WALTER CRONXITE highlights the latest egregious example of hypocrisy and misrepresentation from Croydon’s Conservatives
In the week of the government’s housing White Paper, when the focus was on resolving the housing crisis, Croydon Conservatives led by Tim “Nice But Dim” Pollard have launched an attack on the council granting permission to building new flats in Sanderstead – within one mile of the Tory housing minister Gavin Barwell’s comfortable suburban home.
The latest outbreak of rampant Nimby-ism among Croydon’s Tories – who always seem to be quite content to stack overly tall slums of the future anywhere in the borough provided it is not anywhere near their own front door – demonstrates the fundamental contradiction and hypocrisy in Conservative claims to wish to find a real solution to the housing crisis.
With local authorities disincentivised from building real social housing for rent – with the Tories greedily snatching homes from Housing Associations to fulfil the political dogma of “Right to Buy”, and now extending that to other public property – the Conservatives maintain a dependence on profit-driven private developers building the hundreds of thousands of homes which most experts say are needed.
Except, it is clear, if the buildings proposed are in Tory wards.
Not that the chairman of Croydon’s Labour-run planning committee, Paul Scott, hasn’t given Dullard and his cronies some ammunition for their gripes about ruining the suburban character of large parts of the borough in an apparent effort to concrete-over any spare pocket of green space going.
Two weeks ago, the often hot-headed Scott told the planning committee that there is nowhere in the borough where it is inappropriate to build flats.
And at the Town Hall on Thursday, Scott’s planning committee waved through a scheme to demolish a family house in Hyde Road, to be replaced with a block of seven two-bedroom flats.
“It will be totally out of character with the area and will put increasing strain on this narrow and already heavily parked road, but that doesn’t bother Councillor Concrete,” wailed Dullard on the Croydon Tories’ website.
There were a total of 36 public objections to the proposal, including from the Riddlesdown Residents’ Association and the application was refered to committee by Sanderstead councillor Lynne Hale. Hale’s day job is as a member of Croydon South MP Chris Philp’s parliamentary staff, and she was so animated by the injustice of the proposed scheme that she didn’t manage to turn up to the planning meeting.
Also absent from the meeting was concerned Sanderstead resident G Barwell who, as the housing minister charged with delivering 1million new homes by 2020, might have been expected to speak on behalf of providing the much-needed new flats. Oddly, Barwell failed to find time in his busy schedule.
Maybe Barwell was trying to work out what alternative there is to over-developing existing neighbourhoods with “inappropriate” blocks of flats, if, as the Nimby housing minister has been telling broadcasters all week, he intends to maintain the protections against development in the Green Belt.
In any case, and as Dullard should know only too well, it is not the quantity of objections to any scheme which count, as much as the quality of their argument.
The planning committee, whether it has a majority of Labour or Conservative councillors, is legally obliged to follow the advice it receives from the council’s professional planning staff. Unless there are strong legal grounds for opposing a building proposal, the planning authority has no choice but to grant permission.
Saying: “Oooo, there goes the neighbourhood” really does not cut it.
Or, as Dullard put it, “I am very angry at the vandalisation of our borough by this hopeless council administration”, even as the council goes ahead and implements the planning policies advocated by this Conservative government and its hopeless housing and planning minister, Gavin Barwell.
- Inside Croydon is Croydon’s only independent news source, still based in the heart of the borough. In 2016, we averaged 17,000 page views every week
- If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or a local event to publicise, please email us with full details at firstname.lastname@example.org