Council meeting on 17/10: My speech on Local Plan's impact on Purley
17/10/2016 23:41:00......Posted by Simon Brew
Unfortunately, I just ran out of time for the whole of my speech but this is what I intended to say:
Thank you Mr Mayor for giving me the opportunity to speak this evening. Mr Nair & my colleague Cllr Tim Pollard have already dealt comprehensively with their objections to the Local Plan, but mainly on topics and in areas other than Purley. I now wish to speak on the Local Plan’s impact on Purley, a district centre which I am proud to represent, and in which I have lived for the last 35 years.
Site 324, adjacent to the Purley Oaks Recycling Centre is currently a Highways depot in the South of the Borough, and therefore conveniently close to the many steep hills which need regular gritting in winter. Astonishingly, the current iteration of the Local Plan proposes to turn this site into a Gypsy & Traveller site.
Local Plan policies state among other things that sites should not be located in areas of high flood risk, yet, the Council’s own independent report in 2014 described the situation as (and I quote) ‘dangerous, with overtopping that cut off the entrance for many days’. For this reason alone, it’s surely inconceivable that this site should suddenly now become acceptable as a Gypsy & Traveller Site. Quite apart from anything else, what about the impact on the unfortunate potential residents and their children if this scheme were allowed to go ahead? They would find themselves living next door to a huge contaminated pond which acts as a water storage area when the river Bourne floods, as it did in February 2014, and roughly every 7 years before that. Furthermore, other sites have been excluded on the grounds of noise, yet this site is virtually underneath the noisy Brighton main railway line which operates 24/7 (when they’re not striking).
That’s not all: The Purley Oaks Depot is sited behind a major recycling centre that badly needs expansion, as illustrated by the huge traffic queues that built up earlier this year, but if implemented, this proposal would preclude that expansion.
Finally, the Council’s report on this site in October 2015 scored it only 15th out of 35 sites, and it was not included as a possible traveller site, so there has been no public consultation until now; this has put local residents and businesses at a significant disadvantage. It’s impossible to believe that all the other 14 sites above it have suddenly become so unsuitable that this one is now the #1 option.
As an alternative, the plan should investigate underused industrial sites similar to the existing site at Lathams Way; there are other vacant plots around Purley Way near PC World, and around Croydon Airport.
I have two other Purley-related objections to the Local Plan:
a) Purley – new tower block
Policy DM11.1 states that development should ‘enhance and sensitively respond to the predominant built form’ which in Purley has a range of building heights from 3-8 storeys. By contrast, policy DM44.1B states that there is a ‘potential for a new landmark of up to a maximum of 16 storeys’, and the proposed Mosaic Place is actually 17 storeys high. These two policies are surely incompatible.
b) Purley leisure centre
The addition of a swimming pool at Purley Leisure Centre, site 30, is to be welcomed. However, the language does not specify a ‘like for like’ replacement with a 25m pool with spectator seating, and so could result in the replacement pool being inadequate for local demand. The proposal should be amended to allow for like-for-like replacement or enhancement of the existing facilities.
Thank you for giving me the time to express my doubts on those aspects of the local Plan which relate specifically to Purley.