Purley local hits out: ‘It’s always developers before residents’

The Higher Drive road block lasted six days, finally being removed yesterday

CROYDON COMMENTARY: This week BRIAN WATSON, a leading member of the Foxley Residents’ Association, vented his frustrations at the inappropriate building works and overdevelopment being allowed in his corner of the borough by writing a letter to the council leader, Hamida Ali, and CEO Katherine Kerswell.
He invited us to share the correspondence with you…

Sitting in the middle of a building site has become the norm for the residents of the south of the borough of Croydon.

The noise. The mess. The influx of commercial vehicles. The disruption. The inconvenience. The utter disrespect afforded to us.

Our incompetent, bankrupt council still favours the property developers over local residents, and we are paying for the privilege! How much longer will we be paying?

At this moment Higher Drive, Purley, is closed due to the fact that one of the developers, Appledorn, needed to lay a new sewer for yet another block of nine flats.

Flat out: the latest building site on Higher Drive, for another block of nine flats

The road has been closed since early Friday morning, August 20.

At this precise moment, 5.30pm on Monday August 23, the closure is still in place.

Yet no work is taking place.

This closure is causing residents immense inconvenience and has done so right through the weekend, with noise and diversions to contend with.

Residents are yet again experiencing the “developers before residents” attitude of this odious, bankrupt council.

To my knowledge, not one local resident was notified of this road closure, apart from one scrappy little sign, placed at the Purley end of Higher Drive just days prior to the planned closure.

When the Foxley Residents’ Association called the council for further information, they were told that it was the responsibility of the developer to inform residents of the imminent road closure. When the site manager was approached, he of course denied that claim.

Along the length of Higher Drive, and in close proximity, there are nine building sites where blocks of flats are being erected and crammed into the spaces left by bulldozed family houses. The biggest of these, which is only just commencing, is to be a block of 40 flats, with all the disruption and road closures that goes with it.

I’m told there are more proposals to come. Right across the south of the borough there is barely a road unaffected by the arrival of the greedy, money-grabbing developers, all of whom have been welcomed and befriended by Croydon Council.

Rather strange bedfellows when you think about it: a poor, Labour-run council and rich property developers. I suppose there must be some explanation.

There are currently nine building sites on Higher Drive, with one of those developments building 40 flats

The state which this council, your council, has let this borough slide into is beyond compare.  It’s a complete and utter chaotic mess. Central Croydon, now that is something to behold. That’s where the bulldozers should be. I expect soon to see tumbleweed blowing through the Whitgift Centre.

That central government haven’t got involved, the way they have in Liverpool, shocks me. But then I wouldn’t trust most politicians, local nor central government politicians. I wouldn’t trust them to stack the shelves in Tesco.

We residents haven’t been listened to, we still aren’t being listened to, and now we are being bulldozed right over the edge.

FOOTNOTE: The Higher Drive roadblock was still in place on Tuesday, again with no actual work going on to justify the inconvenience being cause. It was finally removed yesterday. Watson, though, has yet to receive a reply from either Hamida Ali nor Katherine Kerswell. An executive assistant in the chief executive’s office emailed to say that they had forwarded his complaint to… the planning department!

This is how he replied:

With all due respect, my original email was directed to the leader of Croydon Council and the CEO of Croydon Council. I do not wish to deal with anyone in your planning department, as it is all too obvious that no one in that department listens to a word we residents have to say.

For nearly 10 years we have made very valid and relevant objections to developers’ proposals, through the planning department, only to have them brushed aside and ignored in favour of their friends, the developers. Therefore I suggest that one, or both, of the addressees respond.

We hope to share those official responses with our readers once they are received.

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This entry was posted in Croydon Council, Hamida Ali, Katherine Kerswell, Kenley, Planning, Property, Purley and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Purley local hits out: ‘It’s always developers before residents’

  1. Maverick says:

    It looks like the Council is being run by idiots.

    I was under the impression that ALL road closures were the responsibility of the Highways Section (Traffic Management) at Croydon Council. This should be covered by a road closure notice and that all affected properties should be informed by this section.

    This also includes councillors whose wards are affected being notified.

    Silly me. I forgot. Who’s the council director in charge? Mr Steve Iles.

  2. Grace Onions says:

    In a bid to get the Council to stop adding to the already heavy burden on our climate and planet, and in particular in relation to building materials and processes, I have twice requested information from the Council as to how both of these factors are considered and adhered to with regard to carbon emissions, bearing in mind that the Council has already declared that it will act accordingly in relation to the Climate and Ecological Emergency. Guess what… they have never replied.

    I am learning more and more about non-violent direct action as a means to stop these processes whereby future generations’ lives are literally being put at risk because of our current lifestyles and general destruction of all things environmental, mostly in pursuit of money. Which incidentally, no one can eat.

    Many channels where reasonable arguments can be put forward just don’t work any more so if you can get onto the site and sit in front of the lorries then you may have a chance of slowing them down for a while, until you get arrested. Then more people outside the gates so they can’t get in or other similar plans if you are determined to stop the development. Even local councillors do not appear to have the power to add weight to objections to these sorts of developments these days.

    There’s plenty of disused/underused office space that could be properly converted into accommodation (not rabbit hutch size for a family of 4 but done with the occupants in mind and not the profits) so while there may be a need for accommodation, there actually are other options. Although back to square one regarding carbon neutral materials and processes.

    • Anthony Miller says:

      It is true no one can eat money but without it labour cannot be stored and trade is dependent on barter which is dependent on double coincidence of wants. Money is not of itself a bad idea. The problem is…

  3. Ian Ross says:

    This is the same borough-wide, with ever more “much-needed housing” to inflict ever more unwanted additional burden on the poor and crumbling infrastructure. The last people considered are the actual residents and, of course, paymasters of this shambolic council.

  4. John Harvey says:

    Looks like local residents are keen to sell their homes to developers

  5. miapawz says:

    Higher drive is now a warzone. Nice family homes roped off waiting to be taken down and replaced with the standard red block houses of cramped overpriced 9 flat developments. The 40 flat development is a doozy. Who approved that? Cheezeborough must want to punish the residents of purley for having a view and a few trees. No longer! you must look at ugly flats!! If you want to see a humdinger go to the one on the junction of Northwood avenue and Higher drive. A tiny but to scale and in keeping with local residents houses bungalow was taken down and a huge pointed roofed 7 flat development crammed in on a tiny sloping site, the neighbours are now hemmed in with no light, their gardens overlooked by this monster. I would be contemplating ending it if that appeared next to my property.

    • No, “Cheezeborough” did not approve “that”. The councillors on the planning committee did. And while Croydon Tories will wail and moan about this kind of development to try and get votes, the Conservative government is making it easier for developers to do what they like.

      • It is well-known locally that one Conservative councillor even sold their own family home on one of these “targeted” streets to the developers, for redevelopment into a block of flats. Yet still he blames the planning committee…

        • SW says:

          If this is the councillor I am aware of, he sold his property to someone posing as a family who then turned out to be the director of a developer (with well-known links to the planning committee). So the developer by this deception got the property without having to pay the “developers premium” that is normally offered and then got his planning permission

        • Ian Kierans says:

          Did it actually go to the Planning committee? Who attended was there any notes? Did the person who decided with delegated authority up and leave the council after making the decision? Did they turn up working for a developer? Can Croydon Planning ever open up and justify their decisions taken? Or will they continue to seek to say it is legal – it is the law – we do not want to waste money on legal fee’s.
          Seriously if a Council goes a year without a few legal challenges to a planning decision by a Developer one can assume they are being quite lenient or are so brilliant they are the best planners in the world to always get a decision right.
          So quick pole Former vote thumbs down or Latter thumbs up!

      • miapawz says:

        My point being that we keep objecting to these developments and writing to councillors of all colours but they keep letting the developers build these out of keeping developments. It feels like residents of all backgrounds from all over Croydon are being punished by the planners/councillors, and and the residents wishes for less development, overridden. How do we stop it and who do we vote for to ensure that responsible development is the policy? I am well aware that conservative councillors are just as useless as the Labour ones.

  6. J Kelly says:

    Purley is in the process of being concreted over, beautiful, architecturally unique properties are being reduced to rubble, making way for, in most cases, hideous blocks of flats. These are flats with no balconies or outside space for children to play, inadequate parking areas and often adjacent to busy roads where air pollution is high, leading to a poor living environment.

    • miapawz says:

      There are no buses that serve Higher Drive or the aerodrome area of Kenley….so these developments will need parking… increasing the need for cars. I agree with everything you say.

      Everyone needs a home, so I can see the need for some development, but can it not be in keeping with the environment, e.g. a development of 4 flats, or 6, (rather than 9) with a communal garden and parking so it fits into the area and does not have a negative impact when a family home is taken? This is what “planning” is supposed to be?

  7. Hazel swain says:

    this isnt just happening in leafy Purley ..my part of South Central Croydon has been and still is being subjected to over development despite objections ….. tower blocks in small residential streets, heavy traffic, noise and dirt .. trees damaged by lorries …sewers collapsing .. general disruption to everything ……

  8. Rico Freud says:

    As someone who works for a utilities company I’m shocked but not surprised at Croydon Councils laissez faire attitude. However, they are broke due to their incompetence. Normally, any road closure with no ongoing works is a big no-no and results in heavy fines for the contractor. Seems like Croydon Council’s inneptitude has not been resolved.

    • Maurice Harris says:

      When speaking about inappropriate developments and knocking down of beautiful houses to erect flats nothing can be more repulsive than the 9 flats. Wing erected on Downsview Road. Again inadequate parking no space as the development is literally in a row of Bungalows!! The deeds on the land have a covenant that states that the land is for a single house dwelling and yet Croydon Council granted planning permission!!

  9. Road safety on Higher Drive will be adversely affected by all these flats and the inevitable on-street parking. The suburban environment is being destroyed without any sense that the changes have been thought through or planned. Some of the developments next to the railway bridge are squeezed into weird congested shapes and rooflines below the road. the overall effect is jumbled, ugly and sad.

  10. It would be interesting to know the value of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) raised by the Council since about 2017 when the current Tory driven planning madness, ably supported by our Council, began. Money has been spent on endless consultants and reports but what exactly the Council intends to do with the money is not currently clear. The infrastructure is not far from breaking point already so I wonder if once the place becomes unbearable to live in houses prices will have to fall to a level people can afford or be used for social/Council housing. Or am I just being a jeremiad?

    On the green front the act of demolishing good houses and pouring concrete to erect flats is extremely damaging to the environment in itself. Or is it?https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/gla_migrate_files_destination/KnockItDownOrDoItUp_0.pdf

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