Newman: New Westfield should have a much smaller car park

Tony Newman, the leader of Croydon’s Labour-controlled council, wants the new Westfield supermall in the town centre – if it is ever built – to have “considerably less” than the 3,000 car parking spaces for which his own council has granted planning permission.

One of the three car parks at Westfield Stratford, which have space for 4,500 vehicles

Newman was speaking on BBC Radio London last week, in what was less of a car parking discussion, and more of a car crash of an interview.

His apparent support for better environmental policies, prompted by the Mayor of London’s ULEZ (or ultra-low emissions zone, which was launched earlier this month), saw Newman trapped himself into answering that he wanted the proposed £1.4billion Westfield scheme in Croydon to be “a sustainable development”, with “considerably less” car parking spaces than the currently proposed 3,000.

Newman’s public utterance represents probably his first expression of opposition or reservation about the Westfield project since the Tory-backed scheme was announced in 2012. The borough’s Town Hall politicians, red and blue, together with the Westfield-friendly chief exec, Jo Negrini, have spent most of the past seven years bending over backwards to accommodate anything and everything which the developers have demanded.

Indeed, it was Newman’s close mate, and fellow Woodside ward councillor, Paul Scott, who was chair of the planning committee which in November 2017 eagerly pushed through the permission for latest iteration of Westfield’s plans to redevelop the decrepit Whitgift Centre and the neighbouring Centrale.

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Council goes to court to fight Info Commissioner ruling

A business report into Sutton’s heat network scheme is being kept secret by the LibDem-controlled council. And now they’re spending more public cash on an appeal to keep the report under wraps, as CARL SHILTON reports

Ruth Dombey: will she answer the hard questions on Radio London tomorrow night?

Ruth Dombey, the leader of Liberal Democrat-controlled Sutton, is to be the latest guest on BBC Radio London’s “Ask The Leader” phone-in programme tomorrow night.

There, she is sure to face questions over why her council has ignored the Information Commissioner, defied the ruling of a panel of judges, and is now spending potentially tens of thousands of pounds to keep secret a report on the financial prospects for one of her pet projects.

Dombey’s council paid consultants KPMG £30,000 to review the financial model of SDEN, the Sutton Decentralised Energy Network, whose business plan is to take water, heated by the Viridor incinerator at Beddington Lane, and flog it for heating to housing estates and council buildings around the area.

KPMG’s report is widely believed to have provided arguments for the economic viability for SDEN, and therefore for the £210million Viridor incinerator built at Beddington Lane. Continue reading

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READER OFFER: Step out on our next guided ramble, May 18

Striding on: Ken Towl leads the way on our ramble

Places are now open for Inside Croydon’s latest guided walk, in and around our bit of south London, and to be held on Saturday, May 18.

Ken Towl, our non-resident rambler, will again be leading the way as we explore some places less well-travelled, venturing into sometimes forgotten corners of this bit of the capital.

As our previous, well-attended guided walk showed, there can be surprises along the route even for those who think they know the area very well already, as we managed to cross two hemispheres in a morning and discovered what appeared to be the nest of a dragon…

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Croydon Has Talent 2019, live show May 17

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Kick Off @3 football tournament, The Warren, May 19

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Music Of The Spiles beer festival, The Hope, Apr 25-26

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Plan for 19 flats in Shirley pub car park returns ‘like a vampire’

The developer who wanted to build flats in the car park of what was a previously popular pub in Shirley is back, with very familiar plans.

The Sandrock on Upper Shirley Road: developer wants to build a four-storey, 19-flat block in its car park

According to one of the residents involved in last year’s successful campaign to save the 150-year-old Sandrock pub, the developer’s return is “like a vampire that was supposed to have been killed off, their thirst for that which sustains life – in their case, cash – brings them out of the shadows again”.

Which is not as inappropriate as it might seem, as the pub on Upper Shirley Road was notorious for being haunted…

A new application for planning permission has been submitted. It appears to have barely changed from the developers’ previous effort. The pub, which closed as soon as the developers acquired it more than a year ago, gives no hint that it is likely to re-open any time soon. Continue reading

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