Croydon North MP Steve Reed has written to a firm of property developers demanding that they cease immediately all work on a new block of flats on a residential street in Upper Norwood, threatening them that they may need to rebuild a demolished bungalow, in the same manner that a listed pub in Kilburn was recently restored.
Reed’s intervention is implicitly critical of the Labour-run council’s planning department for ever granting permission to demolish a 1920s-built chalet bungalow on Downsview Road, or allowing it to be replaced by a three-storey block of nine flats, despite a restrictive legal covenant on the property and out of character with the neighbourhood.
As Inside Croydon reported earlier this week, neighbours on Downsview Road, off Beulah Hill, say that the covenant ought to prevent overdevelopment of their street.
This week, Reed, the constituency MP met residents on the road and later tweeted, “Real determination to save Downsview Road SE19 from developers who are breaking a legal covenant and changing the character of this lovely neighbourhood to make profit. I’m giving residents my full support.”
And in midweek, Reed sent a letter on his parliamentary headed paper to James Overton, a director of Sevenoaks-based Hambridge Homes, in which he said, “You should not have begun development of the flats because of a restrictive covenant on the land which prevents the development of homes other than detached homes for a single household.
“I have written to the Secretary of State for Housing and to the Chief Executive of Croydon Council seeking their intervention to prevent any further development work continuing on the site while the matter of the covenant is investigated further.”
By way of a threat, Reed raised the matter of the Carlton Tavern in Kilburn (which Reed appears to believe is in “East London”), “where a developer who demolished a pub without having all necessary consents in place was required to rebuild it at their own cost back to its full original specification.
“In light of this precedent,” Reed added, “I hope you will agree to cease all further work at 19 Downsview Road until the outstanding issues about your potential breach of the restrictive covenant have been resolved.”
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