Among the recommendations contained in the report on the future of Brick by Brick going before next Tuesday’s scrutiny committee is a list of sites which are no longer to be developed by the loss-making council-owned builder.
The biggest site is at College Green, what was called the Fairfield Homes development, which was rushed through the planning process last year in the slim hope that it might rescue the failing company’s finances.
As it is, with a town centre site with planning permission for 421 homes of which only 16 per cent are affordable, it seems likely to be an attractive commercial proposition for better-capable developers to buy from the council, without Croydon having to waste any more money allowing Brick by Brick to play at being a development company.
In Appendix 4 of the report to the committee is an extensive listing of “Sites no longer to be developed out by Brick by Brick”, many of which had been brought forward in 2019 and some even announced last year, in a controversial round of additional proposals which were hugely unpopular with many existing residents.
Some sites have already been granted planning permission, by Brick by Brick’s owners, Croydon Council, which makes the property more valuable to potential property developers, though several are on small sites which commercial operators would usually regard as “unviable”.
As a Katharine Street source said today, “The downfall of Brick by Brick stemmed from utter arrogance of the council under Jo Negrini, thinking they could install rookie developers and make money by developing sites which experienced and established builders would reject because they are, by definition, just not viable.”
The report recommending Brick by Brick being wound down is the latest slap in the face for former council leader Tony Newman, his finance chief Simon Hall, and Paul Scott and Alison Butler, the husband and wife act who were cabinet members in charge of planning and housing and who did so much to push through this poorly managed scheme.
Sites in Waddon, on Bramley Hill and Duppas Hill Terrace, which the Labour ward councillors opposed because of over-development, are among those on a list which will no longer be developed by Brick by Brick, as are several schemes in New Addington and Upper Norwood.
Some sites are already under construction, or subject to contracts with builders, and therefore will be completed in the hope that something might be salvaged from this multi-million-pound clusterfuck.
The full list of sites to be continued are here:
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