Intro: Construction

Croydon’s population has grown massively in the last 20 years and most people accept that there is a need to build more housing.

However, in its rush to build housing at any price the current administration has been following some terrible policies. By being unrealistic about the proportion of social housing which is affordable in any development, it is actually building less social housing. It is building no council housing at all.

The Labour council is, however, letting almost anything be built in the suburbs, where family housing is regularly being demolished to make way for flats. And the council’s planning committee has become a laughing stock: most residents’ who see the process in action conclude that the process is massively biased against the rights of neighbours, in the ‘anything goes’ culture fostered by Labour.

The Evidence

It is a matter of public record that almost all applications are now nodded through by the six Labour councillors as a block.

The committee chair has had the constitution changed to give himself the power to ‘call in’ applications which council officers were recommending for refusal, so that his committee can go against their recommendation.

Brick By Brick, the council’s development arm (which is using your money to engage in property speculation) has yet to actually lay one brick next to another. It has, however, obtained planning permission to build on lots of green space which is much valued by the residents nearby.

In 2017 a group of residents’ associations started a petition against the current committee chair expressing their lack of confidence in the process.

The council has recently published its ‘plan for the suburbs’ which you can read here. If you live in the suburbs, you won’t like it much.

The council is supporting the 17 storey skyscraper proposed for the island site in Purley. The next-tallest building in Purley is 6 storeys.

All the council’s major flat-building schemes in the town centre have stalled – Croydon College, Taberner House, as have many private ones like St George’s Walk and the Nestle building.

Croydon’s Local Plan, published recently, removes protection for 31 treasured green spaces & public gardens, suggests all suburban development should be three storeys or more, removes protection for some green belt sites to enable building on them and puts a gypsy and traveller site in Purley.

London Mayor Khan’s plan, meanwhile, instructs councils to allow building on back gardens and not to use maintaining the character of an area as a reason to refuse out-of-character development

 

Building smarter


There are hundreds of examples of passionate local residents opposing plans to build in their area, knowing the damage it’ll cause – but our Labour-run Council pushes them through anyway. At the same time there are dozens of stalled construction projects, meaning what should be a bustling town is left stagnating. It’s all wrong and it has to change – here’s how we’d do it:

We will protect the Council’s parks and green spaces – the opposite of Labour who have allowed local protections to be worn away

We’ll continue to protect privately-owned green spaces where possible and resist garden-grabbing

We’ll restore public faith in the impartiality of the planning committee by asking Residents’ Associations to advise the committee, to put current residents’ point of view

The Planning Committee must support more residents by refusing inappropriate plans. So we’ll not allow developers to pay for Council guidance to help them get applications through on any but the largest applications

We’ll offer the post of vice chair of the committee to the largest opposition party to break the cycle of voting just along party lines

We will scrap the Chair of Planning’s ‘super referral’ power, taken by Labour in 2015, to call in applications which officers want to refuse so that the committee can pass them.

Pending a full review, put an ‘emergency stop’ on the plans of the Labour Council’s infamous housing company ‘Brick By Brick’. Schemes will only be allowed to progress where they are in the interests of existing and new residents.

Croydon’s proposed housing target from the Labour Mayor of London is way too high. We will fight to reduce the number we need to construct,

Introduce a limit to the number of houses of multiple occupation that will be allowed in an area.

We will respect Conservation Areas – at the moment they are routinely ignored and inappropriate development is permitted

We will push back hard against Mayor Khan’s removal of many protections which currently limit the damage to our suburbs from over-development.

Develop supplementary guidance to limit the damage done to the future of development in the borough by Labour’s disastrous local plan, which was adopted just before the election.

Seek an alternative to the proposed gypsy & traveller site in Purley.

Introduce a limit to the number of houses of multiple occupation (HMO) that will be allowed in an area.

To prevent perception of conflicts of interest we will not allow related councillors to hold posts where one is instrumental in determining planning applications sponsored by the other (shockingly, this does actually happen at the moment).

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