Residents on high alert to keep check on planning applications

BARRATT HOLMES, our overdevelopment correspondent, on the 9-9-9 emergency for some roads in the south of the borough

The five-storey block of flats proposed for Hyde Road

Last week’s decision to delegate all planning decisions to council officials, removing even a vestige of cover offered by the planning committee of elected councillors, has seen residents’ associations across the borough place their own experts on high alert to see what hideous schemes from profit-hungry private developers might get pushed through during the coronavirus emergency with little public scrutiny.

A planning application has been submitted to build nine flats at 89 Hyde Road, Sanderstead. This is opposite 98 Hyde Road, which was one of the first houses to go, back in 2017, at the start of what one councillor on the planning committee has described as our “9-9-9 emergency”.

Developers know only too well that if they propose to develop a site with 10 or more homes, then they will be expected to include some less-profitable affordable housing within their development. A block of nine flats? No such requirements.

And so you have the situation emerge where on some roads developers – indeed, the same developer in at least one instance – have bought up a succession of detached family houses, and one by one has been granted planning permission for block after ugly block, with not a single affordable home among them: 9-9-9.

Residents are keenly aware that under current planning policies, in areas which have until now been solely comprised of two-storey family houses, developers can submit applications for four-, even-five-storey flat-roofed blocks.

The developer in Hyde Road is Quantum (a name chosen, it is suspected, without any sense of irony), who recently built the six houses in Warren Road, one of which is still unsold, as well as the 33-flat development coming to the Limpsfield Road near Waitrose.

The computer-generated image of residents in the carbuncle proposed for Mitchley Avenue shows them enjoying a view across to Croydon town centre unspoiled by any blocks of flats…

Not all planning applications get through, even at developer-friendly Croydon Council. A proposal for 141 Brancaster Lane in Purley was refused, and the site is now up for sale. An application for development at 131 Woodcote Valley Road saw residents’ groups leafleting the area; the planning application has since been withdrawn.

The applicant there was Daniel Brown, of Vita Homes.

Vita Homes have been very active in Riddlesdown Road since 2017, often using the land and garages from back gardens in Riddlesdown Avenue. Slowly but surely, they have worked their way down Riddlesdown Road, in effect squeezing a new row of houses through these back-garden developments. Another application has recently been submitted for more flats on Riddlesdown Road, which has eight developments at various stages of the planning process.

Few of the development proposals come up with anything which might be described as architecturally pleasing, as the huge and glassy Croydon Carbuncle likely to be built on Mitchley Avenue demonstrates.

According to one concerned resident, “Mitchley Avenue seems to be under attack at the moment, similar to Haydn Avenue on the other side of Purley which has recently seen three planning applications in quick succession: 11 Haydn Avenue will be replaced with 19 flats in two blocks on the same site, 11 in one eight in another. There are also plans from developers to demolish 9b and 15 Haydn Avenue.”

However the covid-19 lockdown might be affecting daily life, it seems that the council’s planning portal is going to be as busy as ever with visits from members of the public.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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