As BARRATT HOLMES reports, the opening moves in the battle for your back gardens have just begun
Croydon’s Tories really know no shame. Publicly, they are keen to try to score petty political points by claiming to be opposed to over-development through building on suburban back gardens, something suggested in the Mayor of London’s London Plan, published last week.
Yet these are the very same Croydon Tories who recently tried to make a fast buck – well, hundreds of thousands of fast bucks – by applying for planning permission to build some unprepossessing flats in the back garden of the Purley house which they own as use as their local party headquarters.
It was Labour councillors on the planning committee who put the kibosh on that thoroughly bad piece of development.
But the planning committee seems certain to face a spate of further planning applications to build on the back lots of Croydon’s existing homes.
Prompted by Mayor Khan’s report, property speculators have this week been busy slipping letters out to residents in Old Coulsdon, seeking to get two or three home-owners in neighbouring properties along Chaldon Way, close to the Green Belt of Farthing Down, to agree to sell off parts of their gardens to create a plot big enough to build on.
One resident has this week described it as a “nightmare”.
“The offer is for me to sell part of my back garden or indeed the whole property for housing development,” they said. “A rep will be calling at addresses on Saturday.
“I wonder how many of my neighbours have had this letter and how many will succumb? The last time this happened everyone stuck together with a resounding no.”
But residents may not always have that option. According to figures in the London Plan, housing density in an area like Old Coulsdon may have to be increased by nearly eight times.
Local resident Pip Toogood has written, “If the new draft London Plan is adopted, London boroughs will be expected to optimise the density of new housing by developing at densities above those of the surrounding area.
“Croydon has been set a target of 29,490 new units over the next 10 years, of which more than half will be on small sites. In areas that are not close to a town centre or transport hub, these targets will be achieved via infill building on vacant or underused sites.
“Housing density targets vary depending on the Passenger Transport Access Level (PTAL), which is calculated based on the walking time to the public transport network, such as a bus stop, combined with service frequency.
“Current targets are based on the PTAL score combined with the number of habitable rooms in a dwelling. In Old Coulsdon, they vary from 35 units per hectare (u/ha) for family houses, to 95 u/ha for small flats.
“In future, housing densities will no longer be based on the number of rooms, but simply on the number of units. For most of Old Coulsdon, the target will be 110 u/ha, rising to 240 u/ha in areas close to Coulsdon Road and the Tudor Parade shops, where there are more bus stops.
“According to the proposals: ‘Loss of existing biodiversity or green space, as a result of small housing developments, should be mitigated through measures such as the installation of green roofs, the provision of landscaping that facilitates sustainable urban drainage, or off-site provision such as new street trees in order to achieve the principle of no net loss of overall green cover. Rainwater attenuation features should be incorporated to achieve greenfield run off rates’.”
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