Sanderstead car park 28/03/2017 22:15:00......Posted by Tim Pollard
There is still time to comment on the proposal by Croydon Council to build on Sanderstead Road shoppers' car park. Email: email@example.com before the end of the month/March.
Here is what I said:
I attended the consultation event at Sanderstead United Reformed Church a few weeks ago to raise my concerns about the proposed development on the site of the shopper's car park on Sanderstead Road.
My ward colleague Yvette Hopley and I raised a number of concerns, the most significant being that the car park was being lost: only seven spaces will remain once the works are complete and this is quite insufficient for local need.
The nearby station car park is for all day commuter parking and doesn't have availability for short term parking (the minimum charge is £5.50). The majority of people who use this car park use the shops opposite.
This matter is compounded by the station approach shops redevelopment which was approved by the council this year, which no doubt will take away the parking places outside the shops whilst the construction is in progress.
I understand that the proposed new development of 18-22 flats will not have any car spaces at all on the grounds they are close to public transport. Experience suggests that in spite of planners’ earnestly-held views, many of the occupiers will keep cars for recreational purposes and these cars will be parked in the already heavily-parked (and many with metered parking) nearby streets. The adjacent development allowed when the other half of the car park was sold off has provision for 30% of occupiers to park and the same should be true of any future development! .
The car park has already been reduced in size over ten years ago to accommodate a block of flats and the amount of spaces left was proportionate and deemed necessary to serve the residents who drive down from Sanderstead and the surrounds to use the facilities. Sanderstead is built on a steep hill and therefore most people have to drive to the shops. Very few people cycle as a result.
To take away the infrastructure that supports the area is not sensible at all and there are plenty of other areas that can be developed in the borough.
I certainly hope that you do take note of the residents, shops and other people who write asking you not to bui! ld on this much needed facility and think about the impact it is going to have on the residents of Sanderstead, Croham, Purley and indeed a number of other residents in nearby areas who use this much used public facility from which an income is derived.
I also have significant concerns about the shadowing of one block by the other and the loss of privacy in the existing block, whose living and bedrooms will be heavily overlooked if this development goes ahead.
And finally, local groups believe that the car park was willed by a resident to the people of Sanderstead for communal use and was merely passed on to the council as a custodian. The total loss of this public facility would therefore be a significant breach of good faith by the council.
Armed Forces Day - Flag Raising - Grenfell Tower Minutes Silence 19/06/2017 12:44:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley
I attended the Armed Forces Day Flag raising at Croydon Town Hall to mark the start of Armed Forces Week. The Mayor of Croydon raised the flag accompanied by members of Croydon’s Reserve Army Units, Councillors and members of The Borough’s Armed Forces Covenant committee.
A minutes silence was also observed at 11am to remember the victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster at the cenotaph outside the town hall. At least 58 people are believed to have died in the fire that started in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Tragically, this number is expected to rise. My thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and community.
South East Cancer Help Centre - Vice Chairman 16/06/2017 16:00:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley
I was extremely pleased to be appointed Vice Chairman of the South East Cancer Help Centre in Purley at its recent board meeting. I chose the centre as one of my charities when I was Mayor of Croydon and now I can have the opportunity to help support this important charity in its work which is supporting many residents of Croydon who rely on the centre for counselling and support.
SECHC aims to give any person affected by cancer an opportunity to explore ways which may help them to cope with their situation. Confidentiality is always maintained. The Centre aims to respect and support them in the choices they make and to provide individual and group support, complementary therapies and information within a friendly, caring environment. These services have local NHS recognition.
Our policy is to provide time and support in addition to that available from healthcare professionals at a notional cost to the Member. We give information but not advice about cancer and its treatment.
Our strategy is to remain a well managed independent charity, staffed predominantly by trained Volunteers, with professional guidance and support. We aim to be well known and respected in our community. We seek to retain sufficient financial reserves to cope with fluctuations in fundraising and grant aid.
Sight lines on Mitchley View 12/06/2017 13:20:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard
I have this morning visited some of the residents of Mitchley View, who are concerned about sight lines for exiting the road onto Mitchley Hill. I have seen copies of letters sent last year together with notes residents made about conversations with officers which suggests that the issue was recognised by officers last December and the residents have been waiting ever since for a site assessment. One conversation suggests that they were told they were position 200 in the queue for an assessment in March!
What is required to solve this problem is the extension of existing double yellows by about two car lengths on the side leading to Limpsfield Road, and ideally the same the other way. This doesn’t sound particularly controversial to me, all residents including those on Mitchell Hill agree that this would be a good idea.
I uploaded a photo I took today which illustrates the problem. Here it is only a car obscuring the view, but it is often a van, which is obviously more solid. Because of the curve in the road I can confirm that you cannot see out before you turn out, with the parking as it is. People drive at a fair old clip down Mitchell Hill, so I support residents in believing we should prioritise this.
I have asked officers to get some progress on this as soon as possible, to save us having to go down the residents' petition route.
Gypsy and travelller site 25/05/2017 17:35:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard
Today the local plan inspection in public was dealing with the highly emotive issue of the location of a gypsy and traveller site. You will recall that the Labour council consulted in 2016/6 on perhaps designating Coombe Farm, Coombe Lodge Nurseries or Peartree Farm as the site.
Then having discovered, apparently to its surprise, that the owners of these three sites did not wish to see them used for that purpose, in 2016 the council chose Purley Oaks Depot instead. The issue for local residents was that the switch was made so late in the plan-making process that residents had no real opportunity to make their views known. Interestingly, none of the sites the Labour administration has seriously considered are in wards they represent. What a surprise!
So today’s session consisted largely of legal argument between QCs representing the council and local residents/businesses. Cllr Simon Brew represented the interests of Purley ward residents and I was there to represent Sanderstead. Although the site itself is in Purley, it is only a short walk from the edge of Sanderstead. For the avoidance of doubt, the site the council wants to use is not the recycling centre, but the highways depot immediately between it and the railway line.
The key points of the argument revolve around whether the council has provided adequate objective evidence to inform its choice. Was its assessment of the relative merits of different sites sufficiently robust and objective? Does it take into account the limitations of the site in terms of noise, contamination and pollution? Should it keep the site instead for future expansion of the recycling centre, which is already groaning at the seams? Is it fair that this site should be chosen predominately because the council owns it and it is therefore ‘easy’? Is it right that the council should exclude all sites in wards with a high deprivation because it believes the travellers there would put intolerable strain on key services?
I chose not to rehearse the entire argument, as much of it had already been outlined very articulately by the QC acting for residents. So the points I made were:
That the site selected is protected in the South London Waste plan for potential future use for waste disposal: using it for travellers precludes that
The scoring matrix used to initially grade potential sites had very subjective weighting given to different criteria. For example the council upscored any site it owned, making those sites much more likely to be selected.
Even with its strange criteria, the scoring matrix put Purley Oaks only 15th best of the possible sites, so the council then chose to re-grade using a much cruder measure, which essentially ruled out all sites on Green Belt or Metropolitan Open Land, any site is a deprived ward and any site it didn’t own. Having effectively put a line through all the sites above Purley Oaks that left Purley as the only possible option. How convenient!
The council has made no effort to find out whether any of the owners of sites in positions 1-14 would actually be interested in selling.
Because the council had previously consulted on other sites and only picked Purley Oaks at the last minute, residents were denied a proper forum to have their views heard
The council choosing to exclude all wards which are in the top 15% by deprivation was a very arbitrary decision and one which is arguably wrong. If a ward has low deprivation it is unlikely to be home to high-intervention council services which are most likely to be required to support traveller families. Most of these services are actually only available in high deprivation wards. So to use this to rule wards out is extremely perverse.
The site proposed is surrounded by busy roads on two sides, a railway line on another and a recycling and waste facility on the fourth. It also features a contaminated pond required to alleviate the regular flooding of the Caterham Bourne and the land is contaminated after years of industrial use. It is noisy and dangerous, with regular surface flooding and poor air quality. Not, I have to say, somewhere I would personally want to bring up a family.
Like so many other session in the local plan hearings, many residents told me they had come away with the distinct impression that the council’s evidence base was very wonky and that the evidence used was post-rationalised to support a decision made for entirely different reasons. I hope the Inspector has taken the concerns on board, but we will have to wait several months to find out.
Intensification zones at local plan hearing 23/05/2017 10:40:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard
Yesterday an entire day of the Inspection in Public of the local plan for Croydon was devoted to the subject of intensification zones. These are zones where our Labour council is particularly keen to see developed more intensively, in particular with more blocks of flats and heights allowed to double – so a predominately 1 or 2 storey area will be allowed to go to four storeys.
It has never been clear how the Labour administration arrived at the five sites it particularly wants to intensify. During the course of the inspection yesterday a new spreadsheet was circulated which apparently summarises which areas were considered and why the five selected ones were chosen. Unfortunately this document poses more questions than it answers!
What is clear is that 35 areas were considered, of which 16 were in the south and east of the borough – and therefore are represented by Conservative councillors – and 19 were in the northern and central areas currently represented by Labour. All five selected zones are in the south and east.
The areas concerned are:
An area along Limpsfield Road, Sanderstead, extending eastwards into Onslow Gardens and other residential roads
An area extending up the hills behind Kenley Station
An area around Wickham Road, Shirley Road and Addiscombe Road, again extending outwards into quiet residential roads
An area in South Croydon extending down Brighton Road from opposite Whitgift School, past the bus station and down to the junction of Sanderstead Road. It also runs up Sanderstead Road to Sanderstead Station and again takes in many roads to either side of the main roads
An area of Forestdale from Inglewood through Woodpecker Mount and Bellfield, down to Featherbed Lane and then up Gravel Hill.
My concern is that all these zones are too large, somewhat arbitrary in what they take in and what they don’t and the reasoning behind their selection very difficult to match up against the so-called ‘evidence’ which underpins it.
Some sites are rejected because the ownership of the land is fragmented and therefore the prospects for concerted development are very limited. Others are ruled out because of nearby heritage assets. Yet Onslow Gardens, which the supporting spreadsheet accepts contains All Saints Church (nationally listed) and eight other locally listed assets, with all the land owned in small house-sized plots. Surely when compared with other rejected areas, Onslow Gardens is equally challenging to intensify?
The plan regarding Sanderstead’s intensification is also contradictory. Elsewhere in the plan the council notes that the view of All Saints’ from Limpsfield Road is important and worthy of protection. That’s good, but given that it also wishes to allow four storey blocks of flats to be built surrounding All Saints’ and directly along the line of the view it wants to protect, that’s not very reassuring!
The over-arching policy talks about the idea that these zones should be in areas with good public transport. The council spreadsheet accepts that the PTAL (public transport accessibility level) in Sanderstead is virtually at the lowest level, far from the high level the policy requires!
This area is not called Sanderstead Village for nothing. It is centred around a church, a green and a village pond. The council recognises that the aspect to the west is very open and should be protected. The existing buildings in this intensification zone are predominately semis, detached two storey or bungalows. To all intents and purposes it is a village dropped into to a continuous urban environment. Turning it into flats seems nothing short of vandalism.
The good news is that it is clear that the Inspector is acutely aware that the selection of the five zones is arbitrary at best and the evidence base provided is contradictory. Towards the end of the day he noted that there were a number of possible outcomes of this part of the plan – he could redraw the boundaries, or delete entire zones, or even delete the entire policy from the plan. He could also, of course, approve the zones (although my reading of the progress of the day is that this is not the most likely outcome).
Moving on to the other proposed zones, the Kenley zone is equally bonkers. It does not need a policy to encourage intensification. Existing policies and the topography can be used to allow sustainable intensification as and where it is appropriate.
The Forestdale zone is quite simply crazy. The area identified is already quite intensively developed – mostly in the form of three storey six-flat apartment blocks. It is all in private ownership, with the flats subject to leases. The prospects of doing anything much in that zone are almost nil. Half of Holmbury Grove is in and half is out. You really wonder how officers and Labour councillors ever believed it was sensible to put this one forward.
The Wickham Road/Shirley Road zone is not entirely crazy, being based on a core area which is already semi-intensified. However, the zone extends too far into the main road hinterlands, and un-necessarily extends up Shirley Road and Addiscombe Road.
Similarly the Brighton Road plan makes a certain amount of sense in its application to Brighton Road, but there is no rational reason to include Sanderstead Road and it is hard to understand why this particular stretch of Brighton Road is considered more suitable that the miles of the rest of it or London Road? It seems to have just been pulled out of a hat!
The Inspector has run the sessions very fairly, and all the evidence has been examined quite forensically. I hope that the outcome of this will be a deletion or significant modification to this harmful and divisive policy.
Fly Tipping - Downsway Sanderstead 23/05/2017 09:18:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley
Unfortunately, we are seeing repeated fly tipping in Downsway. Over the week-end this pile of household goods was left on the junction of Downsway and Purley Oaks Road. It has since been picked up by the council but I would ask residents to be vigilant and report any vehicle registrations to the council or myself so that these people can be caught.
Another hot spot is St Mary's Road. Do let me kow if you have any evidence that could help stop this.
Church Farm Services - Mitchley Avenue 22/05/2017 08:55:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley
A further update in relation to the activity that is being carried out on the land in Mitchley Avenue by Church Farm Services.
"We would like to introduce ourselves we are church farm services and we are the new tenants of the land at Mitchley Avenue and Mitchley Hill if you would like to find out more about us please visit our website or our Facebook page.
We are intending to reseed the fields with long term grass leys this autumn and cut it for hay and haylage next summer.
We hope that all the local residents will find that we look after the fields in an appropriate way. Rest assured at our home farm in Woldingham we have over 100 species of birds and our farming practices take wildlife in general into consideration” http://www.churchfarmservices.co.uk/"
Field Opposite Riddlesdown Shops on Mitchley Avenue 19/05/2017 17:42:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley
A number of residents were concerned by activity on the field on Mitchley Avenue/Dunmail Drive opposite the small parade of shops. I contacted the council as the work being carried out was very close to the protected trees and ancient woodland. I thought it might be helpful for residents to read the officer's reply.
"Upon my arrival yesterday it was quite apparent that the driver with plant machinery was undertaking some form of clearance work in close proximity to protected trees. When the driver was approached, he explained that he has just signed a contract to rent the land on a yearly rolling basis. The purpose of the rental is for the production Commercial Hay. He further explained that the reason for the plant machinery was to clear the encroachment of bramble and foliage growing over onto the workable field. This was with a view to ploughing over the next few days or weeks in preparation for the sowing of seed.
From my observation it appears that he has done somewhat of a tidying job around the outer edges of it to maximise workable space. I can confirm that from my walk around the periphery of the field that no unauthorised works have been undertaken. No protected trees have been removed or pruned without permission, other than x2 small diameter trees of no more than a 6 meters in height having been removed, one of which had already fallen before being cleared.
For clarification I have spoken to the driver today and explained the consequences of unauthorised tree works with Croydon council boundaries. I forwarded copies of all the relevant TPO’s in close proximity to where he is working so the protection status and position of trees is understood. With regard to the ploughing of the land, it is not the wish of the council to restrict working practices on land such as the subject field, but we have informed him that when he starts ploughing, the machine and its attachments must not cross over the ‘drip line’ of protected trees".
I hope the explanation alleviates any concerns.
Dementia Awareness Week is 14 May to 20 May 15/05/2017 08:26:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley
There are a number of Dementia Awareness activities happening throughout the borough.
At Croydon University Hospital Caroline Walker, the Dementia Lead Nurse is leading on a number of activities at the hospital.
The Croydon BME Forum is holding an event on Friday, 19th May between 13:00 – 15:00 at BME Forum, 56a Mitcham Road , Croydon CR0 3RG.
If you are in Sanderstead Bhavin and I will be on the high street in Sanderstead, just outside McColls with our stall at 11.00 am today, Monday, 15 May for a few hours. Pop buy to talk to us or maybe just enjoy one of our cakes!
Hakeem will be in Lower Addiscombe Road spreading the word with local businesses and in Purley Town Centre there will also be a Dementia awareness stand run by Yuliana.
There will be a Dementia Awareness event in the Braithwaite Hall on Friday 26 May between 9.00 and 4.00 pm.
Dementia Awareness sessions being held around the Croydon area
Soumick Dey, the Principal at the Collegiate, is keen to learn of comments from the RRA and other local residents. He does also say, "in practice, the vast majority of our students and staff are on site before 8.30am already and that is why formalising this start time seems sensible. I suspect there would be some impact on the number of cars before 8.30am, but not a significant one."
There is a meeting for parents on Thursday evening (18th) and the parent consultation closes on Friday 19 May.
If you live near the Collegiate and feel that you would be affected, then please let the collegiate know your thoughts by emailing CollegiateDay@riddlesdown.org
Please do contact us with any issues or concerns you may have. We answer all our constituents' correspondence and value your comments. If you want your concern addressed by your local team, please follow the link above.