Kenley Primary School Summer Fair, Whyteleafe, Jun 9

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Keep Our St Helier Hospital public meeting, Morden, Apr 24

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Council couldn’t care less: Ombudsman upholds 7 complaints

Croydon Council had seven public complaints upheld against it by the Local Government Ombudsman in the first three months of 2019, research conducted for Inside Croydon can reveal.

The caring face of Croydon? Council CEO Jo Negrini

The rulings resulted in several apologies from the council, and hundreds of pounds in compensation being paid out.

Not one of the Ombudsman’s rulings against Croydon has been published on the council’s website.

Appeals to the Ombudsman are notoriously difficult to lodge by members of the public, who are usually required to go through at least two time-consuming rounds of internal reviews and obfuscation and delay conducted by the local authority itself into its the performance of its own staff (effectively, marking their own home work).

And the scope of what the Ombudsman may, or may not, investigate is also strictly limited.

So for Croydon Council to have its wrists slapped on seven occasions between January and March this year ought to be a matter of grave concern for its £220,000 per year chief exec Jo “We’re Not Stupid” Negrini. Continue reading

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Heritage building Culvers Lodge saved from bulldozers

A campaign by residents, supported by the Victorian Society and Save Britain’s Heritage, to save a 19th century building from developers’ bulldozers appears to have been successful, at least for now.

Culvers Lodge Hackbridge

Built in around 1875, Culvers Lodge is one of Hackbridge’s few remaining heritage assets

Culvers Lodge in Hackbridge was built around 1875 as part of the former Culvers estate.

Sutton Council’s efforts to palm off the responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of the locally listed building to the Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust fell flat last year, when the Trust used a £10,000 Heritage Lottery grant not to fix up the building’s leaky roof, but to pay consultants for a report that told them… the Lodge would be too expensive for them to operate.

There were real fears that a council report, expected in the next couple of weeks, would recommend demolition of the 140-year-old building, to allow them to build flats on the site. Continue reading

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Friends group opposes works to restore Croham Hurst after fire

Charred Croham Hurst

A whole expanse of heather was destroyed by fire at Croham Hurst last summer

Those not working this Bank Holiday Monday in the fine weather forecasted might want to take their recreation on the top of Croham Hurst, especially with the cooling tree cover on the route from the Croham valley.

After the hard work climbing to the summit, you will be able to see evidence of good work done by the Croydon Conservation Volunteers.

Last summer’s heat wave saw precious heathland at the top of Croham Hurst’s site of special scientific interest scarred by fire – some of which may have been caused by carelessly discarded cigarette butts on the tinder-dry scrubland. Continue reading

Posted in Croham Hurst, Croydon Council, Croydon parks, Environment, Friends of Croham Hurst Woods, Maria Gatland, South Croydon, Wildlife | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Autographs from Laker’s legends up for sale in Mayday auction

Peter May leads out Surrey, the county champions, at The Oval, in August 1958. This golden era side included Alec Bedser (far left), wicketkeeper Arthur McIntyre, Ken Barrington and Jim Laker (centre, not wearing a sweater) 

There’s a big summer of cricket coming up, with the World Cup and Ashes series, but before it gets underway in earnest, historians of the game may be drawn to one of the lots at an antiques auction at Fairleigh Court Golf Club on May 1.

Going under the hammer at TV antiques expert Catherine Southon’s latest auction in Selsdon is an autograph book, lovingly assembled in the 1950s with 262 signatures gathered from all 17 of the first-class counties playing at that time, as well as the Test sides of England, Australia and Pakistan.

The signatures include some of the greatest cricketers to have played the game.

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£300,000 new book fund just a start to revive public libraries

Our bookish gyms correspondent, GENE BRODIE, on how an announcement of a 9% increase on not very much leaves a long way to go to stock the borough’s library shelves

The council’s somewhat dubious practice of telling only half of a story was highlighted again at this month’s Town Hall meeting.

Some new books. But not very many

In making an announcement about its “investment” in the borough’s libraries’ book stock, the council was patting itself on the back over much less than half the story.

Oliver Lewis, the callow council cabinet member for putt plugs and shit shows, announced to the Town Hall chamber that £300,000 is to be spent to “add more books to the shelves in Croydon libraries”. The fact is, the sum announced is less than one-third of what was being spent on the borough libraries’ book stock 20 years ago.

Sources in Katharine Street who have worked for many years with the under-resourced library service suggest that the amount being spent is barely enough to help restore the libraries to a service of which the borough can take real pride. Continue reading

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