November 2017 in brief

By - Monday 18th December, 2017

The big news stories of November 2017, summarised by the Citizen team

Photo by Liz Sheppard-Jones, used with permission.

Croydon Council announces plans to preserve outlying town centres after the Westfield retail centre opens

It was reported in the Croydon Advertiser that Croydon Council plans to invest in Croydon’s ‘village’ centres after the Westfield complex is built in the town centre. Croydon Council chief executive Jo Negrini made the statement during questioning on the issue at the London Assemblies Regeneration Committee. She said that the council intends to invest in infrastructure and skills and job training in areas outside the town centre. The announcement comes after the approval of the Westfield Shopping Centre had led to fears of neglect from outlying communities.

Croydon Council sets a new street drinking limit

East London Lines reported that Croydon council has approved new rules to control street drinking and other anti-social behaviour by imposing fines. The move follows a survey which found that a large majority of locals believed it was a ‘big problem’. Those drinking alcohol or possessing a container of alcohol in restricted spaces will receive a £80 fine, with those aged over eighteen eligible for prosecution and up to a £1,000 fine if found guilty. The rules will apply in areas around North End, High Street, Wellesley Road, Park Lane and East Croydon station.

Young Croydonians take on key job roles for a day

On Friday 24th November, 68 young Croydonians took part in the Croydon Youth Takeover Challenge, a new initiative to give Croydon’s youth the chance to participate in the running of the borough for a day. Several job roles in various different fields were taken over, including roles in the police, the Palace for Life charity, and even the role of Croydon Council’s Chief Executive. The young people were given important hands-on experience in each position; for example, those who were with the police participated in a search for a young missing person in a scenario staged by actors.

Concerns are expressed over council compensation pay-outs

A series of compensation payments made by the Croydon Council have come to light, including to one family which received £43,000 after their child received a splinter from a playground bench. Since 2014,the council has made nearly £6 million in compensation payments. Out of 1600 claims made to the Croydon Council since that year, nearly 500 have been settled after the organisation admitted fault.

A new forty-four storey tower is announced for East Croydon

The Croydon Advertiser reported the unanimous planning approval of a forty-four storey tower opposite East Croydon station. The development, containing 540 flats, is set to overtake the forty-three storey Saffron tower as Croydon’s tallest building. It will also hold the record as the world’s largest pre-fabricated building, being a building which will not be constructed on site but assembled.

Croydon’s Scrabble star hopes that the town will become the UK’s ‘Scrabble capital’

Brett Smitheram, the Purley-based world champion of the board game Scrabble, has declared this ambition in the Croydon Advertiser. Mr Smitheram will be hosting Scrabble nights at the Ludoquist boardgame cafe in central Croydon, where players take on each other for cash prizes. Those who are successful enough will even get to play the champ to double up their prize money.

Police release Christmas-related wanted posters

The Croydon Guardian reported the release by police of the annual ‘Christmas calendar’ of people sought for questioning across the borough. Each day, new wanted photos – complete with festive light borders – are being posted by the force on Twitter, so that things can be ‘sorted out’ before the holiday. It’s part of a campaign to persuade people to turn themselves in advance of the holiday, so that they don’t have to spend it in a cell.

A former nightclub will be turned into a gym

A town centre location that once held a nightclub and snooker hall is set to become a gym. This Is London Local reported that Pure Gym will take occupancy of the floor of 12-20 Crown Hill in central Croydon. The gym chain, which has nearly two hundred locations across the UK, will also be launching the new Croydon fitness centre in 2018.

Local MP reveals that a lack of funding causes the cancellation of school trips

A new survey of head teachers by Croydon Central MP Sarah Jones shows that schools are significantly cutting down on school trips due to lack of funds. Jones announced that her research has found inadequate funding has caused more than half of Croydon’s schools to cut down trips for students, a situation she believes will only get worse for pupils. Two-thirds of the fifty Croydon head teachers surveyed also said that they have had to reduce spending on sports, music and books. School funding in Croydon is an issue about which Jones has frequently spoken out, expressed her concerns that these cuts could hurt educational opportunities for students. The National Union of Teachers says Croydon schools could lose a further £8 million in funding by 2020, although the Department of Education disputes those numbers.

Police briefly place knife arch at town centre McDonald’s

On Wednesday 22nd November, police placed a knife arch, staffed by officers, in McDonald’s on North End for two hours. The Advertiser reported that the device, a metal detector through which people entering the restaurant walked and which was present from 4pm to 6pm, was intended to discourage the carrying of knives during a period when many young people are known to visit the branch after getting off school or college. The display received a mixed reception from residents, some of whom questioned its effectiveness in combating knife crime.

Two new memorials remember Croydon tram crash victims

Exactly a year after the Croydon tram crash that killed seven people, two new permanent memorials have been unveiled, one near the bridge at Sandilands and one in New Addington. The anniversary of the crash on 8th November was marked by a ceremony at Market Square on New Addington’s Central Parade to honour the victims and acknowledge all of those impacted by the tragedy. A report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch into the incident subsequently blamed it on the tram driver’s having briefly falling asleep, then speeding through a sharp bend. The report also blamed the crash on a lack of much-needed safety procedures, such as technology which detects loss of driver awareness, on the tram network.

Crystal Palace’s ‘Boxpark takeover’ is attended by over 1,000 fans

More than a than thousand Crystal Palace fans congregated at Boxpark on Tuesday 21st November, in the club’s inaugural ‘Palace Boxpark Takeover’. Fans who attended the event met manager Roy Hodgson and chairman Steve Parish and were able to get the autographs of sixteen members of the team. Club captain Jason Puncheon, who was on hand, said he was happy to give something back to fans as well as the community with the event.

The Croydon Citizen

The Croydon Citizen

The Croydon Citizen is a non-profit community news magazine for London's most populous borough.

More Posts