Council fails to mention 12,000 flats in its Purley Way survey

The Purley Way Lido, opened in 1935, could have 10,000 people on a summer’s day in the pre-covid world. It was closed in 1979

It is, even by Croydon Council standards, an extraordinarily vacuous and transparently misleading public consultation announcement.

The council says it is seeking “the public’s likes, dislikes, memories, opinions and ideas” on the Purley Way.

In the honey-dripped soothing words of the council propaganda department, it is “part of the initial stages of a new project determining how the area around the thoroughfare from Purley up to Valley Park should evolve in the coming years”.

Somehow, in a 400-word press release issued late on Friday, they just forgot to make any mention at all that the council’s plan is to build 12,000 flats along the six-lane A23 urban motorway.

The scheme is the brainchild of Paul Scott, part of the clique that controls the Labour group at the Town Hall.

The press release issued on Scott’s behalf advises of “a new [sic] online survey has launched this week” (always so much better than launching an old survey), aimed at those who live, work and visit the area to have their say on their priorities.

The council survey: patronising and condescending, and absolutely no mention of 12,000 flats

“As part of the early research on the Purley Way area, the council is also asking people to share stories and photographs of their time spent in the area, all of which will be incorporated to help form a picture of what its future could look and feel like,” the propaganda department says.

“This will feed into Croydon’s Local Plan Review and a dedicated Purley Way chapter, outlining how future development will help to address some of the wider challenges faced by the borough.”

Notice, five paragraphs into the devious press release, and they have managed to avoid any mention of the massive home-building project that Scott really has in mind for the area. The 12,000 flats might go a long way to address one of those “wider challenges”, the borough’s housing crisis, which Scott has contrived to make worse.

Scott, an architect by profession, revealed his cunning plan to a residents’ meeting a year ago, as exclusively reported by Inside Croydon. Outside the confines of that meeting, Scott and the council press office are a good deal less frank with the Croydon public.

It is not until close to the end of the release, in a quote attributed to Scott, that any oblique reference to housing – in the creation of what he calls “a high-quality neighbourhood” – is made.

Of course, the Purley Way has long been known as an area of light industrial estates, and of London’s first international airport, flanked by playing fields and the old Purley Way Lido, with its listed concrete diving board.

It is the industrial estates on the western side of the A23 which Scott is eyeing for his 12,000 flats. Though no mention is made in the council’s deceptive press release of the scale of what Scott has in mind, and to which the public’s recollections will be used to justify.

Paul Scott: has plans for Purley Way

“This exciting project is still in its infancy, making it the right time to involve the public and let them have their say on the changes they’d like to see,” Scott, the de facto chair of the planning committee while the council cabinet member for for planning, is supposed to have said.

“Incorporating their stories, memories, likes and dislikes will help us to build on the Purley Way’s unique characteristics and create a high-quality neighbourhood that will meet the needs of both existing and new communities in this area.

“Despite the current challenges, the council remains focussed [sic] on Croydon’s future and the long-term picture for the borough. Projects like this have a key role in helping to remobilise Croydon’s economy post covid-19 and I would encourage all residents to get involved and have their say.”

If you’d like to be patronised by your council, or assist in Scott’s grand plan, then click here to see the “new online survey” the council says it has launched.

About insidecroydon

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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5 Responses to Council fails to mention 12,000 flats in its Purley Way survey

  1. sebastian tillinger says:

    Scott might have some form of architecture certificate but he is a rank amateur when it comes to planning.

  2. Lewis White says:

    It is important for the functioning of Croydon and wider London that we do not lose industrial estates that cater for a range of small to very large businesses. These are being driven out of more inner London, due to residentail redevelopment. The Capital city needs servicing, and supplying. Land for industrial units should be near to the places using the goods– to minimise the food miles, the van pollution, and stress on those delivering things into the maw of London.

    I am not against targetted conversion of some areas to residential. I would , fior example, like to see the areas along the Wandle converted from industry to residential, with green spaces and a cycle path network, along the river. I would like to see Waddon Ponds and Wandle Park having new residential areas to their North sides, to create new neighbourhoods where people can walk safely to these parks. Peiople need Parks– covid has empahsises how much we all need them for our physicakl and mental wellbeing ………and parks need people, to give them security and life

    I am all in favour of creating new neighbourhoods with good buildings, good landscaping, proper provisiobn fpr parking, play facilities, trees, good transport links by bus and tram, but not in some awful urban mash up, a landscape of flats stuck on top of retail units. People deserve better.

  3. Chris says:

    Here’s a memory of the lido that Croydon are welcome to use. It was the early 60s and rammed. A bloke tried some posh dive from the top of the concrete diving board (didn’t know it was listed, quite right too) and there was a hollow-sounding ‘thock’ as his noggin connected with the concrete.
    He fell, unconscious, the rest of the way, belly-flopped in and sank. The water immediately went red and there was pandemonium. Screaming, puking and general panic. He was fished out and an ambulance turned up in what seemed like just a couple of minutes. As a six/seven year old I was hugely entertained by all this.
    They closed the pool for disinfecting and that was the end of the day for us.
    I can still hear that ‘thock’…..

  4. This editorial lacking anyone with the courage to put a name to it has come from the same source that took an instant dislike to Crystal Palace Primary School.

    • Wind your neck in. The website editor’s name is on every page of the site. At least twice.

      And what’s so good about carving up part of a public park to hand over to the private interests of a free school?

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