June in brief

By - Thursday 9th July, 2015

The big stories of last month in a handy round-up

Storms added to rail chaos

Severe and unseasonal storm disruption to rail services was caused on Tuesday 2nd June after a number of fallen trees blocked lines at Forest Hill, south east London, stopping commuter journeys into London Bridge for most of the day. Routes had re-opened by 3pm but delays continued on a stretch of line already the source of regular complaints about service reliability. Complaints continued across June. London Bridge is undergoing extensive upgrading works which are not due for completion until summer 2018.

Sir Bradley Wiggins raced through Croydon town centre 

The Pearl Izumi Men’s Tour Series and Matrix Fitness Women’s Grand Prix, two of Britain’s main professional cycling events and the backbone of the UK professional cycling scene, came to Croydon town centre on the evening of Tuesday 2nd June. The 75-minute men’s race was one of ten events taking place this summer at town centre venues across the UK and one of only two to take place in London. The one-hour women’s race was one of five events across the country. The 1km cycle route included the northern section of North End, crossed the tram lines at George Street and Church Street, and continued down Surrey Street. Croydon Tramlink was suspended in the town centre for the duration of the race. As part of race coverage, Croydon featured in a one hour highlights programme on ITV4 and Eurosport, broadcast in 100 countries.

Photo public domain.

Croydon NHS Commissioning group went into the red for third consecutive year 

Croydon’s Clinical Commissioning Group, made up of all 58 GP practices in the borough, announced a projected £11.9 million overspend for the financial year 2015-2016. This would bring the cumulative deficit accrued by the CCG since it was created in April 2013 to £44.8m. Mike Sexton, the CCG’s finance director, stated that there is no threat to frontline services. The group has declared £25m of cuts and efficiency savings over the last two years and predicts a further £10.5m can be saved in the coming year.

Croydon’s Click Clock gallery showed work of its 250th exhibitor

With the opening of photographer Simon Shaw’s ‘Croydon Through My Eyes’ exhibition on Saturday 13th June, the Click Clock Gallery celebrated the work of its 250th exhibitor since its opening in September 2011. Founded by photographer and art enthusiast John Reeve with the goal of maintaining an arts presence in the town centre following cuts, the gallery now appears on the Spoonfed London culture listings website and has sold an average of ten pieces of work a month.

The Heritage Festival returned to celebrate its third year 

The Whitgift Foundation’s popular Heritage Festival opened on Saturday 20th June with a day of stalls and exhibitions in the town centre. The week-long festival comprised over 70 separate events, including talks, walks, exhibitions, workshops, open buildings and children’s activities. The festival took place with the support of a great many volunteers, as well as corporate sponsors, the council and local organisations including historical societies, residents’ associations and schools.

Council offered training to shopkeepers facing new law on sale of e-cigarettes

New laws, which will come into force in October, ban the sale of all vaping products and parts to under 18s, including replacement cartridges and refills containing nicotine. Shopkeepers found to be in breach could face fines of thousands of pounds. Croydon’s trading standards team is running a ‘Do you pass?’ training scheme, which is free of charge and available only to Croydon-based businesses, to ensure all traders are aware of the rule change.

Photo by Croydon BID, used with permission.

Benefits of Gatwick expansion were extolled in Croydon

The Davies Commission has now recommended that Heathrow, not Gatwick, build a new runway to increase London’s airport capacity. But with the government known to be divided on the issue, Gatwick may yet be the favoured option. Tony Newman, leader of Croydon Council, spoke in favour of a second runway at Gatwick and called upon the prime minister to support it, citing “30,000 new jobs, some of which could go to Croydon residents”. While concerns about the environmental impact of the expansion are also being raised, hopes for the knock-on effect on Croydon’s jobs and infrastructure mean there is support for Gatwick’s expansion from a cross-section of public and private Croydon organisations.

New grammar school for 1,000 pupils announced for Addington

Wallington County Grammar School (WCGS), a selective boys’ school in Sutton, hopes to open a new free school in Pioneer Place, off Featherbed Lane, in 2017. No formal plans have yet been published although Department of Education funding was secured in March. It is hoped that the new secondary school, which will have six forms of entry as well as a sixth-form, will absorb some of the pressure of Croydon’s rising school-age population. Concerns have been raised about the proposed location, at a narrow ‘pinch point’ in Featherbed Lane – heavy industrial traffic uses the route to access a waste transfer station at Pear Tree Farm.

Long-running coach route withdrawn from Coulsdon

National Express’ 025 coach is to be permanently diverted via Sutton and Banstead from 6th July. The route has linked the very south of the borough to Hooley and beyond since before the Second World War (when it was run by Brighton and Hove Buses). The service is used by a number of elderly people, as well as people wishing to transfer to other National Express services at Gatwick and London Victoria.

The Croydon Citizen

The Croydon Citizen

The Croydon Citizen is a non-profit community news magazine for London's most populous borough.

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