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 The Fairfield Blog
Cllr  Vidhi  Mohan
Cllr  Helen  Pollard
Cllr  Sue  Winborn

Surrey Street Market
10/01/2017 18:44:00......Posted by Helen Pollard

Attended a Scrutiny Meeting where a paper was being tabled about planned public realm work in Surrey Street Market.  It is hard to reconcile the current administration's rhetoric about transparency with the way the plans for Surrey Street have been handled.  The paper about Surrey Street was only available on the morning of the meeting and it comprised mostly pictures.  A bit hard to scrutinise!  There is a public meeting on Thursday about the plans, but the public were apparently not invited.  Nor were ward councillors. 

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Fairfield and College Green
25/02/2017 10:30:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard


Went to the Planning Committee meeting where the plan for College Green and Fairfield Halls was recommended for approval.  

I question the wisdom of putting the Fairfield application into the same planning meeting as a number of other local developments.  Far more time was needed to consider an application this big.  There was an 86-page report prepared about this application and it was hard to give proper consideration to the many aspects of the development given the lack of time.  Anyone looking for more details on the Council's website would have found around 300 pdf documents (most labelled with a code, rather than description) so it was very difficult to work out what was going on.  I wonder whether all this was a deliberate ploy to 'bury' the details so that close scrutiny was made as difficult as possible. 

Whilst I am supportive of the redevelopment of the area and Fairfield Halls I have major concerns about the direction the development is taking.  The housing is very dense and corners seem to have been cut in order to maximise revenue.  Here is a copy of my speech.

I am speaking as a ward councillor for Fairfield Ward and also the Shadow Cabinet Member for Culture Leisure and Sport.

I would like to start by saying that I am pleased we finally have a planning application for the first phase of the Fairfield redevelopment even though it is seven months after the closure of Fairfield Halls.   I have great concerns about the redevelopment of Fairfield Halls given that this application his being submitted so late in the day.  I hope it is still able to open in 2018 so that residents can once again enjoy top quality events in this world class venue.  I also hope that the acoustics of the Concert Hall are not adversely affected and that community groups who want to use Fairfield Halls won't be priced out by a commercial operator who only wants to make a profit.

I'll now move on to the detail of the application.

I accept that there is a need to build homes in Croydon, particularly in this area which  is so close to good transport links, however I think a high price is being paid to squeeze in so many homes.  By which I mean that, in places this development is so dense it will materially affect the daily lives of residents.  

In a throwaway comment at 3.3 the report says that despite daylight and sunlight conditions being below the recommended standards the overall level of amenity for future occupiers would be acceptable. 

But is it acceptable that 36% of habitable rooms will have less than the recommended amount of daylight?

Is it acceptable that instead of half the amenity area for phase 1A receiving 2 hours of sunlight on the benchmark day of 21st March, only 14% will get two hours sunlight?

Is it acceptable that the courtyards for blocks 4 and 5 will receive no sunlight on 21st March and in block 6, only 36% of the area will get the minimum of 2 hours?  Below the recommended 50%?  It is hard to imagine any plants surviving in these courtyards, so they could potentially become concrete no-go areas.

I worry that the flats on lower levels and the communal areas will be dark and gloomy which is not a great outlook for residents.  Their experience of living in these flats will be adversely affected by the poor design and density of development.

Other things that concern me about this development are:

·        Firstly:  The lack of family housing.  6% rather than the recommended 20%.  This will really affect the feel of the place, with fewer children.  It could become a dormitory for city workers, rather than a vibrant community.

·        Secondly: Separation distance between blocks B and D are only 15-16 metres.  Once again, a dark and gloomy prospect for residents

·        Third:  The lack of onsite play space for children.  Ignoring recommended levels

·        Fourth:  The excessive use of concrete in the design.  Croydon has a reputation for being a concrete jungle because of the prevalence of 60s brutalist architecture and the use of bare concrete.  We should be making every effort to steer clear of this approach, especially as the applicant is actually the council.  The proposed design will date and look tatty very quickly.

·        Fifth:  The loss of 37 of the 50 trees on the site.  I hope these are replaced

·        Sixth:  A two thirds reduction in the number of parking spaces.  This will have far reaching implications for people who used to use the car park and also for residents.

·        Seventh: The fact that the council is ignoring GLA advice about the bridge link.

·        Eighth: The lack of comment from the Police’s ‘designing out crime’ officer

Finally, I would like to mention the local parks.  The report refers to the fact that residents can use local parks at Park Hill and Queen's Gardens.  There has been no investment in Park Hill Park despite money being set aside for doing this.  Will there be some s106 / CIL money from this development to upgrade the facilities at Park Hill Park and Queen's Gardens to cope with this increased usage? 

Notwithstanding the comments, I am happy to see that something is finally happening to move this development forward.  I support the overall idea of this application, but I have some major misgivings about the impact of this dense development on future residents.

Note: the photo shows the new college building (two blocks connected by a bridge) attached to the back of Fairfield Halls, which is to the right of the picture.  On the left is one of the residential blocks.




Surrey Street consultation meeting
25/02/2017 10:29:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard


Briefly attended the Surrey Street consultation meeting but had to leave early to go to the Planning Meeting where a decision was to be made about Fairfield Halls.  My colleague, Cllr Mohan was able to stay at the Surrey Street meeting and listen to the presentation from the council and the views of residents.  Having seen some plans for the new signs I'm really not sure about the proposed yellow neon approach. 

I asked for a copy of the council presentation to be sent to me.



Heathfield Gardens
18/02/2017 11:25:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

I have been receiving more objections to the planning application for Heathfield Gardens.  The Council want to build blocks of flats on the area where there are currently garages, and also on the small area of grass.  A petition of 75 signatures has been presented to the Council by residents.  That means that almost every household in Heathfield Gardens is against the scheme.  Let's hope the Council listens.  I await a date for Planning Meeting where I will speak on behalf of residents to oppose this.



Rise Gallery
11/02/2017 17:13:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard


Went to The Light Within exhibition at the Rise Gallery.  Some thought-provoking pieces



Saffron Square
09/02/2017 17:30:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

Met with residents in Saffron Square and heard about issues that they are concerned about including the problems with Southern Rail.



Parks update
09/02/2017 17:27:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

Met with the senior Council officer responsible for parks to find out what is happening with the consultation.  I questioned him about he delays in publishing the findings. 



Heathfield Gardens
08/02/2017 17:33:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

Have heard from residents of Heathfield Gardens.  Many of them are very concerned about the potential 4-storey blocks of flats which the Council plans to build on the only area of grass on the estate, and on their garages. I have referred the planning application to the Planning Committee.



Saraswati Puja
04/02/2017 14:20:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard


Attended Saraswati Puja in South Croydon with Croydon Bengali Connection.  A lovely evening of entertainment from the children and adults of the Bengali community, many of whom live in Fairfield ward.  Received a very warm welcome and felt privileged to be able to join them for this event.  The food was great too!



Project Griffin
01/02/2017 14:18:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

The Met Police are trying to raise awareness of how people can help to prevent and detect potential terrorism threats.  Attended a very good briefing in the Town Hall about 'Project Griffin' and now feel more confident about what should be reported and where it should be reported to.  Hope I never need to do this, but it is good to be prepared.



Meeting with Police
01/02/2017 14:15:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

Unfortunately I could not make the meeting with our Police Safer Neighbourhood team.  My colleagues, Cllr Winborn and Cllr Mohan were able to attend and said it was a very useful meeting.  I look forward to the next one in a few month's time. 



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 Older Blog Posts
Council Meeting
Made In Croydon
John Ruskin College
Meeting Fairfield residents
Queen's Gardens
Culture in Croydon
Cycling Sign
Old Town - Parking Issues
Surrey Street - Notes
Surrey Street Market
Councillor Surgery
Made In Croydon
Cycling in Parks
Fairfield Halls Plans
Croydon Communities Consortium
Community Budget
Meeting residents in Fairfield
Fairfield Halls Plans
Fairfield Halls
Civic Remembrance Service
Councillor Surgery
Whitgift RA
Tram crash
Fairfield Halls
John Ruskin College
Meeting Fairfield residents
BoxPark fall out
South Croydon Business Association
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