A private developer building a residential tower just across the road from the 50p-bit building and tram tracks of East Croydon has received more than 4,000 expressions of interest from Croydon residents who might want to take one of the 153 flats under construction.
Pocket Living was granted planning permission by Croydon Council last month to build the 21-storey tower, on the site of a recently demolished large inter-war period detached town house next to a church on Addiscombe Grove.
It is Pocket’s first development in Croydon.
Pocket claims that 73 per cent of their flats will be for potential first-time buyers who live or work in the borough, and that these – 112 of the properties – represent almost 8 per cent of Croydon’s annual affordable housing target.
Pocket’s tower block will have 112 one-bed flats, 39 two-bed and two three-bedroom homes.
No one is claiming that these town centre apartments will be “generously” sized. Indeed, the one-bed flats just meet the minimum size requirement for homes for one-person habitation.The one-bed flats will be 38sqm, the two-bed homes 61sqm and three-beds a relatively luxurious 78 and 83sqm.
The one-bedroom flats are 1sqm smaller than the minimum requirement, but are allowed because they utilise a shower room (what the devlopers call a “wet room”), rather than a bathroom.
The Greater London Authority’s planning guidance for new homes is laid out in this table:
In a press release issued on behalf of the developers, they said, “All classic one-bedroom Pocket apartments are fully space standard compliant and provide an open-plan kitchen/living room, separate king-size bedroom, hallway, wet room and ample storage space.” No one asked at the Croydon planning committee whether the king referred to in the “king-size bedroom” description ruled over Lilliput.
The developers say that their tower block will also feature cycle storage, disabled parking bays and “three rooftop terraces to allow Pocket buyers to enjoy excellent views of south London”.
The developers say, “Pocket homes are sold at a discount of at least 20 per cent to the open market and they stay affordable in perpetuity because they are always restricted to local first-time buyers. One of Pocket Living’s most striking distinctions is that buyers own 100 per cent of their home, differing from more complicated shared ownership schemes. This model allows city makers, London’s hard-working young people on moderate incomes, a route into home ownership.”
The Croydon building represents just one-tenth of the homes the company is planning to build by March 2021, with sites in six other London boroughs and a finance agreement worth £150million with the Mayor of London, Lloyds and the HCA.
At the planning committee at Croydon Town Hall last month, speaking on behalf of the Pocket proposals was a Croydon resident, Joe Wicking, who is living in private rented accommodation. Wicking is one of the 4,012 Croydon residents who had applied to Pocket for one of the 153 homes under their First Steps scheme.
“Appearing in front of the planning committee is not something I would usually do but this is an issue I care deeply about,” he said.
“The housing crisis is very real here in London and Londoners need to support schemes such as this; I hope that more young people get down to their town halls and make their voices heard to their councillors.
“I have lived in Croydon all of my life but started to think I would need to move away if I wanted to buy a home of my own.”
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