Call for residents to band together over planning issues

CROYDON COMMENTARY: A Purley resident affected by a controversial development on Norman and Derrick Avenues, ANDREW SADDINGTON  responds to our latest report on the council’s planning committee by asking others from across the borough to come together

Several groups of residents from across the borough are affected by overdevelopment

I don’t care what colour flag they fly under, this is about two or three people at the council, and a misuse of power and control.

Their actions are completely changing the character of the entire borough and their pathetic assertions that this is a response to the acknowledged severe housing crisis are laughable. It is simply profit for private developers or the council themselves via Brick by Brick.

And it is insulting in the extreme, not only to those of us who hold genuine concerns around social injustice and homelessness, but those in the borough who are in significant need of good quality housing.

The outcomes of the planning committee meetings reported here are unfortunately not surprising, although it is truly shocking the scale of this and how it is now affecting residents and communities across the whole borough.

Surely there should be some scrutiny at some level, as it is evident to us all, even by a cursory look at the voting patterns at planning committee meetings, that this is neither a transparent or fair process?

The planning department is under huge strain, they are not examining evidence fully and reports to the planning committee are therefore frequently incomplete or misleading. But the people at the helm are happy to ignore this, with the unquestioning support a handful of toadying lickspittles.

If anyone involved with the cases would like to get in touch with residents fighting the Norman and Derrick Avenue development, I am happy to be contacted:

It is time we joined forces.

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6 Responses to Call for residents to band together over planning issues

  1. Great idea and absolutely accurate commentary.

  2. Lewis White says:

    P!!!!!!anning? Town and Country Planning has long been the focus of high emotion, with too many people against any change at all, as they are happy with everything exactly as it is. Some people object to anything, even if it is good. But one sees why, when too many new houses or flats are proposed for a too-small site. Now, deciding what IS too much is subjective, never easy, and should be decided by a combination of Councillors (on the Planning Committee and ward members) , council planning officers, and local residents who live in the area and will see, and be affected by the new development. When one set of the three gets sidelined, bad things can happen. Some say, including Inside Croydon, that Councillors on the Planning Committee are becoming a rubber-stamp committee for decisions taken by cabinet members and senior officers.

    To see some disastrously bad (and, admittedly, some good) developments, I would suggest Inside Croydon readers take a drive or trip on the top deck of a bus over to Catford, Lewisham and Deptford–the Borough of Lewisham..

    I am really concerned about “town cramming” as being practiced in Lewisham, where enormous, blocks, many of dire and banal design, have popped up right by the roads, well away from the town centre, with no landscaping to soften the impact. Many resemble South American barrios that have got transplanted to SE London, a bit like alien spaceships that have plonked down in the suburbs. Some will be the slums of tomorrow.

    The evidence is that Lewisham Council is imposing an over-dense development concept, not always fitting in context.

    Is this tendency coming to Croydon?. In places, yes, it’s here already, with that daft island development of flats on the roundabout by Spurgeon’s Bridge at W Croydon, the subject of an excellent feature by Inside Croydon a few months ago.

    That new primary school on Purley Way…. also featured in Inside Croydon, is another example of a quart crammed into a pint pot.

    The Waddon Leisure Centre– a large building of dubious architectural merit, crammed up to the Purley Way with not a tree between it and the main road.

    The newish blocks of flats built a few metres from the Croydon flyover by Scarbrook Hill, of yellow brick. So close that the air pollution must seep into all parts of the flats—- how good for people is that? These are outrages that should never have been given outline planning permission, as they are fundamentally wrong. OK if we have all electric or hydrogen fulled cars, but not until then.

    There are many more.

    The new General Election may result in a shift from the current anti-council stance of Margaret Thatcher, if Theresa May lets councils carry out development. If so, compulsory purchase might enable councils to speed up the redevelopment of areas which have reached their sell-by date, which is needed in certain areas with worn out buildings and a poor environment. I hope so.

    If the suggested group of residents can avoid just being a group of nimbies, and bring about an uplift of standards, and greater democracy—-great, but I would far rather see a far better trialogue, between Councillors, Officers and Residents, as the existing system should work, if there is room to listen, a mutual commitment to build a better borough, and a willingness to compromise.

    • I agree. in among the vast number of planning applications will be entirely suitable and much needed, well-designed developments. Change is always difficult, but most people understand it is necessary. The problem is that there are glaring errors and misjudgements being made in the haste to approve practically everything, and the defence always cited is ‘we need more housing’ and residents are accused of ‘nimbyism’. In the case of the development behind Norman & Derrick Avenues, there are significant omissions in the report to planning committee, flawed evidence on noise, flooding & transport which quite frankly could be picked up by anyone with a modicum of understanding of basic physics or statistics and the result is a resolution to approve 37 flats which will not be suitable or safe for habitation.

  3. I don’t disagree with much of what Lewis White says but in asking for “a mutual commitment to build a better borough, and a willingness to compromise” I am afraid he is being disingenuous. There is, simply, no commitment to build a better borough. A brighter, brasher, fuller, higher one, yes..but a better one for the current residents…no, not at all. A willingness to compromise is simply not a characteristic of Messers Newman and Negrini: the plans in their heads and they will go ahead regardless of public opinion. To add to the silly schools currently being bulit, and this is not nimbyism but just common sense, just have a look at the silly one that is being shoehorned into Ledbury Road and the one behind Doves , between Haling Road and Helder Street. In neither is there room to swing a cat let alone educate hundreds of boisterous and energetic children. Parking in both areas is a nightmare already; the school run, once both schools are fully up and running, will make sure that it continues.

  4. Lewis White says:

    Thanks Andrew and Arno for your well-made points, duly taken.

    There was a bad flaw in one thing I said, which might have given the impression that the local residents have any legal power in the planning process, which of course they do not, under normal circumstances. Councillors and officers (the latter under delegated powers) do have power, and one criticism that can be made over the last decade or so is that councillors on planning committees up and down the land are finding that more and more decisions are being taken by officers, rather than recommended by officers, and decided by councillors.

    As I am sure you know, the previous Government had a Localism Act, which enabled residents to set up “Neighbourhood Plans” for their own area . This does give residents power have more than a voice, and actually set the agenda, albeit it is no doubt very time consuming thing to do.

    I have pasted below some useful information. Good luck !

    Here is a pasted part of the Croydon Council Planning website pages–

    Neighbourhood planning services & information

    Neighbourhood planning- Neighbourhood planning enables local communities to take ownership of the planning and development in their area.
    Neighbourhood forums- A community group wanting to achieve neighbourhood forum status can apply through the council – read about the conditions that groups need to meet.
    Neighbourhood areas- The 16 ‘places of Croydon’, identified in the core strategy as identified neighbourhoods that will be the areas ideally adopted by prospective neighbourhood forums.
    Neighbourhood development plans
    Neighbourhood forums are able to write a neighbourhood development plan (NDP) to set out policies and plans for their area – read about what they should include.
    Neighbourhood development orders

    and also in the Government Guidance pages regarding Guidance- Neighbourhood planning
    Here below is some text .
    From: Department for Communities and Local Government
    Part of: Planning practice guidance and Planning system
    Published: 6 March 2014

    The guidance explains the neighbourhood planning system introduced by the Localism Act, including key stages and considerations required.

    What is neighbourhood planning?
    Who leads neighbourhood planning in an area?
    The role of the local planning authority in neighbourhood planning
    Designating a neighbourhood area
    Preparing a neighbourhood plan or Order
    Consulting on, and publicising, a neighbourhood plan or Order
    Submitting a neighbourhood plan or Order to a local planning authority
    The independent examination
    The neighbourhood planning referendum
    A summary of the key stages in neighbourhood planning
    The basic conditions that a draft neighbourhood plan or Order must meet if it is to proceed to referendum
    Updating a neighbourhood plan

    What is neighbourhood planning?

    Neighbourhood planning gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area. They are able to choose where they want new homes, shops and offices to be built, have their say on what those new buildings should look like and what infrastructure should be provided, and grant planning permission for the new buildings they want to see go ahead. Neighbourhood planning provides a powerful set of tools for local people to ensure that they get the right types of development for their community where the ambition of the neighbourhood is aligned with the strategic needs and priorities of the wider local area.

    Paragraph: 001 Reference ID: 41-001-20140306

    Revision date: 06 03 2014
    What can communities use neighbourhood planning for?

    Local communities can choose to:

    set planning policies through a neighbourhood plan that is used in determining planning applications.
    grant planning permission through Neighbourhood Development Orders and Community Right to Build Orders for specific development which complies with the order.

    Neighbourhood planning is not a legal requirement but a right which communities in England can choose to use. Communities may decide that they could achieve the outcomes they want to see through other planning routes, such as incorporating their proposals for the neighbourhood into the Local Plan, or through other planning mechanisms such as Local Development Orders and supplementary planning documents or through pre-application consultation on development proposals. Communities and local planning authorities should discuss the different choices communities have to achieving their ambitions for their neighbourhood.

    Paragraph: 002 Reference ID: 41-002-20140306

    Revision date: 06 03 2014

    What should a Neighbourhood Plan address?

    A neighbourhood plan should support the strategic development needs set out in the Local Plan and plan positively to support local development (as outlined in paragraph 16 of the National Planning Policy Framework).

    A neighbourhood plan must address the development and use of land. This is because if successful at examination and referendum the neighbourhood plan will become part of the statutory development plan once it has been made (brought into legal force) by the planning authority. Applications for planning permission must be determined in accordance with the development plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise (see section 38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004).

    Neighbourhood planning can inspire local people and businesses to consider other ways to improve their neighbourhood than through the development and use of land. They may identify specific action or policies to deliver these improvements. Wider community aspirations than those relating to development and use of land can be included in a neighbourhood plan, but actions dealing with non land use matters should be clearly identifiable. For example, set out in a companion document or annex.

    Paragraph: 004 Reference ID: 41-004-20140306

    Revision date: 06 03 2014

  5. veeanne2015 says:

    Andrew is right when he refers to ‘significant omissions in the report to planning committee’ and ‘flawed evidence’. The 28 flats being built next to the Red Deer pub in South Croydon is a classic example.
    ‘Nearest bus stops to Croydon and Purley 100m’ –
    WRONG ! Nearest to Croydon, almost OPPOSITE, nearest to Purley a short distance.
    ‘A Post Office and Florist within walking distance’ –
    WRONG ! The Post Office closed in 2004, the Florist closed years ago too, and was only open a few months anyway.
    ‘Likely that proposed retail unit will be occupied by a convenience retailer. This facility ideally located to serve the local community,’ Also referring to Morrison’s (next door) and a Londis Convenience Store, opposite.
    WRONG ! There are TWO convenience stores opposite, and THREE more within a couple of minutes more.

    And the biggest omission ? The existence of St. Augustine’s Avenue OPPOSITE, which as every motorist and pedestrian in the area knows is a bottleneck at the junction with Brighton Road,
    But ‘the submitted Transport Assessment confirms that the development would have a negligible impact on the local highway network,’
    VERY WRONG ! St Augustine’s Avenue opposite already has vehicles stopping the traffic in Brighton Road as they cross in or out.
    Vehicles for the retail section on Brighton Road would do the same, and block one lane of road while delivering goods.
    Entrance for vehicles for the flats almost opposite the bus stop would also the same, this entrance stupidly being sited in the Brighton Road instead of the quieter Sanderstead Road.
    Four bus routes at the bus stop opposite block one lane.
    Negligible impact ?
    I wonder how many plans have been approved on such flawed evidence and omissions ?

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