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 The Sanderstead Blog
 
Cllr  Lynne  Hale
Cllr  Yvette  Hopley
Cllr  Tim  Pollard
 

Two planning applications pushed through
30/01/2017 16:47:00......Posted by Tim Pollard

I normally try to avoid being excessively political in this blog, as I am conscious that it is read by people who support all political parties (and none). However, this post is going to have to be the honourable exception to that rule.

Last Thursday night the Labour-dominated planning committee approved a number of intensification schemes in the south of the borough including two in Sanderstead. Sadly for local democracy, there was never any question that these schemes would be refused – despite the fact that committee members are not supposed to be whipped or express pre-determination, in each case all six Labour members voted en bloc.

The first of the schemes in Sanderstead was 105-107 Purley Downs Road, currently occupied by two lovely and distinctive large detached houses opposite the golf course. The proposal is to demolish both and replace with two large blocks of nine flats. One block is to be for sale and the other to be ‘affordable’, in co-operation with a housing association. I spoke in opposition to this development, as did a representative of the residents in Hill Barn, who would be most affected.

Here is what I said:

105 and 107 Purley Downs Road are two of the finest detached properties in Sanderstead, one of which was built by a local builder whose works are characterised by the distinctive glazed green tiles. As such I deeply regret that the owners have opted to sell these beautiful houses to a developer only for them to be demolished. That’s a great shame, but sadly I have to accept that it is not unlawful to do this.

If they are to go, it would seem a great shame not to insist that the space is filled by the type of accommodation of which we need much more and which is found a few yards down the road in Maywater and Tindale Closes – namely small family detached houses.

Instead , advised by the council during an extended pre-application process, the committee is being asked to adjudicate on two large blocks of flats, of which there are no other examples on Purley Downs Road. The two blocks are derived from the blocks from a previous scheme on this location, which was treated as two separate schemes on each of the plots of 105 and 107, both of which were refused by Croydon, upheld on appeal. The Inspector determined that the previous scheme would ‘materially harm the character and appearance of the area’. He further concluded that the scheme ‘failed to promote or reinforce local distinctiveness, and to seek a good standard of amenity for all existing and future occupants of land and buildings, a necessary requirement of the National Planning Policy Framework.’

It is hard to see that these concerns have been substantively ameliorated in the new scheme. The buildings are still alien, do not promote local distinctiveness and offer poor amenity for residents of the buildings. They still materially harm the appearance and character of the area. The revised scheme does go some way towards reducing the bulk and massing issues with the first scheme, although it will still be significantly worse than the current buildings and more intrusive than any others on the road. In particular there will be significant dominance as seen from Hill Barn , along with a significant increase in the overlooking of the detached properties in Hill Barn which back onto the site. This will result in a loss of privacy to those residents, especially from the higher floors in the new blocks. Although some soft landscaping is proposed, the parking requirements mean that this is necessarily modest in scale. It does not offer much reassurance that the privacy of neighbours will be protected.

The new blocks have been brought forward significantly and now stand in front of the building line. This will increase the dominance as seen from the road. In the locality people accept that development on this site is probably inevitable. But this is the wrong development for this area so I would ask that the committee refuses the application.

Sadly all these arguments were in vain. The Conservative councillors present moved refusal, which was rejected by 6 votes to 4 and the committee chair, Labour’s councillor Paul Scott then moved approval which was agreed by the same 6 votes to 4.

The second application, for land between Church Way, Briton Hill Road and Arkwright Road, went the same way. Here a tiny access road was to be created which is too narrow for a fire engine to get access, to lead to three new two storey detached houses. A local resident spoke very eloquently about the good reasons for refusal. Again the four Conservative councillors on the committee chose to support the 35 residents who were against the development in this form. Again the Labour chair proposed approval and his five colleagues slavishly followed his lead. Six to four in favour.

The other applications in other wards had all gone the same way when I left. Perhaps I was an unlucky charm that night, because shortly after I left we had a rare success - in Croham ward. Cllr Jason Perry and Cllr Luke Clancy proposed and seconded refusal on a scheme to replace the Stag & Hounds pub with an over cramped development. Whilst there was nothing to protect the pub in planning terms, Jason and Luke argued it was an over-intensification and pointed especially to the lack of defensible space for the residential units fronting busy highways which showed the developer had built as close as possible to every boundary - in some cases by 0.2 metres. To Conservative members’ astonishment the chair of the committee agreed with them, Labour abstained and they overturned the officer recommendation. Doubtless it will soon be back in a slightly less awful form and will be agreed, but at least this was a small victory for local residents.

Even more alarmingly, the Chair nailed his colours to the mast in terms of setting out what the Labour Group’s policy is. He said – and I quote – “There is no area of the borough where it is inappropriate to build flats”.

He went on to outline that respecting the character of an area does not mean building dwellings that are broadly the same as the ones around them. Nowhere, apparently, has the right to be considered special. And our housing need is so acute that, according to Scott, ‘every part of the borough will require intensification’.

Isn’t democracy marvellous?

 
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20mph Zones in South of the Borough
16/01/2018 19:20:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley

 
 

As residents will be well aware signs are appearing in the south of the borough for the introduction of the 20mph zone.  We realise that this may well be confusing for some residents with Sanderstead Road and a number of others remaining at 30mph whilst others such as Purley Downs Road are 20mph.  

Residents may also find it particularly confusing when faced with a choice.  What do you mean you might say?  Well in some roads, Farmfields for instance, just by Sanderstead library the signs on the entry to the road show 30 on one side and 20 on the other.

I have asked officers if they can explain the signage which residents have brought to my attention saying they are quite confused.

 


 

Enquiry into Purley Tower
16/01/2018 14:29:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard

I today attended the morning session of the Purley Baptists' Church public enquiry. Below is the notes I based my comments to the inspector on - it's not verbatim, but it's pretty close to what I said.

I am not opposed to a mixed use scheme on this site per se. The Councillors’ manifestos in local elections 2002-14 all included a pledge to encourage appropriate development on this site. The issue for me is the scale and appropriateness of the application.

 

Many towns have faced a similar moment of decision, where a single application determines the future direction of an entire built environment. Croydon town centre had its moment in the early fifties – when it chose to become an edge city rather than a market town. This is Purley’s moment.

The future with this development seems certain to be quite different from the future without it. In most planning applications a building is just a building. In this case it is highly likely that it will determine the whole future of Purley.

Local MP Chris Philp has set out his view on how this development is in conflict with policy at national, regional and local level. That case has been extensively tested in the enquiry so I won’t repeat those arguments.

Just a few points from Chris’ evidence to highlight. From CLP2 (2017) DM16 tall buildings should “Respect and enhance the local character”. Elsewhere “The design should be of exceptional quality and demonstrate that a sensitive approach has been taken in the articulation and composition of the building form which is proportionate to its scale”.

I don’t believe this scheme in any way respects of enhances local character and my personal opinion of the design as set out so far is bog-standard at best. It is completely different to any other building in Purley or any building in the borough south of the town centre. It would not be out of character in Croydon centre.

As articulated by Chris Philp last week, there are other policies in CLP1 SP4 which it can be strongly argued this proposal contradicts: positive contribution to the skyline and high quality public realm appropriate to the scale & significance of the building.

Steve O'Connell spoke about the tunnel effect which would be created with the road running between the densely built southern site and the island site itself. I fully agree with him.  The point has also been made that a ‘landmark building’ does not have to be tall – indeed the one marking the edge of the town centre which you see as you enter the gyratory under the railway arches is only 6 storey – it is the design which makes it a landmark, not the scale.

And the point has been made that Purley is accessible by public transport and has a high PTAL rating. That’s true if you are going north-south, but not east-west.

The strong local opinion against a development of this scale has been previously set before the Inspector. These residents are not nimby’s  - they are local people who are concerned that this proposal will redefine Purley town centre for a generation and is taking the town in a direction which they, as local residents, have not signed up for.

Given the landmark nature of this decision I would urge that policy be interpreted in the light of the directional change it would mark for the town and great weight be given to those policies which can be seen as suggesting that this is not the right development for this site.

I would conclude by stressing that I want to see this site redeveloped. I want to see the church develop its community offer and I want to see the site contrivute to the housing needs of London. I just don’t want  to see this happen at any price to the town. A smaller, less dense development which makes appropriate arrangements for parking in line with how people actually behave would be very welcome.

I therefore urge you to reject this application to enable a better one, which can have local buy in, to come forward.

 


 

Mitchley View road safety
18/12/2017 14:54:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard

Last week I received a petition many residents of Mitchely View, Briar Grove and the nearby area of Mitchely Hill have signed to request that the council agrees to extend the double yellow lines on Mitchley Hill to either side of the Mitchley View junction, with the aim of improving road safety as residents leave Mitchley View.

I have written to the council’s democratic services manager to ask that this be put on the agenda for the next full council meeting on 29 January 2018. I will present the petition to the relevant cabinet member and he will respond to the request either at that meeting or the next one.

A couple of concerned residents contacted me in the summer about this and I wrote to the council’s road safety officer asking that the junction be prioritised for consultation. The response that I got then was not encouraging, reproduced in full below:

The officer wrote…… 

I did spend some time on site looking at the sightlines and also observing driver behaviour at the junction and of course driving out of the junction myself.  I’ve attached a series of photographs showing the line of sight for drivers emerging from the junction.

In short the existing double yellow lines and the fact that the junction is on the outside of a bend helps provide good sightlines and there is no justification in extending these at the present time.  Care is always needed when joining a main road but I don’t consider this junction any different to many junctions across the Borough and if anything probably easier to negotiate than some.

Although this response was not favourable, and this will therefore colour the view of the cabinet member making a response to the petition, I do agree with residents (as opposed to the officer) on this and am happy to keep pressing the council to think again. A letter similar to this blog post will be hand-delivered to the residents affected in the next few days.

 


 

Xmas Lights - Sanderstead and Hamsey Green
05/12/2017 17:12:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley

 
 

On Saturday I attended the official switch on for the Xmas lights outside Priscillas Cafe.  The Sanderstead councillors purchased additional lights for the trees and lamp posts from their councillor budget for Sanderstead and Hamsey Green.

It was a joyous occasion officiated by Jeremy Groombridge from All Saints Church and of course Santa who arrived courtesy of the Rotary Club. The lights will remain on during the day throughout the festive season and have low voltage bulbs.

It has made a huge difference to the area and we have received many compliments and thanks for all the work involved in making Sanderstead more festive!

 


 

Garden grabbing encouraged in Mayor Khan's London Plan
29/11/2017 13:38:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard

he new draft London Plan has now been published and is available here: https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/planning/london-plan/new-london-plan/download-draft-london-plan

The key issues to note for Croydon are as follows.

  • As suspected, protection for back gardens has been removed. In addition, the Plan actually appears to be encouraging garden grabbing with a presumption in favour of 'infill development within the curtilage of a house'.
  •  
  • The housing density matrix has been completely removed. This means there are no limits or guidelines to the appropriate density of developments in particular areas.
  •  
  • Also as expected, there has been a drastic squeeze on parking standards. All developments with PTAL of 5-6 (i.e. areas with good public transport) are expected to be car free without exception. There is also a squeeze on office and retail parking.
  • Whilst internal housing space standards remain the same, it now says they should not be exceeded. The previous London Plan encouraged the space standards to be exceeded. So they are effectively now a maximum, rather than a minimum.
  • There are no targets for family homes, despite previous commitments. Boris's housing strategy had a target for 36% of affordable homes to be family sized. There was no target in Khan's housing strategy and we were told to expect this in the London Plan instead - however, it is not there. It also suggests that two bed units can be considered suitable for family housing.
  • As previously announced, the new London housing target is 64,935 homes a year across London. Croydon’s share is just under 3,000 homes per year, the fifth highest in London and the largest of any of the boroughs without large brownfield (former industrial or housing) sites. The borough breakdown show that Croydon’s target is double Bromley’s and three times Sutton’s.
  • Within this, there is also a new specific target for development on small sites of 24,573 homes per year. Again Croydon’s target is 50% more than Bromley’s and double Sutton’s.
  • There is a 'strategic target' for 50% affordable housing across London.

Cumulatively, these policies will encourage (particularly in outer London suburbs) a huge increase in the demolition of existing family housing and its replacement with blocks of flats with little to no parking provision.

 

 


 

Onslow Gardens closure: Tardis required
27/11/2017 13:05:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard

 
 

The council placed signs at the weekend announcing the closure of Onslow Gardens from 30th Nov to the 4th Nov. We think they meant until 4th Dec! So unless you have a time machine handy, don't worry about the closures in the past....

As is frustratingly common they put the signs up before telling the councillors, so we have been unable to shed any light on what is happening until now.

It seems that the closure is necessitated by the back garden development at no 24, about which I bloogged several times duing the planning process. The two infill houses need ot be connected to the mains sewerage and that is the cause of the closure.

The actual closure takes place on the following days 30/11, 1/12 and 4/12, according to officers, which suggests it will reopen over the weekend.

Displaced traffic will be diverted via Blenheim Gardens and Cranleigh Gardens. Access will be maintained for residents up to works site and via diversion.

 


 

South East Cancer Help Centre - AGM & Member's Meeting
23/11/2017 21:35:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley

I was delighted to Chair the Annual General Meeting of the South East Cancer Help Centre along with the Members' Meeting.  It has been another successful year with not only an increase in membership but funding as well.  Paint Purley Purple was a great success with Chris Philp MP cutting the ribbon to start the week-long fundraising and awareness campaign.

Our guest speaker was Gary Das, who retired in 2016 from CUH.  Gary was a consultant urological surgeon in Croydon and also a pelvic cancer surgeon at St George's Hospital in London.  Gary gave a fascinating talk on his transition to becoming a surgeon at CUH and his book "Tender is the Scalpel's Edge".

The centre goes from strength to strength and is always looking for new volunteers.  If you feel you could spare a few hours do get in touch with Linda Kenison on 020 8668 0974.  The centre offers a wide range of activities and therapies and counselling can be booked through Linda.

 


 

Dementia Friends
23/11/2017 16:22:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley

I was pleased to see so many Conservative councillors and selected candidates take part in the Dementia Awareness session given by Rachel Carse, the new officer appointed to take forward work on Dementia and Social Incusion.  I have been working with the Dementia Alliance group for almost a year helping to raise awareness about people with Dementia.  We all have lapses in memory and sometimes get a little confused but Rachel helped us all understand how we can help identify residents/family or indeed friends who are showing signs of the onset of dementia and explained how we can manage some of the challenges presented by people with Dementia.  We have all signed up to undertake a small challenge and support Croydon becoming a Dementia Friendly Borough.

Anna D'Agostino from the Croydon BME Forum also visited the Sanderstead Residents' Association to talk about how to keep your memory strong and stay mentally active.  The SRA will include an article in the spring magazine.

As community leaders it is important that we are able to support all our community, young and old and fully understand some of the more complex issues impacting our residents.  I was pleased to see that the Borough Commander of Croydon Fire Brigade and Croydon's Metropolitan Police are also happy to take forward this agenda.

If you want to know more about the Dementia Alliance Group or would like to talk to me about the work I progressing do get in touch.

 


 

Friends of Purley Beeches AGM
23/11/2017 16:15:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley

 
 

I attended the AGM of the Friends of Purley Beeches.  Many of the members are shocked and horrified that 31 of the borough's parks and green spaces are without local protection.  The Friends have worked hard in the beeches planting new trees and bulbs and cutting back much of the overgrowth from the natural pathways.  It is a very beautiful spot and has some exceptionally rare and beautiful trees.  Groups like this are so important in preserving our green spaces for all to enjoy. The group was formed after a number of trees were felled without informing local residents.  Many trees have been planted by the Friends and I am pleased to announce that the Sanderstead councillors will be making a donation from their community budget towards some bulbs to be planted alongside some of the pathways.  Do take a stroll through the woodland or maybe enjoy a game of tennis - its a real gem.

 


 

Trees Outside Priscillas and The Gruffy -- Xmas Lights
03/11/2017 15:58:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley

Residents will be delighted to hear that work is underway to put up the new Xmas lights purchased with the councillors community budget.  The lights will encircle the trees outside Sanderstead Recreation Park and at the Gruffy.  In order for the lights to be installed some minor works needs to be undertaken to remove some of the low hanging twigs and branches from the trees.  There will also be some new lights around the lampposts near the roundabout.  This builds on the lights already provided by the Sanderstead Residents' Association which will also be put up at the same time.  I am sure it will all look quite magical and we are looking forward to the official switch on and Xmas Fayre which will take place on Saturday, 2 December, in the Recreation Ground.

 


 

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 Older Blog Posts
03/11/2017
Footpath 138 Between Shaw Crescent and Rectory Park/Road Cleansing/Garden Waste Dumping
03/11/2017
Bus Diversion
20/10/2017
Fly tipping in Hamsey Green
11/10/2017
Objection to local plan
29/09/2017
A Busy Day in Croydon
13/09/2017
Croydon Disability Forum/Dementia Action Alliance Meeting
06/09/2017
Rec traveller update
01/09/2017
Eid prayers in the Rec
01/09/2017
Graffiti removed
01/09/2017
Sanderstead Rec travellers
30/08/2017
Local Plan: good news for Sanderstead, not so good elsewhere
29/08/2017
Graffiti
24/08/2017
SGN road works in Hamsey Green
22/08/2017
Borough Grange garden furniture
22/08/2017
Change to Riddlesdown road works
13/08/2017
Dementia Alliance Action Group - Helpful Links
11/08/2017
More roadworks in Sanderstead
03/08/2017
Update on Addington Road Gas Main replacement
31/07/2017
Long term roadworks on Addington Road
21/07/2017
Childhood Obesity - Can we do More?
30/06/2017
A number of Essential Repairs Taking Place in Sanderstead
30/06/2017
Police Update - Theresa's Walk
19/06/2017
Armed Forces Day - Flag Raising - Grenfell Tower Minutes Silence
16/06/2017
South East Cancer Help Centre - Vice Chairman
12/06/2017
Sight lines on Mitchley View
25/05/2017
Gypsy and travelller site
23/05/2017
Intensification zones at local plan hearing
23/05/2017
Fly Tipping - Downsway Sanderstead
22/05/2017
Church Farm Services - Mitchley Avenue
19/05/2017
Field Opposite Riddlesdown Shops on Mitchley Avenue
 
 
 
 
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