Residents around East Croydon Station are trying to organise concerted opposition to a planning application to convert a family home on Addiscombe Road into a 13-bedroom … yes, 13 … HMO, or home of multiple occupation.
Two of the rooms in the HMO proposals are less than 12 sqm in size. The hostel would be unstaffed and managed from offices in the East Midlands.
The local residents, who have the support of their Labour councillors in Addiscombe West ward who have called in the application for consideration by the council’s planning committee, say that the proposal “poses an immediate threat to our community”.
In a flyer distributed around the neighbourhood, they say, “The area near East Croydon Station has a growing problem with street dealing and other drug crimes. The cramped and vulnerable resident will simply attract dealers and make it worse.”
The HMO has the potential to become the latest instance in which Croydon has, in recent times, “imported” social problems, as other local authorities and housing associations, from London and further afield, acquire properties in this borough to provide temporary housing for their residents.
The application for 51 Addiscombe Road has been made in a deliberate effort to bypass normal residential standards.
The Addiscombe residents say that Croydon Council already regards HMOs as often being the cause of anti-social behaviour and noise issues, creating problems around litter and the management of refuse, while providing overcrowded and cramped living conditions.
“The development is of such a poor standard that the 13 transient residents of its cramped conditions, and their visitors, will spend much of their time in neighbouring streets,” the residents claim.
“They, and the wider community, will be further targeted by drug dealers who are a known and increasing problem in our area.”
This, the Addiscombe residents claim, risks “radically changing the area”.
They say, “The current mixed housing requires some larger family homes. Previously settled residents of the few remaining unconverted houses in Addiscombe Road will be driven by the above threats to leave in whatever ever way they can. These houses will no longer be viable as family homes and their owners will be forced to seek further development given the loss in value of their main asset.”
They complain that they have had only “very general, brief promises” of how the HMO and its residents will be managed. “While the scheme has obviously been in development for many months, its true nature has been kept secret from neighbours and the wider community.”
Seeking support of neighbours and others living or working in the area, the residents said, “We have all watched the changes around East Croydon with mixed feelings, sometimes including powerlessness.”
Registering an objection to the proposal on the council’s planning website, they urge, “is our chance as a community to start drawing the line”.
The application, made on behalf of a firm of property developers in Pall Mall. It first appeared on the council website last month, with a deadline for comments set for next weekend.
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