September 2016 in brief

By - Friday 14th October, 2016

Croydon’s big stories of September 2016, summarised for your convenience by the Citizen team

Boxpark opening date announced

The delayed Boxpark development next to East Croydon station received an opening date of 29th October. A festival, culminating in grime night Eskimo Dance, will launch the food, drink and events-focused space, which will not include any retail units. As a result, plans for a repeat of 2015′s Ambition Festival were cancelled by Croydon Council, which last year gave Boxpark a £3 million interest-free loan. Boxpark Croydon is the second Boxpark to open, following the smaller Shoreditch location.

Croydon has the fastest-growing economy in the UK

UHY Hacker Young reported last month that Croydon was at the top of the list of 173 areas “with an annual growth rate of 9.3% in Gross Value Added (GVA), rising to £19,800 in the last year from £18,120 the previous year”. Croydon Tech City was credited by UHY Hacker with much of the boom, which has produced nearly three times the UK average growth rate (3.4%). The figures triggered much celebration and a surge of confidence from local business leaders.

Two Croydon restaurants in the Michelin Guide 2017

South Croydon eateries Albert’s Table and Karnavar both appear in the prestigious and world-renowned directory of restaurants, unveiled last month. The appearance of newcomer Karnavar doubles the number of Croydon establishments in the guide.

Ahmadiyya Eid party in New Addington widely attended

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Chapter of Croydon in New Addington and Shirley hosted an Eid festival get-together dinner party on Wednesday 28th September at the Civic Centre in New Addington. Over 100 guests attended, including the deputy mayor, councillor Toni Letts, and Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell. They were joined by clergy members from the Christian and Sikh communities, Chief Darren Joy, staff of the local fire brigade, members of the local police and members of the local community who reflected all faiths in the area.

Speeches were delivered by Reverend Debbie Forman, Imam Ataul Mujeeb Rashed (missionary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, serving at London’s oldest mosque in Wandsworth) and Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell. The event was chaired by the director of the Ahmadiyya Muslims Elders’ Association UK, Dr Ijaz Ur Rahman.

Fairfield Halls operator owes £750,000

The Croydon Advertiser reported that around ninety creditors to Fairfield (Croydon) Ltd, the entity that ran the Fairfield Halls until their July closure, remain unpaid. The largest single sum is owed to employees, who will now be paid by the Government Redundancy Payment Service. HMRC is owed almost £70,000, while various local businesses including the Brit School are owed sums in the tens of thousands of pounds. Fairfield (Croydon) Ltd filed for administration three days after the Fairfield Halls closed in July. The refurbishment has now begun, though the Croydon Guardian reported concerns that the £30 million allotted to the project by Croydon Council “may not be enough”, according to the Theatres Trust.

Croydon Radio moves out of Matthews Yard

Increases in rent at the community hub off Surrey Street meant that the volunteer-run radio station moved to a temporary home in Airport House last month. Broadcasting re-commenced on Wednesday 14th September after only a fortnight off the air. A move to a high street location will take place at an as-yet-unannounced future date.

’20′s Plenty’ speed restriction zone extended in north east Croydon

After a survey launched by the council in April, the existing 20mph zone in the north of the borough was extended to the north east. Residents backed the proposals from the start, a change from the controversy involved in the initial launch of the scheme in the far north of the borough. It is hoped that a successful rollout and further possible expansions of the scheme will increase road safety and have a positive impact on emissions, though data is not yet available on driver adherence to the new limits or the impact on the environment.

International Playwriting Festival transformed council chamber into theatre

The festival, originally housed at the Warehouse Theatre, has had to move out of the Fairfield Halls during its refurbishment. On the weekend of 10th and 11th September, the town hall’s council chamber was turned into a theatre in order for the festival to go ahead. The performed plays were Shadowed by Sydney playwright Tony Zeane, Cold Calling by Bath’s Doc Watson, and Once Around The Sun by Shoreham-by-Sea playwright Judy Upton. Extracts from other works were also performed, presided over by a judging panel including former Warehouse Theatre director Ted Craig.

Hollywood film crew took over St George’s Walk

Police cordons and Turkish taxis were a confusing sight for Croydonians looking to cut through St George’s Walk between 13th and 16th September. Michael Keaton film The Long Walk was shooting in the 1960s shopping precinct, in more ways than one. Loud bangs and gunfire were heard, though signs informed passers-by that these were part of the film and that they should not be alarmed. The film, in which Croydon stands in for Istanbul, is based on a bestselling US novel and is due to be released next year.

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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  • David Cantrell

    “Residents backed the [20mph] proposals from the start” did they? Really?

    Around here, the response to the survey was indeed more in favour than against, but only a minute proportion of residents actually responded and the number of replies wasn’t enough to draw conclusions from. Not that that stopped the town hall from going ahead with their proposals.