Cane Hill plans for 675 family homes but only 222 children

The “family homes” built by Barratt Homes can’t be very good: according to the house-builder, few of those that it will be building at Cane Hill in Coulsdon will accommodate any children.

The child-catcher: Barratt Homes' newest employee?

The child-catcher: Barratt Homes’ newest employee?

Apparently to avoid having to provide a school on the site, Barratt appears to be taking the expression “family planning” to new levels.

Another lip-service exercise in public consultation is taking place today and tomorrow in Coulsdon, where Barratt together with subsidiary brand Ward Homes is laying out its development plans for the former site of the old Cane Hill Hospital.

Under a scheme announced by London Mayor Boris Johnson last year, Barratt effectively gets to develop a publicly owned site, valued at around £250 million, without having to pay much until after the houses are built and sold off.

And now it has emerged that, with connivance from Croydon Council and Boris, Barratt do not intend making provision for the schooling of any of the children living in this large new housing estate. Sorry, “community”.

The public relations and publicity for the Cane Hill project is being handled by the ubiquitous White Label PR company, who got round to launching the website for the multi-million pound development on Tuesday this week. So that’ll give the public plenty of notice of the consultation, then, won’t it?

“Residents are being encouraged to have their say on plans to develop Cane Hill at a consultation event being held at Coulsdon Methodist Church on Friday, May 10 (10am to 7pm) and Saturday, May 11 (10am to 3pm),” the official website states.

A spokesman for Barratt and Ward Homes is quoted as saying, “We aim to create a sustainable community on this prominent site that fits in with the surrounding landscape.”

OK. So let’s do some simple sums about how “sustainable” such a “community” might be.

The plans are for 99 one- and two-bedroom apartments, 551 two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom houses; up to 25 new homes converted from existing buildings (including using the old hospital’s chapel); and some commercial facilities.

That’s a total of 675 homes. It seems that Barratt are expecting many of the new home-owners to be child-less. Or maybe they foresee a visit from some latter-day Pied Piper or child-catcher figure to lure the pesky kids away?

The shortage of school places throughout Croydon is well-known, with leaders at the Town Hall describing the situation as a “crisis” when they seek to justify building on greenfield sites elsewhere in the borough.

Yet here in Coulsdon, on a brownfield site where hundreds of new houses – many of them “family homes” – are to be built at considerable profit for the developers, no space is being provided for a school.

The shiny new White Label website explains that “The development is expected to generate around 162 primary school children and 60 secondary school children. These children will occur across the phased development programme of 5 years and therefore will not occur all at once.”

So: 675 homes. But just 222 children. And not “all at once”, either. Does that really add up?

Centrepiece: Barratt's plans for Cane Hill include maintaining and re-purposing the old hospital's impressive chapel

Centrepiece: Barratt’s plans for Cane Hill include maintaining and re-purposing the old hospital’s impressive chapel

According to White Label, “… the borough’s Education Team have been planning for this increased capacity and as a result, the site does not generate a need for a new Primary School (420 pupils as a 2 Form Entry).”

A Community Infrastructure Levy – CIL – of “around £9 million” will be contributed from the development towards Croydon’s school expansion plan. But that’s chicken feed compared to the value of land provided to Barratt for the Cane Hill development, and the potential profits the company might expect to rake in from flogging houses, rather than providing an important public building such as a school – even a one-form entry primary.

Looks like Croydon Council, together with London Mayor Boris Johnson, has come down on the side of the big-business property developers again, rather than the existing local residents of Coulsdon, or the new neighbours that will be moving into Cane Hill Park. With their children.

  • Inside Croydon: For comment and analysis about Croydon, from inside Croydon – 267,670 page views (Nov 2012-Apr 2013)
  • Post your comments on this article below. If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or local event, please email us with full details at

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
This entry was posted in Boris Johnson, Business, Cane Hill, Coulsdon, Coulsdon East, Coulsdon Town, Croydon Council, Croydon South, East Coulsdon Residents' Association, Education, Housing, Mayor of London, Old Coulsdon Residents' Association, Planning, Schools and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Cane Hill plans for 675 family homes but only 222 children

  1. I blame the planners.

    As I understand it, the whole site is or was Metropolitan Open Land – hence a 22-year central and local government dither between closing the hospital (1991) and finally doing something productive with the site.

    Originally we were going to have a science park – which Coulsdon residents insisted on calling an industrial estate – because we could only build on the hospital footprint.

    I went on a charabanc ride with Croydon Council and “opinion formers” to see similar parks in Cambridge and Guildford. We were asked to consider the idea of low-rise, high-quality buildings nestling amid rolling green pastures; a natural home for the research and development departments of global companies. The council said the park would be linked by broadband and/or satellite to an internationally renowned university – though it never revealed which one.

    Any strategic planning authority worthy of the name would have de-regulated the whole site at the outset and handed it over to one or more housing associations to provide affordable co-ownership homes for people earning average wages.

    The design would include the necessary schools and other public amenities as well as the long-promised leisure centre with gym and swimming pool.

    No doubt the “opinion formers” would have protested. So what’s new?

  2. The Royal Institute of British Architects have recently criticised UK homes as being too small, They are promoting a video on the subject:!video

  3. My husband and I have lived in Coulsdon for a decade. Our son is due to start school in September. Even though we live opposite a primary school, 0.2 miles from another one and 0.4 miles from a third school, we have been told by the Council that all schools in the local area are over subscribed. Our son has been allocated a school that involves a 60 mile round trip per week. Now where is the logic of allowing a development of this scale without additional schools in the area? I hope that they also consult Southern Rail for additional services at Coulsdon South, when I use to commute, the trains used to be so pack sometimes I couldn’t get in.

    I am all for the development as long as the quality of life doesn’t decline for local resident.

  4. sorry but can someone confirm where exactly this proposed site will be? I can not see a location

Leave a Reply