Hawthorn Crescent green is rejected for ACV status by council

The open space in front of 20 family homes in Hawthorn Crescent in Selsdon is the latest target for concrete proposed by Brick by Brick at tonight’s planning committee

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.

‘High-quality architecture’: the eight houses  proposed for Hawthorn Crescent

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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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 inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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4 Responses to Hawthorn Crescent green is rejected for ACV status by council

  1. Moya Gordon says:

    I sympathise with the local residents. The argument given by the developer that there is a children’s playground within 250 metres doesn’t consider the loss of amenity to very young children (under 7 year olds) who can currently venture out of their homes independently to play with friends on this land close to their homes. Children need to be encouraged to play outdoors more, the PlayStation generation have a very sedentary lifestyle and to be able to play out with friends is a great way to get them outdoors.

    Squeezing 8 houses on to such a small plot of land is ridiculous. And losing a piece of history, an In-situ air-raid shelter, something very few people will have seen in their lifetimes is very wrong. Maybe English Heritage would help preserve the air-raid shelter, a reminder to future generations of how people fought against Fascism.

  2. Carrie Low says:

    Brick by Brick are just ridiculous altogether!!
    They should finish what they have started, give them for council renting families or sell some at real affordable prices to pay back some of the public money they have borrowed before ANY further building or planning takes place. It shambolic!!

  3. Lorraine Maskell says:

    What does the public have to do or say to halt this monstrous vandalism?

    I thought we had made it quite clear that the existing suburban feel of the Borough with its green space was far more important than yet another development of slum housing to be sold for profit. I thought the council understood the need for green spaces particularly in a pandemic, when it declared a climate emergency.

    BxB is about to be disbanded anyway so why oh why is it applying for planning when it’s going to be sacked along with its management?

    • There might be an element of wishful thinking in there, Lorraine, when you assume Brick by Brick is about to be “disbanded”. There is to be a review of its operation, true. But it may be some time yet before action as you describe is agreed and carried out.

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