Our local green spaces and the character of our local area are under threat. I am delighted hundreds of local residents have joined me to try and protect them.
Croydon council (which is currently Labour-controlled) has recently published a draft “Local Plan” for consultation. The Local Plan lays out broadly what the council will allow to be built over the next 20 years. If a planning application comes forward which is consistent with the Local Plan it will almost certainly be passed. The deadline to respond to the consultation was 18th December 2015.
As our local MP, I have very serious concerns that some of the proposals in the draft Local Plan will threaten green spaces and the character of our neighbourhood. Of course we need to build more homes, but I believe that we should prioritise brownfield sites and make sure we preserve the character of our area.
I have gone through the 200 page document in detail, and I have listed what I think are the worst 10 proposals below. If you can face looking at the full document, it can be viewed here:
1. Garden Grabbing
Policy DM2 (p18) allows “garden grabs” to become much easier. National policy and London policy classifies gardens as greenfield, and there is an assumption against developing on gardens. But new Policy DM2 says that the council will allow building on gardens if “it will complement the local character and biodiversity is protected”. This is totally subjective and so is a much weaker form of protection, and will provide cover for developers to be given planning consent to build on gardens. I oppose making it easier to build on gardens as it will remove green space from our neighbourhood. There should be a presumption against building on gardens.
2. Purley Skyscraper authorisation
Policy DM40.1 (p166) says that a skyscraper of 16 floors can be built in the centre of Purley. I am sure that this policy is written with the specific site opposite Pizza Express on Purley Cross in mind. I totally oppose this. A skyscraper of 16 floors will completely change the character of Purley town centre and is wholly out of keeping with the rest of Purley town centre which is no higher than 5 floors.
3. Purley Pool
Policy 40.4, Table 11.3, Site 30 (p168) talks about redeveloping the current Purley Pool and multi-story car park site. Redevelopment would be welcome, but any new leisure centre must include a pool and the policy should make this clear. It should also make clear that the total number of public parking spaces should not go down.
4. Purley Parking
Policy 40.4, Table 11.3, Site 61 (p168). This car park at 54-58 Whytecliffe Road South is being re-designated as residential. Given the parking problems in Purley town centre, any new scheme should have at least as many public parking spaces as the current car park.
5. Sanderstead “Lidl” Site
Policy DM41.3, Table 11.14, site 306 (p171) says that retail can be built on the old Good Companions Pub site at the junction of Limpsfield Road and Tithepit Shaw Road. This site is owned by Lidl and has been the subject of a previous planning application by them. A Lidl or similar store on this site would cause traffic chaos. This site should only be considered for tasteful residential development, and not for retail.
6. Gypsy/Traveller site on Conduit Lane, next to Coombe Wood Gardens
Policy DM44.2, Table 11.17, site 661 (p179). The council plans to create a Gypsy/Traveller site here. This is a greenbelt site, and it is not appropriate to put a traveller site here. Policy E of “Planning Policy for Traveller Sites”, published by the Government in August, says very clearly: “Traveller sites (temporary or permanent) in the Green Belt are inappropriate development”.
7. Loss of Green Belt – (1) Coombe Playing Fields, (2) Croham Hurst, (3) Sanderstead Plantation
The Coombe Playing Fields, currently Green Belt, are being proposed for development in Policy DM44.2, Table 11.17, site 662 (p179). The site should remain as green belt. Croham Hurst Woods are being de-designated from Green Belt to Metropolitan Open Land in Policy SP7 of the Strategic Plan (p55 of Polices Map). Sanderstead planation is also being downgraded from Green Belt to Metropolitan Open Land. I object to all these downgrades.
8. Lack of Parking in new developments
Policy DM28 (p115-116) of the draft Plan will require developers to provide fewer parking spaces in areas of low public transport accessibility than the London Plan allows for. The Council assumes that this will lead to fewer people owning their own car. In fact, it will lead to more and more pressure on on-street parking. I will be calling for Policy DM28 to allow higher levels of parking in all locations than the London Plan contemplates, because so many of our District centres (such as Purley and Coulsdon) already have very severe parking problems. Policy DM29 (p120) prohibits temporary car parks. This is too restrictive as temporary car parks may sometimes be needed.
9. Coulsdon Town centre – Current Waitrose Site
Policy DM35, Table 11.8, Site 945 (p146) is the current Waitrose on Brighton Road, which will close when the new one on Lion Green road opens. The plan contemplates residential and healthcare uses, but I believe that ground floor retail should be allowed as well as potentially healthcare, and require as many public car parking spaces as there are currently on the site. The parking is especially important given the current parking problems in Coulsdon.
10. More Protection; Less “Intensification”
The loss of Local Area of Special Character protection for many roads such as West Hill, Campden and Spencer Roads, the Woodcote Estate and Hartley Farm will open these roads up to inappropriate development. Roads such as Oakwood Avenue in Purley should also be included as new Local Heritage Areas. In Policy DM31.4 (p126) some parts of Kenley, Sanderstead and South Croydon are earmarked for “intensification” – which is a euphemism for more building. This will change the character of those areas and should be opposed.
I have formally submitted my objections to the above and hundreds of other local residents have also done the same.
P.s Have you signed the petition to keep Fairfield Halls open throughout the redevelopment and not to start work until it has secured the funds to complete its refurbishment and can guarantee it will reopen? If not, you can sign it at: www.surveymonkey.com/r/savefairfieldhalls