Could Croydon Labour want to get out of Ruskin House because they know what plans the council’s housing developer, Brick by Brick, has for a scrap of land next door?
Brick by Brick wants to build on a small green space on Coombe Road, at the corner of Edridge Road.
With a couple of mature trees and some saplings, it is one of the few patches of green space remaining in the town centre.
With Brick by Brick planning to build over open space between College Green and Fairfield Halls, for more over-priced high-rises, and Labour cabinet member for housing, Alison Butler, enthusiastically backing private developers in a land-grab of about one-third of Queen’s Gardens for a residential tower block, there will soon be no green space left in central Croydon.
Brick by Brick has already managed to get their hands on the garage area of the flats in Heathfield Gardens, across the road from Ruskin House, despite strong opposition from residents.
The site next to Ruskin House is a sensitive one, though. Ruskin House, and its garden wall, are both Grade II-listed, and the costs and delays caused by conducting a proper archeological survey could render any flat-building unviable.
“Ruskin House may be unique in being an early 18th Century mansion with an intact garden wall which is also Grade II-listed,” Croydon resident Peter Spalding says.
“Few people know or understand the significance of the area which contains a huge and very early Saxon cemetery which dates from the ‘Migration Period’ (mid- to late-5th Century AD – 450AD – 550AD).
“Any development would require a long and extensive archeological dig under the auspices of the the Museum of London and that would probably disrupt any events taking place in Ruskin House.”
The irony here, of course, is that having accused residents affected by other Brick by Brick schemes of being NIMBYS – not in my back yard – Croydon Labour appears to have decided to get out of Ruskin House before the house-builders move in to their own back yard.
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