Friday, December 07, 2007

Vote for cycling improvements - Croydon's share of the People's £50 Million

Online voting has opened for Sustrans’ Connect2 to win the Big Lottery Fund’s: The People’s £50 Million contest. Croydon’s Park Links is one of the 79 schemes UK-wide that will happen if Sustrans’ Connect2 wins, so please vote to bring a share of £50 million to Croydon.

You can vote online now at

Sustrans’ Connect2 is one of four projects competing for the £50 million and Lorraine Kelly championed the Connect2 project on ITV1 the other night. Telephone voting begins today. All voting concludes at 12 noon on Monday 10 December.

Croydon Park Links will create a linking network of green paths and walkways across the Borough, joining up existing parks and open spaces to make it easier for pedestrians, cyclists and others to get around. The scheme will link central Croydon to the Wandle Trail and Wandle Park and will join South Norwood Country Park, Ashburton Park and Addiscombe Railway Park to the town centre.

If Sustrans wins the £50 million award Croydon Council will receive £550,000 of it to develop the Croydon Park Links.

To find out more about Connect2 please visit

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Thursday, October 04, 2007


Talk2Croydon is a new site courtesy of Croydon Voluntary Action, Croydon Primary Care Trust and Croydon Council to give a community forum for views and ideas. Its vision is "to create debate, dialogue and increase community involvement in local decisions reaching those not able or willing to attend meetings/events."

Currently there are surveys about trees, pavement cycling and reducing waste. Anyone can post community events and networking opportunities.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Who is checking workers' safety in Croydon's construction industry?

On Wednesday, a third serious industrial incident took place in central Croydon in a matter of months. Wandering into Dingwall Road at lunchtime, the road was blocked by fire engines and police cars. It turns out that a mechanical digger fell into a basement during demolition work. The driver was badly shaken.

Back in June, a crane collapsed into the Croydon Park Hotel seriously injuring one man. And in April this year much of Croydon was closed to motorists when a large container almost fell from a crane by Croydon Flyover.

So that is three incidents in close succession, with impact on local residents and motorists - the terrible incident in Battersea last year shows the dangers involved. But above all, we have to be concerned for the safety of the construction workers in Croydon. What are the Health and Safety Executive doing? How is Croydon Council - particularly planning control - controlling developments and demolitions?

With the massive amount of development about to take place in Croydon in coming years, we need to get this sorted. I have raised this matter with leading members of Croydon Trades Council - their vigil after the last incident helped raise awareness, but now we need policy change.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Crap Cycle Lanes of Croydon

Mike Armstrong of Croydon Green Party has been campaigning away on cycle facilities with his new blog, Crap Cycle Lanes of Croydon.

I have always been a little dubious about engineering solutions to achieve more cycling, when perhaps it would be better to promote cycling through better additional facilities like showers at work and safe parking, and taking cars off the road as the congestion charge has proven. But the Council gets the money for lanes and junctions, so it should spend it properly. I wish Mike's blog had been there to guide us two or three years ago when trying to navigate the complexities of traffic management.

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Croydon Festival underway

Croydon Festival takes place on 14th and 15th July. The Croydon Council organised festival starts today in Lloyd Park with the African Caribbean Family Festival, 1pm to 8pm with Jimmy Cliff headlining. Tomorrow sees the Croydon Mela, also in Lloyd Park 1-8, with Raghav and a host of other acts.

Personally I was sad to see the World Party which normally took place on the Saturday narrowed to become an African Caribbean day only, without the international flavour that included food from around the world and campaigning stalls from Oxfam and the Fairtrade Network. There were many great acts from Africa and the Caribbean before, but we also had acts from Europe and Latin America that were fantastic too - Ojos de Brujo, Rodrigo and Gabriela and Los de Abajo in the heart of Croydon. It is important to mark 200 years since the end of slavery, of course, but hopefully next year the festival can return to drawing in acts and stalls representing the best from around the world.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Croydon Council - your chance to question them

Croydon Council has reintroduced public question time at full Council meetings. The problem with them before was that the same people asked the same questions each time, although it was often useful to see the public ask questions on an issue that had blown up in the previous few weeks that Council bureaucracy inadvertently fails to respond to, given its longer cycles.

The next meeting of the Council is 23 July and the deadline for questions is 9 July at noon. You need to email with a question no more than 50 words long which relates to an issue over which the Council has direct power or responsibility. If you attend the meeting you can find the written answer to your question and make one oral supplementary question.

So go ahead and ask your questions; topics that I hope come up are the Warehouse Theatre, Croydon Gymnastics School, Upper Norwood Library, the Council's view of academic selection, the disturbing spate of violent crime against young people, the Fairfield Halls, the trees of Coulsdon, and maybe even the crane collapse.

More information here

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Lights Out Croydon... errr... London

Lights Out London takes place tonight between 9pm and 10pm. Turn your lights off to show your commitment to fighting climate change, and how important the issue is to Londoners. Public building and landmarks taking part include Piccadilly Circus, Parliament, the London Eye, Harrods and Buckingham Palace.

No word on whether Croydon Council buildings will be taking part though, or even the Skyline bright coloured lights will be switched off...

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Upper Norwood library saved

So Croydon's Conservative Council has caved in to the campaign to save the Upper Norwood Library, according to the Croydon Guardian, by stumping up the £60,000 required.

The Council had dropped its level of funding only a year after the library had seen a £1.1 million facelift - representing a massive waste of money alongside the huge loss of service to local residents had the library been forced to close.

More than 3,000 people signed a petition protesting at the level of funding which was presented to the Council last month. The campaign was supported by local Labour MPs Malcolm Wicks and Tessa Jowell and by local Labour GLA member Valerie Shawcross, nplus the Labour councillors on Croydon Council, not least Councillor Pat Ryan.

This success is a massive victory for the people of Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood, reversing a decision that showed just how out of touch Croydon Council has become in its first year of Conservative control.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

1,500 people sign Warehouse petition

At the last Croydon Council meeting, Cllr Eddy Arram (Con, Ashburton) handed in a petition of 1,500 objecting to the Conservative cut to the Warehouse Theatre grant, to cheers from the Labour councillors and the public gallery.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Butler scores stunning victory for Labour

Labour's Alison Butler had a great result in the Bensham Manor by-election last night. The by-election was to fill a vacancy on Croydon Council caused by the resignation of Labour Co-op councillor Paula Shaw. Bensham Manor has for some time been one of Labour's safest seats in Croydon, so a victory was on the cards, but for Labour to increase its majority on a similar turnout to the last election was perhaps not predicted by everyone.

The full result was:

Butler, Lab - 1683, 61.6%
Taylor, Con - 617, 22.6%
Khan, Green - 240, 8.8%
Tyree, LibDem - 126, 4.6%
Feisenberger, UKIP - 40, 1.5%
Cartwright, OMRLP - 15, 0.5%
Samuel, People's Choice - 9, 0.3%

So a majority of over 1,000. In May 2006, Labour received a similar number of votes, but this represented 50% of the votes cast, and the Conservatives have gone down a little, with Taylor losing exactly 500 personal votes since he stood last year. The Greens had another relatively good performance with local lad Shasha Khan.

So congratulations Alison, and welcome back to the Council. Alison was previously cabinet member for housing and has helped thousands of people across north Croydon as head of Malcolm Wicks MP's constituency office, so she will make a great councillor for the area.

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