Two of the borough’s biggest residents’ associations have joined forces to reject council proposals which would allow profit-hungry developers to build even more blocks of “overpriced executive shoeboxes” in their leafy suburban part of Croydon.
The East Coulsdon RA and Coulsdon West RA have added their criticisms of the Local Plan to other groups, as they share the suspicion that what is being put forward by the council is a “developers’ charter” that offers little consideration for existing families and their homes in the borough.
And ECRA and CWRA have also sought to nail the lie in the borough’s housing targets, saying, “The London Plan Review, which was completed after Croydon’s Local Plan first saw light of day, actually reduced the number of dwellings Croydon needs to build by 2039 from 46,000 to 32,000.”
That near-one-third reduction in Croydon’s housing target, say the Coulsdon residents, ought to take the pressure off the area for evermore intensive development, especially after large-scale housing projects, such as Cane Hill, have delivered more than 700 new homes in the past few years.
A joint statement issued by CWRA and ECRA says that the housing targets contained within the council’s current review of its Local Plan “are based on flawed policies and out of date information”.
The residents’ associations’ submission on the Local Plan has also been referred to neighbouring groups in Old Coulsdon, at Cane Hill and in Hartley and District, who have been invited to add their names to it.
The local MP, Chris Philp, has himself described the intensification proposals contained within the Local Plan as “grotesque”.
The “review” of the Croydon Local Plan is currently out for public “consultation”, with a series of revisions to the 800-odd-page document that was produced in 2018. The latest consultation is due to close this Thursday, February 17.
Many planning experts and RAs who have pored over the document have expressed alarm that senior council officials appear to be trying to push through the binding Local Plan revisions with much higher-than-required housing targets ahead of this May’s Town Hall elections – effectively tying the hands of any incoming executive Mayor.
ECRA and CWRA have put together a detailed response to the Local Plan, drafted by local planning experts and property lawyers.
In a statement across their social media platforms, the Coulsdon RAs said, “There is no need to threaten Edward and Victoria Road’s Victorian terraced houses with replacement by yet more apartment blocks.
“Nor do South Drive, The Avenue, The Grove, Bramley Avenue or Julien Road need to have their family homes torn down so more unaffordable one-bedroom flats can be stacked as high as they can get away with…
“The London Plan Review, which was completed after Croydon’s Local Plan first saw light of day, actually reduced the number of dwellings Croydon needs to build by 2039 from 46,000 to 32,000. A proportional reduction in the houses to be built in Coulsdon would then see a target figure of just over 1,500.
“That’s still a lot of housing, but when you take into account the recent developments on Cane Hill, Smitham Yard and Leaden Hill, plus the yet to be completed Lion Green Road site, we actually only need to see 300 more dwellings built to meet the council’s requirements.
“And what the area needs for the future is 300 two and three bedroom affordable houses with private gardens for small and young families, not more overpriced executive shoeboxes.
“What the council should focus on is not more housing, but improved infrastructure and better transport links to cope with the already significant increase in our population.
“Upgrade the failing, overtaxed sewer system, provide more and better health facilities, retain and expand our recycling capabilities, give us the leisure facilities we deserve, assist our local businesses to not just survive but succeed.
“Make Coulsdon somewhere people want to live in, shop in, work in, play in.”
According to one RA member who has attended their recent Local Plan discussions, “We still believe that ultimately the key driver isn’t social engineering and preparing the borough for the future but cold, hard cash. Build more, get more.
“How else to explain Croydon’s drive to build significantly more houses than the London Plan has asked of them?”
- The deadline for all comments and submissions to the Local Plan review is this Thursday, at 5pm. Once the review is complete, the council is supposed to submit its Local Plan and consultation findings to Whitehall for approval. To find out more, click here.
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Well done to these two RA’s and others who have submitted strong, well researched objections to this amendment to the Local Plan. As I understand it, the Department at the Council which introduced these intensification plans is the same Department which summarises our objections and forwards these to the Secretary of State. What faith or trust can we have that these summaries will be as comprehensive as those submitted? Does anyone oversee this process? Is there anyone impartial left in The Planning Department.?