It is three years since Croydon was overrun by rioters of every age and background, looting and burning the town in a display of unprecedented civil unrest.

In the aftermath swift action was taken against rioters, and millions in aid was promised to those who lost their homes and businesses.

While all but a very few offenders have served their time and rejoined society, the promised cash is only now being spent.

Last week Croydon Council announced £3.2m will be spent to improve London Road, the worst-hit part of the town, with works including tidying up shopfronts, widening footpaths, planting trees and adding new seating and cycle parking.

Founder of West Croydon Voice Bushra Ahmed is asking why the people of London Road have had to wait so long for the works to take place.

She said: “The £3.2m was always promised as part of the Mayor of London’s money after the riots. We have been waiting three years.”

“Now Labour has come in and they were very supportive over the riots and now they say the area is a priority.”

Broad Green ward Councillor Stuart Collins was critical of the former administration’s handling of the funding while he was in opposition.

Coun Collins, now the deputy leader of the council, said the delays were not solely due to the Conservatives.

He said: “I think the real criticism has to be with the Greater London Authority.

“It was held up by the GLA doing it the wrong way.

“They should have said here is the money pot and they should have just let the council get on with it.

"When we got into power the first thing we did was to have a meeting and say, ‘Let’s just get on and start’.”

Images of the House of Reeves furniture store on fire during the riots were screened around the world.

Since then the shop has risen from the ashes, but co-owner Trevor Reeves said he wishes improvements to the area had begun sooner.

Mr Reeves said: “There was a lot of enthusiasm after the riots for doing good things and Boris made the money available and the will was there but it seemed to get bogged down in administration.

“We should be finishing the Church Street works now, not only just starting them in February.

“It’s a shame these things couldn’t have been acted on 18 months earlier. I think it’s an opportunity that has been missed, which is a shame.

“Things will happen in the end and I’m sure they will be very good, but the good wave of optimism has been lost.”

Croydon Guardian:

Croydon North MP Steve Reed will monitor the progress of the works to ensure the area is restored properly.

He said: “The new administration tells me the money is starting to be spent this week.

“In two months since the election there has been more activity than we have seen for three years, but I will continue to push the new administration for more and making sure the work gets done.

A council spokesman said: “Investment projects of this scale need considerable planning and co-ordination and each step required sign-off from the GLA who provided a significant part of the budget.

“Following immediate recovery and clean-up works, the council has opened the successful West Croydon Enterprise Hub and we have a business investment package operating in the area.

“We have completed improvements at Lansdowne Road to coincide with the opening of the pedestrian rail bridge. Temporary improvements to Reeves Corner, which attracted extra funding from Sustrans, will shortly be supplemented with further works.

“St John’s Memorial Gardens will also soon be completed, which is another project which attracted additional investment, in this case from the Pocket Parks fund.

“South End is under way and the regeneration of London Road starts this month.

“We put a huge amount of effort into consulting with communities over what works were wanted, recruiting design teams and preparing detailed delivery plans to maximise the benefit of the investment.”