The council’s moved in for yet another land grab.
Notices went up last week on the garages behind homes on College Green in Crystal Palace, giving residents just one month’s notice to remove all their possessions.
This land grab is not being done on behalf of big business, as the council did when sending in the heavies to shut small businesses out of their place of work at the Allder’s building.
This time it is being done for Brick by Brick, the in-house house-builders, who reckon that they can squeeze 80 flats into the space currently occupied by the garages, behind the existing homes on College Green, Wakefield Gardens and Highfield Road.
Residents on Highfield Road say that they have received no correspondence from the council regarding Brick by Brick’s plans, even though the proposed new buildings would back on to their gardens.
And as with the recent “consultation” conducted on parking permits, although the council ought to hold records of the names and addresses of all those who rent the garages, they don’t appear to have bothered writing to them directly.
There has been no public consultation conducted so far.
Many residents have expressed their shock and surprise at the move, and concern that one month’s notice, at a time of year when many families might be away from home on summer holidays, is inadequate.
The council’s position appears to be that those renting the garages have contracts which allow for just one month’s notice.
“The impact of increasing the footprint of College Green by over 45 per cent will be unmanageable,” one resident posted on a Crystal Palace Facebook group.
“Already there is over-demand for parking and school places.
“The area for the proposed housing is miniature and in no way suitable for sustainable housing.
“The area at the top of the estate has a pair of owls that nest there and are a pleasure to hear flying over the estate at night.
“We have not been consulted and this is looking like a signed and delivered deal already!”
The council announced recently that it was handing over another 60 sites to Brick by Brick for housing schemes, many of the properties including council-owned garages such as those at College Green, so the manner in which residents are evicted from their garages in Crystal Palace may soon become familiar practice around the borough (There is a full list of Brick by Brick’s “pipeline” sites available by clicking here).
The notices to quit the College Green garages – dated July 31 – may have even come as a surprise to the councillors for the area.
Stephen Mann, one of the Labour councillors for Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood ward, has offered to meet residents to discuss the situation.
Because of the summer holidays, Mann and his colleagues, who include Town Hall veteran Pat Ryan, do not plan to hold a ward surgery session until September – after the deadline date for residents to vacate the garages.
“Brick by Brick will do a consultation and we as councillors will hold them to it,” Mann tried to reassure residents.
Referring to exisiting Brick by Brick sites in the ward – which includes one with houses being sold on the private market for £600,000 each – Mann wrote that these were approved before he was elected for the ward, “but we will fight hard with residents for the best deal.
“At this stage I think all I can say is it is not a done deal, be it any units or no units, and having worked with residents at Carberry Road and Bedwardine, we have been able to secure meaningful changes.”
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