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

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

Culture Director
07/08/2017 20:08:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

Met with the Culture Director to discuss plans for enhancing culture in Croydon.  Talked about the way parks can be used for events and performances.  



Planning meeting
30/07/2017 20:06:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

Met with residents to discuss an ongoing planning issue



Parks Consultation
30/07/2017 19:54:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

Attended the consultation about Lloyd Park and Park Hill Park that was held in Lloyd Park.  Bit disappointed in the lack of imagination in the proposed designs.  There has been a long wait for the masterplans and I had hoped for some more innovative ideas for the parks.  What was on display was the sort of thing that people have been asking for for years - not sure we needed to spend £100k on another consultation to tell us what we already knew. 



Cabinet Meeting
17/07/2017 19:03:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

Attended the meeting of the Cabinet in the Town Hall.  Reviewing the budget for the Council.



Pride in Croydon
15/07/2017 18:59:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

Attended the Pride festival in Queens Gardens.  Lovely atmosphere and a true celebration of the diverse communities in Croydon.  Visited the rainbow flag in Saffron Central and was pleased to see that the plants I donated are thriving and contributing to the blue part of the display.  Well done to Ally McKinlay for another wonderful community gardening project. 



John Ruskin College
12/07/2017 18:57:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

Attended a meeting of governors at John Ruskin College and heard about short and long term plans.  Good developments for apprenticeships.   Looking forward to more good results in the summer.



Culture in Croydon
11/07/2017 18:55:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

Met with the Creative Director of Croydon Council to find out future plans for culture in Croydon.



Exchange Square
06/07/2017 21:35:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

I received this email about a planned performance in Exchange Square in August.  Any questions please contact Shaniqua.

Dear Cllr Helen Pollard, 

My name is Shaniqua and I am facilitating a pilot project on Sunday August 20th, which will use the arts to bring young people together and develop as youth leaders.

There will be workshops during the first part of the day, followed by a showcase/performance in the evening. I have asked permission for the performance to take place on Exchange Square, and I was enquiring as to whether you could help me liase with the residents in the area. 

The performance will be taking place from 6.30-8.30pm.  It will encompass poetry, music and drama performances created by young people aged 16-26 during the workshops earlier in the day, and also some work they may have created previously in their own time.  We would not need to set up a stage, but we would be using microphones, speakers, some instruments and probably some backing music.

The event should not be too loud, and it is very positive, open to all members of the community. It would be great if some of the residents came and watched. 

If there is any more information you need, please let me know.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Kind Regards,


Shaniqua Benjamin

Founder of Young People Insight


Twitter: @YPInsight | @ShanqMarie

Instagram: @youngpeopleinsight

Facebook: Young People Insight

YouTube: Young People Insight




Turn Around Centre
06/07/2017 20:37:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

Met with the manage of the Turn Around Centre in Church Road.  I had arranged the meeting to raise issues of crime and anti-social behaviour in the area around the Centre.  Residents have asked what can be done to stop this sort of thing happening.  The Centre Manager told me about the work the Centre does and outlined the measures that are being put in place to try and reduce the issues that have arisen.  I hope residents notice the difference. 



Licensing Training
27/06/2017 20:43:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

Attending Licensing training tonight, as I am a reserve member of the Licensing Committee



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 Older Blog Posts
Chatsworth Road Conservation Area
Planning Meeting - Mulgrave Road
John Ruskin College
Fairfield Halls
Croham Road
Local Plan Hearing
Park Hill Park
Overflowing bin
Issues in Old Town
Heathfield Gardens
Annual Council Meeting
Extra Surgery in Haethfield Gardens
Taberner House development
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Chatsworth Residents' Association
Art in Croydon
Scrutiny - Fairfield Halls
Council meeting
Fairfield Halls 'Call in'
Addiscombe Grove
Meeting residents
Street Orchestra in BoxPark
Meeting about Croham Road shops
Parks Meeting
Meeting residents in Fairfield
Easter Egg Hunt
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