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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

Chatsworth Road Conservation Area
22/06/2017 20:08:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

Met with residents and council officers to discuss plans for signage for the Chatsworth Road Conservation Area.  Discussed road signs, information boards and 'welcome' signs.  Council officers will look into costing and residents will produce ideas for designs.



Planning Meeting - Mulgrave Road
22/06/2017 11:13:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

Supported residents by speaking in opposition to a new development in Mulgrave Road.  Once again, the Planning Committee ignored residents and gave the scheme the go-ahead.



John Ruskin College
21/06/2017 20:06:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

Attended the awards evening at John Ruskin College.  A very uplifting experience and it was great to see students so engaged with their learning and making such great progress. 



Fairfield Halls
19/06/2017 20:03:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

Met with BH Live who will be the new operator for Fairfield Halls.  Spent some time discussing their plans.

Then attended a Cabinet Meeting in the Town Hall where BH Live gave a presentation.  They set out their objectives and targets they want to achieve and seem very committed to the venture. 



Croham Road
13/06/2017 07:23:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

Met with officers at the Council to discuss possible improvements for the shops in Croham Road.  This area was not included in the South End upgrade and could benefit from assistance to make it a more appealing place to shop.



06/06/2017 22:16:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

Councillor surgery in Matthews Yard was due to take place today but when I turned up the cafe was closed and building work was underway.  Apologies to anyone who turned up.  I have contacted the owner of Matthews Yard and am assured it will be open for the next surgery in July.



Local Plan Hearing
30/05/2017 15:29:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

Attended the Local Plan Public Hearing today.  The Planning Inspector was taking submissions on things related to views and Heritage Status.  I spoke in support of Whitgift Residents' Association who are hoping the Whitgift estate will get protected status in the Local Plan.



Park Hill Park
30/05/2017 08:41:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard


I was in Park Hill Park this weekend and was sad to see the lack of flowers in the flower beds.  The only plant that seemed to be thriving in this neat pile of wood chips is the thistle.  The grass-cutting was erratic with some areas that had been mowed and others that had not.  Shame to see such a lovely space neglected.



Overflowing bin
29/05/2017 08:39:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard


I was in Park Hill Park yesterday and saw this bin overflowing with rubbish.  I reported it to the Council to clear.  Doesn't give a very good first impression to visitors to the Park. 



Issues in Old Town
28/05/2017 09:16:00.......Posted by Helen Pollard

Spent the afternoon talking to residents in Old Town.  Residents had a number of issues with bins and anti-social behaviour - I will be following these up with the Council.



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Annual Council Meeting
Extra Surgery in Haethfield Gardens
Taberner House development
John Ruskin College
Queens Gardens development
Fairfield Halls
Croydon Cycle Race
Chatsworth Residents' Association
Art in Croydon
Scrutiny - Fairfield Halls
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Fairfield Halls 'Call in'
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Street Orchestra in BoxPark
Meeting about Croham Road shops
Parks Meeting
Meeting residents in Fairfield
Easter Egg Hunt
East Croydon issues
Wellesley Road Closed 8-18 April
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