Lion Green Road scheme at risk
19/01/2016 08:14:00......Posted by Mario Creatura
Information is scant, but it appears that the Lion Green Road has hit the rocks.
Whilst I had no part in the decision to grant the development (I wasn't a Councillor then), I have said publicly that I didn't see a problem with the plans as long as the store and community facilities opened as fast as possible and with the agreed large car park.
The Council is not being forthcoming with the details of the failure of the development, which is a shame given their pretence at being 'open and transparent'. Here is what we know from the Council press office:
- The council will no longer be progressing the proposed development of the Lion Green Road site, in Coulsdon in its current form.
- The decision was made following agreement with the developer CCURV that the current project was no longer a viable option.
- We are still committed to developing the site and are currently exploring alternative development options. We remain in discussion with Waitrose who are still keen to be part of the scheme.
But only in November, a Council spokesperson said that there would be "no delay" in the development of the site following the discovery of ancient remains and the understandable need for them to be investigated.
What happened in the following months has not been revealed by Croydon Council. It should not be unreasonable for the Council to tell me and my residents why and how the collapse of the scheme was allowed to happen; when they first learned the scheme had failed and what they urgently plan on doing about it.
Chris Philp MP and the local Councillors have asked for the car park to be opened up as soon as possible to mitigate the impact that this development has had on the businesses and residents of Coulsdon. Short-term pain for long-term gain is understandable, but with this administration potentially failing with this development it seems there is lots of pain and no gain for my residents. We have been told that the whole car park cannot apparently be opened because of the archaeological discovery and they cannot at this stage guarantee that the car park will be re-opened at all. This is simply unacceptable.
Questions to consider:
- The Council issued a press release of 14th July 2015 which states ‘The car park will close on 19th July with work beginning the following day’. Why did work not start as promised on 20th July? What changed between the 14th and 20th of July 2015?
- Were the Council aware of any potential viability issues when the car park was closed on 19th July? Or following confirming to the Croydon Advertiser in November that there was 'no delay' in the development? If so, then when did you become aware of them?
- How long will it take to develop new plans? Does the Council have any initial thoughts about what will happen with the site?
As ever, I will seek to update this blog as and when new information is released.
Yesterday Cllr Bains wrote to the Council, on behalf of the three Coulsdon West Councillors, urging them to open the car park as soon as possible. He said:
'In July of last year you committed to start work on the new Waitrose development on the day after Lion Green Road car park was closed. This did not happen and in fact several months have passed during which time Coulsdon residents have been denied both vital parking and the promised development.
Will you now open the car park immediately and let local people use it until you have established certainty over the site's future?
To continue to keep it closed in the current manner benefits nobody and only exacerbates the already severe parking problems you are causing in Coulsdon.'
We received a welcome reply today, saying:
'Thank you for your email. We are working to opening the car park as soon as possible.
It is important given the archaeological dig that we are able to secure the site adequately and decisions need to be taken by the Transport Committee in order to re-establish the car park but I can assure you we are working as quickly as possible.'
We have been told that Council officers will keep us updated on the timescales as this clarity emerges. We will of course share any information we receive with you all as and when we receive it. These calls have been echoed by Steve O'Connell, our GLA member, and Chris Philp, our local MP.
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Paint disposal advice
25/04/2018 22:24:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura
A resident on The Vale called me up today to ask for some guidance on disposing of old and unwanted paint tins.
She had apparently called up Croydon Council and spent forever in 12th position in the queue for the customer services department - so she gave up and gave me a ring instead!
Most residents won't be aware, but Croydon Council doesn't have the capacity to dispose of what they call 'hazardous waste' which includes asbestos or corrosive, flammable, explosive or toxic substances, oil - and paint tins.
This is looked after by the Corporation of London:
- You are entitled to three collections per rolling year.
- Each collection can be up to 50L in capacity. This is based on the size of the containers and not their contents.
- Chemicals and paint tins must be put into boxes for collection.
You can call them on 020 7332 3433 for more information or fill in a form on their website to arrange collection.
For the full list of what our Council can and can't dispose of, visit their website.
Welcome £30m investment in Coulsdon South
25/04/2018 15:04:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura
I'm delighted with today's news that Coulsdon South station is to received a £30 million upgrade over the next two years.
Late last year Network Rail submitted a planning application to Croydon Council to install a new footbridge at one end of the station and to build new lifts and stairs at both platforms. At the time, we local councillors wrote very much in support of the plans.
- The existing footbridge will be retained and remain in service
- Platforms one and two will be locally widened to allow access to the proposed staircases, lifts and lift motor rooms.
- The existing pedestrian access to and from the station remains unchanged along with the ticket office.
Network Rail’s route managing director for the south east, John Halsall, has said the plans willl make the station as a whole more accessible: “These improvements will make travelling by train much easier for people with reduced mobility, people with buggies, bags and bikes, and they will make a real difference to how people get around," he said.
"Train travel should be for everyone, and while there are historic reasons as to why not all our stations are accessible, we remain focussed on making improvements to as many as we can."
As a result of the works, the taxi office will be demolished and the waiting shelter as well as the bike shelters will be permanently relocated.
It is anticipated the works will be completed within the next two years.
'Absolutely massive' pothole fixed
24/04/2018 22:44:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura
On Saturday I received an email from a resident of Woodlands Grove letting me know about what he rightly called an 'absolutely massive' pothole on the road. You can see it in the picture.
He had even damaged an alloy on it which is simply unacceptable.
I immediately got in touch with a senior Council officer to ask for this hole to be fixed. I'm very pleased to be able to report that it was filled in earlier today.
The Council should certainly be more proactive in spotting and repairing these holes, but it's worth being aware the appearance of potholes tends to increase in frequency as we leave particularly cold spells. The Council is many things, but it's not omniscient! Do try to use the MyCroydon App, the Council website or get in touch with your local councillors - that's the best way to get these things sorted fast.
Rescuing a resident at the tip!
24/04/2018 22:14:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura
Yesterday a resident got in touch with me over Twitter. He had taken a white van half full of green garden waste to the tips at Purley Oaks and Factory Lane but had been turned away from both.
The reason was straight-forward - the van was just too big!
It was 2.30pm and his rental van had to be returned empty by 5pm. The race was on to see if the Council could help him...
Thanks to a call from me to the Council and some very obliging officers, the resident was allowed to deposit his waste at Factory Lane - he got there at 4pm, with time to spare!
In future I'd suggest all residents look up the dimensions of the vehicles permitted at the tip on the Croydon Council website before renting a vehicle to dispose of your waste!
Productive meeting with Aldi
21/04/2018 15:52:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura
We had a good and productive meeting with Adam (property manager from Aldi) today at the Coulsdon store - talking all things parking.
Regular readers will be aware of the huge issues with cars queing out of the store and the impact they're having on the high street.
As a result of our meeting, Aldi have agreed to the following:
- ALDI to fabricate and install signage at entrance to inform customers to drive into the Carpark and not sit idle at the entrance. At the moment too many queue close to the entrance rather than driving into the car park.
- ALDI to look into the possibility of reducing the number of and moving the disabled bays to the front of the Carpark - moving them will mean they have a shorter distance to walk and means other drivers will be encouraged to move further into the car park to find available spaces.
- ALDI to update all once planning advice has been sought
- ALDI to look at the possibility of monitoring the Carpark at Peak times with store staff.
They're keen to do all they can to help fix the issues, and we'll keep talking to them and the Council to make sure it happens.
Letter to save the Coulsdon Medical Centre
06/04/2018 12:33:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura
Following the surprising news that the Care Quality Commission are to close the Coulsdon Medical Centre, we wrote to Sir David Behan (the CEO) for an explanation.
Dear Sir David,
Coulsdon Medical Practice, 66 Brighton Road, Coulsdon, S CR5 3EE
We write as representatives of the Coulsdon West ward of the London Borough of Croydon to register our strong objections to the closure of the above Medical Practice in our ward.
Our residents have benefitted from the excellent service provided at the Centre for many years and we fail to understand why the practice is to close when the demand for services in the area is increasing.
Locally, we are seeing the development of the Cane Hill site which when completed will bring over 600 houses and many more residents to the area, all requiring the services of local doctors. Now is the time for health provision in the area to expand not contract.
We believe there are over 3500 patients registered at the practice. How do they go about registering with another GP?
We would appreciate your justification for the closure together with some explanation as to how the health provision will be increased elsewhere to cover the closure of the practice and to meet the ever growing demand locally.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Cllr Luke Clancy. Cllr Mario Creatura and Ian Parker (candidate)
Labour's track record - not something to be proud of
27/03/2018 16:13:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura
Last night I was pleased to speak against Labour's debate motion in the final Council meeting before the local elections. Their motion read:
'This Council recognises the achievements of this administration including delivering, the London Living Wage, Private landlords licensing scheme, Don͛t Mess with Croydon, Pride Festival, White Ribbon Borough, Fairfield Halls regeneration, Improving Schools, Choose your future, Investment in services for older people, affordable housing for local people and much more, Croydon is a place that all our residents are increasingly proud of. However there is still much more to do to secure Croydon's long term future, and our town cannot afford to go back to the years of cuts, closures and austerity.
You can watch my contribution here, or read a transcript below:
Thank you Madam Mayor, in rising to speak to Labour’s motion I have to admit to being a little, well, disappointed. If this is intended to be a list of their greatest successes in the last four years then it’s a little pathetic. With a genuinely heavy heart I’ll explain why.
They highlight the landlord licensing scheme, more commonly known as the Tenant Tax, touted at improving the living standards of renters across the borough it forced our 30,000 private sector landlords in Croydon to pass the £750 license fee to their tenants. It’s raised tens of millions - but how many dodgy landlords have been prosecuted by our Labour Council? Newham prosecuted over 1,000 – Croydon has prosecuted ONE - one single solitary person last year.
I’m bemused that they’re proud about ‘Don’t Mess With Croydon’. Proud of the 64% increase in fly-tipping since they took over the running of the Council compared to just 12% across London. Proud of the reduction in recycling rates since 2014. Proud of sacking 20 street cleaners. They shouldn’t be proud, they should be ashamed.
They boast about Fairfield Halls being regenerated – but they forget to mention the hundreds of passionate performers, expert technicians, and loyal locals marched on the Town Hall to stop its complete closure. They won’t mention the thousands who petitioned to beg them to stop – thousands who Labour didn’t listen to. Lo and behold Labour Leader admitted last month the delivery date has slipped – again – this time by a whole year. Is that something to be proud of?
The claim they’re building affordable housing is similarly ludicrous - the Labour Mayor of London’s stats show that last year just 5% of all new builds in Croydon were affordable. In their manifesto they say ‘we’ll provide more Council homes’ but in 2017 this Labour administration announced it would be shutting down the Council House Building Scheme. Since 2014 not one Council house brick has been laid. In 2016 Cllr Newman tweeted ‘Proud Croydon Labour is delivering 50% affordable housing… that’s why I’m supporting Owen Smith.’ Guess you were wrong on both counts eh?
Their 30-page long 2014 manifesto was branded ‘Ambitious for Croydon’. It contained some 109 pledges but here they highlight just 10 they feel deserve of praise. But every single one is either a half-truth, a distortion of reality or taking credit for something started by others.
In conclusion, Labour’s 2014 manifesto serves as a monument to failure – and the nearly 400,000 local residents they have let down.
I oppose this motion.
My Lion Green Road objection
23/03/2018 11:30:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura
17/06297/FUL – Lion Green Road (redevelopment of site to provide 5no. five, six, seven storey buildings providing 96 one bedroom, 42 two bedroom and 19 three bedroom flats: provision of vehicular access, residential and town centre car parking spaces, hard and soft landscaping works and new private and public amenity space.)
That’s 237 bedrooms.
116 public car parking spaces and 45 residential car parking spaces – for 237 bedrooms.
If we assume every bedroom has a driver, which is possible, then that means we are deficient in 192 car parking spaces.
If we assume there’s just one vehicle per flat, which is highly unlikely, then that’s 112 residential parking spaces extra that we need for this plan to work. If we halve that then we are still out by 11.
The main reason for my objection to the plan for Lion Green Road is this – where do those new residents and their vehicles go?
The current Lion Green Road car park has over 100 of its 115 spaces used nearly all day. In the context of the rest of the town, there is no argument for adding a further 237 plus residents and their inevitable vehicles
- The CALAT car park has 35 well-used spaces.
- Aldi car park is often full with four or more queuing and over-flowing into the main road, obstructing public transport and other vehicles. I’m pleased to be meeting with the Property Director next month to try to work out a solution on that.
- Waitrose car park likewise is often full with a couple queuing and some obstruction of passing traffic.
- The side roads with free bays or no controls are also heavily parked - notably The Avenue, The Grove and South Drive. Other roads with no charges are also well parked.
- During peak times traffic is jammed from the Lion Green Road junction with Chipstead Valley Road and backs all the way down that road to often as far as Barrie Close and the traffic is practically gridlocked on Lion Green Road.
This is not the first time that I’ve made this argument to this committee – imagine you own a car, and you have gone through the stress and strain and bought a flat in this 157 flat development.
You’re told that there are 45 residential car parking spaces. Do you sell your car, knowing the odds are you’ll not be able to part? Or do you chance it? You think about all those trips to the North Downs or out into Chipstead and Hooley and greater Surrey. The reason why you moved to Coulsdon! Of course you chance it. Because you simply don’t think that someone else will have the same idea. Only they all do. And they all add their vehicles into our town.
If nothing else, listen to the residents. Residents in Coulsdon are reasonable. That’s why I’ve no problem at all with the two proposals for the applications for the land west of Malcolm Road and the former CALAT centre. Both have more support than objections.
But in this case there objectors include: Chris Philp and Crispin Blunt MP; Hartley and District Residents’ Association; Hooley Residents’ Association; Chipstead Residents’ Association; Steve O’Connell; Old Coulsdon Residents’ Association.
And 256 real people objecting. 256 people saying, please don’t do this to our town. 256 people saying – think again.
I’d urge the committee to support them.
My Coulsdon Community Centre objection
23/03/2018 11:30:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura
17/06216/FUL – Community Centre on Barrie Close - demolition of existing community centre and erection of 33 residential units comprising 4 one bedroom flats, 12 two bedroom flats and 17 three bedroom houses, together with provision of car parking, landscaping and other associated works).
Two strands to my argument against this plan – the first is that there is no need to demolish a beloved community centre and relocate it in the first place, and the second is that what will be constructed there is deeply unpopular with some 165 of my residents.
There is no compelling case for Brick by Brick to demolish and relocate the Coulsdon Community Centre given its immense popularity with the thousands of residents who use it on a regular basis. It has a 95% usage rate and the car park is full most of the time. It is used by parents taking their children to classes, it’s used by elderly residents with mobility issues who need to park close to the centre, and everyone in between. It is used for our surgeries often accompanied by the regular Zumba class!
Parking is already very heavily congested at the section of Chipstead Valley Road that the Centre currently occupies, including the perpendicular roads of Coniston and Sherwood. One space per property for 33 properties is not enough for these new builds and will only make parking worse for those residents already in the locale - particularly those in Barrie Close.
As the new proposed development is up hill from existing properties residents have contacted me fearing that they will be able to look down directly into bedrooms and bathrooms of existing properties, seriously affecting privacy and security.
The 21st November 2017 Development Presentations for item 5.1 of the Committee Planning Agenda state:
“It is considered that 3 storeys would be an appropriate maximum height for the properties to avoid the development having an overbearing impact on the surrounding 2 storey context. It is important that only the rooftops of the properties are visible through the trees from the surrounding area to be consistent with local character.”
The design of four storeys high is therefore contradictory to the council’s own development presentation. A reduction in the height/size of the development should be considered to mitigate these very real fears.
It is well known that the sewage system on this part of Chipstead Valley Road has overflown several times in recent years, adding this many properties to the outflow without heavily investing in underground sewage infrastructure is believed it will only make the problem worse. There appears to be no guarantee from the developer that this will be improved should these additional residents move in to the congested area.
There are a large number of other residential developments that are either in construction, have been recently finished or have recently been approved including the hundreds of homes on Cane Hill, the Lion Green Car Park development, new flats at 177 Chipstead Valley Road, new flats at 193/195 Chipstead Valley Road etc. all with insufficient parking provision. Altogether, this will result in around an extra 900 dwellings in Coulsdon. Without any planned changes to the town’s infrastructure – especially with regard to trains, roads and schools – this is a clear case of over-development of Coulsdon more broadly.
The loss of the existing Coulsdon Community Centre building would be a sad event for the history of Coulsdon. The building dates to 1935 and has much architectural and historic interest to the local community. It is well-used, with 95% occupancy rate. Last year Cllr Timothy Godfrey, Labour Cabinet Member for culture, praised the community services offered by the Coulsdon Community Centre and has cited it repeatedly as an example of best practice in the borough. Demolishing this Centre seems entirely contradictory, hypocritical and destructive to our community.
Again, I ask the committee to listen to the residents of my ward. Listen to the two MPs and the residents’ association who have deep concerns. They are not being unreasonable, they have legitimate concerns as I have outlined and 165 have taken the time to write to object and ask you to think again.
Objectors include Chris Philp and Crispin Blunt MP, Hooley Residents’ Association. The Coulsdon Community Centre is against/neutral.
Labour dominated planning committee approve controversial Coulsdon schemes
23/03/2018 11:26:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura
Sadly last night our Labour-dominated Planning Committee decided to ignore the hundreds of local residents who objected to the intensive development of Lion Green Road and the demolition of the much-loved Coulsdon Community Centre and grant two controversial local schemes.
256 residents and local businesses objected to the former, 165 for the latter. Naturally I am very dissapointed by the result, but I'm more concerned by the strain that these 190 new properties will add to the infrastructure of our town.
The Croydon Advertiser has covered the result of the meeting on their website, it's well worth a read.
My objections to the plans are laid out below but you can watch it and access the contributions of others by clicking the link in the headings.
See older blog posts