Residents outraged by latest vandalism on Higher Drive

It is not just around Wild West Croydon that vandals are to be found, it seems.

Legitimate protest, but someone along Higher Drive in Kenley does not like it

Overnight on Sunday, the residents’ posters and banners that line Higher Drive, in leafy, suburban Kenley, were trashed, scrawled with graffiti and thrown aside.

The banners are there to demonstrate the locals’ protest at the manner in which a multi-millionaire developer is bulldozing his way through the planning process, with falsified letters of support for the scheme; out-buildings being constructed without permission; and a “Transport Plan” that would have more basis in reality if it had been drafted by Hans Christian Andersen.

The proposed building of a high- dependency care unit on the site of what were two ordinary detached houses in a residential area is surely unique in that it is already the subject of investigations into allegations of wrong-doing at two south London councils.

The first investigation is in Croydon (as reported by Inside Croydon). The second is now in Merton, where the Tory opposition has reported the leader of the ruling Labour group for abusing his position in writing a letter of support of the hospital scheme to the planning inspectorate using council-headed paper. The councillor, Stephen Alambritis, denies any wrongdoing.

As an aside, Alambritis’s letter, in common with so many letters of support canvassed by the developers, highlights the need for such a facility in south London. This has never been the matter in dispute, not even by the neighbours in Higher Drive. But what the planning inspectorate needs to consider carefully is not local healthcare provision, but the development and transport issues that would be created if the scheme is allowed to go ahead.

Meanwhile, the locals are distraught at what happened on Sunday night.

They have no idea who was responsible for the wanton vandalism, although they are hopeful that the police will respond with as much enthusiasm at their detection and charging as they have been in tracking  down the yobs who ran amok in Croydon last week.

Of course, the residents have no suspicion that the vandalism to the banners and posters has anything whatsoever to do with the scheduled visit to the site tomorrow of the government-appointed planning inspector, to consider the developer’s appeal against Croydon Council’s refusal of permission for half of the hospital scheme.

Local councillor and GLA member Steve O’Connell will be supporting the local residents in their opposition tomorrow. “I am going to be as determined as I have been in the past to fight the residents’ corner,” he told Inside Croydon.

“I am going to highlight the parking and public transport problems in that road, which make it entirely unsuitable for a development of this kind.”

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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