A resident-led campaign in Purley and Kenley was today declaring victory after Brick by Brick announced it was abandoning plans to build on their “village green”.
Brick by Brick wanted to build 17 flats, nine houses and a car park on a green open space between Wontford Road and Roffey Close.
The proposals were described as perhaps the worst yet, even by Brick by Brick’s shoddy standards.
It is thought to be only the second time that Brick by Brick – with an assumed guarantee of planning permission from its owners, Croydon Council – have been forced into abandoning development plans for one of its sites, following the dropping of a scheme to build a block of flats, likened to a Stasi prison block, on a patch of green space in Waddon.
In September, Brick by Brick proposals to build on a green space integral to the lay-out of a group of houses at Hawthorn Green, in Selsdon, were rejected by the planning committee – the first application that the council-owned developers had had refused by the council-run planning committee in five years.
Brick by Brick is the council’s wholly-owned house-builder which, since 2015, has borrowed more than £200million and benefited from secret subsidies on the value of property “acquired” from the council.
But according the council’s auditors and consultants, the company has yet to pay back a penny of the money it has borrowed, or make any interest payments or hand over any profit – leaving a £110million hole in the Town Hall coffers which played a large part in the council last month declaring itself broke.
Brick by Brick had become increasingly unpopular with residents of the borough, who resented having their green spaces and kids’ playgrounds concreted over, their public amenity spaces lost forever, and their quality of life in their neighbourhoods damaged beyond repair. Patronising, lip-service consultations with Brick by Brick rarely delivered any noticeable amendments to the developers’ plans.
But just after midday today, Brick by Brick issued a statement to say that they were abandoning their plans to build on Wontford Road Green.
“Following further consultation with the local planning authority and their additional feedback on the proposals, [Brick by Brick] will be withdrawing the current application for the site at Wontford Road and Roffey Close,” they said. The local planning authority is, of course, BxB’s owners, Croydon Council.
The company statement continued: “[Brick by Brick] would like to thanks local residents for their valuable input to date. We may look to engage on possible alternative proposals in 2021.”
As one resident observed, “I wonder what the ‘further consultation’ might have been? Probably something to do with them needed even more money, perhaps?
“Of course, we are delighted at this news, though we are suspicious of their suggestion that they might return with ‘alternative proposals’ next year.
“Our position remains unchanged: the green is not there to be built on.”
Read more: Is Wontford Road Green the worst BxB housing scheme yet?
Read more: Council accused of ‘wildlife vandalism’ to help Brick by Brick
Read more: ‘Our voice is being totally ignored’ say worried Purley residents
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