“Auckland Road is a mess,” residents living in a conservation area in Upper Norwood say, blaming sloppy building practices on a couple of sites, including one run that is run by Brick by Brick, the council’s house-builders.
And they accuse Croydon Council’s streets department, under its director, Steve Iles, of “ineptitude” for failing to take enforcement action against Thames Water for a leaking water main along the road which has been creating a street-side lake for more than three years.
The elderly and parents with young children are now being forced off the pavement and into the busy road because of the poor state of the pathway outside 110 Auckland Road, where barriers have been placed across the public footpath by building site workers.
The site at 110 Auckland Road is in the Church Road Conservation Area, and adjoins St John the Evangelist church’s “meadow”. It was being marketed earlier this year as a site with planning permission for two buildings, including nine two-bed flats. The site was being sold for £1.8million.
The development was widely opposed, including by the Norwood Society and the Church of England, and planning permission was refused by the council. The developers went to appeal and permission was then granted by the planning inspector in March.
The state of street deteriorated rapidly last month, when the developers were backing large heavy goods vehicles on to the site and across the pavement.
“It is little surprise that the pavement surface has been torn up creating large ridges that are a danger to everybody, especially the elderly and mums taking their children to Cypress School,” resident Alun Thomas told Inside Croydon.
Thomas says that complaints from him and others to Croydon Council about the state of the public footpath outside 110 Auckland Road have been ignored.
“Barriers have been placed on each side of the entrance necessitating pedestrians walking out into the busy road. Croydon Council’s highways department and the Crystal Palace councillors have been aware of the situation since November 20, and there has been much talk, and emails going back and forth. But no action.
“Meanwhile local people are put at risk.”
The state of Auckland Road has been compounded by long-term leaks from water mains and drains, creating large ponds along the road. Thomas describes one such leak as “a river crossing the pavement”.
Thomas said, “Thames Water are aware of the situation, although have done nothing to deal with it. Croydon Council has also failed to take enforcement action against Thames Water. Pedestrians – beware if you walk by the junction of Stambourne Way and Auckland Road, for should a car drive through the lake you will be soaked from head to toe.”
According to Thomas, water running down Sylvan Hill into Auckland Road has been a problem since 2015, but Thames Water’s efforts to repair the stream have failed.
“On several occasions a big hole has been dug, a swimming pool appearing, and then it is simply filled in leaving the leak still running,” Thomas said.
Last winter, pavements were made very slippery, and dangerous when icy, because of the water, particularly at the junction of Sylvan Hill and Auckland Road. Mud carried on to the roads by construction works and HGVs, including from a Brick by Brick site on Auckland Rise, has made a bad situation worse.
“As if all this was enough, residents have to contend with the mud from vehicles exiting the Auckland Rise Brick by Brick site,” Thomas said.
Inside Croydon approached Steve Iles for comment, but he did not respond by the time of publication.
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