Coulsdon’s LibDems have called on Croydon council leader Mike Fisher to take urgent action over what they call “ill-thought-out plans” for the development of Cane Hill and Lion Green car park.
In the letter from Gill Hickson, the chair of her local Liberal Democrats, she describes the public consultation by Barratt – the house-builders who were handed the £250 million publicly owned site of the former asylum for no up-front payment by London Mayor Boris Johnson – as being “full of loaded questions that distorted responses to give an impression that locals were ‘ok’ with the plans.
“They failed to address the real issues of using a large area of Green Belt (bigger than the original hospital site), traffic flow and parking”.
She wrote: “We fail to understand how the plans proceeded without the obvious need for a southern exit to prevent the complete gridlock of Lion Green and Chipstead Valley Roads. How [can] 150 car park spaces can be removed, with only supermarket customers allowed in the Waitrose spaces, without having a serious impact on people using the town centre and commuters?
“The size of the complex is huge,” she says of the Cane Hill plans, “and gardens being counted as keeping Green Belt is a nonsense. There is only small provision for one- and two-bedroom properties so that first-time buyers have little chance of securing a property and existing residents have little chance of down-sizing. Is it all about the money?
“If most of the houses are three-, four- and five-bedroom, then there will be children who need educating and you will need to make adequate provisions for this,” Hickson adds, highlighting another of the serious short-comings of a scheme which appears overly weighted towards the needs of billionaire developers, rather than that of the local communities.
As Inside Croydon reported last spring, although Barratt’s plan is for 675 homes, they have not been required to include a school on the Cane Hill site, and the builders have justified that decision by trying to claim in all seriousness that they would be only 222 children living in their new village.
Quietly, just before Christmas, florid-faced Fisher’s council announced that the developers had temporarily withdrawn their planning applications – coincidentally soon after local residents’ associations had announced that they intended to challenge Croydon’s ruling Conservatives at the ballot box in May’s local elections.
Hickson flags up the obvious political manipulation inherent in the planning delays: “While a review is taking place, which hopefully is genuine and not just a ploy to buy time till after the May local elections, I hope that the council will have the power to insist that certain amendments are made…
“The site has been derelict for some time and we are keen to have the site sensibly developed,” Hickson writes.
“We know you have housing quotas to address and there is a shortage in the south-east (it is a sad reflection on the Tory Government that money from the sale of council houses wasn’t used to build new homes),” the LibDem official writes (apparently forgetting that her own party is an integral part of the present coalition “Tory Government”).
“We know phase 1 of the Cane Hill site is due to start in the summer so you need to get this sorted soon,” Hickson writes. “Along with other interested individuals and groups, we are waiting for the right decisions to be made for Coulsdon and it is not ruined by bad planning.”
Coming to Croydon
- Coulsdon and Purley Debating Society, Feb 3
- Babylon at the Spread Eagle Theatre, Feb 4-6
- Steve Knightly at Stanley Halls: Feb 5
- Purley Swimathon: Feb 8 and 13
- Mark Steel at Ashcroft Theatre, Feb 12
- Norwood Society talk, Upper Norwood Library, Feb 20
- Mr Pooter comes to Croydon, Feb 20-22
- Stop the Incinerator fund-raiser, Feb 24
- Coulsdon and Purley Debating Society, Mar 3
- Norwood Society talk, Upper Norwood Library, Mar 20
- Croydon Half-marathon, Mar 30
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