A housing project which even Tony Newman and his numpties refused to entrust to Brick by Brick is finally nearing completion after an eight-year development saga. By our housing correspondent, BARRATT HOLMES
Eight years since the council moved out of its offices in Taberner House, and the flats built on the site – and on a big chunk of Queen’s Gardens – are finally nearing completion.
The scheme, overseen by developers Hub, includes 513 new homes with 40 per cent of them “affordable”, built across four towers of 35, 21, 19 and 13 storeys.
This was the massive redevelopment site which even former deputy leader Alison Butler and the buffoons in charge of the council under the discredited Tony Newman decided that they couldn’t entrust to Brick by Brick. Even so, it has been a very long time coming.
Planning permission was granted for one scheme on the site as long ago as April 2014.
After that bright idea was quietly dropped, Hub appeared on the scene with plans which even included proposals for “luxury executive apartments” which were suggested could be sold for as much as £800,000 (though little has been heard of that little wheeze since).
Although the council office tower block was demolished in 2015, construction work did not commence until 2018, after bungling two previous proposals with other developers.
Butler, it is worth noting, remains as a Labour councillor, as does her husband, the former chair of planning, Paul Scott.
The first block in what Hub want to call “the Queen’s Quarter” is finally expected to be ready in August.
Those 84 flats are set to handed over to housing association L&Q in six weeks’ time, with a further 88 flats in another block also being released by the end of the summer. These will be a mix of London Living Rent and shared ownership.
A third block, comprising 90 flats, is also due to be completed soon and will be transferred to Croydon Council as council homes for rent – or 30 times as many new purpose-built council homes as Brick by Brick managed to deliver in six years. Croydon received £9million in total – £100,000 per unit – in funding from the Greater London Authority’s Building Council Homes for Londoners initiative towards the cost of these flats.
The final 35-storey block – 251 flats – will be owned by Legal & General and is set to be offered for private rent.
The developers say that work on the much-reduced Queen’s Gardens should be completed by the autumn.
The council was accused at the planning stage of effectively allowing the developers to privatise the public space, annexing Queen’s Gardens for the residents of their tower blocks.
Comments made this week by Hub’s Tom Stoneham strongly suggest that that is exactly how the developers view the position.
“When Queen’s Gardens is all finished it is going to have an amazing playground for young kids and for slightly older kids,” Stoneham said.
“That is being completely redone and will sweep all the way up to the development.
“The route between Park Lane and the council offices is a key route. There will be new lighting, the intention is to make it feel more open and safer – obviously having homes overlooking the park means it will have natural surveillance.
“It has been really good working with the local community designing the park, we are really excited to get people’s reactions and to see children and families enjoying the playground.”
- You can support Inside Croydon’s news-breaking independent local journalism. Sign up today as a subscriber. Click here
- If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, or want to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Inside Croydon is a member of the Independent Community News Network
- Inside Croydon works together with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, as well as BBC London News and ITV London
- 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