The developer who wanted to build flats in the car park of what was a previously popular pub in Shirley is back, with very familiar plans.
According to one of the residents involved in last year’s successful campaign to save the 150-year-old Sandrock pub, the developer’s return is “like a vampire that was supposed to have been killed off, their thirst for that which sustains life – in their case, cash – brings them out of the shadows again”.
Which is not as inappropriate as it might seem, as the pub on Upper Shirley Road was notorious for being haunted…
A new application for planning permission has been submitted. It appears to have barely changed from the developers’ previous effort. The pub, which closed as soon as the developers acquired it more than a year ago, gives no hint that it is likely to re-open any time soon.
The scheme is estimated could generate property sales worth more than £5million.
Put forward by developers Marshall Hurley, it was rejected last year when the suggestion that the pub could indeed re-open and operate as a viable concern with only five customer parking spaces (including one disabled space), whereas there was previously about 50, was seen for the nonsense that it clearly was.
“Five parking spaces is a reduction by half of the previous inadequate parking proposal,” one resident told Inside Croydon.
“So this makes the latest attempt to pretend that there is any intention to retain the pub even more laughable.”
It was found, by the developer’s own admission during last year’s planning process, that the great majority of the pub’s customers did not come from the immediate area. A consultant, commissioned by the developer, found that proposals were not viable.
Locals are suspicious of the revived proposal, and what they regard as a pretence to re-open the pub, which has been closed for nearly 18 months, as merely a ploy by the developer to get around Croydon planning rules.
Croydon Council has indicated a policy of opposition to conversion of pubs into flats.
“If they approve the plans to build in the Sandrock car park on the basis that the pub is being retained, they will be blind to the obvious ruse because, as sure as eggs are eggs, after a little while it would be stated that the pub was not viable and it would have to be turned into yet more flats,” according to the sceptical resident.
The newly submitted plan calls for 19 flats in an area about one-third the size of a football pitch, going up to four stories, at least twice the height of many of the neighbouring small houses and bungalows. A number of trees would be felled to make way for the new-build, and access issues with neighbouring streets would still arise, as they did with the previous planning application.
The same faux modernist style in the previous, rejected submission would be used with a flat roof jarring unpleasantly with the pitched roofs of all the surrounding properties.
Despite 12 of the 19 flats being two- or three-bedroomed, there is no facility for children to play and the fact that the 19 homes will have only six resident car parking spaces to fight over will mean that the already simmering parking wars in Sandpits Road are expected to assume an even more ugly aspect.
“Yet again they want to access the site by directing the traffic for the pretend pub and 19 flats into tiny Sandrock Place, which is barely big enough for the 12 houses already there,” the resident said.
“Parents collecting children from Coloma school already jostle with motorists and van drivers who find Sandpits Road and Sandrock Place a good opportunity to turn round. The opportunities for friction will be endless. All this because the developers want to block up the current perfectly fine access road so they can build more flats.”
Residents got wind of the revised proposals after letters were sent out by Second Class post to arrive over the Easter holiday, effectively only giving little more that two weeks for objections to be submitted by the May 10 deadline.
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