Esther Mann from the John Whitgift Foundation has sent us the following about an exciting initiative …
“I work for a local Croydon education and care charity called the John Whitgift Foundation we have launched an exciting new campaign to make Croydon the UK’s greenest Borough, targeting over 400,000 residents, through a community gardening project called ‘Grow With John’.
“The campaign is named after the Founder of the charity, and is seeking to help showcase how affordable, accessible and enjoyable gardening can be to all ages, particularly the benefits to mental health and wellbeing which have been proven to be essential throughout the pandemic.
“The charity is giving away free seed packets to residents in Croydon to help start their growing journey, and also launched a microsite full of local community gardeners of all ages to inspire others at www.growwithjohn.org Beyond our Croydon community, gardening-heavyweights Alan Titchmarsh MBE and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) are also supporting the ambitious campaign.”
MHA The Wilderness has organised an online event on Thursday 22nd April at 3.30pm with our friends from the Royal Horticulture Society (RHS) to celebrate our National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) projects and the Life of Rev William Wilks, former Secretary of the RHS, Vicar of Shirley and creator of the Wilderness garden.
Please share the link and inform friends and family about this exciting opportunity from the Wilderness garden.
Important information: this free event will be broadcasted on zoom and you will need to register to this event in order to receive the zoom link. You will receive the unique zoom link the morning of the event.
We were very sorry to learn of the death, on 26 February, of Philip Ditton. Philip had been a stalwart in SPRA, being at one time a member of the Committee, in between four-year periods as Editor and Chairman. We are grateful to his family for the invitation to attend his funeral remotely, and details are given below
A full tribute will be in the May issue of SPAN
The details of the live broadcast of Philip’s funeral are as follows:
You can login to our website at any time to view a test connection (and we strongly recommend you do this) but you’ll only be able to view the Live Webcast approx. 5 mins before the service start time. Please be aware this is a public building and the timing of the Live webcast is semi-automated to allow for services running early or late – please use your discretion if you can see activities not applicable to the service you are here to watch.
Once the service has finished, it will take us up to 3 working days to get the 28-day Watch Again onto the website. In lieu of flowers, for those that wish to donate, we have set up a personalised giving page for Cancer Research UK, details below:
Transport for London have written to local residents as follows
Review of West Wickham High Street Streetspace scheme
You might recall that last June we suspended some parking and
loading bays along West Wickham High Street to support social distancing and create
more space for people to walk safely.
The temporary barriers can be difficult to maintain so in early
Spring we will replace them. We will temporarily extend the pavement with
materials that can be removed later, should we need to do so. This would mean
that pedestrians would have the space they need to safely social distance for
as long as it is a requirement to do so.
We will soon need to consider whether the temporary changes
we’ve made to West Wickham High Street should be kept permanently, or if the design
should be altered or removed. If you have any feedback about the West Wickham
High Street scheme please complete our online feedback form, which is
accessible through our web page tfl.gov.uk/streetspace
1.1. This document outlines the immediate and short-term response of Spring Park Residents Association (SPRA) following the announcement of Croydon Council’s Section 114 notice and the subsequent publication of its Recovery Plan. The Plan proposed a short list of 5 Branch Libraries to close (among them Shirley). The Council’s Public consultation, launched in early January, offered individuals the opportunity to provide feedback on the plans. As a community organisation with membership of over 2000 households in Shirley, representing approximately two-thirds of the total in Spring Park, SPRA’s voice is one which deserves to be heard.
1.2 As an Association, SPRA recognises the
financial crisis facing the Council and its need to make substantial
savings. At the same time, as a
membership organisation with responsibility to Shirley residents, SPRA is
obliged to take the views of members on Library closure and to reflect those to
the Council in its response. Gathering this information was done by asking
members to complete an online and printed survey. In constructing the survey SPRA
had no pre-conceived view of the survey results, nor did it have a preferred
position. In addition to encouraging SPRA members to respond to its own survey
it encouraged them to respond to the Council’s own survey. It also provided information via its SPAN
magazine to facilitate members in completing the survey.
1.3 In parallel with this, the Association’s Library Closure Working Group was set up to gather information, research possible alternatives to full library closure, and take further soundings amongst interested parties in the Shirley community. In these tasks it is grateful for the role played by the Council, its officers, our Councillors and MP in providing information concerning the library service and offering webinars to explore possibilities. Outcomes from this work are listed below.
2. SURVEY FINDINGS
Details of the SPRA survey construction,
methodology and take-up are shown in the attached, together with detailed
results. The headline findings of the survey are as follows :
205 surveys were completed by SPRA members
representing 10% of the total SPRA membership. (an additional 24 respondents
were not SPRA members, though all but five of these were Shirley residents)
95% of people of all respondents indicated they
did not want to ‘lose’ the Library.
8 out of 10 people wanted the Library to remain
as it currently is, on the current site.
Nearly 9 in every 10 respondents indicated they
would be happy for the Library to become part of a ‘Shared community amenity’,
on the current site.
More than one in three (38%) of those responding
to the survey said they would be prepared for the Library to form part of a
newly developed facility (with the possibility of outside investment and a
residential element), on the current site.
3. OTHER INITIATIVES
3.1 SPRA decided to facilitate the setting up of a ‘Friends of Shirley Library’ Group, with the objective of bringing together all those individuals and community groups with a desire to seek solutions to avoid removal of a library facility in Shirley. Though SPRA is not a formal member of this new group it has supported it by co-opting to it a member of the SPRA Library Working Group.
The Friends group is at an early
stage in its work. At present it is actively pursuing possible plans to
relocate the Library to a site different from the current one, as well as seeking
funding and enlisting volunteers.
3.2 In addition, the SPRA Libraries Working Group
is examining information on the existing Library building. The Council-provided
data suggests that the building may not be a long-term option to house the
Library facility (whatever future form that might take) owing to its age and
state of repair.
Shirley lacks a coherent high
street, with shops being scattered along Wickham Road. However, the Library building is regarded by
Shirley’s residents as a lone community focal point, and the ‘heart’ of the
neighbourhood, standing as it does at the main crossroads. SPRA feels that for
the wholesale replacement of the Library as the ‘hub’ of the community, by a
block of flats alone would be very much to the detriment of residents.
The building has some
architectural merit, being in the art deco style. Bearing in mind these latter
points in the site’s favour, SPRA believes it is important to explore all
avenues for the retention of the current building or if this is not possible,
to look at developing a library facility on the current site.
4. CONCLUSIONS /RECOMMENDATIONS
SPRA has noted the views expressed in its survey regarding the importance of retaining a library in some format on the current site. It believes the survey results are broadly representative of the views of the wider community. SPRA therefore
4.1 URGES THE COUNCIL TO CONSIDER THE PRESENT LIBRARY SITE AS THE BEST
PLACE TO HOUSE A LIBRARY FACILITY.
4.2 ASKS THE COUNCIL TO ACTIVELY CONSIDER THE USE OF THE PRESENT
LIBRARY SITE FOR A NEWLY-DEVELOPED COMMUNITY HUB FACILITY (TO INCLUDE A LIBRARY
AND OTHER AMENITIES). IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THIS MIGHT INVOLVE A RESIDENTIAL
The Friends of Shirley Library
will continue its work, currently focussed on finding an alternative site for a
Library. Consequently, SPRA
4.3 ASKS THE COUNCIL TO SUPPORT THE FRIENDS OF SHIRLEY LIBRARY GROUP IN
ITS EFFORTS TO BUILD A COMMUNITY/VOLUNTARY FRAMEWORK FOR A LIBRARY
(IRRESPECTIVE OF THE LOCATION OF THE LIBRARY)
SPRA’s LIBRARY SURVEY
The survey questions were compiled with the aim of
encouraging high engagement and completion rates, with a limited number of
questions and binary responses. The objective was to yield quantitative data
based on a number of possible future scenarios for Shirley Library.
The four questions asked respondents to state their
views/preferences on ‘no change’ (Q1), ‘Library as part of shared community
facility’ (Q2), ‘Library as part of a newly
developed, shared community facility with a possible residential element’
(Q3), and ‘close down the library’ (Q4).
Questions 1-3 were based on a library being based on the
The survey was made available online via SurveyMonkey and
published in SPRA’s monthly membership magazine in February. It was also promoted on social media and on
SPRA’s website. There was a small
participation in the survey from non-SPRA members and non-Shirley residents
-questions 5 and 6 of survey asked for such information and the figures are
shown in the findings below.
The online survey launched from 18 January, while the SPAN
version was available from 28 January. Statistics show responses received to 7
There were 205 completed surveys from SPRA members
(representing 10% of total SPRA membership).
A further 24 were received from other Shirley residents who are
Q1 I want the Library and the facilities it offers to remain in its current form. YES/NO
Q2 I want the Library to continue on the current site, as part of a shared community access venue. YES/NO
Q3 I want the Library to continue on the current site, as part of a shared community access venue, in a newly developed facility which might involve outside investors potentially seeking to incorporate a residential element. YES/NO
Q4 I am prepared to lose Shirley Library
as I accept that the Council needs to make budget cuts. YES/NO
We have received the following from the organisers of the Census …
Census Contact Centre – 0800
Census Language Helpline – 0800 587
8am-8pm (Mon – Fri)
8am – 1pm (Saturdays)
Closed on Sundays
8am-8pm – Census weekend (21/22nd
Help available includes telephone
completion, requesting paper copies, and accessible census questionnaires in
large print and braille for example. For all general queries please call the
** Due to current government
restrictions, the Local Census Support Centres will be operating a telephone
help service only. Appointments can be booked for help with completion over the
phone. As government guidelines change, these centres may become available for
face to face appointments. Any changes will be updated as they become
” I have just been communicating with Croydon Council and learnt that the first date after which it is possible to carry out a SPRA Clean Up is 29 March. This would mean that the Clean Up scheduled for 20 March cannot now take place. I have therefore prepared a short note and marked up the next Clean Up as 17 April. Hopefully, provided there is no problem with the lifting of the restrictions, and the progress of the vaccination programme is OK this will actually take place. However, I will keep you updated if there is any change.
We have received the following from Inspector Simon Warnes
Dear residents, I have recently received correspondence with concerns surrounding the theft of catalytic converters. This crime type is increasing at a national level and is certainly starting to attract a lot more attention from government bodies. Throughout 2020 the total offences within London reached around 15,000 crimes. I am hoping I can give you a brief overview of what we are doing and offer some reassurance that we are making every effort to reduce these numbers and prosecute offenders.
Some of the offences do appear to be escalating to include threats, however these only account for a handful of crimes. Catalytic converters contain precious metals including palladium, rhodium and platinum. These all bear high value on the scrap metal market with the former two substantially more expensive than gold. Exhausts from hybrid cars contain much larger quantities of these precious metals with the Toyota Prius, Honda Jazz, Lexus RX models and the Toyota Auris being the most targeted vehicles.
These crimes are usually committed by a team of three with cloned plates from a genuine insured vehicle that is placed onto another like for like vehicle. The plates are frequently swapped after offences with some cars having up to five sets of cloned plates. The suspects are itinerant and will travel large distances across multiple London boroughs and county boundaries to commit their crimes. They are not confined to one specific area and there are many active teams.
To summarise what we are doing; I am overseeing Operation Basswood. This is a South Area (Bromley, Sutton & Croydon) initiative to target Catalytic Converter thefts and we are the only Met BCU to form a dedicated team. Our role is to focus on proactive and reactive investigations. Obviously this is difficult for me to go into details and specifics, but there are a variety of deployments ongoing using an array of covert and overt policing tactics. We are working closely with other boroughs within the Met but also external forces, particularly West Sussex, Surrey, Kent and the British Transport Police. Within South Area there have been 11 arrests over the past few months, with some offenders being sent to Crown Court for trial and convicted.
I have been disappointed with recent convictions including suspended sentences or community orders which don’t reflect the level of inconvenience and misery inflicted on victims, especially during the COVID19 pandemic. I will be looking to change our tactics to ensure the strongest possible outcome in future and to issue post-conviction orders to prevent reoffending. From a reactive point of view, we take ownership and oversight of every investigation. They are quality assured for any missed opportunities including local enquiries and CCTV/images. We have forged a strong working relationship with Toyota and they have provided funding and assistance towards local crime prevention initiatives.
We have also visited and inspected all of our local scrap metal dealers in partnership with the Council and the Environmental Agency. Crime prevention is difficult as the offending behaviour does seem more brazen and some offences have taken place in broad daylight in supermarket carparks. What we have seen is that vehicles with Catlocs fitted are rarely targeted and I would consider them a reasonably priced investment. We have received some high quality footage from home CCTV systems including Ring doorbell and these have enabled us to identify and convict suspects, so these are also another option including for your own home security and burglary prevention.
Always consider where you leave your vehicle and remain vigilant. I have seen numerous videos where suspects have abandoned their crimes when vehicles drive past or when they’ve been disturbed. I strongly discourage vigilante behaviour as these individuals do carry jack extension poles and there is a likelihood you may be injured. Be on the lookout, report any suspicious activity and don’t assume someone else has called the Police. The more information we receive the better and a photo, registration plate or description could be the last piece of the puzzle. If you have been a victim of this crime and it’s had a significant impact on your wellbeing, or you are a repeat victim I would like to hear from you. The team can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org Please feel free to share this email address. But please also remember to call 999 if you do see suspicious activity or an offence in progress.
Please be aware of people knocking on your door, offering jet washing and gutter clearing services. There have been at least 2 incidents on East Way yesterday, whereby 3 white males 2 younger ones in their late teens and the older one in his 40s or 50s, all with an Irish accent have approached the home owners and offered their services for jet washing and gutter clearing.
These males have done the bare minimum, if anything at all. The flyers, which they hand out were stolen from a local cafe. These males state that they can only take cash.
Another comment has been received: There are 2 young Irish guys jet washing a square metre of peoples drives then knocking on the door wanting to know if the resident wants the rest of the drive done, clearly unaware of the no cold calling regulations Dark green van Eire number plate 08 CW 914 we think! may be worth a warning to residents