This post was first published by The Croydon Citizen on 17/09/2018.
Summer 2018 in brief
The big news stories of summer 2018, summarised by the Citizen team.
Football came home to Boxpark
July’s World Cup celebrations in Boxpark Croydon made national news. After images of local fans’ exuberant reactions to the national team’s success left TV commentator and former England international Rio Ferdinand ‘seriously impressed‘, a good-humoured rivalry for ‘most enthusiastic support for England’ arose between Croydon and Newcastle. Even after England lost their semi-final match against Croatia on 11th July, Boxpark remained the scene of enthusiastic World Cup festivities.
Grass fire affected Wandle Park as the heatwave blazed on
A second Croydon grass fire broke out on 26th July, this time in Wandle Park. The fire followed a blaze in June in Croham Hurst Wood, as the extended summer heatwave created tinder-dry conditions in parks and woodland across the borough. Rapid response by London’s Fire Brigade prevented a more serious incident and a open-air production of Romeo and Juliet by Croydon Operatic and Dramatic Association was able to go ahead that evening. The blaze was apparently caused by glass left on the ground in strong sunlight.
Permanent ‘pedestrian zones’ are announced outside three Croydon schools
The Croydon Advertiser reported on 12th July that parking bans outside Woodcote Primary School in Coulsdon, and St Chad’s Catholic Primary School and Heavers Farm Primary School, both in Selhurst, will be extended indefinitely. Parents may not stop their cars outside the schools to drop off or collect children. The decision follows a six-month trial period and is intended to make roads directly around schools safer for pupils.
Motorists received fines totalling at least £190,000 during the trial period.
Selhurst’s new mural brightened a long-neglected area
A colourful new mural depicting both local wildlife and Crystal Palace footballers on the walls of the underpass below Dagnall Park in Selhurst was completed in July. The mural is the work of artists Ellie Carlyle, Rebekah Robinson and Natalie Barrett from Divine Heritage Creations and also features iconic red pillar boxes and telephone boxes.
New anti-obesity measures for Croydon’s children linked weight and health issues to poverty
After shocking figures were released on the lack of fitness and increasing weight of Croydon’s school children, special measures are to be put in place in some schools to address the problem, the Advertiser reported on 8th August. New Addington, Thornton Heath, Selsdon, Broad Green, Fieldway and West Thornton are the focus of plans to reduce obesity and diabetes. Research by Sport England reveals that one in four of Croydon’s children is overweight or obese and that one in five now lives in poverty.
Croydon Council’s cabinet member for health and social care, Jane Avis, stated that that the council intends to “be strategic” and to focus on areas most in need, with the aim of reducing the number of people living in deprivation to improve both nutrition and activity levels.
Croydon’s first £1 million flat went on the market
A penthouse flat in the Island development in Croydon town centre is now officially valued at over £1 million. The flat, which has a large outdoor terrace, floor space of 2,000 square feet and three bathrooms (although only two bedrooms) is being marketed for £1.35 million by Foxtons.
Richard Plant, the chair of the Develop Croydon forum, explained to the Advertiser on 15th August that the size of the flat and the “fast improving quality of Croydon accommodation” is behind the high price.
Stormzy announced Cambridge scholarships for black students
Croydon-born grime musician Stormzy announced the creation of scholarships to help black students attend Cambridge University as he visited Harris Academy South Norwood, where he was himself a pupil, to congratulate those collecting A-level results on 13th August. The Stormzy Scholarship will pay the £9,250 annual tuition fees, plus a maintenance grant, for two undergraduates this year and in 2019.
Both Oxford and Cambridge universities face criticism for admitting a disproportionate number of students from white, wealthy backgrounds and Cambridge has stated its intention to increase diversity.
A ‘bold’ rollout of new bins faltered after complaints
Croydon Council’s strategy to increase recycling across the borough by delivering new bins will not apply in certain streets following complaints about lack of storage space, damage to gardens and pavement obstruction. The arrival of 200,000 bins in mid August was described by some residents as resembling ‘a Dalek invasion’ and following appeals by councillors, exemptions were declared, where the previous recycling and refuse collection arrangements will now continue.
Councillor Stuart Collins, who tweets as @cleanstreetstu, is spearheading the drive to raise recycling rates in Croydon from their current 38% to a target of over 50%. He told the Croydon Advertiser that it is “important to be bold for the sake of the planet”.
Newly delivered blue bins are for paper and card only. The existing landfill bin becomes the new recycling bin for plastics, tin and glass; large durable stickers are to be provided showing what to put in it after the last landfill collection. The newly delivered 180-litre bin is now to be the landfill bin. The new system will take effect from 3rd September, other than in exempted roads, following a transition period during which some households will have experienced a 21-day gap in their refuse collection service.
Other properties can seek review, and this process continues at the time of going to press.
Croydon was named the music capital of the UK
Global streaming service Deezer and music journalist Robbie Wojociechowski gave the borough its title after researching the birthplaces of artists and the number of streams played. Wojociechowski told the Daily Mirror that “…London boroughs like Lambeth and Croydon [are now] real hotbeds of breaking new music, including previously non-commercial genres such as grime and rap”.
Croydon’s BRIT School “keeps producing amazing acts”, according to the Croydon Advertiser. BRIT alumni include singers Adele and Amy Winehouse and more recently Ella Eyre and Loyle Carner.
Hope returned over the future of the House of Fraser ‘anchor’ store in Centrale Shopping Centre
Latest news in the long-running saga of the future of the retail chain is that new owner Mike Ashley, founder of Sports Direct, who bought it out of administration, now intends to keep 80% of stores open. Urgent talks with landlords to secure rental agreements for premises continued over the August Bank Holiday weekend. In June, 6,000 jobs were declared to be in jeopardy as the closure of thirty-one stores nationwide was announced, with the Croydon branch deemed ‘at risk’. House of Fraser is the ‘anchor’ store in the Centrale shopping centre.