Labour councillors defy Scott over Queen’s Hotel expansion

WALTER CRONXITE, our political editor, on an against-the-odds victory for residents over the council’s planning machine

For the second time in little more than six months, councillors sitting on Croydon’s planning committee have thrown out proposals for a giant-scale redevelopment of a budget hostel at the Queen’s Hotel in Crystal Palace.

Double act: Pete Smith and Paul Scott at last night’s planning meeting. Comedy gold, apparently

The 6-4 vote at the Town Hall meeting prompted the clear, red-faced fury of committee chairman Paul Scott, who by the end of his own lengthy and very partisan presentation had rendered himself a laughing stock among the residents who packed the public gallery.

Last night’s decision is certain to lead to a formal appeal by the developers to the government minister, and probably a public inquiry. The owners of the hotel had threatened as much in their “negotiations” with the council’s planners, effectively a £100,000 threat to the public purse.

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Posted in Chris Clark, Clive Fraser, Felicity Flynn, Jason Perry, Oni Oviri, Parking, Pat Ryan, Paul Scott, Pete Smith, Planning, Queen's Hotel, Scott Roche, Simon Brew, South Norwood, Steve O'Connell, Steve Reed MP, TfL, Transport, Upper Norwood | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

We could be on the verge of providing a wildlife haven

CROYDON COMMENTARY: By not cutting the grass verges alongside the borough’s major A-roads, Transport for London might – perhaps unwittingly – be providing a valuable new home for plants, insects and other wildlife, writes ANTHONY MILLS, pictured left

I worked as an NHS gardener for 32 years, beginning in the days when hospitals had their own sports pitches, bowling greens, glasshouses. We produced 10,000 wallflowers and 10,000 geraniums each year for annual bedding and had fleets of mowers.

In the latter half of my working life I came to hate and despise the stupid waste and destructiveness of the acres of manicured lawns.

Well-tended parks, as Haling Grove in South Croydon once was, offer little by way of bio-diversity

As resources dried up, the mowing schedules stretched, and some places were inadvertently missed. I once found a lawn in June at the back of a therapy unit that had been forgotten for some months. It was a remnant of a sward that was original to the hopital’s founding, 95 years old, colonised over that time by species tolerant of the dwarfing that mowing induces.

In that sward I counted 26 plants in flower at once, not including the dozen or so grass species.

It was spectacularly colourful and beautiful, and a pure example of the diversity that has become so damagingly lacking in our industrially farmed countryside. Continue reading

Posted in Croydon parks, Environment, Gardening, Purley Way, TfL, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Trinity Proms, in aid of CLIC Sargent, Shirley Park, Jul 7

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Croydon BMX sessions, Thu and Sat, Norbury Park

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Off The Shelf music concert series, Jun 25-Jul 2

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Photographer with focus on peace stages Clocktower exhibit

Rob Wilson Jr, whose work is being exhibited at the Museum of Croydon at the Clocktower until the end of this month. Photo by Lee Townsend

Seven years ago in August, the people of Croydon watched in fear and horror as rioters took over our streets, ransacking shops, attacking bystanders and setting fire to local businesses.

The image of Reeves Corner blazing furiously against the night sky would be used at the top of television news bulletins and on newspaper front pages around the world, after one of the lowest points of the dark days of the London riots in 2011. Continue reading

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Documentary-maker Dineen to attend Screen25’s Q&A

Molly Dineen: coming to South Norwood next Wednesday

Molly Dineen, the BAFTA-winning film-maker, will be at the screening of her latest documentary, Being Blacker, at the Screen25 film club in South Norwood next Wednesday, where she will take questions from the audience alongside the subject of the movie, Blacker Dread.

Inside Croydon’s subscribers get £2 off the ticket price for the screening and Q&A session with one of the country’s most brilliant documentary-makers.

Being Blacker is Dineen’s first film for a decade. Continue reading

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