#Macarnage: Not a single ‘affordable’ home from Coulsdon plot

Target: this piece of an architect-designed estate by the Coulsdon Court golf course could be demolished to make way for six terraced houses

Next in the firing line for Macar Developments is a beautiful Arts and Crafts house on Coulsdon Court Road, which the developers want to destroy and replace with six small terraced houses.

The architecturally significant house was built as part of the Coulsdon Court Estate, around the nearby golf course, in the 1920s and 1930s.

Macar Developments are the profit-hungry builders whose director, Natalie Gentry, is married to a senior member of the council’s planning department, Ross Gentry. And the company seems to have few difficulties in pushing their various schemes through the Croydon planning process.

Macar are already building five houses and a block of four flats in the garden of the house on Coulsdon Court Road.

On site: Macar are already building houses and flats in the garden of their latest target property

Residents have until July 19 to submit any comments – although for the second weekend in succession, the council’s planning portal appears to be “down”, for repairs or some such convenient excuse.

According to Coulsdon sources, the Arts and Crafts house was bought in March 2020 for a little under £2million. With its once large garden, local heritage groups reckon that the house now has an estimated value of less than £1million.

In the Affordable Housing Statement submitted to the council to help justify their development, Macar claim that, “The donor property was marketed for sale with Cubitt and West between October 2020 and February 2021, but there was very little interest and no reasonable offers.” Conveniently for them.

The sale of six terraced houses built in its place might expect to raise at least £3million. The development in the garden could generate another £3.5million in sales.

Unaffordable: Macar’s garden development offers no affordable units

By the beginning of this week, the council had not published its pre-app advice for this proposal.

It’s unusual for developers not to wait for this pre-app advice – which includes the points which the council planners might suggest are less acceptable and need changing – before submitting their planning application.

It can’t possibly be because the developers have inside information from the council’s planning department, because that could never possibly happen. Perhaps Macar are just confident in their plans…

But as one concerned local has pointed out, “It’s also worth mentioning that if this goes through, Macar will have built 15 homes on one site without contributing a single unit towards the borough’s affordable housing stock. The required minimum is 30 per cent for sites with 10 or more units.”

Read more: #Macarnage: Planning officer’s ‘leaving present’ to Coulsdon
Read more: Purley residents outrage over planning’s ‘husband and wife act’
Read more: Questions tower over council’s husband and wife planning act

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10 Responses to #Macarnage: Not a single ‘affordable’ home from Coulsdon plot

  1. How is it possible for partners to be this conflicting situation – surely at every level it is wrong. The farce that is probably enacted that the planning officer withdraws from such a project – convinces no one. Is there no body that oversees these matters?

    • “Big Eric” Pickles wiped away local government oversight 10 years ago, in favour of “light-touch” (ie. no) formal regulation. As a consequence, residents have never before been so badly served by local authorities across the country.

      • Lewis White says:

        Thankyou for highlighting this important fact. The Standards Board for England RIP.

        Pickles also robbed many neighbours of their light they previously enjoyed in their back gardens and back rooms, when he allowed people to build rear extensions the size of a double decker bus without need for a planning application.

  2. miapawz says:

    How can the planners approve the destruction of such a lovely house? Surely this is not right?

  3. It’s easy to bash Macar for their cheesy, inappropriate developments. They didn’t write the planning guidance rules in Croydon.

    Croydon’s Planning Guidance, specifically SPD2, which is a laughing stock in other London Boroughs, was written under the Direction of Heather Cheesbrough, heavily influenced by Paul Scott and bulldozed through by the Labour administration. Cheesbrough should have known better.

    It’s no more than a political fingers-up to the green Conservative suburbs.

    Macar and companies like them will be picking over the suburbs looking for opportunities until Croydon Planning Guidance SPD2 is changed.

    Nobody is talking about changing SPD2 so this situation will simply carry on.

  4. Janaka Kumara says:

    This development should be banned. It’s breaching privacy of the neighbours on the Coulsdon road due to overlooking aspect of the properties. This three story development is located well above the Coulsdon road and the houses on Coulsdon road. The developer and the architects managed to obtain the planning approvals perhaps by misleading the council. Approval was granted at the height of the Covid pandemic and when everyone was focus on other critical matters.

  5. Lewis White says:

    There is a real need for a comprehensive look at the exceptional residential buildings of the kind illustrated. Just look at the beautiful brickwork, garden and gate. There are lots in the Hartley area, in some parts of Purley, and the slopes going up hill from South Croydon and -many more.

    There has to be a balance between preservation of everything, and wiping out the architectural memory and representation of the past, embidied in such wel crafted buildings as that ilustrated?.

    I am in favour of appropriate renewal, but once in a while, superb local examples of arts and crafts tradition, with exceptional design, brickwork, tile hanging, clay roof tiles, and beautiful windows and doors, set in wonderful gardens are being demolished.

    I think that a good case could be made for listing of the best buildings and gardens, but even better, a planned way of looking at local renewal that identifies ways of keeping the local gems, and giving them a new context that develops the area appropriately, but not excessively.

    People now seem to want smaller gardens. A big plot with a single house is clearly going to be a target for developers. Rightly so, in my view, as we need to use precious land resources wisely, and we should not fossilise our built environment, or we end up fossils ourselves.!

    In Outwood Lane Chipstead, there was such a house–on a big plot– also Arts and Crafts in style, but languishing in a huge, gloomy and unused garden.

    I was pleased to see some years back that planning permission was given to a developer to build a good number of new houses around the old house. The house now has itself been restored, and is (I think) split into flats. It looks very happy now, surrounded by new but contextual homes of a good modern but respectful architectural quality, and with grass, trees and shrubs, as well as roads and parking.

    It would have been so easy for the Council (Reigate andBbanstead) to have approved a demoition scheme.

    To me, the result is a definite “Win-Win result”. A significant number of new homes (OK, for rather well-off people), and a good building of hgh architectural quality preserved and re-used. There are still many trees on the site.

    Croydon currently seems to be giving permission for over-big, 4 or storey blocks which fill the plot from front to back and end to end, where a 3 storey block of less width, and bulk would be a fine and sensible replacement for a single 2 storey house or bungalow, which would not bully the adjacent 2 storey buildings and their occupants.

    The most flagrant example I see at present is a massive block of monotonously bland pale bricks fronting Pampisford Road. It bears no respect to the local context whatsoever in form, mass or materials. OK, largeish blocks and some design contrasts are appropriate along this road, but there has to be some limit and aim at overall harmony.

    New buildings should in many respects, ….. respect their setting.

    • miapawz says:

      Pamplisford road is now a desert of awful developments. Developments should respect the settings and the neighbours.

  6. Hudson says:

    As the builders arrive early I now have to close my bathroom blinds to shower. Privacy gone to over lookers and soon to be neighbours.
    Oh well, maybe I should just not bother… I’m grossly overweight so let them look and let them all be sick !

  7. Janaka Kumara says:

    Hi Hudson, can we write a petition to stop this development or alter to suit the neighbourhood? I think this development is not within the planning regulations.

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