The fix is in.
Cane Hill, the 677-home yuppie housing estate which Barratt will be building on the site of the former asylum near Coulsdon will get its additional access road, according to a promise made by Mike Fisher, the leader of Croydon Council, at a meeting with local residents’ associations on Friday.
And the road will be paid for by the Council Tax-payers of Croydon, not by the “hard-pressed” developers who have already been given £250-million-worth of public land.
In a separate and clearly completely unrelated announcement from the Coulsdon residents’ associations, they will not now be fielding any candidates in the local elections in May in the usually ultra-safe Conservative wards, as they had been threatening to do.
It is uncertain whether such blatant use of public money to secure the outcome of elections was as commonplace in the Chicago of the 1920s as appears to be going on in Croydon in 2014, with florid-faced Fisher and his less-than-merry band of Tories desperate to cling on to control of the Town Hall.
The estimated cost of building the road from the Cane Hill development out to the Coulsdon bypass is around £1 million. That’s cheap when it is other people’s money that you are using to ensure that six Conservative candidates get elected in Coulsdon East and West on May 22.
Clearly, Fisher and the Croydon Tories saw the residents’ associations opposition as a real threat to their control of Coulsdon, and therefore Croydon as a whole. Late last year, the mere suggestion that the RAs might field election candidates and a possible legal challenge from Conservative local authorities in Surrey saw Croydon Council bin its much-loathed Coulsdon “Master”plan.
With the LibDems slumped in the polls nationally and Croydon’s Labour group virtually mute on the Cane Hill issue because of a lack of any candidates nominated to stand in wards to the south of the borough, the local Conservatives are now free to concentrate on dealing with the challenge presented on polling day by UKIP.
That Fisher has raided Town Hall funds to pay for the road is just the latest demonstration of how his administration is utterly craven when it comes to dealing with private developers. Barratt can expect to make tens of millions of pounds in profit from Cane Hill, after being given the land for nothing and contributing a modest £9 million – less than 5per cent of the land value they have been gifted – in a community infrastructure levy as part of the planning process.
Richard Thurbon, the chairman of Coulsdon West Residents’ Association, posted a statement last night reporting back on a meeting with Fisher and Steve “Three Jobs” O’Connell, the London Assembly Member for Croydon and Sutton.
East Coulsdon, Old Coulsdon, Coulsdon West and the Hartley and District Residents’ Associations were all represented at the meeting last Friday, which was also attended by just one of the wards’ current six Tory councillors, Terry Lenton, plus Chris Philp, the Tory candidate for the Croydon South parliamentary seat (“Sir” Tricky Dicky Ottaway must have been too busy to attend, or maybe afraid that he might bump into some octogenarian anarchist pensioners).
According to Thurbon, Mike Fisher “announced that the council are supporting the residents’ associations in their request for an entrance to the Barratt Homes Cane Hill development off the A23 Farthing Way bypass to the extent of agreeing to pay for the work”.
The option favoured by the council is a short link road near Footpath 744. “This would relieve the Marlpit Lane roundabout of some Cane Hill traffic and ideally be used by construction traffic,” Thurbon noted.
“Transport for London are responsible for the A23 and must still be persuaded that a traffic light controlled junction can be added in the face of some unconvincing traffic modelling carried out by consultants for Barratt Homes.”
If Croydon can persuade TfL to have the traffic lights at the junction, the residents’ associations will withdraw their multiple objections to the Cane Hill planning application, Thurbon said.
Charlie King, of the East Coulsdon RA, said, “I agree that Barratt should pay for the exit to the bypass, and Croydon should do their transport report and show Barratt and TfL that this exit is needed and then they could put it in as a planning condition on Barratt. However, if the only way to get one is for Croydon to pay for it, then that is the way it will have to be.
“It is essential to the town that there is an exit on to the bypass and it is to everybody’s benefit that Cane Hill gets developed soon, as we need housing the borough and regeneration. The site has been derelict for 20 years and it cost the tax-payer £10,000 a week to secure.”
- Objections to the latest Cane Hill proposals can be made until March 20 – this Thursday – on the council’s planning website by clicking here.
- Perry’s double life as building supplier and planning official
- Coulsdon residents determined to badger council on Cane Hill
- Council puts Cane Hill plan on hold to reassess traffic schemes
- Angry Coulsdon residents want to break away from Croydon
Coming to Croydon
- Norwood Society Talk: West Norwood Cemetery, Mar 20
- South Norwood Lakes Playground group workshop, Mar 25
- David Lean Cinema: Basically Johnny Moped, Mar 27-28
- Croydon Half-marathon, Mar 30
- David Lean Cinema: 12 Years a Slave, Apr 3
- David Lean Cinema: The Great Beauty, Apr 10
- Norwood Society Talk: Crystal Palace, Apr 17
- David Lean Cinema: Inside Llewyn Davis, Apr 17
- Opening of Marlpit Lane bowling and putting greens, Apr 17
- Arts and Crafts Market, Exchange Square, Apr 19
- David Lean Cinema: Short Term, Apr 24
- Norwood Society Talk: West Norwood – a place of change, May 15
- Norwood Society Talk: The Concrete Church, June 19
- Crystal Palace Overground Festival, June 26-29
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
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