Mike Fisher, the leader of Conservative-run Croydon Council, once referred to New Addington‘s Central Parade as “little more than a dog toilet”.
But a resident is now using legislation that was introduced by parliament more than 50 years before the first houses were built in New Addington to have a piece of land on Central Parade declared as a village green and fend off the latest bid to build a Tesco superstore on the site.
The insulting description of New Addington’s town centre by the senior councillor from suburban Shirley came out of his irritation that local resident Michael Fuller had managed to get some of the land opposite the shopping parade protected by law from development.
Battling against the council, Croydon’s two political parties, Tesco and some influential New Addington business interests, Fuller surprised them all when he secured the support of inspector Vivian Chapman QC for his call for village green status. The land protected provides a clear view down the parade to St Edward’s Church, as planned in the 1930s garden city style that typifies New Addington’s generously proportioned green lungs layout.
The council has recently returned to battle to have the car parks on the western side of Central Parade excluded from the village green to assist their development plans.
The council has objected to Fuller’s application. And it will be Croydon Council which gets to rule on its own objection on land which the council owns, at a committee of councillors.
Croydon Council has engaged expensive legal counsel for advice. It decided against using an independent inspector to judge the matter.
The legal paper going to councillors advises that if they decide to proceed with a judgement, “The application must be determined entirely impartially and without reference to any planning permission which may be pending or have been granted in respect of the land.”
It is expected that councillors from the Labour group as well as the majority Tories will vote against the local resident and try to have the car parks deemed to be not part of the village green and – without reference to any planning permission, of course – will open the door to a new retail planning application on the site.
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