Brick by Brick use police to remove New Addington residents

Flashpoint: police and a council official gathered as they sought to remove residents from a communal space in Warbrick Crescent, New Addington, this morning

Only “frantic calls” to the local MP and councillors managed to get the police to stand down from “horrifying scenes” in New Addington this morning, as a council official colluded with staff from Brick by Brick to have residents removed from a public space in Warbank Crescent.

Brick by Brick is the council-owned, loss-making development firm that has borrowed £200million from the borough since 2015, and been a significant factor in the financial crisis at the council.

Brick by Brick wants to use the Warbank Crescent communal space for three car parking bays for electric vehicles.

The Warbank Crescent communal space is shared by 10 families, mostly council tenants, who use the space for play and other activities, as only a few of them have access to gardens. During the pandemic lockdown, the communal space has provided an essential playspace for local children.

Parked: Brick by Brick want the play space for a car park

Today, the Warbank Crescent residents had some seating and furniture in the space, ready for a community engagement meeting with councillors tomorrow. Residents and eye-witnesses allege that the residents’ property was removed, damaged or destroyed by the council staff and builders. The officials even removed a kids’ paddling pool.

Scott Ainsworth-Payne, the chair of the local residents’ association, was present with another witness when the situation escalated rapidly this morning. Some suggest that the police may have been summoned in advance of the Brick by Brick builders’ arrival.

“The builders had come to destroy the much-loved and well-used communal area,”  Ainsworth-Payne said.

“Both myself and Adam Rest of NARA were on-site negotiating with the contractors, police and council. Not one resident had caused risk to council staff or the builders, yet multiple police units turned up with a custody van.

“While the police acted fairly and did not carry out the enforcement, it’s still deeply distressing to feel like you are considered a risk or as a criminal.

“Council staff seized and destroyed residents outdoor furniture that was still wanted.”

Ready for action: the police arrived in New Addington, with a custody van, apparently briefed to expect to make arrests

Ainsworth-Payne described the situation as “horrifying scenes” and said that this had caused significant distress to the residents.

Calls were made to Sarah Jones MP, New Addington’s new councillor, Kola Agboola, and even council leader Hamida Ali, after which the police were stood down and the builders left.

“This is the result of more than four years of work by Croydon Council and Brick by Brick which has resulted in serious impact on the mental health of residents here, not to mention the massive impact on their living conditions,” Ainsworth-Payne said.

Read more: Homes England called in to check Brick by Brick sale value
Read more: Brick by Brick to get second £10m loan to avoid going bust
Read more: New Addington residents call for halt on Brick by Brick plans

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This entry was posted in Brick by Brick, Community associations, Croydon Central, Croydon Council, Kola Agboola, New Addington, New Addington Residents' Association, Policing, Sarah Jones MP and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Brick by Brick use police to remove New Addington residents

  1. Grace Onions says:

    Ordinary citizens being treated as criminals for trying to protect local amenities …… get used to this sort of approach if the proposed policing bill goes through. Peaceful protesters were arrested for painting banners at the weekend and another for taking a photo of a pile of horse manure outside a newspaper office.

  2. Ian Ross says:

    Where are all the electric vehicles that need charging? Nowhere to be seen.
    How is it possible for the council that wants to make roads play areas to allow this to take place?
    Green space is sacrosanct or it isn’t.
    In the bigger picture when will Brick by Brick be dismantled and criminal prosecutions of it’s woeful management start? I think we should be told.

    • “I think we should be told…” Sigh.

      Criminal prosecutions? On what charges? Incompetence is not a crime. Nor is stupidity.

      If you want charges laid, then you’ll need to come up with some evidence.

      • Anthony Miller says:

        It would almost cheer me up if someone was prosecuted for fraud or backhanders. The alternative that Croydon Council really was that stupid for no good reason is far more scarey than a bit of bribery or corruption. After all, you can safeguard against corruption. You can’t safeguard against stupid.

        • Ian Kierans says:

          What should really scare us is that they appeared to do this with full intent and forward planning and could not care less about Croydon’s residents.

  3. gary purkiss says:

    and the thing is we are complaining that we was not told about this, there saying we had notice years ago about this so jog on.. but we have just found evidence that the letters where not posted (and in fact left on the floor to be blow away by the wind) and one resident did pick one up years ago and was sending emails to them about it and in the email she got back it said yer we could not post them so we left them on the floor and told her(the resident) to go around and tell us all the information. She doesn’t know what going on and it there job to inform us.. not hers and this letter was important because this letter told of the extended planning permission and how we go about rising our concerns about this.. we only found out about our squ be taken around 6months ago so we didnt even know so how could we rising our concerns and there one more block i found out today also had the same problems with there letters be found blowing in the wind.

  4. moyagordon says:

    Bullies! Making good use of police time too. Why would the police be in attendance? Maybe BxB have friends in the force? Unbelievable.

  5. Disgusting behaviour from the Council and the Police. As an aside I doubt if many New Addington residents would be buying electric cars yet as by most measures they are considerably more expensive and this is not a wealthy area.

    • The electric vehicle-charging spaces are part of the planning permission agreement, intended for the occupiers of the ugly block homes that Brick by Brick has squeezed in between existing homes. A mere tokenistic gesture towards green credentials when much other ecological vandalism has been done by these builders, all the while failing to do anything to provide decent homes for social rent.

      Similar charging car ports were supposed to be provided for some BxB homes in Upper Norwood, but were never installed as the over-running development tried to cut corners, and costs. No one from the council’s planning enforcement department has ever taken action against BxB for that failure to meet its planning requirements.

  6. Lewis White says:

    Shameful. A disgraceful example of remote, heartless mismanagement, or official bullying at its anonymous, faceless “best” .

    The Commmunity engagement event should have taken place ages ago. The children’s need for playing together in a safe communal area should be respected and faciliated. Is it not possible to retain a space, and put charging points elsewhere?.

    This is no way to treat residents. Worthy of the Soviet bloc. (maybe the attitude accompanies the abysmal and bullying building design (I am not able to call this “architecture”) which seems to take its design inspiration from a block of a different kind– a factory farm intensive pig-rearing unit block.

    Another example of Brick by Brick “town cramming” , not Town Planning.

  7. gary gal says:

    if there worried about the green and the carbon footprint .now by take away our squ we are going to have to start using our tumble dryers day which will add more carbon to the air every day (and our electric) than a few cars charging now and then if even.

  8. Joe Bloggs says:

    We’ve been offered to buy back our shared community square for £180,000
    We wish we could pull that extra amount of money out of our rear ends but unfortunately that’s not possible.

  9. Warbankresident1 says:

    They haven’t given one thought to the residents of Warbank, nobody wants smelly environmental hazard bins outside their houses and a potential fly tipping site and 3 electric charging car parking spaces is completely pointless when they have nearly 40 flats built and they’ve failed to provide parking solutions to the existing residents it’s already a nightmare to park and will be even worse once it’s completed, we already had incidents and arguments with the bin lorries not being able to get round and they think 3 car parking spaces only the new residents can use will be adequate it’s insane and should we talk about the amount of dust residents have been subjected to from the building work it’s ridiculous, they’ve already taken so much away from the residents and now are subjecting them to further distress it’s unfair and about time something is done about this company.

  10. Ian Kierans says:

    Have the Police been notified of the crime of theft of property? A crime might have occurred unless a notice was placed by the Council declaring goods as abandoned.
    Mind you having seen and photographed Council Notices being put up/moved after the fact on more than one occasion by developers to ‘help” building works to commence without notice and to residents detriment, I would not be surprised if a digital notice was filed somewhere before or retrospectively.
    Some streets are improperly closed without notice for longer (and to greater detriment to residents and the general public’s health) than many protests caused and not an officer in sight despite them being called.

    The question here is how and why a Council officer and a quasi private company can request Police in such numbers to assist with an in appropriate activity which if not ”illegal” is highly immoral and totally unjust. Thankfully the Police acted impartially.
    But there should be a full inquiry into this and all Councillors and Borough MPs should be pressing Ms Kerswell ‘s for the Councils immediate response into how this came about. Including how and why planning allowed this space to be used by BXB without other resource for the residents being in place beforehand.

  11. gary gal says:

    well just a follow up to the meeting we had.. We lost the square and the council came out looking like the good guys who saved the day.. 🙁 so so sad.. oh well..

    i would like to just say a big thank you to you guys at ‘inside croydon’ for giving us the space to be heard 🙂 and thanks to to good folks for your comments. hopefully all this crap which is going on will stop with us and no more folks have to go though what we had too x

  12. gary gal says:

    one good thing to come out of this is theres a stray black cat who manly lived over there in the square well this morning he came running in my house, so not sure what that means lol 🙂

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