Developers threaten public inquiry over Long Lane housing

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.

hyde-group-logoCouncil 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 revised plans for 129 homes on MOL off Long Lane

Hyde Group’s plans for 129 homes on MOL have been slammed by Croydon, the GLA and Gavin Barwell. But the developers are threatening a legal challenge

“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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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 inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in Andrew Rendle, Ashburton, Croydon Central, Croydon Council, Gavin Barwell MP, Housing, Maddie Henson, Mayor of London, Planning, Sadiq Khan, Stephen Mann and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Developers threaten public inquiry over Long Lane housing

  1. blath8 says:

    Interesting that it’s acceptable to build an incinerator that will add pollution to our already toxin-laden air on Metropolitan Open Land (and hundreds of lorry journeys on our roads) but not acceptable to build affordable housing. What on earth is this all about?

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  2. Lewis White says:

    MOL is precious as a concept and open space resource, but sometimes MOL has long been spoiled, such as this site. In this case, by a golf driving range with a big area of car park and enormous fencing. It clearly is in need of sensitive improvement and redevelopment, which the Hyde proposals would provide.

    We need a national debate about quality of every area of MOL in my opinion, otherwise we will end up with a fossilised landscape, with areas of really run down MOL given the same protection as MOL areas of fine landscape. Obviously, we need to have stiff controls ( with teeth and significant penalties) on any actions which would spoil or urbanise the landscape e.g. rubbish dumping, formation of hardstandings and other creeping forms of despoilation that unscrupulous owners undertake. We can’t tolerate contemporary landscape spoiling that is then used as justification for paving the way for development.

    Equally, we really can’t go on casting a blind eye to long-term quality of all MOL lands..

    Some areas of MOL are gems of landscape, others are spoiled to a degree that requires major investment to bring back into health. Some are strategic, others are left overs. Some are open, others are barely visible from the outside world.

    I would have no hesitation in saying that this area of MOL is unrecognisable as rural or parkland landscape– it is urbanised / spoiled, non strategic, and casts a blight over the adjacent areas. The proposals create public open space of high quality, as part of a well-thought out housing development, so my support goes to Hyde in this case.

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  3. derekthrower says:

    The problem for the Council in this case is what they have allowed to be developed on the site and then claiming that something which is far more thought out and apparently more aesthetically pleasing is inappropriate. There is also our Minister for London and Housing everywhere except Shirley and Purley.

    Ever since Barwell’s promotion he appears to have developed a blind spot to this development. It would be wonderful for him to clarify his position with regard to his never-ending stream of contradictory comments and actions.

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