Spineless council backs developers again 09/02/2018 11:20:00......Posted by Tim Pollard
Last night I represented residents in Gainsborough Drive before the planning committee - and as is normal these days the Labour-run committee backed the developers rather than the residents.
The site is a back garden development which was refused by the council when under Conservative control in 2013, but the developer then got permission on appeal. When they came to build it, they built in the wrong place, to the wrong height, the wrong width, on a raised plinth instead of at ground level and with a sloping ramp to get access to the front door. Once it became clear that they were building much more than they had permission for, local residents contacted myself and the council enforcement team, who told the builder to stop and seek permission for what he was actually building. They repeatedly ignored this and the council did not compel them to, so in the end they completed the building at their own risk.
They then applied for permission for what they had built, which was refused by the council. They went to appeal and lost.
In his refusal of the appeal the Inspector particularly commented that removing the ramp “would still leave it sitting on what is in effect a raised plinth, with a door threshold level that would be incompatible with those of No1 to 7. I am not persuaded that the imposition of a planning condition requiring the ramp's removal would provide an acceptable alternative."
So the developer made a few changes, namely moving the front door so as to be able to delete the ramp and create a 1m space in front of the pavement in which they propose some planting to try to disguise the odd proportions of the raised building they are left with.
Council officers decided that was fine, saying ‘The proposed removal of the existing raised ramp, balustrade and the alteration to the location of the front door will help alleviate the inspector’s concerns.’
I don’t think so. With the door moved, and the ramp removed, we have an oddly proportioned building with its windows at the wrong height. The developer has not very successfully tried to disguise that with planting, but the reality is that the plants will struggle to survive in the few inches of space they have between the wall and the pavement. It will look horrible.
In his conclusion the 2016 Inspector said “I have found that the appeal development has an unacceptable appearance. The nature of the harm is such that I consider it could not be addressed by my imposition of reasonable planning conditions. The appeal is therefore dismissed.”
The Inspector was effectively saying that he does not believe there is anything the developer can do to make the building acceptable.
Clause 7.9 of the council report says ‘The inspector and officers are minded that reverting to the 2012 consent would involve the demolition of the house.’
And that’s exactly what should have happened to prevent the council becoming laughing stock amongst developers.
But no, the Labour controlled committee decided by 3 votes to two (breaking along party lines) that although the resulting building is wrong on virtually every level, it can stay, and they granted it permission. The message this sends to developers is quite clear. Build what you like in Croydon, our spineless council won't stop you.
Diversion to 403 bus 15/01/2019 09:46:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard
Users of the 403 bus are quite rightly fuming about the decision to divert the route through Selsdon due to the collapsed sewer near the Croham Arms in South Croydon. Instead of doing a tight diversion to avoid the congestion there, the route has changed completely such that Selsdon Road, Carlton/Mayfield Road, Sanderstead Road and Sanderstead Hill get no service. To divert around a stretch of road covering 100 yards the diversion is running for over two miles.
That surely can't be the best way to do it? We are pressing the council and TfL to think again and come up with a better plan. The works are scheduled to run until at least 25 Jan, so we think finding a way that enables bus users to carry on using the route should be a priority.
Bins Overflowing - Yew Tree Court 11/01/2019 17:53:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley
At the risk of sounding repetative, the bins at Yew Tree Court have not been collected since before Xmas. This has been particularly distressing for our most vulnerable of residents in the assisted living home. Some of the resident are in their 90's and are blind or have carers so struggle with the system of getting the refuse into the right bins but they are doing their best. The problem is that because the bins haven't been collected for such a long time they are having to leave the additional refuse alongside the wheeled bins for collection. I went to to Yew Tree Court to speak to the manager and try to ensure that the missed collections were correctly registered as the address was coming up as not recorded on the council system for collections. This has now been rectified and fingers crossed the refuse and recycling will be collected tomorrow.
Bins Overflowing - Montana Close 11/01/2019 17:47:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley
Yet again the bin stores at Montana Close are overflowing. Since Xmas the bins stores have not been cleared by the refuse collection team. Despite residents contacting the council and reporting on line it was only when the local councillors intervened on a number of occasions that the bins were finally cleared today. Several weeks of refuse was becoming extremely smelly and unpleasant. Once again I hope that normal service resumes.
Heathhurst Road Refuse Collections 11/01/2019 17:37:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley
Residents at a block of flats in Heathhurst Road have not had any collections since before Xmas. Despite residents and the house manager constantly contacting the council the bins and refuse remained uncollected. I contacted the council on several occasions and only today was the rubbish collected. It seems that if the bins are overflowing, not fault of the residents, because collections have been missed the operators then refuse to empty the bins and take the extra rubbish. I have asked that a normal service be resumed and we just hope that the residents don't have to suffer with decaying waste in front of their homes again.
People forced to dump waste at recycling centres 09/01/2019 09:38:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard
Croydon Council continues to fail to offer a reliable dooorstep collection service, so in desperation residents are taking their waste to the various neighbourhood recycling centres around the borough. There they often find the bins overflowing and incapable of taking any more. so they try to do the right thing and leave the waste next to the right bins rather than fly tip it. This was the scene at the recycling centre in Hamsey Green this morning, crammed bins and recyclable materials piled up everywhere, as a result of chaotic collection services over Christmas.
But be warned, even though the council is ultimately to blame for the service failures, it still believes it is entitled to pursue anyone who leaves materials anywhere other than fully inside a recycling container for fly tipping. Yes, that's right, if you leave your recycling next to full recycling container, the council thinks you're a fly tipper. A number of residents have been prosecuted by the council on this basis (where they have, for example, left a readable address label on a box) and there have been several high-profile campaigns to get it to see sense when pursuing someone who was trying hard to do the right thing. I think this is mad and the council should never be pursuing people who have tried hard to act responsibility but been let down by the council's inability to manage its services correctly.
Bus route consultation 07/01/2019 11:53:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard
Transport for London (TfL) is currently consulting on a number of changes to Croydon's bus routes and some of these particularly impct on Sanderstead. Should you have views on this, the consultation website is at the following address: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/croydon-town-centre/
There is also a survey that can be completed but this is more useful if you are a regular user of a route as it does ask how often you use each individual service.
I have quite a lot of concerns about the proposals, so have pasted below a summary of the feedback I have given TfL as a ward councillor:
Below are my comments as a ward councillor for an affected area and as the leader of the Conservative group on Croydon Council.
I have concerns over many of these proposals and will itemise some specific worries below. I would also make the general comment that many of the changes relating to the overall connection strategy for Croydon, and in particular the changes to connections in the town centre, seem likely to reduce the appeal of using buses for cross-borough journeys and are potentially discriminatory against people with any mobility limitation. Across public bodies we are being urged to incentivise the reduction in car usage and a well designed bus network with quick and easy transfers where no through route can be sustained are an important contributor to taking people out of their cars. I am most likely to take a bus where it takes me directly from where I am to where I want to go. I am less likely to do so if it involves a change and a second wait, but where the incoming and outgoing buses are at the same transfer point. i am least likely to take a bus where I have to walk a significant distance between arrival and departure points. That’s more of a problem in the winter when it is cold and wet, and even more so for people for whom walking is more difficult.
The consultation document says that accessing West Croydon or Croydon University Hospital can easily be achieved on routes such as the 60, 64, 109 and 198 by changing at mid-Croydon along Wellesley Road, but the incoming buses from the south of the borough terminate at Katharine Street (154, 403, 405 and 412) which is at least 100m away. For many residents this is not a show-stopper, but for some residents it may well be: and for all residents it is a chilly inconvenience which makes using the bus less attractive.
Further, the termination of these southern routes at Katharine Street limits the appeal of using these buses to access the Whitgift Centre. It is a reasonably significant walk (750m) to get to Marks & Spencer (say) from Katharine Street, probably too much for many older or less mobile residents.
Sanderstead residents are most likely to use the 403 and 412 routes and this part of the borough is already low on bus provision. The 412 was reduced as a service on 1st September yet is the only route through the Riddlesdown area and the Elmfield Way area of South Croydon. The 403 runs from Warlingham and through Sanderstead where it intersects with the 412. The proposed changes, coupled with the reduction in service already suffered, can only result in reducing usage further and this might be used to justify a further reduction in the services in the future.
I know that colleagues with knowledge of the bus routes operating in other areas have similar concerns, so I would urge TfL to rethink the entire strategy focusing on Croydon to ensure that transitions are made easier, not harder, and that routes finish at the place residents are most likely to be trying to get to, rather than places which are most administratively convenient.
Sewer maintenance, Limpsfield Road 07/01/2019 09:49:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard
Last week there was significant traffic chaos due to the need for Thames Water to replace part of a failing sewer opposite Gresham School on Limpsfield Road. At the time we were advised that this would be in place until 25 Jan 2019, but then the traffic lights mysteriously disappeared. Today we learn that the works have been postponed pending a reschedule, and we'll be advised later of the new start time.
We will press for the works to be as short as possible and for the light control at peak hours to be manually controlled, that being the most likely way to minimise the jams that are inevitable.
I will post again when we have a new start time.
19 Limpsfield Road Sanderstead 03/01/2019 17:12:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley
Thames Water are dealing with a sewer failure at the above location. To enable the works it is necessary to erect temporary two way lights. Due to the complex nature of the repair, it is expected the lights to be in place until 25th January The lights will be manually controlled through peak flows to ease congestion.
Beech Avenue Resurfacing 02/01/2019 14:20:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley
After some persuasion and numerous emails from your local councillors I am pleased to say that FM Conway will be commencing the resurfacing of part of Beech Avenue. Residents should have received the following information explaining when the work will take place. The location/s and date/s are below:
Date: 16th to 18th January 2019 between 08:00-17:00
Location: Beech Avenue
To enable the Contractor to undertake the works, on-street parking will be suspended during works hours. We also kindly ask that with forward planning vehicular access to and from properties adjacent to the road are reduced to a minimum during the works hours. Pedestrian access will not be affected.
Advance driver / resident information boards will be in place before the works commence, advising of the precise dates and times of the road closure.
Please however note that unforeseen circumstances (e.g. inclement weather conditions) may necessitate a change to the scheduled dates and information on road signs will be changed accordingly. Please check the road signs regularly for any updates
The resurfacing works will take place : Sec 1 : Purley Downs to Balmoral Gardens - Sec 2 : Prop No: 23 to Purley Oaks Road .
Due to the nature of these works it is inevitable that some disruption will occur. For this reason it is recommended that where possible you use alternative routes, or allow extra time to complete your journey.
The on-street parking suspensions that will be in place within the works area are 07:30-17:00 on 16th to 18th January 2019. No parking for residents on the highway in the areas covered by the enforcement signs.
Please note that penalty charge notices (PCN’s) will be applied to vehicles parked within the suspended areas during the works hours and/or vehicles relocated.
Due to the above we would urge all residents to ensure that their vehicles are moved from the suspended areas in order to avoid any delays to the works as well as incurring any charges.
If your vehicle is relocated please contact the LBC on 020 8726 6000 Ext 52816, who will provide you with an exact location of your vehicle.
We are extremely sorry for the inconvenience this may cause residents; however we want to ensure that all works carried out on the Croydon network are to the highest standards to ensure value for our residents.
Beware Bogus Callers
Croydon Council does not permit its employees or contractors to undertake work on private property during the course of any scheme. If anyone offers such work they will not be a council approved contractor and should be treated with caution. Any scheme undertaken by a council approved contractor does not require cash payments.
Cold calling doorstep traders offering to carry out home maintenance work such as driveway repairs and roofing are a problem in Croydon. These traders can be very persuasive and can intimidate you into agreeing to have work undertaken. The advice from Croydon Trading Standards Service is to say “NO” to all cold calling traders – Every Time. If they will not leave or you get into difficulties, then call Croydon Trading Standards on
020 8407 1311
Thank you for your cooperation whilst we carry out this essential upgrade. If you require any further information do not hesitate to contact us by email: HighwaysMaintenance@croydon.gov.uk or tel: 020 8726 6000 Ext 52816.
Resurfacing Beech Avenue in January 21/12/2018 17:50:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard
Ward councilllors have today received advance warning that Croydon’s Highways team, together with its principal contractor FM Conway, will shortly be commencing Resurfacing works on Beech Avenue.
Sec 1 : Purley Downs to Balmoral Gardens -
Sec 2 : Prop No: 23 to Purley Oaks Road
This work is scheduled to commence on 16th – 18th January 2019.
Due to the locations and nature of these works it is inevitable that some disruption will occur, these works are being scheduled to be carried out between 08:00-17:00. If you need vehicular access during the above period it may be advisable to find alternative and allow additional time for your journey.
Furthermore, to enable the works to be completed with the least inconvenience to the residents traffic management plans (see below) have been drawn up.
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.