“Croydon has been a fantastic place for us and we would like to be here for a long time,” Mr Webb said at Develop Croydon last Thursday. “The key issue is how we are going to continue to find these people because we see a large drift out of Croydon of the middle-class who have traditionally been our employees. If they are not here in two or three years, we won’t be here.”
Mr Webb said that the firm had long-standing links with the borough and that, traditionally, most staff lived locally. However, he said that the public’s perception had worsened after last year’s riots and added: “We need to be making the case for Croydon and its strengths more positively.” Mr Webb told the Standard that his company was committed to staying in Croydon for the next three years, but might reassess the situation if the trend continues. “When I said middle-class people, what I meant is white-collar workers,” he said. “Not necessarily graduates, but hard-working and enthusiastic people.”
Croydon was, well within living memory, one of those London boroughs like Ealing, Bexley Heath, Dulwich - shorthand for safe, dull, conformist suburbia. Gone.
The laurels are speckled in Marchmont Avenue
Just as they were before,
But the steps are dusty that still lead up to
Your Uncle Dick's front door.
Pear and apple in Croydon gardens
Bud and blossom and fall,
But your Uncle Dick has left his Croydon
Once for all.