CROYDON COMMENTARY: Aggressively acquisitive developers, operating mainly across the suburban southern parts of the borough, allied to a council planning department that seems to wave through most of their schemes for blocks of flats, is causing great distress for existing residents.
But as BRIAN WATSON, right, says, some have decided that they have put up with enough
If I stand at the end of my road in Purley, I can see 11 proposed and approved blocks of flats for development all within 300 or 400 yards. The most recently approved scheme is just the width of Higher Drive away.
We are having to put up with builders’ trucks blocking the road. Diversions are put in place, closing the road while mains power, sewers and water are put in place. Mud and chalk are smeared all over the carriageway.
Once on Higher Drive, the cars were allowed to park two wheels on the kerb, that kept the carriageway running relatively freely, but that luxury has been removed, rescinded by Croydon Council. We have been told that it is now a fineable offence to park two wheels on the kerb along the length of Higher Drive. Many residents are ignoring the new regulation. The result is chaotic!
Once all these flats are occupied, we’ll never be able to drive down Higher Drive, it will be congested constantly. At least, we are told, that the council is encouraging the use of bicycles for us, living on top of our steep hill (the clue’s in the name: Higher Drive).
We in the south of the borough find our letterboxes clattering to the sound of developers’ mailshots, to the point where it is verging on harassment. Indeed, we are aware that residents have been threatened by a developer over whether or not they object to their latest scheme for another block of flats.
“Don’t’ put up too much opposition to my proposals, or I’ll just put up a load of affordable housing on Highland Road, and nobody’s going to like that,” they were told.
My local residents’ association, the Foxley Residents’ Association, has decided to move to another tactic.
We’ve decided to persuade locals not to sell their homes to developers. Yes, it’s a long shot, but one that is definitely worth a try.
We’ve produced a flyer to go through the letterboxes of all those residents who have received appeals from developers to sell their homes. We hope that other RAs might want to distribute a similar message, too.
Our leaflet says, “Do you want to do business with the sort of people who threaten your neighbours? They’ll probably not think twice about stitching you up. They won’t stop until they shave every last penny off the price. Then they’ll conjure up all sorts of ‘issues’, locking you into a contract that will have you over a barrel, with no escape.
“The process has been known to take months and months, often it can take years…
“Please think twice about selling to a developer. We’d like to think that you’ve enjoyed living in the pleasant leafy suburbs south of Croydon, and we hope you’ll help us stop Councillor Scott and his planning regime lining the pockets of developers.”
That a Labour council sees fit to line the pockets of property developers is mind-boggling, but not when you know the desired destiny of Councillor Paul Scott. Scott’s hatred of the suburbs of the south of the borough and those who live there is the driving force behind the upheaval which is continuing to destroy Croydon’s leafy suburbs.
Even the Mayor of London has cried foul at the “new homes” figures Scott and his cohorts are working to. The Mayor’s office has found Croydon’s figures unrealistic and has dramatically reduced the requirement but to no avail. We are told that the Mayor himself does not like the idea of bulldozing family homes at the rate Croydon Council is currently forcing on the residents in the south of the borough.
But then Scott believes he knows best, far better than the office of the Mayor of London, and Scott’s puppets continue to do his bidding with eager enthusiasm.
We believe the Democratically Elected Mayor of Croydon is a great idea, and it’s gathering speed, but, will it be fast enough to stop the destruction of our environment? The rate with which our locality is being pulled down around us is terrifying.
We are all being harassed by developers’ mailshots almost every week. Our residents’ association has written to many of the developers on behalf of residents. Their responses are usually patronising or rude, as they know they have the backing of Scott & Co. One developer told me, “The south of the borough of Croydon is being totally redeveloped and we are going to help the council do this. Change is good.”
And many of the RAs are under the misapprehension that the Democratically Elected Mayor is the answer to all of our problems. I think it’s a great idea, but the timescale to get the Mayor in place is far, far too long. By the time we get the Mayor, if we get the Mayor, Scott and his cronies will have destroyed the entire area.
We, residents across Croydon, need to act now and reject offers from developers, to try to save our neighbourhoods before they are destroyed forever.
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