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BISHOP OF CROYDON: Bridge the North/South divide to create a more positive Croydon

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THE latest monthly column from the Bishop of Croydon, the Rt Rev Jonathan Clark... SO THE elections have been and gone, and the political map of Croydon has changed – slightly. The control of the council may have changed hands, but as we all know, that depended on a few wards in the middle of the borough. The map of Croydon looks quite similar to how it did before: Labour in the north and (now completely) in New Addington, and Conservative in the south. In that, as in many other things, we are a borough of two halves. As I've got to know the borough over the two years I've been here, I've begun to realise that a lot of people don't know much about the 'other half' of the borough. Those who live in the north of the borough might come to the town centre, but wouldn't have much reason to go further. Those who live in the south of the borough tend to head in other directions, even for their shopping. But yet we are one borough, and a very large one. If Croydon were separate from London, a town of over 350,000 people would be a place to notice. As there are Church of England parishes all across the borough, I'm one of the relatively few people who do find themselves in South Norwood one week, and Kenley the next. What I see is the potential to tell a much more positive story about Croydon than the one we normally hear. It's a place with many resources and loads of energy, but in recent years we haven't managed to bring all those together. It's not just a job for political leaders, though they have a key role to play. It's for all of us to find a better story to tell about Croydon and its future – about the whole borough, not just part of it, and about all its people. So my commiserations to Croydon's Conservatives, and congratulations to Labour – but much more importantly, I hope that whatever our politics, we can find a story to tell together of Croydon's future as a good place to live and work.

BISHOP OF CROYDON: Bridge the North/South divide to create a more positive Croydon


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