News in brief: November

By - Thursday 10th December, 2015

The big Croydon stories of November 2015, summarised for your convenience

Photo by Liz Sheppard-Jones, used with permission.

Thornton Heath ‘stormz’ to victory at 2015 MOBO Awards

Musicians and performers from Thornton Heath dominated the 2015 national MOBO (Music of Black Origin) awards held in Leeds on Thursday 4th November. Krept and Konan, Stormzy, Section Boyz and Faith Child triumphed, with Krept and Konan winning Best Hip Hop Act and Best Album, Stormzy Best Male Act and Best Grime Act, Section Boyz Best Newcomer Award, and Faith Child Best Gospel Act. Former Croydon College student FKA Twigs won Best Video for ‘Pendulum’, and Ella Eyre, alumna of the Brit School in Selhurst, won Best Female Act.

Spectators injured at Croydon BID Christmas lights switch-on

Two people were taken to hospital and three treated by paramedics following a incident with fireworks at Croydon Business Improvement District’s Christmas lights switch-on on Thursday 12th November. At the end of the event, billed as offering ‘family fun and entertainment’ and starring Fairfield Halls pantomime lead Stephen Mulhern, a fireworks display malfunction led to what were described as ‘rocks’ and ‘small flames’ falling on spectators, including numerous young children, in North End. It is believed that the pyrotechnics, which were launched from the roof of the Centrale Shopping Centre, failed to achieve their intended height. Croydon BID has apologised for the distress and injuries caused and is carrying out an investigation.

Sweet success for Croydon beekeepers at National Honey Show

Members of the Croydon Beekeepers Association (CBA) won four first prize trophies at the 84th national competition held in Weymouth, plus a range of other awards for their honey, beeswax, mead and honey cake. Victories by individual competitors led to Croydon apiarists retaining the Douglas Cup, an award keenly contested between Croydon and Wimbledon. The association, which is based in Purley, has been established since 1879.

Photo by Liz Sheppard-Jones, used with permission.

Protests greet announcement of Coulsdon CALAT centre closure

The closure of the Croydon Adult Learning and Training centre in Malcolm Road, Coulsdon was announced as part of cuts totalling £600,000 to Croydon Council’s adult training budget. Cuts are also expected at the other three centres at Thornton Heath, New Addington and Croydon town centre. It is not yet known how many of the sixty part-time and seventeen full-time jobs at the Coulsdon site will be affected.

Croydon Council offers redundancy to its entire workforce 

Croydon Council’s whole workforce has been offered voluntary redundancy in a bid to cut £100m from the authority’s budget. Thousands of staff have been invited to apply for voluntary redundancy as the council looks for ways to reduce spending in the face of central government funding cuts. The offer was circulated to the authority’s 10,000-plus employees on Thursday 12th November along with the announcement of a freeze on recruitment. Some staff have also been invited to permanently reduce their working hours, and others to take early retirement. With annual budget reductions of £100m required over the next three years and a projected £3.5m overspend in 2015-16, council bosses have described the situation as “immensely challenging”. Some staff expressed fears that compulsory redundancies would follow the voluntary scheme with one worker quoted as saying: “Apparently the council is skint”.

Junior doctors from Croydon met the public in North End on Saturday 28th November at an event entitled ‘Meet the doctors’, to explain the issues behind their national strike over new working contracts announced by Minister of Health, Jeremy Hunt. Dressed in scrubs and carrying stethoscopes, the campaigning group was led by Dr Unmesh Bandy who has lived in the area for twenty years and studied medicine at Imperial College London. The first of three days of strikes had been announced for Tuesday 1st December. Strike action was called off at the last minute on Monday 30th November. Negotiations are now underway at ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service).

Croydon’s library services ‘could be cut to statutory minimum’

Councillor Timothy Godfrey, Croydon council cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, has stated that all but one of Croydon’s thirteen libraries could close following further cuts in government funding announced in the government’s autumn statement. Local authorities have a statutory duty to provide a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ library service but it is possible that ‘statutory core services’ could be defined as only the central library in Katharine Street. Councillor Godfrey said the Labour-run council is “committed to proper coverage across the borough” but added that extensive cuts were possible after the grant given to local authorities was cut 56 per cent by 2019/20. The suggested cuts, reported in the Croydon Advertiser, would break manifesto commitments on library provision given when the Labour council was elected in May 2014. The thirteen libraries in Croydon are: Central, Ashburton, Bradmore Green, Broad Green, Coulsdon, New Addington, Norbury, Purley, Sanderstead, Selsdon, Shirley, South Norwood and Thornton Heath.

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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