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 The Fairfield Blog
Elizabeth  Agyepong
Ben  Joce
Philip  Smith

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.


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 Other Blog Posts

Cleaning Up the Tamworth Road Estate
02/03/2018 18:01:00.......Posted by Ben Joce


This week your local Fairfield Conservative team has been assisting residents in and around the Tamworth Road Estate. After our recent visits to the area meeting residents it becmae apparent, both through concerns raised and by what we witnessed that the Tamworth Road estate has been neglected by the Council and allowed to fall into a state of disrepair.

The team therefore showed the evidence of what we had witnessed to the council and have been working with them on a speedy resolution.

To date the following has taken place:

  • Adittional street cleaning has now been carried out in the area and a commitment recieved that this will occur on a regular basis
  • Multiple cases of fly tipping have been cleared away
  • Damage / disrepair of gates and fencing has been passed to the neighbourhood services team to recity

This area needs extra attention due to the neglect it has received, therefore we will continue to monitor the situation and work with the council to improve the standards on behalf of the residents. 





Fly Tipping and Street Cleaning on Clarendon & Pitlake Roads
01/03/2018 17:43:00.......Posted by Ben Joce

Recently we have been out and about in the very north of the new Fairfield ward speaking with residents on Clarendon & Pitlake Roads.

A common theme door to door and the biggest complaint was the filthy streets and high amounts of illegal fly tipping that are taking place. 

In order to help residents the local Fairfield team has been working with Council Officers on how we can can combat this issue.

We can now confirm that the area has been placed under formal monitoring for the next 6 weeks and ad-hoc inspections are being implemented to check that the road is being cleansed to standard and that any fly tips are being cleared.

Great result for residents!





Friends of Park Hill
22/02/2018 10:41:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

Attended the AGM of the Friends of Park Hill Recreation Ground.  It is amazing to see how much they have achieved in the past few years and I am pleased that I was able to help by providing some of Fairfield's community budget to fund some of the projects.  

They have some exciting plans for the future including a Peace Garden and a Peace Festival.  

Now that the Parks Masterplanning projects is complete I will arrange a meeting with council officers so we can finally get some progress on improving the toilets in the park, and move forward other improvements.  



Night Club in Surrey Street
19/02/2018 10:37:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

There was a meeting of the Licensing Committee to make a decision about the licence for a new 'pop up' night club underneath residential properties in Surrey Street,  Cllr Mohan spoke on behalf of residents and I was pleased that the hours for opening have been significantly reduced.  The lastest time will be 11pm rather than 4am as had originally been requested.  We will monitor plans to make sure that there is no use of the site for activities that will be a nuisance to residents. 



Brick by Brick Development on Edridge and Coombe Road
17/02/2018 15:37:00.......Posted by Ben Joce

Today was an absolutely beautiful day down in Croydon town centre! We spent the momrning in the area around Edridge road. Meeting residents and gathering feedback on local issues. A key theme that emerged from the day was the level of anger directed towards the proposed development by the Labour Councils development company Brick by Brick at the corner of Edridge and Coombe Road. The development would be buildt on a very small bit of green space that the residents cherish and would put additonal pressure on parking and services in the immediate area. We have gathered the feedback and will be presenting the case on behalf of the residents to the councils planning committee, lets hope they listen...



Building on green space on Edridge Road
17/02/2018 10:35:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

A beautiful morning to be out meeting residents in the town centre.  Talked to people in Edridge Road about the loss of local green space due to council plans to build a block of flats on it.  I have put in an objection to the building on Edridge Road so it can't be approved without going before the full Planning Committee. I await a date for the meeting.




Meeting Residents in the South of Fairfield
11/02/2018 21:02:00.......Posted by Ben Joce

Tonight we braved the freezing temperatures to spend the evening meeting residents in the very southern tip of the ward! Re-occuring theme tonight was the state of the streets and concerns from parents on road safety around Howard Road Primary School. Both issues we will be taking forward with council officers to work towards a resolution. 



Parks Consultation
08/02/2018 18:12:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

Finally received the final report following the latest consultation about parks.  There are some beautifully presented pdfs with details of ideas for the parks.  Bit disappointed that the reports tell us largely what we knew already.  It is a shame we have had to wait years to get us to the point where we were ages ago.  It has cost £100k and the parks are still in need of investment, but there is no money to invest.  Hope the masterplans don't just gather dust on a shelf somewhere.  



Surgery in Matthews Yard
06/02/2018 18:11:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

Councillors Surgery in Matthew's Yard this evening.  No visitors, but I enjoyed a coffee in this relaxing venue!



Cityscape Cladding update
02/02/2018 14:48:00.......Posted by Philip Smith


Following inspection of the current cladding after the dreadful fire at Grenfell, it appears that the cladding used on the Citiscape building is the same as that used on Grenfell Tower and that it must therefore be replaced.

With the issue going to a Property Tribunal next month we are pushing Croydon Council to do its bit to help support the residents. We have written to the Council Chief Executive to raise this really important point and will continue to campaign for residents to get help with any legal assistance. I myself live within Cityscape and will be updating our blog readers on the progress of the action we are taking to support residents. 



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Two car parks closed for works
Wandle Road
Sports facilities
Surrey Street
New Addington
John Ruskin College
Civic Carol Service
Children's Services Briefing
Council Meeting
Lloyd Park litter
New tower block in Wandle Road
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Norbury flytips
Meeting with Culture Director
Westfield planning application
Remembrance Sunday
Palmer House
Lambert's Place
Whitgift Estate Residents' Association AGM
Councillor surgery
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St Michael's Church
Council Meeting
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