Bellway scales down plan for Lido site after locals’ complaints

Housing correspondent BARRATT HOLMES reports on a bit of a climb down from ‘The Platform’

Towering concerns: Bellway originally wanted to build up to 10 storeys tall around the listed diving platform. Now, they say, they have scaled back those plans

House-builder Bellway has scaled down its plans for the site of the former Wyevale garden centre near the Purley Way, reducing the height of its tallest residential tower by half.

Another round of consultation is about to start over the sensitive site alongside the vast green open spaces of Purley Way Playing Fields and including a listed structure, the art deco concrete diving tower of the old Purley Way Lido.

Leaflets for the consultation sessions have been distributed around the Waddon Estate.

Conspicuous by its absence from those leaflets is any mention of the 10-storey block of flats from their earlier proposals, that would have dominated the skyline next to the playing fields and the mostly two-storey houses on the estate.

‘A maximum of five storeys’: Bellway’s latest leaflet

Inside Croydon revealed in early 2021 how Bellway had acquired the site on Waddon Way which, from 1935 until its closure in 1979, had been the Purley Way Lido. The garden centree closed in 2018.

The house builder had originally unveiled plans for 180 homes to be built around the former lido’s Grade II-listed diving tower. Bellway intends to call its development “The Platform”, as a homage to the diving board.

In March 2022, Bellway submitted a planning application to Croydon Council to build 180 homes, including the overbearing 10-storey tower block. That application is still shown on the council’s planning website as awaiting determination.

According to well-placed sources, Bellway were strongly encouraged to increase the number of new homes proposed for their scheme and to include the 10-storey block after pre-application discussions with the council’s planning department, even though such over-development went against residents’ wishes and was firmly opposed by Waddon’s councillors.

It also meant ignoring the council’s own tall buildings planning guidance, with council planners urging the developer to pre-empt the review of the Croydon Local Plan and Purley Way Masterplan.

It did not go unnoticed by Waddon’s previous councillors, Robert Canning, Andrew Pelling and Joy Prince, that Bellway’s consultation on these original proposals took place after the developer had already submitted its plans to the council.

In a strongly-worded consultation response, they slammed Bellway for undertaking what they saw as a sham consultation, as well as raising concerns about overdevelopment, building height and likely additional on-street parking stress.

Unlike some of the councillors who stood down at the local elections on May 5, Canning, Pelling and Prince carried on working hard on behalf of their constituents even in their final days as elected representatives.

That hard work appears to have paid off for Waddon Way residents. In its latest glossy flyer delivered to homes around the site, Bellway is at pains to emphasise how it has listened to the community and made a number of important changes to its proposals.

In its flyer, the house builder says how its plans now include:

  • a reduced number of homes on the site – Inside Croydon has been told by a spokesperson for Bellway that 165 are now proposed
  • improved public realm, including new trees and better connections
  • restoration of the Grade II-listed diving platform
  • improvements to overall design
  • a reduction in height of buildings, to a maximum of five storeys

The now former Waddon councillor, Robert Canning, told Inside Croydon, “I’m pleased that Bellway has listened to local residents and their former councillors and significantly reduced proposed building heights.

“It’s not clear from the flyer how many new homes are now envisaged. Too many would risk overdevelopment, sub-standard accommodation and on-street parking chaos if adequate off-street parking is not provided bearing in mind that Waddon Way is not well served by public transport.

“The devil is usually in the detail and I’d encourage local residents to look at the revised plans carefully and make sure they have their say in this further round of consultation.

“Waddon is also fortunate to have two excellent new Labour councillors in Rowenna Davis and Ellily Ponnuthurai who will be looking closely at what is being proposed. I’ve been very impressed by how Rowenna and Ellily are speaking up for residents on planning matters and calling out inappropriate development.”

The flyer also contains details of the public consultation arrangements.

Drop-in events on the revised scheme will be held at the Aerodrome Hotel on Purley Way on Wednesday November 16 between 2pm and 5pm and on Thursday November 17 between 3pm and 7pm.

A virtual consultation will also be available from next Tuesday, November 15, which can be accessed at: Comments can be submitted via this site or directly to Bellway at

Anyone who is not online can request a consultation pack by calling 020 3398 1590.

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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4 Responses to Bellway scales down plan for Lido site after locals’ complaints

  1. Ian Kierans says:

    Well done to Joy, Robert and Andrew. And yet another reason to somehow re-elect Mr Pelling. Irrespective of party the guy actually works and gets results for his constituency with his fellow Councillors.
    All three Councillors are a credit to local government and they type we so desperately need in all wards

    How many votes did the Labour Party lose by its actions? I would suggest that we might be having Ms Shawcross as Mayor and with a better plan and manner of doing tasks if Mr Pelling had not been expelled.

  2. Derek Martin Evans says:

    Forget about building housing around the diving boards, it will never work. Instead, open the pool again.

  3. Mojo says:

    I always thought the land was bequeathed to the Council for leisure purposes for the benefit of the Council’s residents. Not sure how residential use was ever allowed to 9veride the covenant in the transfer.

  4. Lewis White says:

    Development of this kind is– fitting for a development close to the old Croydion Airport– somewhat “out on a wing”.

    What I mean by this, is that it is well away from the town centre and the “urban centre of gravity”. Will this sort of development work in such a location? I am really not at all sure.

    How can one create a new community? Or do today’s people not really want one? I count myself in this, although I am blessed to live in a street where most people not only now their neighbours but people in all parts of the road. And I do live an easy 5 minute walk from busy, friendly Coulsdon town centre with its 3 supermarkets, numerous restaurants, real small shops, 2 dentists, child day care centre, 2 primary schools, library, take aways and cafes, many buses and two train stations. So I am privileged. Very.

    What will these Purley Way development enjoy, apart from looking at the iconic diving board?

    This development looks rather continental. A bit of an experiment in new peri-urban living, perhaps. An island of a number of blocks but not at all cosy as a place to live.

    Will it end up, in 20 years, as a favoured residential address, or will it be a failed experiment ? Who will manage it overall? Will residents feel art of the whole –or just people who pay the rent and sleep there? Without gardens, or secure communal landscaped spaces, will people feel “grounded” ?

    In a sunny, elevated and relatively “fresh air” type of position, set some distance from the polluted Purley way, with- it is hoped, but not guaranteed– views out over the rising ground with playing fields to the South and East, this should be a great place for children to live, if it has safe play provision. And safe storage for every family’s bikes which avoids the need to take bikes up in lifts or stairs.

    What sort of facilities will there be? A doctor’s surgery ? (no ideas if that is more than a mental pipe dream) A viable, really nice cafe ? A supermarket ?
    And– most important– will these be businesses be viable, or be empty in a few years ? Sustainability. Um.

    What really would make people’s lives good ? Can it be provided out here on the edge of town?

    Who will want to live here? Or will they just have to?

    I had a really good look at the previous proposals, and contacted the developer for clarification about some aspects of the design, but sadly never ended up sending observations in to Bellway. The consultation period was not long. Credit is due to the local Councillors who clearly not only really looked at the proposals, but took an informed view, made their comments, and have influenced changes.

    I liked the brickwork design, but wondered about the underground car parking, and whether this will be 100% secure or become a no-go area? What would the landscaped roofs look like, and will the landscaping be maintained?

    What really would it be like to live here?

    I must have a look at the new plans, but lack a crystal ball to see the future.

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