EXCLUSIVE: Inside Croydon asked Paul Scott, the Labour council’s chair of the planning committee, to confirm that he had told a public meeting “There isn’t anywhere in Croydon with detached houses where we wouldn’t allow semi-detached houses.” Scott defied party orders not to speak to this website by replying with a lengthy justification for his remarks
“We have a massive housing crisis in Croydon, across London and throughout much of the south-east. In Croydon alone we have many thousands of families living in overcrowded conditions, over 2,000 families in temporary accommodation and hundreds of homeless people. The situation will only get worse if we don’t build many more homes over the coming years.
“The increasing need is demonstrated by massive growth in the number of children in the borough and the increase in the number of schools throughout Croydon to accommodate them. These youngsters will be needing homes of their own all to soon. Local residents are also living longer, further increasing the demand for homes.
“Our new local plan for Croydon recognises the need for a massive growth in homes. It identifies the need for an additional 33,000 new homes over the next 20 years. Even that will not be enough to meet the full demand that is anticipated.
“Only about a third of those homes will fit into Croydon’s town centre in towers and other high-density housing. Approximately a further third can be accommodated on what are typically known as brown field sites, replacing old factories and sharing sites with shops and businesses. The remaining third will need to be accommodated within the already developed residential suburban areas. Our public parks and community open spaces, and the green belt, remains protected from development.
“Only one desperately needed new state funded secondary school is proposed in the Green Belt, where it will join a series of private schools including the Royal Russell. Despite this the overall amount of Green Belt land in Croydon has been increased.
“So yes, many of the new homes that the local community needs over the coming years will be developed through the replacement of existing large homes with, for example, pairs of semi-detached houses or small blocks of flats. Others will be converted. This is likely to continue to happen in those areas with large houses sitting on large plots of land, in exactly the same way as it has always done. Park Hill is a very good local example of this.
“However, every planning application will be decided on its own merits of course. Family homes smaller than 130m² will be protected from loss or conversion. The impact on neighbours and parking for example will be carefully considered.
“National, London and local Croydon planning policy is all very much focused upon the presumption in favour of building the new homes that the current and future generations clearly need. It is in that context that I make my decisions on the planning committee, along with a predisposition shared by many colleagues that building the homes that local people need is the right thing to do.”
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