Just because Paul Scott has been kicked off the planning committee doesn’t mean that inappropriate development schemes have suddenly stopped being presented to the council.
And a 12-storey block next to the Wing Yip Chinese superstore on the Purley Way has raised serious questions once again about the veracity and reliability of some of the reports submitted to support planning applications, with the findings of developers’ consultants on traffic and parking being ridiculed as “bunkum” by Robert Canning, one of the Labour councillors for Waddon ward.
Canning calls the developers’ traffic report “inaccurate and misleading”.
The period for objections to be submitted to the scheme from Stonegate Homes for 550 to 550A Purley Way closes tonight.
With lockdown only recently eased, few local residents on the Waddon Estate nearby are likely to be aware of the massive block proposed, with the council’s planning department having done the bare minimum of public engagement, by tying a single application notice to a lamppost alongside the busy A23.
One unhappy Waddon resident contacted Inside Croydon to say: “This planning application is awful.
“The site is too small for a development of this size. A 12-storey building on this part of Purley Way will be an eyesore.
“It will also cause parking chaos on the local residential streets.”
The resident said that they raised their worries with Councillor Canning, who has impressed locals for taking a stand against dodgy developments, even those from the the council’s own Brick by Brick.
In Canning’s objections to the latest Purley Way scheme, he refers to a parking report that has been included with the developers’ submissions.
The councillor, who lives in the ward not far from the proposed development site, describes the consultants’ report’s data as “patently wrong”.
“I have visited the streets in question and can assure you that, for example, Coldharbour Way does not have 29 available parking spaces and Stapleton Gardens does not have 21 spaces available,” Canning has written in his planning objection.
“In fact, the number of spaces available is nowhere near the figures quoted.”
Canning has offered to conduct a tour of the streets with council officials so that they can see for themselves.
The councillor wrote in his objection, “The parking survey included in the Transport Statement is bunkum and I would ask officers to require the applicant to do it again and to do it properly second time round.”
It does not take much reading between the lines to draw the conclusion that the parking report has been drawn up for the benefit of the developers, who would be unable to provide sufficient parking spaces for the residents of their massive block of flats.
“Even if we assume for the sake of argument that the count of parked vehicles is accurate,” Canning has written, “we are still approaching 90 to 100 per cent occupancy of spaces available, rather than occupancy rates of around 65 per cent as claimed in the Transport Statement.
“It is inaccurate and misleading for the applicant to claim that over 60 spaces are available at all times on the local streets where the parking survey was undertaken.
“That said, I am not convinced that the count of parked vehicles provides the full picture. The counts were done at times of the day that avoid the school run – particularly the afternoon school run – when quite a few people would be parking on these streets to collect their children from nearby primary schools.
“Plus the impact of covid means that there would be no commuter parking in these streets at the time the surveys were done.”
Canning is clearly unimpressed with the standard of the building proposed, too.
He calls it “overbearing and out of keeping with the character of the area”.
While the six-lane urban motorway that is the Purley Way dominates, the road is surrounded by the two-storey houses of the neighbouring former council estate, some Victorian-built cottages and the nearby, listed Old Tithe Barn.
“Currently the tallest building in this part of Waddon is the flats on Purley Way next to Propeller Crescent which is eight storeys tall and is a one-off,” Canning wrote to the council planners.
“This proposed 12 storey development would therefore be 50 per cent taller than the tallest nearby building. A development of this height would be grossly overbearing on neighbouring properties and out of character with this locality and spoil the skyline.
The line-by-line destruction of the developers’ claims by Canning also highlights false claims being made about the delivery of the Fiveways junction improvements.
Canning and his Labour ward councillor colleagues spent years successfully lobbying Transport for London for £90million-worth of improvements to this notoriously congested junction, only to see approved plans paused by the Tory government following TfL’s covid-induced financial difficulties last year.
As far as the developers are concerned, it seems that covid never happened, and their transport report claims that works at Fiveways will begin in 2023.
Canning nails this: “There are serious doubts around whether it will proceed.
“Without this project, traffic flows along the Purley Way and at Fiveways Junction will get worse rather than improve and this proposed development is very close to Fiveways.”
He describes calculations offered in this part of the report as “flawed” and says that comparisons offered do not make sense. Vehicle movements “such as the afternoon school run, shopping, trips out, tradesman visits and deliveries… do not appear to have been considered”.
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