Winter in brief

By - Thursday 1st February, 2018

The big news stories of December 2017 and January 2018, summarised by the Citizen team

Photo by ian_woodcraft1 used under Creative Commons licence.

Croydon bids to become London’s first Borough of Culture

Croydon entered the competition to become London’s first Borough of Culture in 2019, a new award announced by mayor Sadiq Khan. The bid was submitted in December, and the outcome will be announced in February. Twenty-two bids have been submitted and rivals include Brent, Camden, Greenwich and Merton. Two winning boroughs will be announced, one to hold the title in 2019 and a second for 2020. Up to six other boroughs will receive support to deliver bespoke cultural projects.

Car fire in Centrale car park leads to evacuation and tram delays

A car fire in the Centrale car park led to evacuation on Friday 22nd December 2017, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, the Croydon Advertiser reported. The fire resulted in minor delays on the tram network and London Trams tweeted “No service: East Croydon and Reeves Corner, due to a fire alert at Centrale shopping centre”.

Croydon Council takes libraries back in-house after collapse of Carillion

In January, Croydon Council announced its intention to terminate its contract with Carillion, the company appointed to run the borough’s libraries in 2012. Carillion is a construction firm which recently went into liquidation. The council said that it would take all thirteen libraries back in-house with the intention of protecting staff jobs. Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said that “the council has been considering its options over the past few months after it became clear that Carillion was running into difficulties. We are determined to protect and boost our libraries for residents now and for generations to come”.

Thornton Heath’s CR7 community market launches

A three-month trial of a new street market on Thornton Heath High Street launched on 16th December after the local community raised £2,100 in four weeks. The opening day of the CR7 community market featured Christmas carols, Santa’s grotto, festive street lights, the Clock Tower Christmas tree and even a skating rink. Items up for grabs included artisans’ wares and handcrafted goods made by local small businesses. The second edition of the market on Saturday 27th December also featured a light show with displays from the city centre’s Lumiere London (held 18th-21st January) in Trumble Park on Brigstock Road.

On-going rail dispute leads to RMT walkout

Members of the RMT union staged a 24-hour walkout on Monday 8th January. The Croydon Advertiser reported that the walkout was the result of an ongoing dispute about the role of train guards and the introduction of driver-only operated services. Angie Doll, passenger services director for Southern, said that “the RMT’s action is especially regrettable as the leadership announced this strike just hours after we had invited them for talks in a bid to end the dispute. We have made four offers to the RMT but it has rejected every one without putting them to members for a vote”. Southern Rail passengers were advised to check for disruption to their journey.

Southern Rail service named worst train journey in Britain

A Southern Rail service through Croydon was revealed as the worst train journey in the country, according to Croydon Advertiser. The 09:24 service from Caterham to London Victoria was late 240 times last year.

Croydon sees increase in ‘flu outbreaks

A map published by the Flusurvey 2017-18 project and reported by Croydon Advertiser revealed that areas around Croydon are seeing an increase in people being diagnosed with the potentially deadly Aussie ‘flu strain. Symptoms of Aussie ‘flu include sore throat and cough, headache, fever, muscle ache, runny nose, sneezing and fatigue. The illness can also lead to pneumonia and other potentially fatal complications. This year’s flu vaccine has been developed to tackle the main strains circulating this season, including H3N2, and doctors advise that the jab is the best way of beating the illness.

Forward planning helps Croydon University Hospital to avoid cutting back on scheduled surgery

Croydon University Hospital did not have to cancel any scheduled surgery during January, despite the pressure on hospitals this winter which led to 55,000 operations being cancelled nationwide, according to reports in the Croydon Advertiser. The NHS National Emergency Pressures Panel had urged health trusts to delay non-urgent operations until at least the end of the month, however CUH had retained capacity by booking in fewer non-emergency surgeries for January.

Congress on Culture brings together organisations to discuss Croydon’s cultural offering

Croydon’s first Congress on Culture, organised by the council and held on Thursday 18th January in the Braithwaite Hall, brought together representatives from businesses, charities, and voluntary organisations to discuss the borough’s cultural offering. The Citizen reported that round-table discussions followed informative talks on the arts and quality of life, and on business support for cultural activity. Issues tackled also included the challenges the town faces as it waits to find out the result of its bid to become London’s first Borough of Culture in 2019.

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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