A rapid and resilient economic recovery from the covid-19 crisis must be a green recovery. The organisations and Councillors below have collaborated to develop a Green Recovery Plan for Croydon. Let us know your reactions and join us to make it a reality!
Croydon Living Streets; Croydon XR; Croydon BME Forum; Crystal Palace Transition Town; Asian Resource Centre of Croydon; Mums for Lungs; Croydon Cycling Campaign; Peddle My Wheels; Thornton Heath Community Action Team; Croydon Covid-19 Mutual Aid; Sustainable Thornton Heath; Action Vision Zero; Cllr Nina Degrads (Upper Norwood); Cllr Muhammad Ali (Broad Green); Cllr Janet Campbell (West Thornton); Cllr Stephen Mann (Upper Norwood); Cllr Jamie Audsley (Bensham Manor); Robert Canning (Waddon)
What’s the situation?
Covid-19 has created an unprecedented health and economic emergency which has turned our way of life upside down. In Croydon, our town centre and local high streets have shut down as home working has been adopted, shopping has shifted decisively online and home schooling has been established for huge numbers of parents and children.
Lockdown has shone a light on injustice.
Those living in crowded housing in the borough are both more likely to catch the disease and more likely to die from it, due to the inequalities of deprivation such as air pollution and poor health, whilst members of our black and ethnic minority communities have been attacked with particular ferocity. The lock-down is far more dangerous if your work is precarious, low paid or manual, or if you have limited or no access to outside space.
Lockdown has changed Croydon’s environment, bringing cleaner air and louder birdsong.
It’s allowed us to experience what a greener Croydon could be like. We’ve realised the importance of access to green space for our health, of safe and pleasant walking routes and perhaps even how cycling can reveal a host of new green spaces such as the Wandle way or Whitehorse meadow.
We have a once in a generation opportunity to shape a new world.
A green recovery can benefit people and the planet and support those communities that have been most affected by the crisis. Yet we must also remember that before we had heard of Covid 19, we were dealing with the accelerating pace of ecological and climate breakdown. So it’s time to look after our environment and green spaces, and in return they’ll look after us. We can’t return to business as usual; we demand a green recovery for Croydon to support our people and our planet to recover together, ensuring we achieve greater equality, live healthier lives and tackle the climate and ecological crisis.
Imagine a green corridor starting in the heart of Croydon and initially flowing north
from the Whitgift redevelopment to Thornton Heath district centre, as part of our aim to tackle the inequality in access to green space which is most acute in the north of the borough. Linked to this we want our town centre and district centres across Croydon to be walking and cycling friendly with slow moving traffic and roads that are easy to cross with frequent crossing points and wide pavements.
Our key principles for recovery
Community – Invest in projects that help the community and environment recover together, focusing on job creation for young people, people with disabilities, black and ethnic minority communities and the disadvantaged.
Environment – Improve access to existing quality green spaces and create high quality liveable neighbourhoods that tackle the climate and ecological crisis.
Transport – Support everyone to increase their walking and cycling for short, local journeys and better access to Croydon’s green spaces. Reallocate road space away from the car to better enable safe, independent and affordable travel for all. Improve public transport to areas with little or no public transport, such as Old Town, Kenley and the area between Norbury and Upper Norwood.
A plan to implement the Croydon Green Corridor…and ideas for the wider borough
Linked to our three key principles (community, environment, transport) we have created a plan that can be implemented with Council, Mayoral and Central Government Support. Timescales: Short term (0-6months), medium term (6 -12 months) and built on for the longer term (1-3 years)
- Develop a Green Recovery toolkit to involve communities and co-develop proposals
- Create demonstration streets with council support to show what can be done quickly
- Connect different community initiatives to share learning and facilitate progress
- Introduce a behaviour change programme to support active travel to school
- Build on the 800 planned trees to be planted this year to ensure routes of the Green Corridor are established
- Create 3-5 new pocket parks with local communities
- Establish reuse approaches at waste management sites
- Sustain and expand Croydon’s Streetspace Improvement Programme (CSIP) which was started during lockdown through additional planting and green infrastructure, low traffic streets, expanded footways, exercise zones, improved cycling facilities, temporary 20mph speed limits and speed awareness signage
- Improve signposting throughout the town centre and beyond to key green spaces, implementing urban trails to link up key green spaces
- Extend controlled parking zones so kerbside space can be reallocated for active travel and community greening projects
- Extend a bus route to Old Town linking the area to East and West Croydon stations
- Support green economy businesses by offering business rate discounts and affordable start up space
- Support community engagement with green recovery improvements through dedicated volunteer programmes and ongoing action for mutual aid groups and partnerships with local schools
- Establish a new “Biodiversity corridor”running through Croydon and create a “Greener Belt”, with funded work to improve biodiversity accessible to Croydon’s centre
- Expand pocket parks created with additional planting
- Ensure Croydon’s Local Plan enables net zero by 2030 and net gain (biodiverstity) principles
- Implement measures to improve pedestrian and cycle access within the town centre and create pedestrianisation in stages and car free days as a means of developing a local zero emissions zone
- Make the temporary 20mph zones permanent and develop a borough wide 20mph limit
- Create a Liveable Neighbourhood in the Selhurst to Norwood Junction area and Crystal Palace area, to reduce local car trips and improve the area for walking, cycling and public transport
- Introduce cycle hire at local railway stations and key destinations
- Implement active transport routes, to help people, especially young people, reach and enjoy greenspaces safely and sustainably – an example is Wandle Park
- Increase electric charging points across the borough
- Reallocate kerbside space and improve walking and cycling routes through a proactive parking permit review
- Introduce a local bus service between Norbury, Upper Norwood and Crystal Palace
- Introduce a bus service to the unserved parts of Kenley
Ideas for the Long term
- Fund environmental charities to deliver a new Croydon Nature Service and new initiatives for community involvement, especially job creating projects for younger members of the population.
- Increase the pocket park initiative so a green chain evolves, connecting parks across the borough
- Net zero building and retrofitting buildings within the town centre and key neighbourhoods to support net zero targets
- Build green bridges over our railway lines so a new network of linear parks for walking and cycling are established
- Create a Liveable Neighbourhood in every one of the borough’s identified neighbourhood
- Improve all district centres to make them more pedestrian and cycle friendly
- Build protected cycle tracks on all A roads in the borough and develop high quality surfaced paths through greenspaces to open access for walkers with mobility issues
- Establish a car free zone in the town centre and integrate active travel and public transport through high quality local routes and station hubs
- Extend the ULEZ to the M25
- Develop a borough wide controlled parking strategy, as a means of widening pavements and reducing driven trips
- Extend the tram network, with routes to Sutton, Crystal Palace and Streatham