Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Croydon Heritage Festival and the Role of Whitgift Foundation – Part 2

Is a Director Needed?

There is the argument that every Festival needs a Director to really work. ‘It has to be basically one person's vision. It can't be a group effort - suggestions yes but not a mish mash. That just becomes vague and lacks focus.’ This seems to be a good point. However, from my experience co-ordinating the Lambeth Riverside Festivals in 2005 and 2006, it is almost impossible to have a vision beyond the aim of trying to involve as diverse a range of local organisations and their activities as possible, and showcasing local talent. The argument for a Director is much stronger where a Festival is commemorating an individual or a specific historical event or movement, as was the case with the 2012 Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Festival. The latter worked well because the (unpaid) Artistic Director Jonathan Butcher had the vision and a dedicated volunteer team.

Dependence on Volunteers

Another reservation about Whitgift being in charge is that it does not have the expertise and relies on expert volunteers and groups to put on the events. Well of course; there is no other way. Without a proper budget it is a weakness and a strength as is the experience of the Lambeth and Wandsworth Festivals. It is almost impossible to attract speakers who require a fee; it is impossible to bring in heritage based arts activities.

In last year’s planning process White Label tried to tap into people’s knowledge and expertise without offering a consultancy fee. At least one person felt patronised and used. As many of my friends and acquaintances keep saying to me ‘if one is a volunteer, when others are being paid, there is a real sense that 'they' are the experts, despite 'them' probably not having actual qualifications in many areas.’ ‘How dare they make money on the back of our expertise.’ Several now refuse to share their knowledge and expertise with production companies which will not pay a fee. I have done that myself including with the firm that makes Who Do You Think You Are. But I was happy to help Kush Films with one of their Freedom Riders film shows last year. This is not so applicable to the Croydon Festival; someone has to be paid to co-ordinate, and make sure the venues are booked and the publicity created. This year it is largely a member of the Foundation staff team. In that sense it is no different from the Council now GLL officers in Wandsworth or Lambeth Archive staff undertaking that role.

As I know from several years involvement in the Wandsworth Heritage Festival it takes time to build up a momentum from one year to the next. One of the problems facing groups that want to take part is that given their year round busy schedules, they do not always have the member resources to put on events in a Festival or to run stalls. But such Festivals allow one to seize the opportunity and rise to the challenge.

Wandsworth Heritage Festival

Last year I deliberately stepped aside from organising anything in the Wandsworth Festival. This year because I am still focussed on the commemoration of John Archer as Battersea’s black mayor (1913-14) through to November, I am planning four walks and a couple of talks about him. I am also trying to organise an opening Saturday events of stalls, displays, talks and walks. The four speakers I have lined up for the day are people I know on my personal, rather than through the local heritage networks.

Lack of money is a problem though as long as many events can take place in the Libraries there are no hall booking fees. Wandsworth’s libraries were and continue to be available now that GLL manages them for the Council, along with the Heritage Service. It has also taken on the task of leading the Heritage Partnership which I am member of and co-ordinates the Festival.  Fortunately the finance for the printed brochure is available in the GLL contract, and there have been recent discussions on how to improve publicity especially through social networks.

Lambeth Festival

Inspired by the Wandsworth Festival, Lambeth started one last year, building on the collaborative working of the Local History Forum and its Archives Open Day. I gave a talk for and at LASSCO, the architectural salvage business at Vauxhall Cross.  This year’s Festival is now being planned. Both Festivals show what can be done on a shoestring budget.

The difference between the experience in Lambeth and Wandsworth and in Croydon appears to be that rather than approach the Festival in a partnership way, Croydon’s has been presented as something that will happen. This was obviously not the case given last year’s emerged from discussion with the Local Studies Forum. What has gone wrong this year appears to be the fact that Whitgift did not inherit from White Label a database of all those involved last year, and therefore is still trying to find out who it should be contacting. As a result I am one of those who was not contacted.  

Inadequate Planning Time

The first announcement for this year seems to have been made towards the end of January. There may well be individuals, like my neighbour David Clark, whose History of Norbury was published by Streatham Society last year. David has offered some activities for the Festival. But there may be others  who do not yet know that is being planned, and who may need to be paired up with a group as the organiser of an event for them. A mechanism needs to be developed which networks people together wider than the organisations that are members of the Forum. This may be something that could fall within the remit of the newly launched Croydon Arts Network given the inspiration of heritage for arts activities. Time is now too short to try and discuss with people outside the Borough organising events with them, like Kush Films to show Freedom Riders, Tayo Aluko to perform his Paul Robeson and Langston Hughes shows, Martin Hoyles to talk about Ira Aldridge, staff of the Legacies of British Slave-ownership to discuss Croydon and slavery. Time is too short to develop activity about the Chartist and radical poet Gerald Massey whose archive is at Upper Norwood Library, or on the textiles history of the Borough, or  on the histories of new groups settling in Croydon like the Ukrainians, who will be celebrating the 200th Anniversary of Taras Shevchenko, their ‘Robert Burns’, an artist, poet and nationalist who knew Ira Aldridge. The number of topics is ever expanding including Croydon contribution to the campaigns against smallpox vaccination, to nationalise the land or tax land values. If the Festival continues through 2014 to 108 then there is the whole question of what should be included in activities relating to the remembrance of the First World War. Lambeth and Wandsworth are already fleshing out their frameworks for this. I suppose this is where the concept of ‘vision’ discussed in Part 1 comes in.

The Challenge of Involving Schools

Involving schools is a key challenge for Heritage Festival  organisers, often suffering from overload and decreasing resources. Because of my network contacts I was invited to lead two assemblies and a couple of workshops on Samuel Coleridge-Taylor in last October’s Black History Month at Winterbourne boys primary. I was happy to do that unpaid. However, there was no way I and others could been involved working with pupils in the Nubian Jak Community Trust John Archer Project in Wandsworth (2009-10), or its British Black Music 1900-1920 Project (2012-13) in Lambeth, Waltham Forest and Wandsworth, without fees payable from Heritage Lottery Fund grants.  If Whitgift made money available every school could be offered during the Festival the opportunity to have an incoming ‘expert’, and have a guided walk. It may also need to pay for the cost of any transport needed.

Developing Community Ownership

It is through earlier planning and widening involvement that the Festival can  develop with a much greater sense of  community ownership. This last couple of years has seen several community and other heritage initiatives inc. the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Festival, the Friends of Church Alley Broad Green project, and the Lightup Foundation’s Now and Then Project. South Croydon Community Association is working up a heritage trail project. Showcasing such projects in an annual Heritage Festival helps to widen the audiences they reach and increases knowledge and understanding among the wider public. It may also stimulate other community groups to set up their own projects.

Whitgift’s Potential Wider ‘Public Benefit’

With its considerable resources (buildings, archives, fields, etc) Whitgift could use the Festival as a test exercise in developing a strategy to add value to arts, culture, education and heritage in Croydon throughout the year, strengthening meeting its legal requirement as a charity in relation of ‘public benefit’.  By the time the Festival takes place, the local elections will be over. If Labour wins Whitgift will probably have to start have to re-think its role in Croydon within the framework of the cultural and heritage strategy that Labour will need to adopt, and with the strategy which will be developed by the new independent Arts Network.

Festival Contact Details

To take part in this year’s Festival please contact

 Catherine Shirley
Marketing and Communications Manager
The Whitgift Foundation 
020 8256 1579 

Background Discussion on Croydon Heritage Issues

Forthcoming on Croydon Citizen:

Taras Shevchenko

South Croydon History – 3 parter

Croydon Heritage Festival and the Role of Whitgift Foundation – Part 1

‘Thank you for mentioning our school, 
whose history is so hidden but so fascinating.’ 

So wrote 14 year old Zara Kesterton of Old Palace of John Whitgift School in a letter to the BBC History magazine last June, commenting on an article about Thomas Cromwell. This is a reminder how a local heritage building can link into national and indeed  international stories, and inspire young people to develop a historical interest and understanding.

Across its three schools (Old Palace, Whitgift and Trinity) the Whitgift Foundation is well placed to use these as bases for introducing Croydonians and pupils from other schools to some of the riches of Croydon’s local history, especially the complexity of religion and politics under the Tudors, the on-going role of the Archbishops and then the Foundation as landowner and major economic and political player. Can you imagine ‘the value added’ this would give to pupils across the Borough and its knock-on effect across developing the thirst to learn?

Scepticism about Whitgift

Given the scepticism about the actual role played by the Foundation many will regard me as naive. Perhaps I am but I believe that change is possible, and that change only happens when people argue and act for it.

Scepticism has been particularly aired through postings on Inside Croydon and in emails to me, but was usefully counterbalanced by Croydon Citizen writer Liz Shephard-Jones (see end of Part 2). At the heart of the argument is concern about whether its massive importance as  landowner and through that its effect on the local economy is beneficial to the majority of Croydonians, or just to private profit making through deals such as that with with Westfield and Hammerson? While it is a charity which is not legally accountable to the public, should it not have to justify its ‘public benefit’ as a charity to Croydonians? Some people consider that it should be contributing a lot more to the Borough’s arts, culture, education and heritage activity.

The Birth of the Festival

Let’s give the Foundation its due. The idea for the Festival was the inspiration of Catherine Shirley, its Marketing and Communications Manager, and was discussed with the Croydon Local Studies Forum. And so the first Croydon Heritage Festival last year was born. The organisation was undertaken on its behalf by PR consultants White Label, which appears to have a reputation of not talking to residents and small businesses, and working in closed meetings with Whitgift, Councillors and larger businesses. 

Seeing last year’s Festival as an opportunity to publicise the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Network and enable the start of publicity about the newly formed Croydon Radical History Network, I ran a stall as part of the day event in North End. I was not impressed by White Label’s organisational competence, not improved by their running of the subsequent Wandle Park Open Day.

Festival Survey Findings

Whitgift undertook a survey on reactions to the Festival and found:

·         98% said Croydon Heritage Festival should be an annual event
·         98% thought it was important to celebrate the Borough's heritage
·         98% thought it would raise the Borough's profile

Such surveys are generally meaningless because they ask the wrong questions. Far better to ask people what they learnt from looking at the stalls, whether they joined a local group, or whether they would act to find out more.

The Foundation also believes that Croydon Heritage Day saw town centre footfall increase by 34%. Although footfall increased it was interesting from a stall holder’s perspective to see how few people actually stopped to look at stalls.

The survey at least has given backing to the Foundation to run the Festival again this year. It will start off on Saturday 21 June in North End and Exchange Square, Old Town including a performance stage, street performance and stalls, and run through to Friday 4 July. Whitgift is handling most of the organisation of the Festival in house by the staff member whose conceived the idea in the first place.

Core Elements

Core elements will be:

·     Heritage Exhibition running for the two week duration of the Festival in the Sun Lounge at Fairfield Halls, and featuring exhibits from local historical organisations and community groups with pre-show performances by local schools in the Foyer.
·     Open days and tours of Croydon’s landmark buildings, including Croydon Airport, Tramlink Depot, Whitgift Almshouses, Old Palace, Croydon Minster and Davidson Lodge. Many buildings are able to accommodate daytime tours for local school children.
·     Talks and workshops. A programme of talks in Croydon Libraries on Croydon’s past, present and future. Workshops on the River Wandle and Whitgift Centre artist-in-residence project.
·     Walking tours of Croydon Town Centre. Led by Croydon Tours and River Wandle Project Officer throughout the two week period.
·     Heritage Trail. In association with Croydon Old Town Business Association.

Yes this sounds very much like a repeat of activities from last year. But that is the nature of Heritage Festivals. Repeating activities year on year enables those who could not attend one year to do so in another, and newcomers to take part as well.

Participation Without Illusions

Boycotting the Festival will only help to keep Whitgift locked into its silo and its very close connection with the ruling political party and property developers. The more groups engage with them through things like the Heritage Festival the more they may be prepared to open up and assess what wider role they can play.

I believe that those who remain sceptical of Whitgift, and the lack of a budget to help groups participate, can take part without having any illusions about the Foundation’s current or potential future role. The Festival provides an opportunity for local history, amenity and community groups and others to showcase their history publications and projects, and to run activities that can involve the public, like walks. We know the value of local heritage activity to contributing to increasing awareness of neighbourhoods people live in and the need to be vigilant in the face of unwanted changes. We know the value that children can get from looking at local heritage.

Festival Contact Details

So let’s encourage as many groups of all types to get involved in this year’s Festival. The Festival will be supported by a dedicated website. There will be overlap with some of the locally based Festivals, such as the Upper Norwood Triangle (26-29 June) and Purley (28-29 June). The website should also promote them, and discuss with their organisers adding in heritage activities if not already included into their programmes. To take part please contact 

Catherine Shirley
Marketing and Communications Manager, 
The Whitgift Foundation 
 020 8256 1579

To be continued

Debate on Whitgift

David Callam reservations about Festival 14 March and 23 May 2013

Liz Shephard-Jones highly enthusiastic review 9 July 2013
The Meads and Whitgift 8 May2013

David Callam in defence of Whitgift 23 December 1913

Susan Oliver critical 23 December 2013
‘Let’s not forget the amazing amount of power this organisation holds in town. Let’s not be afraid to hold this group to account.’

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Are Fairfield Halls Under Threat?

Rumour has it that the Tories are exploring with a property developer the possibility of demolishing Fairfield Halls and redeveloping the area. As the Halls are owned by the Council and leased to the Halls charitable company, the Council can of course do what it likes. Sale of the site would only bring in a large capital receipt but also mean the money budgeted to be invested in the Halls will not need to be spent. If the rumour is true then it is a high risk strategy for the Tories to follow. Whatever reservations people have about the way the Halls are managed and the limited programme offer, there could be a big backlash from the  public and the arts world. Many people supported the sale of the Riesco collection because the money from the sales was supposed to be going to the refurbishment of the Halls.

If the rumours are true then the future of the arts in Croydon could become a big issue in the local elections. Both major parties have yet to  to set out their future cultural strategies. The formation of the Croydon Arts Network independent of the Council provides a real challenge to them.

Launch of Arts Network

The Network launch meeting was held on Saturday (15 February). A diverse group of people have committed themselves to being on the Committee. The next steps are to register the Network as a Community Interest Company. A working group is already constructing a database.

The Network has developed from the initiative of the South Croydon Community Association last year to look at the future of the Fairfield Halls which led to the Arts Debate meeting. Concern about the future of the arts as a result of Council decisions on the Riesco Collection the Warehouse Theatre and the David Lean Cinema, coupled with a very fragmented but vibrant arts community, plus interest from arts funders, has set the ground for the Network to develop particularly into a way in which people can get to know each other and work on new initiatives. There will be general meetings, similar to Croydon Tech City, possibly every two months, social events to enable people to get to know each other, and smaller meetings in different areas to link with those who find it difficult to make general meetings in Central Croydon. The the Network will be independent and be developed by those taking part. One of its most important functions will be assisting people to get to know each other across organisations enabling them to generate new ideas and activities. 

Arts, Culture and Heritage

Culture is the characteristics of a particular group of people, defined by everything from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts. In Britain culture is influenced by the many groups of people that now reside here, re-shaping it not only in diverse ways but also in cross-pollination. Croydon’s local history and heritage is an important aspect of that wider culture and changes as it reflects that growing diversity and interaction. The most powerful forces, however, reshaping that heritage as reflected in the built environment, are largely developers seeking to make massive profits regardless of what effects they have on local communities. The arts, cultural and heritage activity have a role in helping people understand Croydon better and shape what kind of society we want. Specific arts activities can be used to illustrate the heritage allowing people to explore, interpret and express their cultural values through telling a story about local people communities and events.

Among the many initiatives in arts, culture and heritage over the last couple of years have been:
·         The Croydon Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Festival 12 commemorating the 100th anniversary of the death of Croydon’s black composer, the programme including the world premiere of his opera Thelma.
·         The Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Network promoting knowledge about the composer and promoting event sin Croydon and elsewhere.
·         The launch of Croydon Citizen to encourage debate on local affairs, history and culture, first on the web and now also in print, and which includes contributions on historical topics and their relevance today, including the series on London Rd by Kake.
·         The Croydon Heritage Festival, sponsored by the Whitgift Foundation, now being planned for its second year from Saturday 21 June to Friday 4 July.
·         The David Lean Cinema Campaign’s film shows and the growth of other film show initiative, e.g. at Ruskin House.
·         Community history projects e.g. in Broad Green and the proposed South Croydon Heritage Trail.
·         The setting up of the Croydon Radical History Network to explore the hidden histories of Croydon: working-class, labour movement, friendly societies, the fight for the vote, black and Asian, etc.

Debate, networking, sharing information and working together on projects is key to enriching the arts, cultural and heritage mix. Venues like Matthews Yard, The Spread Eagle, Ruskin House, and other community halls and pubs enable small arts organisations to show case their work, but often have limited audience capacity.

Are There Potential Alternative Buildings for Cultural Centre?

If Fairfield Halls is demolished then the larger venues it provides disappear meaning Croydon can no longer attract national shows touring the country. An alternative venue will be needed.

One possibility is SEGAS House (32 Park Lane). Since its closure in 1949, this building has been the subject of numerous speculative fantasies, but all have failed to materialise. Its Grade II listed status has made the reuse of the building commercially unviable, and therefore is not included in the vision for the Town, resulting in its exclusion from the current vision for the town. Are there other empty neglected buildings which could be looked at as well?

If the Tories regain control in May and sell the Fairfield Halls then there will need to a strong campaign to ensure that the Community Infrastructure Levy funds turning any alternative buildings
into a new cultural centre. If Labour gains control then it will need to make its position on the future of the Halls clear – will it retain them or follow the Tories lead?

Arts, cultural and heritage writings

Fairfield Halls and Arts Debate

The Council and Culture

Engaging in Cultural Activities
Croydon’s Black History
Chartism and Croydon
Paul Robeson
12 Years A Slave – The Context
Keep on singing along to Pete Seeger
Taras Shevchencko
200th Anniversary of birth of Ukrainian poet. artist and nationalist –  to be published by Croydon Citizen
South Croydon Heritage
3 parter - to be published by Croydon Citizen

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Network

Set up December 2009

Croydon Radical History Network

First Newsletter January 2014: Why a Radical History Network for Croydon?; Croydon Citizen Postings; Croydon’s Labour Movement 1860s -1930s; Some Croydon People; Riot Damages 1887;   An Introduction to Ruskin House; William Pare – Advocate of Co-operation; Croydon International Language Club.

The Network is considering what activities to run during the Croydon Heritage Festival.

History & Social Action Publications

HAS Diary – events, news, comments on Croydon and elsewhere. Available via email -
Stephen Bourne & Esther Bruce. Esther Bruce. A Black London Seamstress. Her Story 1912-1994. £4 + 50p p&p
Penelope Corfield. Vauxhall. Sex and Entertainment. London's Pioneering Urban Pleasure Garden.  (revised edition with new chapter).  £5 + £1 p&p
Jeffrey Green. Coleridge-Taylor. A Centenary Celebration. £4 plus 50p p&p
Peter Kuenstler. Learning About Community (Oxford House Bethnal Green). £5 plus £1 p&p
Jon Newman. Battersea's Global Reach. The History of Price's Candles. £5 plus £1 p&p
Jason Young. Mother Seacole. Short Story. £2 plus 50p p&p

Edwardian Roller-Skating

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Croydon's Litter Chief Welcomes Streets Commission Report

Croydon’s litter chief Tony Brooks, Director of Environment, has welcomed the report of the North Croydon Streets Commission as confirming from residents’ perspectives what his staff already new, and making many helpful recommendations.

This acknowledgement came during a constructive dialogue with the 30 members of the public from several parts of the Borough who attended the Croydon Communities Consortium meeting on rubbish at the Town Hall on Wednesday (12 February).

The Problems and the Costs

Based on his presentation of the basics of the problem and Council action, it is clear that the task of dealing with litter, rubbish and fly-tipping is clearly an up-hill struggle. £ms are spent on household waste collection, street cleaning and collecting fly-tipped materials. The refuse collection and street cleaning contracts cost £15m and £5m a year. There are 148,000 domestic properties, of which 23,000 are in blocks of flats. In 2012/13 there were 11,150 requests to deal with fly-tipping.

Having outlined the scale of the challenge, Brooks then explained the actions that were being taken including fixed penalty notices, installation of alley gates, installation of additional cameras, visits to properties. Extra resources had been allocated.

Business waste is an additional problem. Many traders do not have a waste collection contract, put more rubbish out than is covered by their contract or just leave sacks out for the Veola to collect. In addition he suspected that some waste contracts did not collect trade bags as they should knowing that Veola would pick it up.

The problem is worst in North Croydon, especially, Thornton Heath, Bensham Manor, Selhurst and West Thornton.

100 hotspots have been identified. 15 have been subject to special action which has resulted in considerable improvement e.g. Tylecroft Mews and Zion Place. Special operations are due to take place along London Rd from West Croydon to Norbury, and in Thornton Heath between 6pm and 1am, involving a mix of different specialist Council workers.

Public's Views

Several questions were asked and issues raised.

It appears that the Council is charging places of worship for collection of their waste although according to local church activists at the meeting the Government had passed regulations requiring Councils to treat places of worship as domestic not trade waste generators. One church was being charged about £2,000 a year. Brooks said he would look into the issue.

A resident explained the problems involved in trying to re-cycle or dispose of small electrical goods. People without a car are not allowed into the Factory Lane recycling centre.

Practical suggestions made included:
  • Place small electrical goods recycling bins at the entrance to Factory Lane gate for use by people without cars.
  •  20-100 hours community service cleaning up rubbish instead of fixed penalty notices for fly tipping.
  • Council litter publicity to include the details of freegle/freecycle, and the need to ensure  that door to door waste collectors are asked to show their Environment Agency registration details.
  • Re-introduction of the former skip service to enable residents to get rid of unwanted items.
  • Rethinking the range and type of bins.
  • Abolition of the charge for the Council to collect unwanted bulky items.

I asked him what he thought were the reasons the problem of litter etc seemed to have grown over the years and that the Council faced an up-hill struggle to even get it to flatten out. I drew his attention to the fact that in 2006/7 and 2007/8 the Council’s Government approved Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy had included the need to tackle the litter problem in the wards with most deprivation (mainly North Croydon). Given his stress on the problems of North Croydon, and given the welcome given by both party leaders to the North Croydon Streets Commission report and the intention to have a scrutiny examination of it, I asked him for his reaction to its recommendations.

Brooks said he had only been involved in Croydon on the issue in the last 2/3 years. He thought that some of the reasons included the growth in the number of flats, the degree of population change, landlords leaving items on the street when they do refurbishment to flats between tenants; the need to improve knowledge about recycling. He recognised the problems faced by many tenants living in properties with inadequate bin facilities. There will be further planning requirements on waste disposal facilities for new build  housing developments. He doubted that the 2 weekly collection was part of the problem, but recognised the problem of wind blowing things out of bins. There might be other causes of which he was not aware.

The Commission report confirmed what his officers knew. It made some strong recommendations, some of which need to be carefully looked at such as the re-organisation of street cleaning to take place the day after refuse collection. He recognised that many residents could not afford bulky waste charges.

The meeting took place in meetings rooms in the Town Hall having been moved from the Bernard Weatherill House community space because of the need to use the latter for people evacuated from their flooded homes in the south the Borough.

Croydon's Recycling Sites 

Croydon Freegle

To offer things you no long want that may be of use to other please consider using Croydon Freegle (formerly Freecycle). This can even include old bricks, pieces of wood which people use for their building projects.

North Croydon Streets Commission

The report is at:


Commentaries on the Report’s Launch

Croydon Communities Consortium

Discussion on it:

I can be contact at

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Streets Commission Recommendations Are Common Sense

In an about turn Tory Leader Mike Fisher has welcomed the report produced by the Independent Commission on Croydon North Streets and has promised to convene a cross-[arty scrutiny panel to consider its recommendations. This came in the form of a letter to Commission Chair Nero Ughwujabo (CEO of the Croydon BME Forum). At the Council meeting on 27 January Fisher was denying that the Commission was independent. The letter will be posted on the Commission website. Nero read out the letter at the launch of the report on Thursday 6 February at the Town Hall.

The launch was well attended including by Steve Reed and some Labour Councillors, members of local organisations like the Communities Consortium, Croydon Citizen and Croydon Radio, Labour Councillors and many members of the public who had either attended Commission public meetings or were among the 300 people who submitted written views.

Labour Leader Tony Newman welcomed the report, saying that action to improve the streets was going to be a top priority for a Labour controlled Council. He would be calling for an emergency Council meeting to discuss the report to be held before the period in which the Council has to stop having meetings in the run up to the local elections in May.

I congratulated the Commission on the fact that its recommendations are common sense. Because they have cost implications, the room for manoeuvre will be difficult because of the reduced budget for 2014-15, and that pressure will continue to need to be put on the political parties. It would help if the Consortium meeting on Rubbish on 12 February was well attended. I also pointed out the importance of Cllr Fisher’s about face.

Summary of Recommendations

The recommendations in summary form are:
·       Removal of the £10 charge for bulky items disposal

·       Provision of larger communal bins in areas of very high-density population

·       Improve publicity that larger bins are available for larger households

·       Increases the number of public litter bins

·       Increase the frequency of emptying public litter bins

·       Re-consider whether weekly bin collections are appropriate where there is a high number       of multiple-occupancy dwellings

·       Street cleaning should take place after the weekly bin collection.

·       Ensure that small businesses all have appropriate waste management licenses.

·       Waste management be a key factor in agreeing licences for new business premises.

·       Reassess the provision of blue and green boxes given items inside boxes are often blown         out.

·       The Council should be proactive in contacting and supporting Residents Associations who       make local efforts to clean up their areas .

·       Reinstatement of support for Residents Association clean-up campaigns.

·       Review the approach to enforcement.

·       Reassess the street cleaning provision following large events.

·       Work with landlords to ensure that properties with a high turnover of tenants are not             dumping furniture when their tenancies end.

·       Brighter lights may discourage fly-tipping in problem areas.

·       Continually run a Keep Croydon Clean campaign.

·       Jet wash streets regularly to remove slime and chewing gum.

·       Croydon Congress should consider Croydon North as a topic for discussion.

·       The two main parties should consider reflecting the findings and recommendations in their     Manifestos.  

The full report will be posted on the Commission website:

Consortium 12 February Meeting on Rubbish. See

Watch out for a report on the Commission Launch in Croydon Citizen.