BARRATT HOLMES, our housing correspondent, on an interesting applicant at tomorrow night’s planning meeting with their own proposal for overdevelopment in Purley
Croydon Tories, so often the Nimbys’ friends when it comes to opposing over-development in the borough’s suburbs, will tomorrow argue the case in favour of building two houses on a scrap of land in the back garden of a property in Purley.
That’s because the property belongs to the Croydon Conservative Party, and they’re keen to supplement their dwindling cash reserves with a back-garden development which could net them an estimated £300,000 profit.
Simon Brew, the deeply underwhelming councillor for Purley, will be making the presentation to the planning committee, where he ought to be guaranteed at least four votes in favour of the proposal.
Luke Clancy, Jason Perry, Sue Winborn and Chris Wright are all members of the planning committee. The gruesome foursome also happen to be members of the Croydon Conservatives who own the house at 36, Brighton Road which serves as the local Tory Party’s “headquarters”. All four councillors will be very well aware that planning committee matters are not allowed to be “whipped”, or voted for along party lines.
But this is exactly the kind of proposal which, over the past three years, Perry and his chums have usually opposed, ostensibly on behalf of the local residents, accusing the people supporting the schemes of inappropriate development, of ruining the environment and damaging the character of the neighbourhood. The Tories stop short of accusations of rape and pillage, but only just.
And when they get round to it, the Tories always criticise the Labour administration at the Town Hall for allowing any such schemes.
Often stirring up local residents’ associations and other opposition to developments is the rising star of the Croydon Tories, beer salesman Mario Creatura. But not a peep has been heard from him on this proposal, even though the property stands in Creatura’s own Coulsdon West ward. Funny that.
There have been five responses to the council’s planning notice on the proposal. All of them objected. The houses, which will have access via Purley Rise, are on tight plots of land and provide no on-site parking – something which Croydon’s Tories frequently complain about in other developments.
Objectors to the Tory scheme said that the entrances “would cause safety hazard for vehicles and pedestrians”; that the “development would destroy trees” and “increase traffic and parking on Purley Rise”; and they didn’t like the look of it, either, saying it has an “obtrusive design”.
Oddly, no one objected on the grounds that whoever ends up living in these twee, small boxes on the hillside above the local Tories’ offices would have to put up with some really nasty (party) neighbours. On the upside, at least there’s unlikely to be many noisy garden parties staged by the Tories in what’s left of their garden.
The matter might have gone through the planning system on the nod, unnoticed and unmentioned, but for Paul Scott, the notorious chair of the planning committee, deciding that the applicants for this back-garden development should have their own moment in the spotlight.
Officials in the planning department at the Labour-run Town Hall have recommended granting planning permission for a scheme which will build two two-storey houses, one a three-bed, the other with two bedrooms. Both will be handily located for residents to attend Croydon South MP Chris Philp’s monthly surgeries.
Typically, two-bed terraced houses in Purley are on the market for no less than £365,000 at the moment. Cushty.
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