Croydon Council’s property developer, Brick By Brick, is intent on ruining a rare butterfly sanctuary. It is planning to build block of flats and car park directly next to an area marked as a local nature reserve and Site of Nature Conservation Importance. It is a flower space that is enjoyed by people living in the Hutchinson’s Bank area. It is also a butterfly sanctuary containing at least 40 species of butterfly – some of which are legally designated as of principle importance.
The Council created Brick By Brick and is its main shareholder. The Council’s planning committee has never refused planning permission for a Brick By Brick application. This planning application is therefore almost certain to go through. This is yet another example of an appalling decision from Brick By Brick to build a block of flats and tarmac over yet more green space in the borough.
The loss of green space is going to continue to happen if things do not change. The Council’s Leader, who is chosen in secret by a small group of councillors, does not listen to residents’ concerns. The Council’s planning committee keeps allowing blocks of flats on the borough’s green spaces.
There is nothing at all in national planning policy that compels the Council to concrete over the borough. The Council has chosen a housing target that’s 8,500 higher than even the London Plan requires. Sutton and Bromley operate under the same national policies as Croydon, but they choose to protect their boroughs.
I am therefore supporting the resident led campaign for a Directly Elected Executive Mayor (DEM).
Whilst the current ‘Leader’ is chosen by a few councillors, a DEM is chosen by a majority of all of the voters of Croydon. This means that a DEM could not ignore any part of the Borough (as happens now). A DEM would have to listen to the whole borough. Instead of the Leader being chosen by councillors behind closed doors, the DEM would be chosen by the public and be answerable to them.
We need to collect around 15,000 signatures on paper, which then triggers a borough-wide referendum, the result if of which is binding. If the referendum is a ‘Yes’ the change to a DEM legally has to happen.
A campaign to have a DEM has been set up by a group of local residents associations, under the name DEMOC. While we are nearly there with the signatures it’s really important to get as many as we possibly can – so please do support this important campaign of you haven’t already.
This is the last chance, in my view, to make the Council listen on planning and other issues.