We are starting to see a rise in Covid-19 cases across London and this afternoon the Government has confirmed that the UK’s R number has increased to above 1. While thankfully the infection rate in our borough remains low and we are not seeing any patterns that suggest an outbreak, like everywhere else we are starting to see a gradual increase in cases, particularly among young people aged 20-29. So we absolutely cannot be complacent – now is the time to work together to keep Croydon safe.
The most important thing we can all do to protect ourselves and others remains the same – to follow the advice on hands, face, space. So please, keep washing your hands, cover your face in public places and give people space – stay two metres apart from others. The new rule of six comes into play on Monday, which means we cannot meet in groups larger than six, unless they are part of your support bubble – you can find out more about the new government guidance, and what that means here.
If you have Covid symptoms – and only if you have Covid symptoms – you need to self-isolate and book a test. Through the NHS Test and Trace system this will help to stop the virus spreading further, and we can protect our friends and family, particularly our most vulnerable. Find out how to book a test here.
Nationally, we have seen people raising very understandable concerns about the availability of tests – with people being unable to book them or being directed to sites far from their homes. In Croydon we are already speaking to the Department of Health and Social Care about increasing testing capacity for our residents and I hope to have some positive news for you on this next week. Our director of public health also continues to push government on the need to increase laboratory capacity nationally.
New chief executive
I’m pleased to tell you that this week Croydon Council has appointed a new interim chief executive. Katherine Kerswell joins us from Monday, having been appointed by a cross-party committee of councillors and I wish her a warm welcome to Croydon, and look forward to working with her in the coming months.
Katherine brings a wealth of experience and a strong track record of delivering for local communities. She will provide clear and steady leadership to help us through the financial challenges I have mentioned before and our Covid-19 recovery, and help to set strong foundations to deliver our priorities for the future.
Katherine will work with us members of the council, our staff and partners and crucially, with all of you, on this very challenging phase for Croydon as we look to recover from the pandemic while continuing to support our communities and our most vulnerable residents.
Love Croydon, shop local
Our Love Croydon, shop local campaign continues and it’s been fantastic to see so many of our businesses featured. You can see them on our social media accounts @yourcroydon and if you want to celebrate one of your neighbourhood gems, share using the #LoveCroydonshoplocal hashtag or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please continue to support them as much as you can – enjoy our shops, pubs and restaurants, and do so safely so we can all avoid a local lockdown.
New council housing milestone
Providing affordable housing for those in need is one of this council’s priorities so I was pleased to see an important development reach a major milestone this week. On Thursday we marked the topping-out ceremony at a new 100% affordable block in our town centre that will become council homes, at council rents, for 90 Croydon families when it is completed.
Next spring, local people on the borough’s housing waiting list will move into these apartments which are being built by developer HUB as part of the 513-home regeneration of the old Taberner House council offices and Queen’s Gardens. In addition to one block being wholly owned by the council to provide council homes, the overall development is 51% affordable.
On a personal note, I am really proud that the council-owned block will be named Malcolm Wicks House in honour of the late MP for Croydon North.
Have a good weekend,
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council