March in brief

By - Tuesday 31st March, 2015

The big events of last month, on one handy page

Photo by Croydon Council, used with permission.

Boxpark Croydon designs revealed

After rumours about the trendy Shoreditch retailer became a reality in last month’s news roundup, plans and designs for the site have been announced. The store (pictured above) is promised to provide 200 jobs, and will open in early 2016. It will be built on the land behind the Croydon Visitor Centre and CEX shop in Station Approach, next to East Croydon station. Both of these buildings are scheduled for demolition very shortly.

Croydon Partnership buys Whitgift Trust’s 50% stake in Whitgift Centre

The Croydon Partnership, the joint venture between Westfield and Hammerson to develop London’s third Westfield shopping centre in the space currently occupied by the Whitgift Centre, has bought the Whitgift Trust’s 50% long leasehold interest in the centre for an undisclosed sum. The stake was the key remaining holding that needed to be acquired to make way for the £1bn redevelopment plan. The Croydon Partnership now owns the shopping centre alongside its freehold owner, the Whitgift Foundation, and has direct management control. The Foundation is wholly supportive of the Partnership’s redevelopment proposals for Croydon town centre.

Fiveways. Photo by Philip Talmage, used under Creative Commons licence.

Fiveways consultation attracts controversy

Plans were announced by Transport for London to increase traffic capacity along the A23 and A232 roads on the west side of Croydon town centre approaching the Croydon flyover. Talk of widening footpaths, improving lighting and enhancing cycling facilities failed to avert immediate protests from residents, councillors and transport experts about the possibility of land currently within Duppas Hill Park, right alongside the A232, disappearing under tarmac.

The Croydon Partnership now owns or controls a majority of the major land interests required for development to proceed.

CPO decision ‘not before autumn 2015′

Despite a statement from the planning inspector in charge of the hearings concerning the compulsory purchase of sites within the Whitgift Centre to make way for the Croydon Partnership’s development, stating that he will make recommendations to Home Secretary Theresa May in late spring/early summer 2015, it was revealed that a final ruling will have to wait. The government is likely to consider the recommendations for some time before a final ruling is made public. May’s general election is a likely cause for at least some of this delay, along with the summer parliamentary recess.

Pinot Blanc Croydon’s favourite wine

Research by Laithwaite’s Wines revealed that while British drinkers as a whole favour sauvignon blanc, the Croydonian white tipple of choice is pinot blanc. With Hammersmith and Fulham choosing chardonnay and Richmondites remaining loyal to sauvignon blanc, the future effects of gentrification on Croydon’s oenophiliac preferences remain a subject for speculation.

Crystal Palace’s Premier League survival assured with comeback victory at Stoke City

Crystal Palace football team moved a step closer to assurance of a continuing place in the Premier League next season following a comeback victory against Stoke City on 22nd March. Palace is now 11 points clear of the relegation zone and manager Alan Pardew has stated that he is working on future plans for the squad with confidence in its continuing Premier League status.

Sarah Jones spends 24 hours in Croydon Central

On Monday 16th March, in the face of polls showing a narrowing Labour lead in the Croydon Central constituency’s election cliff-hanger, parliamentary candidate Sarah Jones campaigned for 24 consecutive hours, 7:00am-7:00am, visiting all part of her hoped-for future Westminster seat as part of her campaign to oust sitting Conservative MP and government Whip Gavin Barwell.

Photo by Albert Bridge. Used under Creative Commons licence.

20 will be plenty for Croydon as council plans reduced speed limit

Croydon Council’s new 20 year transport vision for Croydon, drawing inspiration from cities like Copenhagen, was approved by the council’s cabinet on Monday 23rd March, with the aim of taking the opportunity provided by regeneration to reshape the way people move around within the borough. It aims to provide better transport routes and a safer environment to travel.

As an outer London borough, Croydon’s high levels of car ownership result in numerous short journeys in private vehicles. Proposals therefore include 20mph limits to make Croydon’s streets safer for pedestrians, tram network improvements to deliver new connections with Crystal Palace and other important places in south London, encouraging TfL to deliver its proposals to extend the Bakerloo Line, continuing to roll out the Play Streets programme and new investment in cycling infrastructure.

The overarching goal of the planned changes is to make it easier to walk or cycle as a viable alternative to the car. Croydon will look to borrow from cities such as Copenhagen, which already has a much more sustainable and active travel system in place, in order to become a world leader in transport.

Initial meetings of Opportunity and Fairness Commission widely panned

Opening meetings of Croydon Council’s Opportunity and Fairness Commission, billed as ‘a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring the people of Croydon together… create a shared vision… and create a better and fairer place to live’ and attacked by opponents as a waste of money, did not receive an entirely favourable press. Both the commission’s launch event at Stanley Halls, South Norwood, back in January, and its first public consultation in New Addington on Monday 9th March were criticised for offering limited time for commission members to listen to the public’s views and respond to questions from attendees (only 15 minutes at the New Addington event). Only 16 people attended a ‘Faiths Together’ meeting held on Monday 16th March.

The commission is holding a series of walkabout engagement sessions and distributing a ‘DIY engagement kit’ to help local interest groups participate in its work.

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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  • Anne Giles

    20 mph speed limits are fine in the smaller streets. However, in hilly areas, trying to drive along a major road at that speed is well nigh impossible. With an automatic, one has to have one’s foot permanently on the brake, or move into second gear. None of this does the car any good at all. Bus timetables would have to be altered as well.