Tonight Croydon launches its Black History Month celebrations – a month-long programme to celebrate our African and Caribbean communities’ rich contribution to life in our borough. We are incredibly proud to be home to the second largest Black Caribbean community in the UK, and thanks to Croydon BME Forum we can look forward to a fantastic range of events throughout October, from live performances to panel discussions. Black History Month is an opportunity to look to the future as well as the past and in line with this year’s Action not Words theme, I want to encourage local organisations and businesses to sign up to the George Floyd Race Matter pledge. I hope to see you at the Black History Month launch at Norbury School for Girls tonight.
I was also pleased to have the opportunity to meet with the new Police Commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, earlier this week along with members of our community. It was positive to note that our goals for Croydon align, particularly around working in partnership with our communities and police to tackle antisocial behaviour to make our streets safer. I was then saddened and appalled to hear of the damage to a much-loved local landmark, Thornton Heath Clock Tower. While responsibility sits primarily with the police for tackling crime, there is clearly more the council could and should have been doing over recent years to stop the level of decline we have seen. I am a firm believer that the broken windows, dirt and decay which has been allowed to stand in our borough in recent years encourages people to think of our borough as a place you can do what you please. This has to stop.
I will await the outcome of the police investigation into the fire, but it is clear that the clocktower has suffered extensive damage and is likely to need specialist repair. I have instructed the council to carry out a detailed assessment with a view to restoring this landmark as quickly as possible.
Finally, we announced plans to upgrade Whitehorse Rec after receiving an £85k cash boost from the government’s Levelling Up Parks Fund. It’s great to see Croydon benefiting from this external investment and we’ll be working closely with local residents to develop the plans for their park.
Have a great weekend,
Executive Mayor of Croydon