March 2018 in brief


By - Wednesday 4th April, 2018

The big news stories of March 2018, summarised by the Citizen team


Croydon groups teamed up to raise awareness of knife crime in three-week programme

Croydon Council’s youth engagement team teamed up with Croydon police, Victim Support, and others in a three-week programme to raise awareness of knife crime, the Croydon Citizen reported. Participating groups hosted a range of town-centre events throughout the programme, which started during half term. The events ranged from opportunities to gain advice and guidance on services available to victims to opportunities to learn about safety.

As part of the programme, Croydon College and the Metropolitan Police implemented temporary knife arches at the Whitgift and Centrale shopping centres. Sergeant Catherine Thomas of the town centre police team said that the knife arches were there to both show visibility of knife crime and to act as a deterrent to people carrying knives. Councillor Hamida Ali, Croydon cabinet member for communities, safety and justice, said that she would like to see more programmes like this in the future, adding that all of the groups working together in the programme “play a visible role, rather than just reading about the next knife crime incident”.

William Awomoyi and Shea Williams were elected Croydon’s first Young Mayor and deputy Young Mayor

On Thursday 15th March, William Awomoyi, 14, from the Cedars School, was announced as Croydon’s first Young Mayor, the Croydon Citizen reported. Shea Williams, 15, from Harris Academy South Norwood, was also elected as the first Deputy Young Mayor. More than 12,500 votes were cast by young people in the election, and over five schools had an 80% voter turnout. Both Awomoyi and Williams were invited to the House of Commons to speak with Steve Reed MP (Labour, Croydon North) to discuss their ideas for the borough. Awomoyi’s campaign priority focused on youth crime and safety, and Williams’s on helping young people find work experience.

Croydon was successful in the first stage of of London’s Creative Enterprise Zone application

The Mayor of London announced that Croydon is one of eleven boroughs awarded a share of a £500k fund to develop bids to be one of the capital’s first three Creative Enterprise Zones. The initiative aims to address the problem of artists and other creatives helping to regenerate areas of the capital with cultural activity, then being priced out when those areas become more fashionable as a result. Croydon Council has now been awarded £50,000 to further develop its plans for the zone, which would aim to help borough’s creative industries flourish here and therefore continue to contribute to Croydon’s future success.

To qualify as a Creative Enterprise Zone, a borough will need to demonstrate support for its artists and creative businesses through measures including commitments from landlords and developers to charge lower-than-market rents and reduced business rates, to give business support such as advice on financing and marketing, and to provide training and apprenticeships for young people seeking careers in the creative industries. The three successful boroughs will be announced later this year.

Tribunal ruled that Citiscape residents are responsible for costs of Grenfell-style cladding

On 13th March, the London residential property first tier tribunal ruled that leaseholders in the 95 apartment Citiscape building in central Croydon are responsible for paying nearly £500,000 to keep their building safe by removing its flammable cladding. Government regulations, which had previously permitted the cladding, were changed in the aftermath of the disastrous fire at Grenfell Tower in June 2017. The building is owned by the family trust of the multimillionaire property mogul Vincent Tchenguiz, but the case was brought by FirstPort Property Services property management company, seeking clarification on who should pay for the work that is now required.

The tribunal concluded that the estimated cost of £483,000 for the replacement of the cladding was reasonable, and that a service charge is also payable in respect of those estimated costs. Residents are in discussion about whether or not they will appeal against the ruling. The outcome in Croydon will be closely watched by thousands of other leaseholders in at least 130 private apartment complexes in England where cladding has also failed tests carried out after Grenfell.

Matthews Yard was declared an Asset of Community Value as part of the on-going campaign to save it from redevelopment

Asset of Community Value status can be awarded under the Localism Act 2011 to land or buildings deemed important to the local community and which could benefit from protection from development. It gives a six month period of grace during which local interested parties are able to look at ways to purchase the asset for the community.

Matthews Yard, a cultural hub in Surrey Street in Croydon town centre founded in 2012, is the fourth location in Croydon to be awarded ACV status since the Act came into force. The others are the Ship pub in the High Street, Love Lane Green in South Norwood and the Glamorgan pub in Cherry Orchard Road.

International Women’s Day 2018: Greta Scacchi helped to fundraise for period poverty

On Saturday 10th March, International Women’s Day was celebrated in Croydon with a tea party at the Oval Tavern in support of local charity We-STAP (We Supply Toiletries And Products For Women In Need), founded and run by Croydonian Jackie Morrison. The event was attended by Mayor Toni Letts and also received support from Hollywood star Greta Scacchi, invited by organiser Gill Manly. The event set out to raise awareness of period poverty, and to fundraise and to collect products for local women. Period poverty is increasing across the UK as women and girls on low incomes find themselves unable to afford the menstrual products they require.

Boxpark’s Greek on the Street won Best Takeaway in London title at the British Kebab Awards 2018

A Croydon kebab shop has been recognised as one of the best in the country after winning a top award at the British Kebab Awards 2018, the Croydon Advertiser announced. The paper reported that the restaurant was one of five Croydon businesses, as well as another just over the border in Wallington, nominated for the award. Manager Alexandra Barikou stated that ‘good quality food’ was the key to Greek On The Street’s success, and related her pride in the loyalty of many customers who work locally and regularly grab lunch in Boxpark. The top-selling dish at the award-winning restaurant is the chicken Gryos wrap, served either in classic style with tzatziki, tomato, onion, chips or Mediterranean style with houmous, tomato, onion, and pickled cabbage.

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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