April 2017 in brief

By - Thursday 11th May, 2017

Croydon’s news stories of April 2017, summarised in a handy page

Allegations that tram drivers fell asleep at the controls

National press reports claimed that drivers of Croydon trams have been sleeping at the vehicles’ controls, with the BBC reporting that four drivers had admitted they had done so. A Rail Accident Investigation Branch enquiry is underway into the tram derailment on Thursday 9th November 2016 which killed seven people and injured fifty-two. The national Guardian also reported drivers’ claims that fail-safe devices designed to stop trams if the driver were to become incapacitated did not always appear to stop the vehicles. Interim reports had said that the tram was travelling at 46mph in a 12mph speed limit zone before it crashed. The driver of the tram was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.

Croydon’s ‘Summer of Love’ festival events announced

The Summer of Love Festival (announced in last month’s Citizen) will take place on Saturday 17th June in Wandle Park. Activities will include bunting-making workshops, fresh-cut flowers for visitors’ hair, meditation, live music, and an array of stalls.

Disruption as Wellesley Road is closed for regeneration

The closure of Wellesley Road from 8th to 18th April brought central Croydon to a standstill for several days in the run-up to the Easter weekend. The ongoing work was part of a huge programme aimed at making Croydon’s central artery road more pedestrian- and cycle-friendly as part of the overall regeneration of the town centre, greening it with central reservation planters, introducing new street level crossings and landscaping. The three main bus stops outside East Croydon station also reopened, having been refurbished.

Community street clean in Broad Green

Residents of Broad Green in West Croydon, an area particularly badly affected by fly-tipping, took part in a community spring clean on Monday 17th April. Co-ordinated by the Broad Green Residents’ Association, the event attracted good support locally, including from three local councillors and from volunteers from other parts of the borough. The initiative is part of a growing movement among local communities frustrated by the long-standing problems of litter on Croydon’s streets, including the Thornton Heath Community Action Trust and the Campaign for a Cleaner, Greener and More Beautiful Croydon.

Snap election brings campaign fever back to Croydon

The snap general election triggered an unexpected re-run of the 2015 political nailbiter between sitting MP Gavin Barwell (Conservative) and Labour challenger Sarah Jones for control of Croydon Central, the fourth most marginal parliamentary seat in the country. Croydon Central is the only marginal seat in the borough: Croydon North was held by Steve Reed (Labour) with a 21,000 majority in 2015, and Croydon South MP Chris Philp (Conservative) is defending a majority of over 17,000. Polls suggest that a Conservative landslide nationally is very likely, but Labour and the Conservatives are both campaigning hard in Croydon Central, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn choosing to launch Labour’s national campaign in a speech on North End.

Gas cylinder explosion in Addiscombe

On Friday 21st April half of a street in Addiscombe was evacuated for several hours following fears of a gas cylinder explosion in a house fire. The acetylene cylinder caught fire during work on a loft conversion in Inglis Road, causing a 100m cordon to be placed around the area while firefighters cooled it down. According to This Is Local London, acetylene was described by the London Fire Brigade as “particularly volatile”.

Five Guys becomes the latest chain eatery to announce a Croydon move

It was revealed that a branch of the well-known burger restaurant Five Guys will open in Croydon High Street in September. The announcement comes after a series of setbacks and closures for the area, with high profile losses including celebrated nightspots Tiger Tiger and the Black Sheep bar, as well as longstanding retailer Millets. Local businesses have complained that footfall in the area is low. Caribbean restaurant chain Turtle Bay opened a new branch in the former Tiger Tiger site earlier this year.

Fairfield Halls’ ‘preferred operator’ is announced

Croydon Council has selected BH Live, a Bournemouth-based social enterprise, to run Croydon’s biggest venue for fifteen years once it reopens next year. Around 200 staff are expected to be employed at the new-look Fairfield, and BH Live chief executive Peter Gunn told the Croydon Advertiser that Croydonians could expect more shows at the same ticket prices that they were used to at the Fairfield. Andy Hylton of the Save Our Fairfield group, which lobbied for a phased closure and refurbishment, welcomed the fact that a social enterprise had been chosen over “a purely commercial organisation”. No money will be given to the operator by the council, unlike the previous arrangement at the Fairfield Halls.

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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