Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A nice Selhurst to Woodside walk

Brickfields Meadow

On Good Friday this year I went on my favourite walk in Croydon. It is my favourite walk because it is through fields and grassland, yet you are in a very urban environment. 

I took a pic of my finishing point and it appeared in the Croydon Advertiser under YOUR VIEWS. 

The walk is from Heavers Meadow to Brickfields Meadow. The map above doesn't show the route!

1) From Selhurst station cross the road towards the Selhurst Rail Depot.
2) The entrance to Heavers Meadow is a few yards up the road towards Norwood Junction.
3) Walk along the path - watch for the giant rats!
4) You have no choice but to use Tennison Road to get over the railway lines.
5) Turn off the main road to Brickfields Meadow and enjoy the fish filled pond!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Croydon Derby - support your local clubs

This post was sent to Inside Croydon


I am a Croydon Athletic supporter. Saturday 6th March 2016 was derby day.  I met up with a friend at The Horsehoe pub on Thornton Heath pond to watch Tottenham v Arsenal, and after that game we walked down Silverleigh Road to the Mayfields Stadium to watch AFC Croydon Athletic v Croydon FC.

It was my first ever Croydon derby. A fixture between these two Croydon clubs is a rarity. Not only have these two clubs been in different divisions, but also in different leagues over the past few seasons.

Upon going through the turnstiles, I was immediately surprised by the number of supporters behind the Croydon (Trams) goal, the preferred location for the Croydon Athletic Rams Army. It seemed like a number of occasional attendees had made a special effort for the clash between Rams v Trams. I've been going to Mayfields since the 2006-07 season, and it was about as populated as its ever been behind the goal,

I usually bring a drum with me, which in recent matches has been played by young James who comes with his mum and dad. James was keen to have the drum again.

A quick scan of the terraces and stands indicated that the Trams had not bought many fans with them.

After the first Croydon Athletic attack, James had started the familiar 'Da-Da... Da-Da-Da...Da-Da-Da-Da' drum beat which finishes with the supporters chanting 'Croydon.' As if in auto-response mode, upon hearing the beat, I chanted Croydon with only a handful of others, only to see Mick look over at us and say, "think about it..."

Banter with Croydon keeper, Francis Ameyaw, started early with a rendition of the saxaphone solo from the Pink Panther theme. Well, what do you expect if you turn up to play in dayglo pink!

There ought to be a fierce rivalry between the Rams and the Trams but I have never got a sense that has been the case. Tackles weren't really flying on Saturday. There was one moment, shortly after commencement of the second half, when a couple of players confronted each other - but that happens in every game nowadays.

Croydon FC have hovered around the foot of the Southern Counties East - Premier Division for most of the season, whereas Croydon Athletic have been floating around the top half. If the league table is supposed to reflect the comparative standard of each team then it was wholly accurate with regards to this fixture.

The Rams took the lead in the 11th minute through a cool finish from striker Lee Jansen. In the 28th minute, top scorer Raheem Sterling-Parker was upended by goalkeeper Ameyaw resulting in a penalty. There's only one Raheem Sterling took the penalty himself and calmly slotted it away. Athletic pushed for a third goal but never seemed to get into a high gear. At the other end of the pitch the Rams keeper was largely untroubled.

In the second half, Athletic continued to control the game but found it difficult to add to their lead. I got the sense that the Rams were coasting to the finish line when out of the blue Lauris Chin pulled a goal back after a defensive mishap. Manager Anthony Williams went ballistic and screamed and shouted at the defence. Any complacency which had set in was soon erased and the Rams held on to win 2-1.

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Friday, March 18, 2016

How to deliver a very Tory budget.

Tuesday 15th March. A meeting is taking place at No. 10 Downing Street. Present are PM David Cameron, his next door neighbour, Inner Circle guy number 1 and Inner Circle guy number 2. 


(George Osborne is coming to the end of a run through of his budget speech)

George: "....and I commend this budget to the house!"

IC No. 2: "Good job Georgie. Bravo!"

Dave: "Isn't it a bit heavy on cut taxes for the rich and cut benefits for the disabled? 

IC No 1: "Not forgetting the wholesale privitsation of all schools through the academies programme."

Dave: "Not to mention public debt is rising and you're not going to make your budget surplus target."

George: "Yeah I know."

IC No.1: "We need a diversion."

IC No.2: "Agreed"

IC No.1: "What's that fellow Oliver off the TV lathering himself up about nowadays."

George: "School dinners??"

Dave: "No, you mean the 'sugar tax' on fizzy drinks? Yes, Sam mentioned it the other night."

IC No. 1: "Yes that's perfect! Give the corporations some time to administer a substitute like aspartame. The papers will be all over the 'sugar tax' story like a rash. The more controversial stuff will be in the inside pages. I'll have a word with you know who."

Dave: "It's still a very Tory budget. I mean, I like it George, don't get me wrong, but..."

IC No.2: "Hmmmm. Is the Home Secretary about?"

Dave: "What Teri?? I'll give her a call."

(Within 30 minutes the Home Secretary has joined the meeting. IC No.2 is giving her instructions)

IC No. 2: "So, are you okay with this? You'll have to make sure you sit to the left of George for maximum impact."

Theresa: "Yes. I think I have just the outfit."

Dave: "Are you sure you're okay with this, Teri? We need you and the 'sugar tax' to occupy the headlines if we're to slip this other stuff through."

Theresa: "So long as I can choose the colour Prime Minister."

IC No.1: "Twitter will go into meltdown over your cleavage, I am sure!"

(The next day - midway through George Osborne's speech)

George [turns to Theresa] : "Good show Teri, I think our plan will work."


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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Croydon is deathtown

According to The Architecture Foundation, owing to its 'uniformed commercial utility', 'Croydon is deathtown'. The actual quote appears on the Inside Croydon news site.
Occasionally, one spots an eye-catching natural phenomenon in among the sprawling metropolis that is Croydon town centre:

I sent in the picture above the Croydon Guardian:

Croydon Guardian 27.01.16

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

No need for new build with capacity elsewhere

Three weeks have elapsed since I sent in an open letter to the Croydon Advertiser regarding the incinerator and I still haven't seen a reply......

Dear Editor,

Croydon residents are entitled to submit written questions to councillors at full council meetings. The full details are on the council web site. Unfortunately, we are all restricted to submitting just one written question per a meeting. As I have used up my quota, I would like to send the following open question to the council as my next opportunity to submit a written question is in April 2016: 

In December Councillor Stuart Collins cited the waste hierarchy, where incineration is deemed preferable to landfill, in a written reply when explaining why 20 per cent of South London Waste Partnership (SLWP) rubbish - waste collected from Croydon, Sutton, Kingston and Merton - is being sent to the Colnbrook incinerator whilst Viridor’s incinerator in Beddington is under construction. He also stated that more of our waste will be diverted to Colnbrook in Berkshire. Colnbrook and Allington incinerator in Kent, have spare capacity, indeed the universally respected environmental consultants, Eunomia, who are actually contracted by the SLWP, state that there is over capacity across the country. Does Croydon council now accept that the Beddington incinerator is simply not needed? 

Shasha Khan
Croydon Green Party & Stop the Incinerator
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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Solidarity with the junior doctors

Outside the main entrance of the local hospital

Earlier this week, whilst on en route to my daughter's nursery, I decided to take a detour and support the striking junior doctors outside Croydon University Hospital, formerly known as Mayday Hospital. A registrar (junior doctor) at Mayday was on hand at the birth of our daughter when complications developed and I felt it was important to physically show support.

In a backdrop of corporations and multi-billionaires enjoying increased wealth through tax avoidance, I think most people would want doctors not to endure a real terms pay cut when morale is already low in the NHS. The thought of overworked and underpaid surgeons is not a happy thought if you are a patient about to drift off under anesthetic. If the frequency of honking from passing vehicles was an indicator of support, then it was evident that the public support the strike.

This pay cut is part of a systematic squeeze on our public servants. Secretaries of State don't simply impose pay cuts on those who in our mind save our lives. Just like the Fire Service before, they dress it up as remuneration refinement to make an overall saving in wages. I chatted at length to one of the strikers who was in his final year as junior doctor. He saw it the same way as I did. He also predicted that that the new contracts would simply be imposed - which they were the day after. 

In attempting to win the argument Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt misquoted data regarding hospital deaths at weekends. Watching Jeremy Hunt on the Andrew Marr show was the extra inspiration I needed to take that detour and join the strikers on Wednesday 10th February.

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Friday, February 12, 2016

Private Eye and other articles about the incinerator.

Its a weird time for us anti-incinerator campaigners. Despite losing the judicial review and seeing first hand the commencement of the construction of the incinerator, it feels like the negative publicity of the whole scheme has never been so high. Ever since Sian Berry and a small group of us ventured on to the Viridor site by accident, I've been struggling to keep a note of all the articles over the last 8 weeks..

I haven't had a chance to report on Sian's December visit on this blog, but the photograph below shows just how jittery the authorities and Viridor are. You can just make out  Andrew Turner, the key man for communications at Viridor, lurking behind the fence. A better picture of Spin Merchant Turner is on the Inside Croydon site. Why is he there? Answer: THERE IS ENOUGH SH!T FLYING AROUND TO STILL HAVE AN IMPACT ON THIS SCHEME AND EVERYONE ON THE DARKSIDE IS FEARFUL.

However the precise answer is here:

A handful of anti-incinerator campaigners met at Beddington Lane tram stop and walked along Beddington Lane to the Viridor site. Maeve Tomlinson suggested that we could head towards the site office. Whilst wandering down the access road, we were approached by a couple of Viridor employees wearing hi-viz. At first we thought they were construction workers but one of them turned out to be Andrew Turner! After chatting and answering questions, in what was a very cagey exchange, we wanted to take a photo to record Sian's visit. Mr Turner explained that this was Viridor's property, as was the access road and so no photos were permitted. This meant we had to cross the road to the other side of Beddington Lane (same side as ASDA). So we did. To our amazement, Mr Turner shepherded us off site, across the road and then stood behind the fence observing us as we took photographs!

Beddington, Pyongyang, N Korea - Andrew Turner on his mobile

The incinerator site is behind us. I guess Sian and I are seeing the funny side of being spied on!

I am struggling to find the article, but recently John and Elaine Drage have resigned as Secretary and Chair of the Sutton Lib Dems and moved up north! John Drage is up to his neck in controversy over the whole scheme.

Apart from two stories in Private Eye (below), one on Virdor's failure to comply with conservation on Beddington Farmlands, and Councillor Nick Mattey's explulsion from the Lib Dems, for daring to oppose the incinerator, there's an article on burning rubbish meant for recycling, the non-use of the waste heat, and Councillor Nick Mattey's appeal.

From Private Eye

From Private Eye

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Council answer football question with a straight bat!?

Last month local papers splashed on two Croydon councillors caught ball watching Crystal Palace playing Sunderland on their tablet during a full council meeting on a Monday evening. The story went national - The Daily Telegraph and The Sun covered it.

I spoke to an ex-councillor who had, "no sympathy for them because they could have sat on members seats under the public gallery" and thus avoided being caught with their shorts down.

At the time I felt Councillor Wentworth was in a tricky position as he was part of the 2014 intake, and thus should NOT be displaying such irreverent activity towards his constituents when technically a new recruit. Councillor Ryan on the other hand has a strong track record of hard work in Upper Norwood ward and could be forgiven for this indiscretion. I first stood against him in 2006. Back then his strong personal support resulted in his re-election whilst his fellow Labour councillors lost their seats.

I sent in a cheeky question which I think the councillor in charge of sport plays with a particularly straight bat!


From Mr Shasha Khan  
Councillor Timothy Godfrey Cabinet Member for culture, Leisure and Sport  
Question No. PQ037-16  

If the Football Supporters Federation started a ‘Keep league matches on Saturday afternoons’ campaign in support of children who can’t get to watch football games on Monday nights, and of course other groups, would this council back such a campaign?  

The Council is supportive of making football and other sports accessible and affordable to all supporters particularly for young people.  
As a result of the commercial issues that professional football has including those from TV to meet their broadcasting requirements the trend has been to have some weekday matches particularly on a Monday.  
Saturday afternoons is the traditional time for football matches as it enables supporters to attend with friends, as family groups and as part of the Football Community.  
Costs of attending matches is also a key issue for supporters and the Council welcomes initiatives by football clubs including its home Club Crystal Palace FC to reduce ticket prices and increase access to groups including young people. 
The Council is also supportive of local clubs such as Croydon FC and Croydon Athletic FC and would support initiatives to increase attendances by local football followers. 

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