The deafening silence IS being questioned .

An open letter has been written demanding action from our elected representatives, PLEASE SIGN as the more people behind it the louder the message becomes until it cannot be silenced.

An Open Letter to Croydon Council and MP’s

Whilst I’ve no doubt that meeting swill be called, consultations organised, promises made but within 10 years nothing will have changed apart from the feeling you have been cheated; therefore it is essential that results are the only evidence we accept as commitment to our improving our area. Keep in mind that democracy becomes irrelevant if ‘public meetings’ are used simply as a tool to enhance the illusion that the community were consulted and concurred!

Two quotes from Abraham Lincoln commenting on his own position of power, sprang to mind after reading the letter:

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.

South Norwood has a rich wonderful wonderful history, matched only by the diverse character and culture of the community.

..complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

Lets ensure that South Norwood is developed for the benefit of the current community and not to make space for people whose disposable monthly income is higher than the average yearly wage!

The letter reads:

South Norwood is stuck – there is talk of regeneration all while the main high streets are being decimated by ugly conversions of shops to flats. We would like Croydon Council to suspend planning permissions for such conversions on Portland Road for two years and to heavily penalise shop owners who go ahead with these conversions before planning permission has been given.

There appears to be a habit of shop owners seeking unrealistically high rent to prove that they can’t rent the shops. We also ask Croydon Council to engage with the shop owners to keep rent at a realistic level so that the many keen small business in the area can start to revitalise the flagging High Street and Portland Road instead of being priced out of the area or forced to run online only business.

In 2014 Emertons The Ironmonger in Station Road was paying £90 for a street trading licence so they could display stock on the street, but 2015 it was £900 and this year £1500. The rise of the licence to £1,500 is simply too much for a small businesses to afford. We ask that  Croydon Council return the licences for Emertons and the Clock Tower Green Grocer and other South Norwood businesses display stock on the street back to the previously affordable 2014 rates.

We would also like to see the same conservation status given to Market Parade extended further down Portland Road to cover the shops down to Dundee Road so a new hub area can generate around the Leisure Centre and Doctors’ Surgeries.

This petition will be delivered to:

  • Croydon council
  • Gavin Barwell & Steve Reed
  • Shadow Minister for Diverse Communities
    Dawn Butler

Sign to show your support to demand change but shaped by people who currently reside here.



This week we have heard Emertons, the Ironmongers by the station will probably be closing soon, the landlords increasing yearly rent by 50% and council increasing a permit by approx 1000%, which will be applied to any business in Croydon who dare to put anything on the pavement. Is it necessity or simple greed, bullying those business’s by forcing their hand if they want to stay in business. Don’t take our word, go and have a chat with them, understand how ‘policy’ affects real people and not some statistic.

Change is inevitable, cannot be stopped and is continuous, but when it is greed that is beginning to force change with haste but define it’s shape – with the detrimental effect on the community being outweighed by cash.

Have you noticed communication explaining how our communities are going to improve in another year of austerity, is deafening from the council, with us all being aware and a complete understanding of the council’s policy and attitude towards:

  • Encouraging new business’s to consider South Norwood as a new location,
  • How they are helping existing business to continue trading
  • Progress of clean up and how fly tipping lis being tackled and it’s condemnation enforced.
  • Their aims in tackling the housing shortage whilst ensuring all property meets current statutory standards and has all the necessary permissions, and how unscrupulous landlords are forced to comply and what enforcements are being used to enforce.
  • Their positive approach to increasing the shortfall of homes by negotiating with landlords about capping rent and encouraging long tenure contracts. and negotiations with owners of empty properties within the borough.

You haven’t heard, no neither has SNTB; South Norwood has 6 councillors, elected to represent South Norwood’s community and it’s needs, but over the last 3 years the silence has been deafening. Has community focus been taken over by the party line – Labour haven’t represented the working classes for years but now it’s only aim appears to be to stay in power by any means necessary.

You hear the occasional positive – free rent for a year for potential business’ but then it is uncovered how the council have just increased the charge for business’ who have products on the pavement, £150 per annum approx but now increased in line with greed and exploitation to £1,500 approx – stand and deliver or just close down.

We appreciate Council’s are being squeezed, services being cut with the owners being put more and more on community volunteering and then using the excuse that there is no need to employ someone as the community do it.

Yes it’s good to be involved in your community but not at the expense of people’s jobs, just as charity is pushed on the good nature of the public so Governments don’t have to pay anything and can take the VAT off as additional tax. Always question the answers as all is not what is seems.

The reasoning behind the new charge to shops is to create more revenue for the council, but surely it’s common sense that rather than pushing independent traders further towards packing up, start enforcing building / planning infringements, fining fly tippers, or is it that Croydon Council has no teeth, simply barking at those who will tug their fur lock but doing nothing about those whose actions are detrimental, including ignoring letters with a two fingered salute.

I could be completely wrong and everything I have questioned is actually happening but for some reason our elected representatives cannot communicate this; the logical implication from council’s silence is that they could be potentially creating new revenue streams by developing contacts  with new property developers ready and waiting to take over empty shops with no fear from enforcement notices if corners cut; misguided or exploitative the results are the same.

SNTB are encouraging the community to question everything, transparency and truth are the order of the day; if all is good then there is no need not to inform people. Rather than getting bogged down in meetings just take a look around, is our area developing forward or regressing? What exactly is being done and the timescales for it.

What’s he building in there?

What’s he building in there?

What the hell is he building

In there?

He has subscriptions to those

Magazines He never

waves when he goes by

He’s hiding something from

the rest of us He’s all

to himself I think I know

why He took down the

tire swing from the Peppertree

He has no children of his

Own you see He has no dog

and he has no friends and

his lawn is dying and

what about all those packages

he sends. What’s he building in there?

with that hook light

on the stairs. What’s he building

in there I’ll tell you one thing

he’s not building a playhouse for

the children what’s he building

in there?

Now what’s that sound

from under the door?

He’s pounding nails into a

hardwood floor and I

swear to god I heard someone

moaning low and I keep

seeing the blue light of a

T.V. show

He has a router

and a table saw and you

won’t believe what Mr. Sticha saw

There’s poison underneath the sink

of course But there’s also

enough formaldehyde to choke

a horse What’s he building

in there. What the hell is he

building in there? I heard he

has an ex-wife in some place

called Mayors Income, Tennessee

and he used to have a

consulting business in Indonesia

but what is he building in there?

What the hell is he building in there?

He has no friends

but he gets a lot of mail

I’ll bet he spent a little

time in jail

I heard he was up on the

roof last night

signaling with a flashlight

and what’s that tune he’s

always whistling

What’s he building in there?

What’s he building in there?

We have a right to know

Tom Waits

….and so it came to pass, that after being told continuously that the unique Sensible Garden (the first park bench to be named after a punk, who still on this mortal coil), we are gathering to celebrate it’s 2.33(rpm!) birthday. With no committees, guardians, ‘friends of’ or anything involving a bureaucratic process, coupled with a militant attitude against anyone fly tipping – the community have constantly, consistently attended to maintain it’s appearance and continue to encourage it’s growth. When you pass you may see a few regulars sitting on the benches enjoying lunch, or a glass or two of their favourite tipple, the garden is for use by all to relax and enjoy watching the world go by, whilst safely in the arms of a Sensible environment where all are equal


The toast is also going to be very special, as we are raising a glass to Robbie, all wishing his safe return. It was Robbie himself who unveiled the Sensible Seat with the Captain himself, and was instrumental in the hard work and motivation to all who contributed, whilst immediately understanding SNTB and contributing to the whole tone of the garden’s creation.

It is now four months since Robbie was last seen, but we are all still hopeful and looking forward to more evenings of swapping inspirational tall stories, whilst drinking a few but above all….laughing until it hurts.

As a reminder to our call for Robbie to safely return to his family and friends, the adjacent bench (The Sensible Seat’s Sister!) has been given a facelift and will be unveiled.

The personal statement from Ian below, sums up how SNTB feel:

Missing Robert – ‘cos he was a kindred spirit – he ‘got’ the Tourist Board from the start – he knew it was 50% hokum – and the other half bloody mindedness. There was no ‘can we do this – like renaming the lake’ – just a ‘of course we bloody can.

The Sensible Garden was perfect for him – ‘do we know who owns the land?’ No! Good – lets do it.

One day Robbie was heaving some vast filthy tarpaulin from the brambles. Ah I cried ‘a downed zeppelin skin no doubt’ Straight away Robbie was displaying the ‘zeppelin number’ to a local zeppelin expert who just happened to be passing – hello Jason.

Then it took off – it turned out a zeppelin had indeed been downed near the station – experts argued over the numbers on the skin – from Germany. The lettering was wrong – no said another it may have been on a secret mission.

Yes that was definitely the case me and Robbie concurred over a pint or two. – it was a secret mission.

Miss you Robbie.

Please come and share the laughter. We will all meet at 6:30 at the Sensible Garden for a toast and unveiling and then onto the ‘Shelvie Goaty’, to continue our drinking and talking bollocks – a night Robbie would love!






wetland-wader-fundrasierAs those who have followed SNTB from the start, the Country Park has been a key part of us promoting all that is wonderful about South Norwood, as well as being used for a variety of our ‘events’. Who can forget the Battle of Lake Conan; SNTB vs Croydon Council, regarding the naming of the lake. Again the power of community won, defying the council and over 100 people strong witnessed a unique event.

The Friends Of South Norwood Country Park have returned with vengeance to ensure our jewel in the crown remains untouched and like a phoenix from the ashes, flying above it to ensure it’s natural state remains, enhancing and repaired where necessary and appropriate.

However, as with everything, funds are required to ensure all aspects of the park are maintained, so please support the events below, however you can:

Friends of South Norwood Country Park Wetlands for Waders Project

John Hickman and Carole Roberts will give a local history talk on the John Gent Postcards collection on Friday 14 October at 7.30 pm at Oasis Academy Arena, Albert Road. Attendance is free but donations towards the project will be welcomed.

“The John Gent Postcards Collection allows us an amazing peek into the Croydon, including South Norwood, of the past – not only in pictures, but also in messages sent to family and friends a hundred years ago. We will be briefly looking into how the collection of over 12 500 postcards was catalogued, and then delving into the treasures it contains.”

Friends of South Norwood Country Park are seeking donations for their newest project ‘Wetlands for Waders’ which will encourage different waders and waterfowl to the park. Working with the park wardens they hope to provide wader scrapes which will imitate natural hollows where water will collect. This will help to support high volumes of insects which feed birds and amphibians & will encourage plant species which benefit water voles. The scrapes can be designed to hold surface water and act as important wet features in their own right and can be used to channel water to the centre of fields. They are hoping to install a couple of long linear drains to feed a network of half a dozen scrapes. This work is supported by Croydon Council’s Environmental Services and the Water for Wildlife Manager from the Wildlife Trust. They expect that this work will cost in the region of £1,000 – £1,500.

The above says it all – once complete South Norwood will be home to an even bigger jewel!!

A new gold rush has started! The future is at our feet! The capitalist world’s demand for fossil fuel knows no bounds in its quest to provide ever more trinkets to keep the masses amused. Now, thanks to the Government’s relaxation of planning laws, we can all share in this bonanza! That is the message from the South Norwood Community Fracking Initiative, a body set up to exploit
“the wonderful opportunity to create an independent fuel economy for South Norwood.”
“The British Government has made some rather vague promises of compensation to households affected by fracking,” said a spokesman, “But, even they were to escape the clutches of the tax avoidance specialists, such measly amounts pale into insignificance against the profits that are going to be made.”
The South Norwood Community Fracking Initiative (hereafter referred to as SNCFI) argues that an independent fuel economy would see South Norwood well placed to ride out any economic shocks from Brexit without engaging in the speculative bubble economy of property development as some other parts of the borough have been prone to do, and provided a pretty impressive char.  Asked how their proposal was being greeted by the residents of South Norwood an SNCFI spokesman replied,
“Well, they are generally happy once we explain that extracting gas through fracking is well-known to be an easy process with very few environmental repercussions, save for the occasional geological one.”
The boffins at SNCFI have invented a new process to replace the pressurised water method favoured by the petrochemical industry, which is claimed to be wasteful and damaging to the water supply. SNCFI claim that their Mass Perturbation Technique (or MPI) is an innovation that will revolutionise the industry. At the appointed time – probably Tuesday evenings after work, the citizens of South Norwood will be called to South Norwood Lakes, a venue chosen both for its unique geological features and closeness to local bus routes. Everyone will be asked to bring a large black plastic sack.

Fracking Practice?

Led by the fracking coordinator, a former choreographer for the Royal Ballet, they will then perform the specially composed Dance Of The Frackers. The synchronised leaping and landing of over 16,000 people will release the gas trapped deep underground (and perhaps some trapped closer to the surface). This will all rise into the air to be trapped in the bin bags, tied and taken to the huge tanks assembled at the edge of the site. According to SNCFI,
“It will be a magnificent spectacle, unrivalled in the modern world.”
Rather than individual payments, gas will be made available to all South Norwood citizens (possibly directly through their water-taps) free of charge in the hope of stimulating a form of gift economy within the area.

Not actually Simon Fond as he phoned in.

Not all residents are happy though. Already a petition has been set up to oppose SNCFI which already has several signatures. However, local resident Mr Simon Fond, photo left, welcomed the news,

“The trouble with all these environmentalists and do-gooders is that they’re always moaning. . It’s about time someone grasped the potential of community fracking – I bet the Chinese have been at it for years! And if it does result in sinkholes appearing in my back garden – well, I’ve always fancied a pool.”
A spokesman for Croydon Council said,
“To be honest, if it doesn’t affect Central Croydon property prices you can do what you like.”


Hope you are safe and well wherever you are.

Please contact someone to confirm that you are well and simply guerrilla gardening the whole country or wherever it is your path is taking you.

Captain Sensible has contacted us to express his concern and his hope you are well and safe.

Our thoughts are with you comrade in arms.



Robbie on far left with Captain Sensible.


Alternate title – who watches the watchers?

Yesterday, SNTB reaffirmed and reminded everyone not to worry about this morning’s referendum result as South Norwood is already a Republic. Anyway, within 30 minutes, despite comments and likes, our post vanished from Facebook and couldn’t be found in any of our history.

Was it the Ivor Cutler quote  that was offensive? Did someone complain?


Before we get down to our experiment, I have replaced a potential source of the offence by replacing Mr Cutler with an inoffensive song by the world’s best comedian / top class entertainment, Ted Chippington. Enjoy…


A comedy legend in full flow, hopefully less offensive if anyone found Ivor Cutler inappropriate.

So now, without further ado let the Facebook censorship experiment commence! The questionable footnote from yesterday*:

*Note the irony that Facebook was created by a misogynistic whose main reason for it’s initial creation was to embarrass and humiliate a girl, and now used by by people  to spout bile, hatred and simple bollocks; life can be hard enough without people contributing to the general malaise of misery and anger.

This is automatically posted to Facebook but I don’t personally use it and believe it is actually detrimental to the development of society. Between Facebook and Google I think they now more than the CIA and GCHQ put together.

Note the potential irony that if Facebook removed the post due to our criticism they have they have confirmed  their dictatorial Machiavellian approach to ensure their programme’s design has the potential to dumb down society by censoring any criticism that questions their morality and any suggestion that its cultural effect on society is a metaphoric burning of selected literature to stop people questioning which may impact on their profit.

*Using Facebook leaves a bitter taste in my mouth but our ultimate agenda has always been to promote South Norwood and its wonderful hidden gems that are reminders of our rich history.

We shall see how long this post stays up, the footnote is now a quote and the new footnote is above. Anyone who guesses how long it remains up shall win a fine set of the Emporer’s new clothes with matching accessories.

Just in case you have been ‘outraged’ by our suggestions above, some more top class entertainment by Ted; let your outrage disappear through tears of laughter

We are the People’s Republic of South Norwood, promoting equality and regeneration regardless of barriers.