CROYDON COMMENTARY: As the Labour-run council and its planning department continues its unrelenting drive for overdevelopment, one resident from the south of the borough, LUCIA BRIAULT, asks whether what is being built is what the public actually wants
Let me introduce you to Councillor Paul Scott, the vice-chair of Croydon Council’s planning committee and the man behind the Croydon Local Plan which sets out at length (530 pages plus another 72 in supplementary Suburban Design Guide) how new homes will respect the existing character of the different places in the borough.
My favourite paragraph is 4.62:
“The need to deliver 32,890 homes does not outweigh the need to respect the local character and amenity and to protect biodiversity.”
So if you’re objecting to yet another block of flats, watch this video and choose your wording carefully.
Despite what the Local Plan says about “the right mix of homes in the right location”, Councillor Scott has decided that flats are appropriate on every road in the borough.
I don’t hate flats per se.
I hate the fact that blocks of flats are being squeezed into small sites that formerly contained a single home with a nice garden.
I hate the fact that overdevelopment of garden land is endangering our wildlife and compromising the borough’s biodiversity.
I hate the fact that blocks of flats quickly alter the population density and the infrastructure and amenity is not being expanded to cope.
I hate the fact that we are not building enough two- and three-bedroom houses with private gardens because the council believes that families are happy to live in flats.
Croydon’s target for new homes is not broken down by property type. I think this is wrong.
According to the 2017-2018 English Housing Survey, there were 18.4million houses and 4.7million flats, of which 3.3million were in blocks of three storeys or less. That equates to an 80/20 split.
But of the 213,860 permanent new homes built in 2018-2019, a whopping 87 per cent were flats and only 13 per cent were houses.
In 2016 the profile of Croydon homes was as follows:
- Flats: 38%
- Terraced houses: 30%
- Semi-detached: 20%
- Detached: 9%
- Bungalows & other: 3%
Can’t wait to find out what the breakdown is now.
I’d be interested to hear from people who live in flats…
– Did you choose to live in a flat and why?
– Did you want a new-build rather than an older property (probably in need of work) so your only option was a flat?
– Did you only buy a flat to get on the property ladder? Do you intend to buy a house when you can?
– Are you renting a flat while you save for a house?
– If you have kids, are you happy living in a flat or would you rather have a house with a private garden?
Looking through the properties that are currently for sale in my area, a (new-build) flat is no longer a cheaper option than a similarly-sized (older) house. But I appreciate that not everyone has the skills or funds to do up a house.
I genuinely want to hear from you, as I think I might have a skewed view. I’ve only ever lived in a flat as a necessity for a short time while waiting for my divorce to get sorted.
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