Tomorrow is the deadline for submission of objections to the local plan whch is likely to be voted through in December for submission to the Planning Inspectorate. It really is our last chance to persuade the Labour administration to modify some of the more extreme proposals contained within it.
Creating the local plan is a legal requirement and the work has been going on for many years and goes through lots of stages. And there is much to like in the plan, which lays down the policies and proposals which will determine what does and does not get planning permission over the next 20 years or so.
So there is a lot of good, sound policy within it. But there is also some very bad, unsound policy as well, and where it is bad, it's very bad.
The bad policy falls into a number of key areas:
- Loss of protection of Green Belt status for a number of cherished open green spaces: Croham Hurst, Sanderstead Plantation and Purley Downs Golf Club
- Downgrading of a major area of Metroplitan Open Land (MOL is a form of protection like Green Belt which makes development in an area very difficult) in and around Shirley Oaks Village to having no protection at all
- Creation of a number of large 'intensification areas' where developers are encouraged to greatly increase the allowed density of development: these areas are in Sanderstead, Kenley, Forestdale, South Croydon and Shirley.
- Loss of the protected status to a nymber of roads mainly in the south of the borough and Shirley ('coincidentally' all areas not represented by Labour councillors!)
- The creation of a Gypsy and Traveller site behind the Purley Oaks Recycling Centre - this would preclude the desperately needed recycling centre expansion. This is the last stage in the plan-making process but the first in which this site was the prefered option, making it really difficult for neighbours to object. In previous stages this site has scored very poorly as an option due to its proximity to roads/railway, potential contamination, proximity to the flood control pond and various other factors which make it a highly unsuitable site. Nevertheless, it is now our Labour council's prefered option.
- The introduction of a policy encouraging buildings of 16 stories in Purley
- A recognition of the importance of the pool to Purley (good) but a refusal to specify that it should be a proper 25m pool with spectator facilities (as now) to ensure we have a competition-friendly pool as well as a leisure facility (bad)
The deadline for objections is 17th October at midnight. You can view the letter of objection sent by Leader of the Opposition, Cllr Tim Pollard, here. This contains more detail about the exact issues with the policy and how it should be objected to in this technical phase of the process.
Cllr Pollard says "We are now in the last chance saloon if we want to persuade Labour to change the things residents hate about their proposals. Over 4,000 people signed a recent petition to be presented at Council on 17 October which calls upon the administration to think again about the worst aspects of their ideas. If you haven't already made your views known you have until midnight on the 17th October to do so and we urge all residents to use 'people power' to make Labour think again"
You can email your views to LDF@Croydon.gov.uk any time up to midnight on the 17th October.