for the local community”.

Their press release doesn’t mention what these “very affordable rates” might be, but then prospective patients will be receiving treatment from students (albeit while under supervision) – a bit like going into Toni and Guy as a “model” for one of their trainees and getting your hair done on the cheap.

Chiropractic care uses a range of techniques to reduce pain, improve function and increase mobility, including hands-on manipulation of the spine. Continue reading

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SNCK Teatime Get Together, Socco Cheta, every Wednesday

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Council delays and lack of enforcement cause residents misery

Council planners have ignored an Order from a High Court judge over the granting of retrospective permission for a block of flats in Sanderstead. But as STEVE WHITESIDE explains, the case of 54 Arkwright Road is far from an isolated example of poor practice by Croydon’s planning department

Another monstrosity: the developers at 98 Hyde Road were given a second chance to build on the site. This is the result

A year on from a Judicial Review into one of Croydon Council’s planning department’s many contentious rulings, when a judge issued a Court Order that confirmed that the development at 54 Arkwright Road is unlawful, and people are now renting flats in that building – at up to £1,800 per month – even though it does not have a valid planning permission. But under Croydon’s dysfunctional council, 54 Arkwright Road is far from an isolated case. Continue reading

Posted in Aventier, Business, Croydon Council, Heather Cheesbrough, Housing, Planning, Property, Purley, Purley Oaks and Riddlesdown, Sanderstead | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Arup give notorious Negrini a platform to peddle her failures

What does someone who oversaw the biggest financial collapse in English local government history do after they trouser their £437,000 golden handshake from the Council Tax-payers of Croydon?

Jo Negrini

Back in the spotlight: Jo Negrini was sharing her expertise again yesterday

Why, they deliver lectures to people who ought to know better, on “Growing a sustainable London”, that’s what.

The Tom Lehrer line was that “Satire is dead” after Henry Kissinger, the US Secretary of State who ordered the carpet-bombing of Vietnam and Cambodia, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Yesterday, at something called the London Real Estate Forum held at the Barbican Centre in the City of London, Croydon Council’s former chief executive Jo Negrini took the barely breathing body of irony and stamped all over it in her kitten heels. Continue reading

Posted in Brick by Brick, Croydon Council, Jo Negrini, Report in the Public Interest, Section 114 notice, The Penn Report | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Thornton Heath’s landmark Clocktower left gutted by fire

Time fires: the LFB crew at the Thornton Heath Clocktower this morning

A Metropolitan Police and London Fire Brigade investigation is underway after a fire in the Thornton Heath Clocktower gutted the local landmark.

The fire took place in the early hours of this morning.

Despite prompt arrival by the Brigade, the much-loved piece of Thornton Heath heritage had been left badly damaged.

There have been no reports of anyone being injured as a result of the Clocktower fire.

The clock was erected in Thornton Heath town centre in 1900, having been paid for by public subscription.

Given the local council’s parlous financial circumstances, it could be left to local people to dip into their pockets once again to fund its repair.

This morning, Thornton Heath ward councillor Callton Young said, “I’m deeply saddened to see the damage done to Thornton Heath Clock Tower by a fire in the early hours.

“I just spoke to Councillor Karen Jewitt who is in touch with the authorities in an effort to learn the cause.

“The inside of the tower and clock faces seem to have taken the brunt.” Continue reading

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Crystal Palace fund runner all set for her marathon challenge

Samantha Collins is another Croydon fund-runner taking part in this Sunday’s London Marathon.

Running times: Crystal Palace Fun Runner Samantha Collins will be one of thousands raising money for charity in Sunday’s London Marathon

Collins is running with a target of nearly £2,000 to support national charity Leukaemia Care.

Collins, 46, will be running the London for the fourth time, but after taking part in 2021’s “virtual” marathon, she says she is looking forward to running again in person this year.

She has chosen Leukaemia Care as her cause because her husband, Andy, was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia six years ago.

“I have been training with my running club Crystal Palace Fun Runners who have given me great support,” Collins said. Continue reading

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Film-maker’s casting call for people who play the Lottery

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ICO rebukes council for slow responses to data requests

CROYDON IN CRISIS: Information Commissioner gives Croydon six months to clean up its act over how it responds to the public.
EXCLUSIVE by STEVEN DOWNES

Dumb and Dumber: neither Mayor nor CEO responded today to an invitation to comment on the ICO’s stern reprimand to the council

Croydon Council has been reprimanded by the Information Commissioner’s Office after it was found to have failed to respond properly to more than half of the Subject Access Requests, or SARs, a form of Freedom of Information request, that it has received from members of the public.

The ICO issued its formal reprimand to south London’s rottenest borough in July.

Today they published their  findings on Croydon and six other bodies – including other London boroughs Lambeth and Hackney – which have failed to perform up to the standards required by data laws.

The Information Commissioner’s Office says that it is “the country’s independent regulator for data protection and information rights law, upholding information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals”. Continue reading

Posted in Croydon Council, Katherine Kerswell, Mayor Jason Perry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Sixteen’s return adds up to wonderful music at The Minster

Slowly life, and arts, are getting back to ‘normal’, as our veteran culture correspondent, BELLA BARTOCK, was delighted to discover at a concert by the choral group The Sixteen at Croydon Minster on Monday

A numbers game: The Sixteen performing at Croydon Minster. Or maybe 18. Or perhaps 40

I was getting impatient.

I had phoned my friend Claudia’s mobile several times, but got no reply. Trying the landline, I was almost about to give up again when a voice came on the other end, “Hello. Claudia de Boozy speaking,” she said, rather too loudly.

“You’ll have to speak up. I’m watching Pointless on catch up and I don’t know how to pause it.”

As loudly as I dared, I explained that I had got two tickets for The Sixteen’s concert at Croydon Minster and would she like to go with me. This just added to Claudia’s confusion. Continue reading

Posted in Art, Croydon Minster, Music | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Lawyers offer free advice to counter workplace discrimination

The employment law team at the Croydon-based legal firm of Martin Searle Solicitors’is about to stage Disability Matters, their annual campaign to work to stamp out disability discrimination in the workplace.

Advice sessions: Martin Searle’s legal experts have a range of online resources and offer seminars in October

The campaign coincides with World Mental Health Day on October 10.

The team has found that after the covid lockdowns there has been a notable increase in people seeking employment law advice about disability discrimination at work. This increase is largely due to workers who are struggling with mental health disabilities such as depression and anxiety.

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Shale Trail walk of resistance, Horse Hill to Brockham, Oct 1

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Council planners ignore court order over flats in Sanderstead

Those who hoped new Mayor Jason Perry would sweep away the bad practices of the council’s planning department are in for a bit of a disappointment. STEVE WHITESIDE with the latest in a long-running saga

Court out: council planners are still working with developers to get around a judge’s ruling

Even the decision of a High Court judge is not enough to get Croydon Council’s planners to follow proper planning process.

It’s now been more than a year since, in response to a Judicial Review of one of its planning department’s many contentious rulings, the council was ordered by a judge to quash its decision on 54 Arkwright Road.

The Court Order that followed confirmed that this as-built development was unlawful. The building as completed did not have a valid planning permission.

This saga goes back to 2017, when the council planners granted permission from developers Aventier for the demolition of existing building at 54 Arkwright Road, Sanderstead, and the erection of a two-to-three-storey building which would include six two-bedroom flats and one three-bed flat, as well as the “formation of vehicular access and provision of seven parking spaces, cycle and refuse storage and landscaping”. Continue reading

Posted in Aventier, Business, Croydon Council, Housing, Lynne Hale, Mayor Jason Perry, Nicola Townsend, Planning, Property, Sanderstead | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Part-time Mayor Perry to re-boot Negrini’s design review panel

The council is looking to re-set its Place Review Panel – now to be renamed the Design Review Panel – and is inviting applications from architecture and design experts to sign up for two or three days’ work each year, when they will pontificate on the merits, or otherwise, of the latest applications received by the planning department at Fisher’s Folly.

Back to the drawing board: Croydon’s Place Review Panel will now be the Design Review Panel

Croydon’s Place Review Panel was established in 2016, at a time of “Peak Negrini” at the council, when its then chief exec, Jo “Negreedy” Negrini, was applying her “no expense spared” approach to her mission of making friends and influencing people among London’s architecture set, and using hundreds of thousands of council cash to do so.

Back in November 2016, the council said that its PRP “will ensure that Croydon’s increasing popularity as a development location will continue to be shaped by its commitment to delivering quality design and placemaking throughout all aspects of the built environment including public realm, infrastructure and buildings”. Continue reading

Posted in "Hammersfield", Alison Butler, Art, Brick by Brick, Business, Croydon Council, Design Review Panel, Environment, Housing, Jo Negrini, Mayor Jason Perry, Paul Scott, Place Review Panel, Planning, Whitgift Centre | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Help marathon runner Baz and NSPCC protect against abuse

Fund runners: Every runner in this Sunday’s London Marathon has a story to tell. NSPCC fund-raiser Baz’s story is harrowing

Croydon’s Behzad Shadnia – “Baz” – is running in the London Marathon this Sunday, raising money for the NSPCC – the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

Baz, who’s from South Norwood, has strong personal reasons to support the NSPCC’s cause.

There’s a clue right at the top of his JustGiving page: “Trigger warning”, it says, in big capital letters.

“Please don’t read any further if you have unprocessed trauma.”

Baz moved to Dubai at the age of seven. A shy child, he struggled to make friends at school, but bonded with the children of family friends. He and his peers had freedom to explore their local area and for the most part felt safe in their adventures. Continue reading

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Mula Cake Kids Club, Thornton Heath, Oct 24-28

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#TheLabourFiles: anti-racism campaigner expelled by party

The second episode of Al Jazeera’s The Labour Files was a bit of a Croydon special, with cameo appearances of the local branch of the English Defence League, as well as another appearance by Croydon North MP Steve Reed, and the full story of how one party member was ‘thrown under a bus’ by the Corbyn leadership as it was attacked over antisemitism

The second part of the Al Jazeera Investigation Unit’s documentary series The Labour Files aired on Saturday night, with further disturbing revelations from inside party headquarters, based on a massive leak of documents.

But the version of the programme released on YouTube includes an extra half-hour of material, and even more shocking information about how the party was being run before, during and after the time when Jeremy Corbyn was leader. Continue reading

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Croydon’s top Tory Barwell admits: I am politically homeless

WALTER CRONXITE, Political Editor, on the Conservative peer’s criticism of the Truss government’s reckless ‘Mini-Budget’

‘Reckless’: ‘Lord’ Gavin Barwell has been critical of the Tory ‘Mini-Budget’

Baron Barwell of Croydon in the London Borough of Croydon has had enough of the Conservative government.

The patience of the man who was Tory MP for Croydon Central for seven years finally cracked on Friday afternoon, as he pronounced himself politically homeless.

I haven’t left the Conservative Party,” he tweeted. “It has left me.”

After months of grumblings from the sidelines about his old mate, the philanderer law-breaker and serial liar Boris Johnson, over the way that his government was “getting Brexit done” and causing lasting damage to the nation, Friday’s Mini-Budget saw  “Lord” Barwell finally lose it.

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The BRIT School Open Events, Selhurst, Sep 29 and Oct 12

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