October 2016 in brief

By - Tuesday 8th November, 2016

The big news stories of last month, summarised by the Citizen team

Photo by Liz Sheppard-Jones, used with permission.

Food and drink hub Boxpark opens

The shipping container-based development finally opened its doors at the end of October. Featuring more than thirty bars, coffee shops, restaurants and other assorted eateries, the large development next to East Croydon station began with a two-day launch party, the thumping bass of which could be felt on East Croydon’s railway platforms. For a review of the launch, see Jonny Rose’s piece from earlier this afternoon. Boxpark will remain on the site for at least three years. Stanhope and Schroders, owners of the land, will eventually redevelop the whole site as part of their Ruskin Square housing and office development.

Gang-related murder and serious injury in Gloucester Road

The serious attack on the night of 31st October raised renewed concerns of gang-related violence. A 23 year old man was stabbed to death and three others were seriously injured. An eyewitness told the Citizen of “a running battle” involving “significant numbers of young men”. The aftermath of the attack saw renewed concerns raised over police numbers in the north of the borough, with local MP Steve Reed not alone in pointing out that the attack took place very near the site of what used to be South Norwood Police Station.

‘Killer clown craze‘ triggers age controls on clown masks

A bizarre craze originating in the United States has reached the UK. Individuals dressed as clowns are menacing people in parks and public places, though reports of physical assaults remain sporadic. In response, Party Superstores in Centrale now refuses to sell clown masks to people under the age of 18. Amid rumoured sightings on Riddlesdown Common, the Croydon Advertiser reported that an individual dressed as a clown ‘jumped out’ at a group of children at Castle Hill Academy, New Addington.

London Living Wage urged at council-backed event

The London Living Wage (LLW), which is based on the cost of living in London was raised by Mayor Sadiq Khan on 31st October. The LLW is now 35p higher, at £9.75. As part of Living Wage Week, public and private sector employers gathered in No. 1 Croydon for a day of events aimed at reaching a target of 100 employers in the borough all paying the London Living Wage. Since October 2015, Croydon Council has itself been a ‘London Living Wage council’, with all council staff paid LLW or higher. Private firms providing council services are required to commit to paying the LLW in all new contracts.

Croydon volunteers welcome Calais children

Thanks to the Home Office’s immigration services being located in Lunar House on Wellesley Road, Croydon was a regular sight on the nightly news during the arrival of refugee children from Calais. Rejecting the national controversies surrounding alleged discrepancies in the ages of some refugee children, volunteers from local churches and civic group Citizens UK formed a crowd outside Lunar House to greet the arriving children not with dental checks but with messages of support and welcome. Criminal-records-cleared adults were on hand to sit with the children while they waited to be interviewed by Home Office staff, and the Salvation Army provided goodie bags. The Croydon Advertiser reported that around 70 children have now arrived in Croydon.

Fairfield Halls puts out call for an official operator

The performing arts venue closed in July. Facing huge debts, its operating firm, Fairfield (Croydon) Ltd, was recently liquidated (see September 2016 in brief), and had not been expected to be placed in charge of the new Fairfield Halls when they re-open in 2018. The tender application promises that the new venue will feature a new box office, “improved circulation”, more flexible arts spaces, and updated electrics and mechanics.

Purley rubbish tip to close for two week refurbishment

The closure will occur between 5th and 18th December, timing which has raised questions about its closeness to Christmas and the increased demand for waste disposal that will occur as the busiest time of year begins. However, the refurbishment comes after strong support was expressed among public users of the tip in a survey taken this summer, during which the poor layout of the tip resulted in queues out on to the main road obstructing traffic. During the closure, Croydonians will be able to use the Factory Lane and Fishers Farm refuse centres.

Croydon Workplace Survey underway

The annual gathering of property developers and businesses in the town centre, Develop Croydon, has commissioned a survey “in order to gauge changing perceptions of Croydon” and “to pinpoint what workers like and dislike about the town as a workplace”. The findings of the survey will be published at the conference this month, and presented to attendees. To take part, search “Develop Croydon Workplace Survey”.

Westfield Stratford.
Photo by Berit Watkin, used under Creative Commons licence.

Rapper Tuggzy shot dead on Eastney Road

The 22 year old man was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics responding to reports of gunshots alongside firearms officers. The shooting took place on the night of 7th October, with eyewitnesses describing the incident as taking place at a house party. A police investigation is underway, and so far no arrests have been made.

Croydon Partnership shopping centre plans expanded

The joint venture between Westfield and Hammerson submitted new plans to Croydon Council, calming fears that Brexit would threaten the development’s future. Confirming a latest opening date of 2021 with work beginning next year, the plans to demolish the Whitgift Centre and replace it with a new building have been extended to include 1,000 homes, up from 600 in the original estimates. As first reported in April, the existing Marks and Spencer on North End will be replaced with a ‘flagship store’ for the same company, and the new plans do indeed involve a taller structure in order to accommodate an IMAX cinema.

Gatwick Airport may build second runway in spite of Heathrow decision

Theresa May’s cabinet confirmed its support for building a third runway at Heathrow last month, triggering the resignation of defeated mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith from his parliamentary seat of Richmond Park. Meanwhile, the passed-over Gatwick has said that it still plans to build a second runway of its own. Chief executive Stewart Wingate said “Gatwick stands ready to proceed when the time comes”. Tony Newman, the leader of Croydon Council, joined politicians from various parties in “pledging to continue the fight for a second runway”. It is all but certain that Croydon would be a major economic beneficiary if Gatwick’s capacity were increased.

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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