Croydon Council could be hauled before a public inquiry to explain its planning department’s decision to refuse permission to the Hyde Group to build 129 homes on the site of the World of Golf driving range on Long Lane.
Council officials working in the planning department did not even allow the application to go before the planning committee of elected councillors, instead refusing the scheme by stating, “The proposal represents inappropriate development on Metropolitan Open Land.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the Greater London Authority had also previously dismissed the application as “inappropriate”.
The GLA said: “As the site is on Metropolitan Open Land, there are no special circumstances to justify the development and it is inappropriate… Provision of affordable housing is strongly supported, but this does not constitute very special circumstances to justify MOL development.”
And with the MP for the area, Gavin Barwell, having organised a petition against the project before he was promoted to become housing minister, it would seem that the Hyde Group is facing stern opposition where ever they turn.
Last night, the Hyde Group, which claimed the development would be 100 per cent affordable housing, issued a statement: “The Hyde Group feels strongly that the site in its current form does not meet the criteria for MOL set out in the London Plan. The site is currently inaccessible to the public and contains a number of built structures including 100ft high netting and floodlights. The Hyde Group plans would open the site up to public access by providing 1.5 hectares of new public parkland, amounting to 40 per cent of the site. This would also involve the creation of a publicly accessible green link from Long Lane Wood through to South Norwood Country Park.
“The Hyde Group’s proposals would make a valuable contribution to Croydon’s affordable housing need.”
It is understood that one of the complaints the developers have is that the units their project could deliver would ultimately be in competition on the local housing market with some of the developments which Croydon Council is funding through its own Brick by Brick housing company.
Craig Horn, from the Hyde Group, said: “We are disappointed by the decision to refuse our planning application for this site. The project team worked hard to put together a scheme that delivers 100 per cent affordable housing while also ensuring that almost half of the site is provided as green space in the form of a new public park for the local community.
“All too often development proposals are criticised for not providing enough affordable housing so it’s frustrating that our efforts to bring forward a truly unique scheme which would make a substantial contribution to Croydon’s need for new affordable housing have not been recognised by the local authority.”
Inside Croydon contacted the Ashburton ward councillors for their reaction to the threat of a legal challenge, but a day later they were still “considering their response”.
The Hyde Group has other schemes in the pipeline in Croydon, including the Royal Mail building next to East Croydon Station, where they were given planning permission two years ago. No work has yet begun on that site, and Inside Croydon‘s requests for Hyde Group’s insights into the reasons for such a delay had not been answered by the time of publication.
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