Unions hold vote to reject ‘commercial’ Brick by Brick scheme

Croydon’s trade unionists will tonight vote on a proposal to oppose Brick by Brick’s attempts to build flats on a patch of green space next to Ruskin House, the historic home of the Labour movement in the borough.

The green beside Ruskin House which Brick by Brick wants to concrete over and build an as yet unspecified number of flats

One of the reasons given for the strong opposition to the proposal is because “…the way in which Brick by Brick has ignored the objections and concerns of residents on council estates in relation to some of its proposed developments”.

Brick by Brick, the motion asserts, “is behaving like a commercial developer”.

The proposal to be considered by the union officials also calls for a campaign against Brick by Brick’s development plans for the green space. The union officials are even to be asked to support a motion that says they are to reject offers of money to Ruskin House from Brick by Brick.

A document distributed by Ted Knight, the one-time firebrand of the left and former leader of Lambeth Council, seeks to shore up support for the Croydon Trades Union Council’s home at Ruskin House, which has been jeopardised since Labour Party officials from Croydon Central Constituency Labour Party announced that they want to quit their offices there.

Following this move, Brick by Brick then revealed that they want to develop the public open space alongside the Grade II-listed Georgian period building.

The CTUC is made up of shop stewards and other representatives of unions active in the borough, including council employees, teachers, fire fighters and NHS staff. They provide much financial support and volunteers’ manpower for the local Labour Party’s campaigning in the borough.

Ted Knight: rejects the conduct of Brick by Brick

A robust rejection of a Brick by Brick building proposal on the site on the corner of Edridge Road would be a considerable embarrassment for Tony Newman and Alison Butler, the Blairite council leaders who have enthusiastically backed the private housing company.

As yet, Brick by Brick has failed to compete a single new home.

Its own figures suggest that of the 1,000 properties it is developing, using public money and building on public-owned land, around 630 will be for private sale. Newman and Butler’s original target had been that 50 per cent of the homes should be “affordable”.

The agenda document, seen by Inside Croydon, states: “Croydon TUC considers the following action is necessary to secure the continuity of Ruskin House as a Trade Union and Labour Movement asset:

(1) to oppose the Brick by Brick plan to build on the green space next to Ruskin House on the corner of Edridge Road:
(i) in line with the policies of the CTUC/Croydon Assembly in the work of the Croydon Local Plan that such green spaces are important amenities which need to be protected from development
(ii) because of the concerns expressed at the Croydon Assembly about the way in which Brick by Brick has ignored the objections and concerns of residents on Council estates in relation to some of its proposed developments
(iii) because Brick by Brick is behaving like a commercial developer.

(2) to support a campaign against Brick by Brick’s plans for the green space

(3) to put in an objection to any planning application Brick by Brock submits

(4) to make it clear to Brick by Brick that it will not discuss any attempt to offer Ruskin House money.

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This entry was posted in 2018 council elections, Alison Butler, Brick by Brick, Croydon Council, Planning, Tony Newman and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Unions hold vote to reject ‘commercial’ Brick by Brick scheme

  1. Helen Benjamins says:

    I’m not intentionally meaning to come across as thick, although maybe I am, but on what grounds are the unions protesting against the use of this piece of land for building on apart from the loss of green space? Ruskin House stands within its own walled garden and for the life of me, I can’t see what this piece of land has to do with it. Please, someone enlighten me.

    • The motion on the agenda, reproduced in our article in full, lays out the unions objections quite clearly.

      As occupants of a neighbouring property, namely Ruskin House, the CTUC have an absolute interest in what is developed on public land beside their building.

      The further, commercial and cultural shortcomings of the Brick by Brick proposal were also outlined when we reported the proposal initially, here: https://insidecroydon.com/2017/11/23/brick-by-brick-moves-in-on-green-space-next-to-ruskin-house/.

      In particular, you might want to note:

      “The site next to Ruskin House is a sensitive one… 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.

      “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’.”

      • I Geary says:

        Croydon Council have been trying to locate a new cemetery in the borough for years.

        Now it seems they might have a really old one here all along!

        I won’t make any jokes about old relics and CTUC being co-located…


  2. veeanne2015 says:

    Traffic air pollution.
    Coombe Road between South End/High Street and Park Lane is a single lane with traffic frequently queuing between both, taking three traffic light sequences to exit at the Park Lane end.
    A recent television programme showed that the most pollution is caused when vehicles accelerate from stationary, so therefore the little patch of trees, shrubs and grass do help in a small way to reduce this.
    The plan to build 8 flats and a house on this small piece of land almost next to the pavement in both Coombe Road and Edridge Road, all needing deliveries, waste removal etc. with nowhere to park, would create serious traffic problems.

    Brick-by-Brick must be getting into more debt paying for all the independent analysis required to put in planning applications for all these small patches of land, but no homes built.
    If they are in partnership with the Council, does this mean that the Council is also responsible for these debts ? If so this partnership is as damaging as the CCURV partnership, claimed by Cllr. Pollard to cost Council taxpayers nothing, but whose buildings cost millions more than similar ones elsewhere – millions that could have been spent elsewhere.

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