17 residents groups unite against Brick by Brick schemes

No content with taking on the Tories at the local elections on May 3, Croydon Labour leader Tony Newman is now confronted by the mass anger of 17 residents’ association and groups, from all parts of the borough.

Labour’s Tony Newman: facing united opposition from 17 residents’ groups

Residents’ associations are, usually by virtue of their constitutions, supposed to be apolitical.

But what has unified the residents groups on this occasion is their opposition to housing schemes being imposed on their neighbourhoods by the council’s house-builders, Brick by Brick.

“Residents groups in Croydon have not united in action for many years,” a Town Hall source explained.

“That they have done so now, just before the local elections, over such an emotive issue is bad news for Tony Newman and the Labour council. These groups represent thousands of residents, many of them well-motivated.

“They’ll be doing the Tories’ campaigning for them.”

The residents’ groups last week issued a joint letter to Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party leader, and Sadiq Khan, Labour’s Mayor of London, appealing to them to force Croydon to have mandatory ballots before going ahead with any development schemes.

Jeremy Corbyn: has called for ballots of residents affected by estate regeneration

Corbyn and Khan have both called for the ballots to be held in cases of estate regeneration in places such as Southwark, Lambeth and Haringey, where the Labour-run local authorities are handing over swathes of social housing to private developers, for them to demolish and replace with high-profit private homes.

In Croydon, there’s no equivalent estate redevelopment being proposed. Brick by Brick is using £250million-worth of council cash and land to develop 1,000 homes on small sites and “in-fills” between existing council properties.

In their letter to Corbyn and Khan, the residents’ associations said, “Following your combined statement, on plans for mandatory ballots of residents ahead of major housing regeneration schemes, the following communities in Croydon appeal to both of you to implement the ballot process immediately to save our residents, before it is too late, from the imposition of Croydon’s Labour-controlled council’s devastating building schemes on our communities, through their wholly owned Brick by Brick development company.”

The letter was signed on behalf of:

Longheath Gardens Residents
Heathfield Gardens Residents
Tollgate Residents
Shrublands Residents
Sylvan Hill/Auckland Rise/Church Road Residents
Tollers Residents
Bramley Hill and Albury Court, South Croydon Residents
East Coulsdon Residents’ Association
Homefield Road Residents
Goodenough Way Residents
Sanderstead Residents
Drovers Road Residents
MAKRA, Montpelier Road/Kingsdown Avenue Residents
Cargreen Road, South Norwood Residents
Purley and Woodcote RA
Foxley RA
Reedham RA

The residents groups listed are far from alone in their opposition to inappropriate overdevelopment on their patch: even Croydon’s trades unionists have raised objections to Brick by Brick’s schemes, in particular a proposal next to Ruskin House.

“Many of these residents’ groups are from what are already Tory-held areas of the borough, and include the ‘usual suspects’, such as East Coulsdon, where the Tory councillors are active,” said a Labour group source.

Some representatives of Croydon apparently ‘hard at work’ with developers at a beach brunch held at MIPIM

“But these groups also include parts of Labour-held and Labour target wards at the local elections. Brick by Brick has been poorly handled and has presented the Tories with a real target to take aim at.”

Indeed, Croydon Conservatives are staging a public meeting next week where the sole topic of discussion will be Brick by Brick.

But it’s thought unlikely that anyone from Brick by Brick, or the council chief exec, Jo Negrini, will be able to attend to defend their record. Because next week, they will be too busy, “hard at work”, handing out free Cronx beers or eating at beachside brunches in the South of France, meeting with international property speculators at the “booze and hookerfest” that is MIPIM.

Or what Croydon Labour leader Tony Newman once described as a “junket” on the rates.

  • Inside Croydon is a member of the Independent Community News Network
  • Inside Croydon is the borough’s only independent news source, and still based in the heart of Croydon
  • ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS 2017: Inside Croydon was source for two award-winning nominations in Private Eye magazine’s annual celebration of civic cock-ups
  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or a local event to publicise, please email us with full details at inside.croydon@btinternet.com

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in 2018 council elections, Brick by Brick, Community associations, Croydon Council, East Coulsdon Residents' Association, Jo Negrini, Tony Newman and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 17 residents groups unite against Brick by Brick schemes

  1. Rod Davies says:

    Several years ago, bridging the change from Conservative to Labour administrations, residents associations organised around Croydon’s “Places” had the opportunity to shape Croydon’s future development and the manner in which it meets the demand for housing. From my observation most RA’s opposed development in their own areas and wanted everything concentrated into the town centre and the areas around its periphery. The masterplan & local plans reflected that, and precluded anything but low density development in the vast majority of Croydon. There was absolutely no support for estate planning that would have obviated the need for this mini-developments, not that Croydon has the capacity for estates unless it surrenders vast tracts of green space, which all the RA’s oppose.
    Croydon RA’s could have engaged with the challenge to provide enough housing and agreed to medium development housing across the borough to spread the impact. The RA’s didn’t step up to the mark, instead they opposed everything but low density development which intrinsically cannot be expected to provide sufficient housing units.
    However, Croydon is expected to burden its share of the challenge to provide sufficient housing in London, and for Croydon this runs into tens of thousands of housing units.
    Recently the planning department held briefings for RA’s explaining the situation, prior to the publication of the 2018 MasterPlan, where it made clear that if Croydon doesn’t enable sufficient development to progress the government will intervene and will authorise large scale development in the green belt.
    The situation the borough is in today was predictable back in 2013/14, and we now reap what we have sown.

  2. derekthrower says:

    As Rod Davies puts this all so eloquently, there is nothing popular in meeting the real demands of housing anywhere. It will encounter oppositon and vested interests. In Croydon there are two caveats, however.

    The main council developer is on the whole building for profitable speculation and so nullifies a need for affordable homes as a reason for undertaking this and further it is unclear what exactly is the attitude of the oppositon party in Croydon is to Brick by Brick.

    They always make noises that sound like opposition, but as usual the Tories have been economical with the actualitie regarding Brick by Brick.

    When there is so little real difference between the policies of the two parties, will the successful one after the oncoming election just be left with problems rather than any meaningful development tackling the severe housing need in Croydon.

Leave a Reply