Anyone who has been working or shopping in central Croydon recently will know how empty the shops are. This is in part due to more working from home and a boom in internet shopping, but there is no escaping that our once busy shopping centre is increasingly shabby and neglected and seems to be worse with each visit. So many people who would have kept Croydon's till ringing in Christmases past now go to Bromley or further afield.
My experience has been that one of the worst areas has been the subway under Wellesley Road that links Lansdowne Road to the Whitgift Centre. As a new mum, I used to wheel a pram down that subway several times a week. I can't imagine it was ever a thing of beauty but it wasn't a negative experience to walk through it - it was just a way from A to B. Over recent months it has got progressively worse, smelling incredibly strongly of urine, and last week having what seemed to be excrement smeared along the floor. This subway is a public right of way and as such the Council is responsible for keeping it clean but somehow this hasn't happened and the Labour councillors for Fairfield Ward have either not noticed or not bothered to find a solution.
Last week I asked Council officers to confirm who was responsible for cleaning this area and on confirmation that it is the Council I asked that it be cleaned and that this continue to happen. It has been confirmed that it has now been cleaned, rubbish has been cleared and it should be regularly cleaned.
It should also be noted that this subway is home to a couple of rough sleepers. I have asked that the Council reach out to these people. I have also made contact directly with StreetLink who will arrange for rough sleepers to get access to local services and support if that is what they want. During the winter period the Council implements the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) whenever the temperature is forecast to fall below zero overnight. The Council’s rough sleeping outreach team and the pan-London Rapid Response Team endeavour to contact every rough sleeper and direct them towards SWEP accommodation either provided locally, or at pan-London sites.