The argument that the council-owned property developer was somehow the answer to the borough’s housing crisis appears lost among the high cost of its properties in Coulsdon. By BARRATT HOLMES, housing correspondent
Flats in Coulsdon that were built by council-owned Brick by Brick went on the market this week with a retail value of £53.4million.
Three-bedroom flats in the development are being offered for shared ownership, with a total price of nearly half-a-million pounds.
But any revenues from the sale of the 157 flats on Green Lion Lane won’t be helping to pay off the cash-strapped council’s mountain of debt, at least not immediately, because the properties are being marketed by Notting Hill Genesis, one of the country’s largest housing associations.
Senior Katharine Street sources have told Inside Croydon that the sale of the BxB “Red Clover Gardens” development to Notting Hill Genesis has yet to be finalised.
Industry sources suggest that the price tag, taking into account a juicy bulk purchase discount, should see them paying at least £38million. The council has so far refused to disclose the sale price.
However much it might be, that money won’t be in the Town Hall coffers until after Croydon Mayor Jason Perry has steamrollered through his 15per cent Council Tax hike – which he maintains is entirely necessary because the council doesn’t have any assets to sell…
The public will be denied the information until after the sale, when it will be too late, but Red Clover Gardens could yet prove to be another example where Croydon Council is disposing of public assets at less than their full value.
The five-block development was built on what was a well-used council-owned car park off Coulsdon’s main road. In common with all Brick by Brick’s schemes, has been delivered years later than promised, incurring additional over-runs costs.
When planning permission was granted in 2017, the developers promised that half of the new homes would be “affordable”, although Brick by Brick and the cheerleaders on the council, the likes of Alison Butler and Paul Scott, failed to mention that mostly this meant the very unaffordable shared ownership option.
Brick by Brick never did manage to sell a single shared-ownership home. In the wreckage left by the failed council-owned house-builder, such sales have been left to other agencies, such as Notting Hill Genesis, whose marketing blurb for the site focuses entirely on shared ownership options.
But that has caused concern for some Coulsdon locals that a promise to include 33 flats for affordable rent – effectively council homes or social housing – appears to have been “forgotten” in the post-BxB chaos and eagerness to off-load the development.
“The council and the local councillors are being a little coy about all this and who Lion Green Road has been sold to,” according to one loyal reader.
“All they are telling me is that the unnamed housing association ‘will have to comply with the original planning application’.”
It is entirely possible that Notting Hill Genesis will manage 33 homes at social rent within the development.
The housing association declined to answer Inside Croydon’s questions about the tenures of the properties when this website discovered that they were the purchasers.
Their marketing bumpf for Red Clover Gardens says, “A stunning collection of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments available through shared ownership.
“… With modern, high-specification homes ready to move now, you’ll be pleased to come home, every time.”
They don’t appear to mention the second-highest Council Tax bills in the whole of Greater London.
They list their prices as follows:
- one-bedroom apartments from £71,250 for a 25per cent share – making them priced at £285,000 in total
- two-bedroom apartments from £98,750 for a 25per cent share – giving these a total price of £395,000
- three-bedroom apartments from £123,750 for a 25per cent share of a £495,000 flat.
In the planning documents from six years ago, 96 of the flats on Lion Green Road were to be one-beds, 42 were to be two-beds and just 19 were to be three-bedroom flats.
Lion Green Road, meanwhile, is being subject to a nine-day closure to northbound traffic to allow some finishing work to be conducted at the housing development, to repair the pavement after the building works and to get rid of the original entrance and exits drops to the old car park.
“It should all be done in time for the first sales,” according to our loyal reader.
Read more: The end is nigh: Brick by Brick’s final tower block is sold off
Read more: Council sells off public green space to Brick by Brick for just £1
Read more: Council set to take £100m hit as it winds down Brick by Brick
Read more: Conflicts of interest, incomplete contracts, unlawful payments
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I am saddened that you did not seek the opinion of the shy, selfless and unambitious Coulsdon Town councillor, Mario Creatura.
Last May he sought to allay fear that outsiders with nits would invade the area by posting this on the Croydon Tories website, with a link to it from Twitter:
“Over the past few weeks there have been rumours flying across Coulsdon social media claiming that Croydon Council has sold the new Lion Green Road flats to Lambeth or Lewisham Council for their council tenants to live in.
We’ve investigated, with the help of Chris Philp MP, and Croydon Council has confirmed the following:
The Brick by Brick (BBB) development at Lion Green Road has a mixture of private, shared ownership and affordable housing. BBB have confirmed that they have not entered into any discussions with Lambeth or Lewisham Councils regarding potential sale or occupation by those Council’s residents. However, given that some of the homes will be sold privately, and some will be allocated by a third-party affordable housing provider, the Council cannot determine who these homes will be sold to.
I can confirm that all private and shared ownership units will be made available to Croydon residents first before they go on general release and, where a Croydon and a non-Croydon resident show interest in the same property first refusal will always be given to the Croydon resident. In connection with the affordable rent units, the Council are currently looking at the possibility of acquiring these units for affordable housing for Croydon residents.
Signage outside of the site is managed by our contractor C Field and relates to progress of the works only. It would not be used to advertise information relating to sales or property, and any planned updates for 5th May would be purely coincidental and bear no relation to the forthcoming elections. Detailed sales information for the site will be released following the sales launch, which is anticipated to be in Summer 2022.
I hope this reassures local people that, whilst far from ideal, the new development at Lion Green Road will (where possible) be going to Croydon residents in the first instance.”
Will the aspiring MP for Reigate check whether what was said 9 months ago tallies with what your correspondent has just revealed?
I do hope that nothing goes wrong with the B x B developments, like water penetration through flat roofs, condensation, poor sound insulation, ground water and surface water flooding, etc etc.
What happens if any defects are discovered soon or long after sale?
Will Croydon, as sole paymaster / client of B x B, end up footing the bill ?
Who will end up having to chase builders and architects, engineers and servce engineers — in the case of poor design and execution. It will be an expensive business.
Development has a long tail. Like arms length companies, these tails have a nasty habit of swishing back several years after completion, and wiping the smiles off the developers, hitting the clients in the empty wallet, and making the residents weep.
Anecdotally, Lewis, we’re hearing that’s *exactly* the kind of thing some residents in BxB-built homes are encountering.
Anyone in such a situation – home owners, tenants, shared owners – we’d be interested to hear from them.
Remember Paul Scott wrapped in scarf that hadn’t been washed in ten years preaching to the Council chamber about the need for housing for those starting on the housing ladder – and how these false sentiments were echoed by the blinketed Heather Cheesbrough who didn’t know her planning arse from her housing elbow?
Now we see the reality – and all as predicted.
in the nine flat block at the end of my road, I’ve got to know all of them. I get all their Amazon deliveries.
Two are European company directors who only stay 2-3 days a week.
One is a trust-fund teenager who doesn’t work.
One is a lawyer who owns his own practice.
One is an accountant who stays there weekdays only
One is a couple who don’t live there but use it to shoot tiktok videos (!)
One is rented out on airbnb
And two are owned by couples – one couple owns a car dealership and the other couple owns a property development company.