A “hideous” development proposal for the site of a locally listed Victorian pub in Shirley which has already been rejected twice is being brought forward to the council’s planning committee again this week, with the planning department recommending that the scheme should be approved.
The council’s planners have also helped the developers by effectively blocking residents from commenting on the proposals to redevelop the Sandrock pub – by accepting an alteration to last year’s rejected scheme.
“The new plans have not resulted in a new application, so there is no new opportunity to submit comments to the council,” one concerned councillor said.
As one resident who helped the campaign to oppose the overdevelopment of the once popular pub and restaurant on Upper Shirley Road, the planners’ efforts “are akin to the removal of some warts from an extremely ugly face”.
The resident said, “At the end of the day, it remains a hideous prospect.”
Developers Marshall Hurley Bratt want to transform a pleasant Victorian building by attaching it to an over-sized block of flats, which by its height and appearance is totally out of keeping with the area.
Seventeen trees are to be felled to make way for the developers’ greedy plans, allowing the new building to tower over its quaking neighbours.
Because of Croydon’s pub protection plan, it has been a feature of all the developers’ proposals that (a much-reduced) pub was going to be re-opened.
In their latest report, the planners concede that the pub is a community asset and as such should be protected.
But they then go on to admit, “One of the reasons given for the original rejection was said to be: ‘The scheme would retain the pub, replacing the existing extensions to the original building with new extensions to replace the customer dining area, with improved kitchens and toilet facilities. It is noted the commercial floorspace would be reduced in size, with an additional substantial reduction in the amount of outside space for pub users and parking spaces’.”
“What they are saying is that the pub’s size and character would be totally altered,” the resident said.
“The pub car parking would more accurately be described as abolished rather than reduced because it is also explained that while the surrounding roads are already filled with parked cars, according to the council planning report, customers would be happy to park their cars 200 metres away in Oaks Road. Which is plainly ridiculous.
“The council’s own policy requires a redeveloped pub to pass a viability test. Take away a pub’s parking spaces, and you take away any prospect of viability.”
On one previous application, even the expert advisor hired by developers admitted in an unusually frank report that the scheme as proposed was not viable, nailing any pretence that the developers ever intend to reopen the Sandrock as a pub.
“The fact is that The Sandrock will never be re-opened if this plan is given approval,” the resident said.
“There is no prospective tenant lined up to take over what’s left of the pub, and no sensible person would want to invest time and money in a venue which does not offer parking.”
When considering the original proposals, Croydon’s planning officials stated, “It has not been demonstrated that adequate provision is made for car parking within the site and the development would thereby conflict with Policies SP8.1 and DM29 of the Croydon Local Plan (2018) and 6.12 and 6.13 of the London Plan (consolidated with alterations since 2011).”
The “adjusted” proposals to be considered this week offer a very similar number of parking spaces – 10, shared between 19 flats.
Ward councillor Jason Cummings said today, ” I am opposed to these plans.
“Whilst I agree that the site needs development and currently is sitting idle, I feel that these plans are a significant overdevelopment of the site and impact too far on the neighbouring residents.
“I also feel that the plans do not respect the character of the area and will cause parking issues. There are a significant number of more technical issues which have been included in submissions to the planning department as well.”
And the resident said, “If this scheme goes through, it won’t ‘enhance’ the area. It will more likely destroy it.”
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