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25 June 2015
Is our built heritage safe with Labour?

The Conservative Group on Croydon Council welcome the adoption of the latest Conservation Area Appraisals and Management Plans (CAAMPs) for Beulah Hill, Church Road and Harold Road.

However, the Conservatives are genuinely concerned about the effectiveness of these conservation management tools, as this Labour Council has demonstrated its desire to flout the documents when it suits them.

A recent application on the Webb Estate in Woodcote is a case in point.

The application involved the demolition of parts of the former Commonweal Lodge School, in Woodcote Lane, and the building of a new block of four flats. The CAAMP for the Webb Estate is very clear that plots must not be subdivided. Officers were, therefore, minded to refuse the application in line with the CAAMP.

However, the Planning Chairman, Cllr. Scott used his new ‘super referral’ rights to refer the item to planning committee for decision.

Whilst many members of the committee agreed on the distinct nature of the Webb Estate and the fact that it was unique, only Conservative Councillors voted to uphold the heritage rules and refuse the application. Sadly, all labour Councillors voted for Cllr. Scott’s proposal to approve the scheme and it was approved by 6 votes to 4.

Only last week in a local newspaper Cllr. Scott commented “there is no reason we can't put flats in that environment." This despite the fact that the CAAMP for the area clearly states that plots must not be sub-divided.

Cllr. Jason Perry, Conservative Spokesman for Economic Development, Planning and Regeneration, said “These CAAMPs have been a long time in the making and provide the policy basis for future planning decisions in our conservation areas. If the Council do not follow their own policies in these areas then the CAAMPS are worthless and our conservation areas are at risk.”

“By riding roughshod over these rules for the Webb Estate, Croydon’s Labour Council has established a dangerous precedent. I hope it is one that they will not repeat.”

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