June 2017 in brief

By - Monday 17th July, 2017

Last month’s biggest stories, summarised by the Citizen team

Photo by Croydon Saffron Central, used with permission.

Croydon Council responded to Grenfell Tower fire by instigating safety checks

The day after the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower, North Kensington, on Wednesday 14th June, Croydon Council issued a statement to all council tower block residents reiterating safety and evacuation procedures. The best course of action in case of the spread of fire appeared to have been unclear in the case of the Grenfell residents. The council followed up four days later with an announcement that it will conduct a full fire safety review, install sprinklers – which Grenfell Tower also lacked – in council buildings over ten storeys in height and underlining its commitment to respond to any recommendations which emerge from the ongoing investigation into the tragedy. It has also emerged that buildings in Croydon have had work done by a company involved in the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower, including the installation of exterior thermal cladding, which was completed in 2016. However, the material involved in the disaster appears not to be the same as that used for works in Croydon.

Royal Horticultural Society judges came to see Croydon Saffron Central bloom

On Friday 30th June, judges from the Royal Horticultural Society visited Croydon Saffron Central, the urban saffron farm and bee haven on Park Lane in the town centre. For the second year running, Saffron Central has entered the Royal Horticultural Society’s Britain in Bloom awards under the category ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ and hopes to achieve even better than its 2016 rating of Level 4: ‘Thriving’. The judges evaluated the location in terms of local community participation, skills sharing, inclusivity, the local support it has attracted, its environmental responsibility, difficulties overcome in cultivating the site and activities such as recycling and composting. Results will be announced by the RHS on 22nd September.

Borough-wide air quality consultation process got underway 

On June 26th, Croydon Council opened its consultation with the public over measures to be taken to combat air pollution in the borough which have repeatedly breached safe guidelines. Areas to be addressed include monitoring emissions from buildings, extending the Smoke Control Zone which at present covers only half of Croydon, public awareness raising to drive behavioural change, promoting sustainable travel including more cycling and walking, installing more green infrastructure and changes to the borough’s own vehicle fleet to Gold Fleet Operator Recognition standard (Croydon presently holds silver recognition). Members of the public can taken part in the consultation by visiting www.croydon.gov.uk and searching for ‘draft air quality action plan 2017′. The consultation ends on 21st August.

Croydon Bach Choir premiered new musical composition

For the second time in two months, Croydon was the location of the premier of a significant new piece of classical music. On Friday 19th May, composer Fiona Brice’s work Relationships was performed for the first time at Matthews Yard by the London Mozart Players (see June’s Croydon Citizen). On Saturday 1st July the Croydon Bach Choir performed Homo Sum, a new work by Mark David Boden, as part of a varied programme for its summer concert. Homo Sum, a work celebrating diversity, arose from the choir’s collaboration with Boden as part of the national PRS ‘Adopt A Composer’ programme throughout its 2016-17 season.

Croydon’s fifth Heritage Festival enjoyed strong attendance 

Now in its fifth year, Croydon Heritage Festival returned from Saturday 24th June 24th until Friday 30th June, this year with the theme of ‘evolution’. A notable feature in 2017 was the installation of the festival’s first artwork, ‘Crocus Valley,’ by Aether and Hemera, in the Bellmouth in North End. This takes the form of five rings of crocuses, the flower grown here since Roman times for its precious crop of the spice saffron. Croh-Denu, Anglo-Saxon for ‘valley of the crocus’, is believed to be the origin of Croydon’s name.

Martin Corney, Chief Executive of the Whitgift Foundation, said: “It’s been another wonderful year for the Croydon Heritage Festival and we received great feedback about Crocus Valley, our first art installation. The Museum of London’s Archaeology Time Truck was also very popular, attracting almost 400 visitors on the festival’s opening day. Young Croydon performers including the Trinity Boys Choir and the Croydon Youth Jazz Band created a huge buzz at Boxpark on Sunday afternoon, and the many talks and workshops have been well-attended. I’d like to think that this event has helped everyone discover something new about how Croydon has become the fascinating place they live or work in today”.

Surrey Street market traders returned to their historic pitches after upgrading work was completed

Surrey Street’s traders had been moved to North End in the town centre for twelve weeks during the first stage of Surrey Street market’s £1.1 million revamp, and were able to return to their traditional home on Monday 5th June. However, the Croydon Advertiser reported that not all of them were pleased with the changes; some claimed that they had preferred the pitches in North End where footfall is higher, whilst others felt that the introduction of gazebos in place of traditional stalls, along with changes in the location of certain pitches, had changed the market’s character. Others, however, stated that they value the traditional location of Surrey Street and believe that the area can still be revived.

Calls were made for Croydon Food festival to be held more often after continuing success 

Calls for the event to be held more frequently followed a sixth successful year for Croydon Food Festival, now renamed Croydon Food and Music Festival, on Sunday 25th June. More than 12,000 people attended the event, held in South End’s restaurant quarter, in which more than thirty restaurants and stalls participated. Diners sat at pavement tables and were waited on by staff, whilst others ate from pop-up stalls and listened to music on two live stages. As usual, buses were diverted and the road closed to allow for the event.

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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