Summer news in brief

By - Thursday 10th September, 2015

The big stories of the summer in a handy round-up

Croydon Council sets sights on Bakerloo Line extension

In late July, Croydon Council began public moves to lobby Transport for London to place the long-proposed extension of the Bakerloo Line in Croydon. The extension has previously been earmarked for Bromley, but an apparent lack of support for the idea on Bromley Council has made Croydon’s own local authority confident that its proposal, which would see new underground interchanges at Elmers End and Norwood Junction, will be seriously considered as an alternative. If it goes ahead, fans of subterranean travel will be disappointed, however: the new line will be almost entirely above ground, like much of the underground network outside Zones 1 and 2.

Thornton Heath dubbed “the last affordable place in London”

The Croydon Guardian reported that research by analysts Hometrack had found the Croydon suburb has become ‘the fastest growing property market in London’, with prices rising 14.7% from 2014 to June of this year. Talking to Bloomberg Business, Derrick Drummond of Drummonds Property and Finance said most of the purchases were being made by foreign investors “looking to buy to rent”. But Jason Livingstone of Barnard and Marcus emphasised the swelling interest from first-time buyers. “It’s the last affordable place in greater London. Going down London Road, all you can see is development. It’s giving people confidence that the area is changing and improving.”

Jeremy Corbyn draws 600-strong crowd at Croydon’s Ruskin House

Surprise Labour leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn visited Croydon on 4th August. The veteran left-winger – whose arrival was delayed by train cancellations at London Bridge – attracted a large audience that eventually spilled into and filled the garden of Croydon Labour HQ Ruskin House. Members of Constituency Labour Parties in Croydon North and Croydon Central have nominated Corbyn for the leadership, while Croydon South opted for Liz Kendall. Croydon North’s Labour MP, Steve Reed, has also publicly endorsed Kendall. The reaction to the contest among local Conservatives has been ‘supportive’ of Corbyn, with Conservative MP Gavin Barwell tweeting his belief that a Corbyn victory would be “great news for me”. The Labour leadership result will be announced on 12th September.

Taberner House site to be transformed into saffron farm

The empty site of the former Croydon Council HQ, which will be redeveloped next year, is to be turned into a temporary saffron farm. Croydon Radio DJ Ally McKinlay had the idea during the Ambition Festival while looking at the empty Taberner House site. Thanks to a crowdfunded budget of £4,044 for the project, McKinlay is going ahead with the planting of crocuses, which will eventually be uprooted and ‘re-homed’ in parks and green spaces when building work begins on the site in 2016. A local restaurant has already offered to buy the first crop of saffron that the crocuses will produce. McKinlay’s plan will see the return of the ‘crocus valley’ that saw Anglo-Saxon Croydon get its name.

Croydon’s new LEGO Clubs begin with taster sessions

Croydon’s children are now able to learn and play with ‘the nation’s favourite toy bricks’ at the borough’s libraries, after a series of free taster sessions across the summer. Part of the LEGO Education scheme, the clubs are aimed at children aged eight and above and feature ‘activity packages’ including StoryStarter, MoreToMaths, WeDo, and Machines and Mechanisms.

London Road Carnival

On Sunday 19th July, the re-branded London Road Carnival attracted two and half thousand visitors to West Croydon. Attractions included a 1970s style police car complete with traditional helmet for children to try on, a bouncy castle, face-painting, Pimm’s courtesy of the Half And Half bar and gelato offered by local Italian newcomer Gelattiamo coffee shop. Soul singer Angie Brown starred on the live music stage and locals were able to enjoy the event without concerns about traffic due to street closure and re-routing of buses between St James’s Road and West Croydon station.

Ambition Festival

Intermittent rain between Thursday 20th and Sunday 23rd July affected attendance at Croydon town centre’s first open air festival. Taking its title from Croydon Council’s ‘Ambitious for Croydon’ campaign, Ambition Festival brought a range of performers in music, dance and comedy to venues throughout the area including Platform Ruskin Square’s pop-up beach, the Minty Fresh stage in Mint Walk, the Fountain stage in Queen’s Gardens, the Fairfield Halls, Matthew’s Yard, Croydon Minster and a double decker bus in Park Lane.

Boxpark launch held on 23rd July

On Thursday 23rd July, Roger Wade and the team behind Boxpark Shoreditch formally announced their plan for a pop-up development in Ruskin Square, alongside East Croydon station. Many were surprised to learn that the new development, set to open in the summer of 2016, will depart from the Shoreditch retail and food model and focus solely on food and entertainment. Boxpark’s concept is pop-up businesses in container crates, sixty of which will be available for rent on the new Croydon site. A 20,000 sq ft performance space at its centre will host 200 events per year, and Boxpark will be open seven days a week from breakfast-time until late. With 3 million people living within half an hour’s journey time of East Croydon, it is anticipated that ‘Boxpark Croydon’ will draw large numbers of visitors.

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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  • CroydonSurrey

    Thornton Heath is a disaster and the amount of new social housing being built is not going to make it any better.