When one type in the name Catford in Wikipedia, a credible source for information: the new age encyclopedia, it states “Catford’s most prominent landmark is the Catford cat, a giant fibre glass sculpture of a black cat above the entrance to the Catford centre”.
However, what must be told is that Catford has other distinguishing features and a rich history, other than the Black cat that looms over the shopping parade. Catford is an ancient name, which goes back in documents as far as the reign of Edward I, and is the name of an old manor dating back to the 13th century. And to those who do not know Catford does have its fair share of celebrities. It is home to several people who are, or were, big in the trade unions, notably Rodney Bickerstaffe, who created the biggest union of all, Unison. And let’s not forget Sir Henry Cooper, British heavy weight boxer, Ben Elton and Spike Milligan were all notable catfordians.
Nevertheless, the view of Catford today is full of contention. In an article in the local News shopper, a Canadian tourist had a gloomy impression of the town. She wrote a letter to the paper slamming Catford for its ‘tacky’ shops and ‘pathetic’ indoor market. She ended the letter by describing it as a “ weird town which I will remember as Crap-ford” ( source: News shopper article, “ Town is not a Cat-satrophe” written by Glen Ebery 4th January 2006).
Four years on and a similar view still resonates among local residents and neighbouring towns. While canvassing in Catford, the general opinion is that Catford is in need of drastic revamp. Local residents want a better quality of living in Catford. This calls for safer streets, better management of social housing, good quality schools, youth centres, good quality schools, low crime levels, regeneration of Catford town centre and job creation.
However, there have been recent developments in improving Catford town centre by the recent sale of Catford shopping centre in February 2010 to Lewisham council for £11.52 million. The centre will be wholly owned by a company set up by the council called Catford Regeneration Partnership. This project sets to kick start a regeneration programme for the town centre by attracting private investment from the private sector has a significant potential for regeneration.
The Catford South Conservative team is for the regeneration of Catford town centre and will continue to support future developments. Our ambition is to make Catford a great place to bring up kids once again. Supporting families is central to our campaign so if it means making the streets safer and building youth centres we will strive and work hard to achieve this. The voice of the Conservatives is the voice of the community and we will put Catford first!
© March 2010