Developers in legal challenge over Upper Norwood plans

Residents of Downsview Road are united in their opposition to the developers, and Croydon Council

Residents of a road of 1920s-built bungalows and cottages in Upper Norwood who fear that their cherished neighbourhood is about to be destroyed have called in their MP and hired lawyers to fight against profit-hungry property speculators, and the local council’s planning department.

Neighbours on Downsview Road, off Beulah Hill, claim that their homes are subject to a legal covenant which ought to prevent overdevelopment.

But that hasn’t stopped one rapacious developer demolishing a perfectly sound bungalow, in order to build a three-storey block of flats.

And not satisfied with that, many residents on Downsview and neighbouring streets have received leaflets on behalf of developers offering 20 per cent over the market value of their home if they sell it to them.

Croydon North MP, Steve Reed OBE, was due to visit Downsview Road over the weekend, when he will have heard angry complaints from his constituents about the developer and Croydon Council’s planning department.

Now you see it: the bungalow at No19 Downsview Road before the bulldozers moved in

“What is unbelievable,” one resident told Inside Croydon, “is the council approved this block of flats but refused a neighbour a modest kitchen extension due to it not being ‘in keeping’ with the neighbourhood.”

The residents say that almost all the homes along one side of Downsview Road are subject to a legally-binding covenant dating back to 1927, when they were being built. The covenant states that each plot of land must only have a single-occupancy household built on it.

“This was brought to the developers’ attention by our solicitors but they have chosen to continue the demolition of one of the beautiful cottages on Downsview Road,” said one member of the rapidly growing residents’ campaign group.

Now you don’t: despite the legal covenant, developers are building a block of flats

“They are now offering the owners of other cottages absurd sums of money so they can develop that whole side of Downsview Road into blocks of flats.

“Our solicitors and lead counsel continue to work in the background, but as you can imagine the cost of fighting developers is huge and they probably hope we will eventually run out of energy and money.

“The community on Downsview Road is a strong one and as you can see by almost the entire street having signs in their front garden we are all fighting against this.

“Adjoining streets are also getting involved by having signs and contributing where possible.”

Downsview Road residents are getting their message across

The developers – Hambridge Homes – have now demolished No19 and are pressing ahead with their plans. If their landgrab is successful and they manage to acquire the four remaining period chalet bungalows, it could add as many as 45 more households to what has always been a quiet residential street, bringing with it all the attendant issues of over-development including parking problems and pollution.

“This area is suffering badly from multiple blocks of flats being developed on any available land, and local residents have had enough.

“If they can do this to a street that is protected by a restrictive covenant, surrounding areas don’t stand a chance.”

  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, want to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at
  • Inside Croydon is a member of the Independent Community News Network
  • Inside Croydon works together with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and BBC London News
  • ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS: Croydon was named the country’s rottenest borough in 2020 in the annual round-up of civic cock-ups in Private Eye magazine – the fourth successive year that Inside Croydon has been the source for such award-winning nominations
  • Inside Croydon: 3million page views in 2020. Seen by 1.4million unique visitors
  • Content on this site is also licensed via Ping! News. To access content for copying in full or in part,  please visit

About insidecroydon

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
This entry was posted in Community associations, Croydon Council, Croydon North, Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood, Environment, Housing, Planning, Steve Reed MP and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Developers in legal challenge over Upper Norwood plans

  1. Ian Ross says:

    Flouting of laws by developers with Croydon Council connivance is surely criminal. It also follows that illegally constructed buildings cannot be sold since the covenants still apply in law. This is surely something that should have been referred to Robert Jenrick failing which the High Court.
    Overdevelopment is bad enough but the naked, and sanctioned, profiteering is way out of hand.
    Where are all the people for this “much needed” housing when we have a population decreasing and more leaving London?

    • miapawz says:

      furthermore, with Covid people working from home want a house with outside space not a tiny flat. If only these developments were not over developed: why not put 4 nice flats withoutside space, or two town houses on the plot? but it’s not about the environment or the area or the architecture, its purely profit and if the area is ruined, they don’t give a ++++

      • A Crisp says:

        Not everyone can afford a house so can people like that not live on a nice road like this? Also looks like there will be garden space for these properties…. Think the local authority will be more than happy once 9 flats are filled so Council Tax is rolling in!!

  2. Kevin Croucher says:

    With Paul Scott on their side, nothing will stop these developers

  3. miapawz says:

    Dreadful. To compare, you can take a visit also to Higher Drive, Purley CR8 to see several normal houses which have been demolished and replaced with Councillor Scott planning from Bucharest* style concrete flat hell holes. The road is unrecognisable. Awash with mud, lorries and cranes everywhere, houses flattened. Nobody wants these flats. Oaks Road is now getting the same 9 flat (no social housing) treatment on sites designed for small 3 bed bungalows.

    I liked Bucharest. But I’d like it to stay in Romania.

  4. Why doesn’t Cllr Paul Scott visit Upper Norwood and explain to residents why they are overreacting to this nasty developer.

    Failing that, why doesn’t Leader Ali explain to Upper Norwood residents why Cllr Paul Scott blowing smoke up the ass of any developer who steps into his junket of a planning committee is acceptable?

    Cllr Ali – time to act on this – everyone’s been telling you where change is needed on the Croydon planning committee. Elections are coming.

Leave a Reply