Old Coulsdon village to fight against planning ‘intensification’

A residents’ association in the south of the borough is organising to defend what it calls its “leafy suburban character” against unbridled overdevelopment allowed by Croydon Council.

Village fate: residents’ associations are pushing back against council development plans

“About eight out of 10 emails in my inbox relate to planning,” says Michael Seabrook, the chair of the Old Coulsdon Residents’ Association, OCRA.

“We are worried, if seems, that unfettered and large out-of-character developments are heading this way in the same manner as Coulsdon, Purley and Kenley.”

Seabrook and the OCRA committee have produced a planning questionnaire which they are asking their members and other residents to complete.

“OCRA has in its constitution defended the leafy suburban character of Old Coulsdon as a village,” the latest edition of the residents’ association’s newsletter says.

“However, Croydon Council considers us to be an area of ‘urban regeneration’ and ‘intensification’.

“Back gardens are going to be subject to more planning applications. We have seen this in Bradmore Way, Caterham Drive, Marlpit Lane, Waddington Avenue and Homefield Road. One approval in one place results in many other applications which change the character. Are change to the area welcome, or unwelcome?”

Their survey, OCRA says, will be used “to develop and support the views of the residents of Old Coulsdon”.

OCRA is working alongside neighbouring HADRA (Hartley and district) and East Coulsdon residents’ associations. Having collaborated over the mayoral referendum, residents’ associations now want to collaborate on planning issues.

Seabrook and his committee asks that anyone wanting to take part in the OCRA survey should email him at ChairOCRA@outlook.com to request a form.

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7 Responses to Old Coulsdon village to fight against planning ‘intensification’

  1. John Harvey says:

    Ocra bridles against “unbridled overdevelopment allowed by Croydon Council” but does not appear to want to understand the pressures on our council,

    It would do well to have a representative join the free webinar at https://www.todaysconveyancer.co.uk/guest-writers/understanding-development-risk/

    • Everyone copes with ‘pressure’ differently.

      That explains why developments happening in Croydon are not permitted in any of the boroughs that neighbour Croydon.

      That’s because nobody else has adopted anything like Croydon Council’s pro-developer Shit-storm of a planning guidance document called SPD2, authored by Heather Cheesbrough and Pete Smith – the latter retired and an attempt was made to put the blame was put on him.

  2. Hazel swain says:

    why should Old Coulsdon be exempt from what the council have inflicted on the rest of the borough despite protests ?

  3. Lee Honey says:

    There are no pressures on the council, just massive mismanagement of projects and funds. Croydon just sees intensification as more income to fritter away poorly.

    • Lee Honey says:

      Because it is one of very few remaining nice parts of the borough. Flats are not needed, people want gardens, especially since lock down. Houses are what is needed not pulling them down to stick boxes up. All this does is massively increase the value of the remaining houses further pricing people out, while flats sit unsold for ridiculous sums as they have also been massively inflated by the lack of family homes.

  4. Lewis White says:

    It is not unknown for local residents’ associations to be heavily influenced by people whose idea of lifestyle and planning and architectural design Nirvana is a June and Terry life in a nice little bungalow in a quiet cul de sac with neighbours who keep themselves to themselves, or a USA fantasy of a car -borne suburban paradise.

    One hopes that OCRA are not stuck in a 1950’s “vision straitjacket”, because they do have a good point about intensification, as long as they really work out for themselves as to what is a reasonable planning policy. The bogeyman of “backland developments” is used to frighten other residents, even if the ends of the back gardens are large and a long way from existing homes

    I have seen in our area, and in nearby Tandridge and Reigate and Banstead, numerous well-designed “backland ” developments, but also some really bad ones. (Editor, am very happy to supply pics.)

    There is a good (no, I mean, really bad) example of one of the latter happening soon in Chipstead Valley Road Coulsdon, where a single new dwelling is being shoe-horned into the small space between the houses in CV Road and the adjacent street. It looks like a real imposition on the neighbours.

    Good ones, however, can make very good use of land , creating decent new homes, where existing back gardens are huge, and hardly used, or even, semi-derelict.

    The main alternative to intensification is building on the open Green Belt. We do need enough industrial and commerial land to service Croydon and a fair share of the needs of wider London, so enough land of this kind needs to be kept– in the right places– and not all residentialised.

    Looking at the Green Belt in Surrey, there are places, like Lingfield, which are bizarrely designate d as Green Belt but are quiote clearly suburban in nature, not countryside. They have big areas of small(ish) houses on enormous plots. If these were redeveloped, at a higher density, the local village would be more viable, able to support public transport links, and secure the future of shops, schools and pubs. Thriving even, with cappucino outlets, tapas bars, nail bars and all the hallmarks of modern post-Brexit, post-Covid (I hope) Britain !

    Looking nearer to home in Croydon, there are still many suitable plots for “intensification”, but there are also plots where far too much development has been crammed on to a plot, resulting in frontages that are all paved for parking, maybe with a pathetic shred of designed greenery like car -bay edging hedges which often get wiped out by cars driving over the very narrow and unprotected shrub beds.

    Intrusive night-time lighting on such car-dominated street frontages with uplighters, downlighters, and unshielded lights to mark the driveway entrances and access steps, is an increasing problem which needs to be controlled before we are all dazzled when we are passing by, and sleep-deprived if we live opposite or nearby .

    Inside Croydon has run several articles spotlighting monster, bully-boy developments clearly far too large and well out of scale with the host street and general neighbourhood.

    The more intensive the design density, and the closer the development gets towards developing from one end of the frontage to the other, the less the space for trees, shrubs and grass.

    With the above concerns about “Nimby” and NAAE (not anything anywhere ever) and other variations, I wish OCRA well, and hope that their survey comes to some clear and intelligent conclusions.

    With design and development, it is pretty well true true that “It ain’t what you do, but the way that you do it” !.

    Now, who said that?

  5. Jill Squires says:

    Croydon was full up years ago. Too much talk of North and South of the Borough from those who should know better (divide and rule) instead of acceptance that all areas are suffering from appalling planning decisions. Wherever we live we should be uniting to fight against the destruction of green and pleasant places.

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