Council wants to turn Battle of Britain Memorial into lorry park

Sutton Council wants to turn part of the Purley Way into a lorry park for at least two years.

Lorry park: Sutton’s logistics plan will see HGVs parked alongside the Battle of Britain Memorial for the next two years

The council’s construction logistics plan for a special school on Sheen Way Playing Fields will see dozens of HGVs parking up on the A23 alongside the RAF Croydon’s Battle of Britain Memorial, before they get called on to the building site.

They will then drive through narrow roads along a route which even the Sutton Council chief executive has previously deemed to be “a danger”.

Apparently, Croydon Council’s highways department has no problem with Sutton’s proposals.

Jillian Green, one of the independent councillors for Sutton’s Beddington North ward, has written to her counterparts in Waddon seeking their help.

Sutton’s construction traffic plan will see HGVs approach along the Purley Way red route from the south, then parking in the lay-by beside the war memorial until the site manager is ready for them. Once the truck drivers get a call they will access Stafford Road via roadss on an industrial estate, Queensway and Kingsway.

This, Green says, will involve the lorries sitting in more traffic, as Amazon’s delivery vans wait to collect their loads from the constantly busy depot.

Angry and disappointed: MP Elliot Colburn and councillor Jillian Green

“This is a very busy route and is always difficult to drive through,” Green wrote. As well as Amazon, the roads chosen for the HGV route also service DHL, a gym and the Spitfire Business Centre,” she wrote in her appeal for cross-boundary help from Waddon’s Joy Prince,  Robert Canning and Andrew Pelling.

“This is going to be dangerous and is surely a health and safety issue, but Croydon Highways Department have no problem with this proposal and this is something I cannot understand.

“I wanted to warn you because it is possible this debacle will cause your inboxes to swell with complaints from nearby residents who already suffer air pollution from the Purley Way and this will only increase it.”

Sutton’s deputy leader, Manuel Abellan, only last week announced that he was to oppose an increased capacity at the nearby Beddington incinerator because of the harmful air pollution caused by hundreds of additional HGV lorries travelling along the Purley Way, a road which has been among the worst polluted in the whole of London for a decade or more.

The air quality along the Purley Way is so toxic that when, five years ago, Croydon Council decided to go ahead and build a school alongside the road, at the behest of Harris academies, the building had to be fitted out with special air filters to try to reduce the potential for long-term damage to the health of its young pupils. Effectively, the pupils were hermetically sealed against the dangerous air outside.

Green and her fellow Beddington North independents have long warned that the small Sheen Way site, surrounded by narrow residential streets, was not suited for the development of a school.

TP benefits: Paul Scott’s architects firm has been hired for the Sheen Way School

The architects of the Sheen Way school project are TP Bennett, the firm where Croydon Labour councillor Paul Scott is a director.

Sutton Council needs to find a new home for the special school currently based in the historic Carew Manor in Beddington.

A suitable site has been located within the borough, at Rose Hill. But for reasons that can only be guessed at, the council has never brought forward proposals for a school to be built there. Rose Hill happens to be in Sutton North ward, which is represented by Ruth Dombey, the council leader…

The Sheen Way project was refused planning permission from Sutton Council, largely because of the insurmountable logistical issues.

In 2019, Helen Bailey, the council chief exec, took it upon herself to write to Morrisons asking if the supermarket chain would be so kind as to piss off all their customers at their Five Ways store by allowing Sutton to use their car park as a construction traffic route.

In her letter, Bailey told Morrisons that she was suggesting the car park route “to save local residents from the risk that the construction traffic will be a danger on local roads”.

Get in the queue: Sutton wants to add more HGVs to those which clog up the A23 and surrounding side roads

Morrisons declined Bailey’s kind offer.

Then, in May last year, after a legal appeal by the Department for Education, the Planning Inspectorate over-ruled the council, with the backing of Tory government minister Robert Jenrick, handing down a 95-page ruling and telling Sutton to get on with it.

This was all a bit awks for the relatively new Conservative MP for the area,  Elliot Colburn, who had supported residents in their opposition to the scheme and the loss of green open space.

“I am incredibly angry, that the concerns of residents… about highways, noise, loss of a much-loved local green space and much more, have not been heard,” Tory Colburn told his constituents at the time, about a decision that had ultimately been imposed on Beddington by the Tory government.

“If this development is indeed going ahead, then residents’ concerns about the noise, traffic movements, the potential for damage done to property and much more, must be championed both during and after development,” Colburn promised then.

“I will continue to speak up in the strongest possible terms for the interests of residents surrounding the site.”

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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