Eighty years on from the Battle of Britain, and now Brick by Brick wants to demolish a WWII air-raid shelter as it concretes over Croydon
Brick by Brick is pressing on with its self-imposed mission to concrete over as much of the borough’s green space as possible, with an application going before the planning committee tonight to squeeze eight houses on a patch of “amenity land” at Hawthorn Crescent in Selsdon.
Brick by Brick withdrew the scheme from a committee meeting in the summer after the Selsdon Residents’ Association submitted an application for the green to be given Asset of Community Value status. If granted ACV status, the open space could not be built on.
Making the decision on whether the site should be granted ACV status was… Croydon Council, who are the owners of Brick by Brick as well as the local planning authority.
Hawthorn Crescent seems likely to become the latest example of the council’s pernicious conflict of interest.
Earlier this month, Gavin Handford, the council’s director of policy and partnership, ruled that, “The nomination does not provide sufficient evidence of recent or ongoing community use that furthers the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community.”
No sooner had the council rejected the ACV application than the council-owned builders had their application to concrete over the green space back on the planning agenda.
Residents and ward councillor Andy Stranack intend to put up objections at the meeting tonight, but they are only too aware of Brick by Brick’s 100 per cent record when it comes to being granted planning permission.
The objectors say that the proposals ignore the issues of extra traffic on an already busy road and junction, as well as being close to a school with heavy traffic use at school drop off and pick up times.
The green space at Hawthorn Crescent stands between existing residential homes and Old Farleigh Road.
It sits over what remains of a World War II community air-raid shelter. With Kenley, Croydon and Biggin Hill RAF bases close by, homes in Selsdon were at high risk of a 1940s version of collateral damage from wayward Luftwaffe bombs. Many locals believe that this ought to be preserved for its historic and heritage value.
Brick by Brick want to demolish the air-raid shelter.
The green space is, according to the council’s planners and council-owned builders, unimportant.
“The loss of incidental amenity space is considered acceptable in this particular case in view of the lack of evidence presented to justify its continued use as incidental amenity land, especially when one considers the availability of neighbouring open spaces (including children’s play space in 250m proximity),” according to the report submitted by the council planners, who have recommended approval.
Their eight three-bed houses (“high-quality architecture”, they claim) would all be for private sale, so the scheme is less about reducing the borough’s housing waiting list, and all about boosting Brick by Brick’s struggling finances.
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