Crystal Palace ponders new 'Palace Pound' currency

Croydon Guardian: How the Palace Pound could look featuring Sir Joseph Paxton How the Palace Pound could look featuring Sir Joseph Paxton

Crystal Palace is looking to become the sixth town in the country to launch its own currency.

The Crystal Palace Chamber of Commerce (CPCC) held a meeting last Wednesday, where they discussed launching a "Palace Pound" in a bid to keep shoppers' money in the area, thus benefiting local residents and businesses.

Similar schemes have already been introduced in other areas, including Brixton, Totnes and Lewes.

At the meeting held the Phoenix Centre, in Westow Street, the chamber were given a talk about various alternative currencies by Leander Bindewald, a project manager on complementary currencies at the New Economic Forum.

The meeting was held days before the Crystal Palace Transition Town (CPTT) team launched a community guide to shopping and eating in the area.

Five thousand copies of the pocket-sized guides were produced and handed out on Saturday, to coincide with National Small Business Saturday. Both projects aim to boost the local economy and to protect jobs in the area.

Robert Gibson, a spokesman for the CPCC and CPTT said: "We have established a working party that will look at the opportunities a local currency could create and the challenges that come with it.

"We want to study various different models and look at what works well and what could work in Crystal Palace, because anyone can make a currency its getting it accepted.

"Both the Chamber of Commerce and Crystal Palace Transition Town are looking at how we can celebrate and sustain the thriving independent businesses that Crystal Palace is famous for."

Croydon North MP Steve Reed has also backed the scheme, saying he thought it was "a great idea" and a local currency could be a symbol of civic pride.

Local currencies elsewhere in the country have used images of famous former residents to feature on their bank note, which could mean Sir Joseph Paxton the architect best known for designing The Crystal Palace, Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins the sculptor who created the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs or even Pickles the dog who found the World Cup in nearby Beulah Hill in 1966, could be on the Palace Pound.

The working group will now consider what type of currency scheme is best suited to Crystal Palace, with options including a reward scheme or a straight sterling to Palace Pound conversion - before meeting with residents and local business owners to develop the project further.

Paul Bartholomew, chairman of the CPCC said of the currency: "It could raise Crystal Palace’s profile regionally and nationally and contribute to positive perceptions of Crystal Palace by drawing attention to its strong community, diverse economy and capacity for innovation."





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