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 The Purley & Woodcote Blog
Cllr  Simon  Brew
Cllr  Oni  Oviri
Cllr  Badsha  Quadir

Carehomes and COVID-19
20/04/2020 13:02:00......Posted by Simon Brew

Therre are about 130 carehomes in the whole of Croydon, and astonishingly, about 30 of them are located in Purley, probably because they were originally established in some of Purley's large attractive family houses with gardens. 

I spent a very useful couple of hours yesterday phoning round 15 of these homes to see how they were getting on in the current crisis. About half said that everything was OK while the other half variously reported problems with the supply of PPE or local testing facilities.

I discovered that three of them are using Tesco for their routine food supplies, and they have been badly affected by the shortage of delivery slots; in some cases, they have had to send care staff to queue just like everyone else, and then rush back to the home to resume looking after patients. This seems a terrible misuse of resources, so I have asked the Council to negotiate at a high level to get carehomes to be automatically treated as priority customers for all supermarket deliveries. Meanwhile the homes are also exploring options for opening accounts with commercial suppliers such as Bookers. 

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Purley Baptist church's Mosaic Place finally gets the green light
10/07/2020 11:33:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

There was an approved application for a development of about eight storeys on the Island site about ten years ago, but it fell through when the developer went bust. 

The most recent iteration of this long-running saga started in 2016 when the church applied for permission to build a seventeen storey tower block in the island site next to the library, plus several blocks of up to 8 storeys on the south side of Banstead Road. The application was approved by the Council, then "called in" by the Secretary of State (SoS) at the behest of Chris Philp MP for a fresh public review which was attended by hundreds of local residents and representatives of several local Residents' Associations . The SoS eventually turned it down, but a fresh legal challenge then resulted in the decision to turn it down being voided, ie it was as if the decision had not been made. The SoS then took a fresh look at the whole application and finally decided yesterday to approve most of it, though the tower has been reduced in size to sixteen storeys to fit in with Labour's Local Plan.

The vast majority of local residents and nearly all the local RAs were and are passionately against this scheme, though it does have some supporters such as, for example the Baptist Church's many local members. Quite apart from the height of the tower, many people are appalled that the whole development of 220 flats only has 27 parking spaces of which 20 are reserved for the disabled. I find it very hard to believe that 200 residents will only own 7 cars between them, and the inevitable consequence is that there will be far more overspill parking in the local streets; these are already threatened by excess parking from the many other local developments that have already been approved, such as the huge development on the Foxley Lane side of the library, and the large number of flats being built in Russell Hill and Woodcote Valley Road.



Suburban character assassination in Purley?
10/07/2020 09:38:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

The Labour administration must have taken particular pleasure in lining up last night’s Planning committee agenda: The three items for decision were all in a tiny cul-de-sac off Russell Hill: Nos: 1,4,6 More Close. Each application was to demolish a family home with garden and replace it by a block of nine flats; two of these were approved despite spirited speeches by local residents and Cllr Oviri, and the third decision was deferred.

What makes this even worse is that Nos 2 & 3 have already been approved for yet more blocks of flats and No 5 is up for outline decision next week. It's therefore likely that six adjoining homes will be replaced by 54 flats, with no corresponding increase in infrastructure, parking, schools, doctor's surgeries, play areas etc.

One of the few arguments one can use against these applications is that of cumulative impact, and the Conservative members of the committee indeed emphasised this at last night's meeting. But Labour’s majority swept all such arguments aside in favour of the mantra that "Croydon needs more homes". Indeed Croydon does need lots more homes and particularly more affordable homes, but none of those approved last night will be affordable. It’s astonishing that this Close will potentially provide nearly 10% of the new homes target for the whole of Croydon in one year, while the Whytecliffe Road & Mosaic Place developments (see next blog) will provide another 50%. It’s entirely wrong that Purley is being swamped in this way while other areas of the Borough are left completely unscathed; sadly, the character of Purley is being deliberately and irreversibly changed before our eyes.



Two very different planning committee outcomes last night: 2/2
19/06/2020 12:21:00.......Posted by Simon Brew


There were two Purley planning applications up for decision at last night's committee meeting, and this is the second of two blogs about them:

2) 1 Higher Drive

This was another depressingly familiar type of application for the replacement of an attractive early 20th century cottage by an ugly modernist block of nine flats, with inadequate parking. I spoke against this application on the grounds of cumulative impact, out of character, overdevelopment and parking, but my concerns were ignored by the Labour members of the committee on the grounds that Croydon needs more homes. This is true, but it should not be at the expense of the destruction of the local streetscene.

I was particularly unhappy about cumulative impact, given that three other blocks of flats have been approved within 100 yeards of this site, and inadequate parking provision; the survey assumed that it was possible to park on BOTH SIDES of Foxley Hill Road and Higher Drive - how crazy is that?!



Two very different planning committee outcomes last night: 1/2
19/06/2020 12:08:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

There were two Purley planning applications up for decision at last night's committee meeting, and this is the first of two blogs about them:

1) 71-73 Pampisford Road

This was a truly horrendous application to replace 71 & 73 Pampisford Rd by an enormous five storey block of 23 flats with only 12 car parking spaces between them. It was totally out of keeping with the area, occupied a large proportion of the plot, and required the removal of several fine trees. I was absolutely delighted that the officers recommended refusal of this application; this should normally have been the end of the matter, but for some strange reason, it was nevertheless brought before the committee, perhaps in the expectation that the Labour majority on the committee would follow its previous pattern of approving almost anything in the South of the Borough. To my surprise and delight, the committee unanimously accepted the officers recommendation and refused the application. 

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Helping property guardians
18/06/2020 12:32:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

I had an interesting and unusual meeting with a resident yesterday. We're all familiar with the three basic tenures as they're called, of freehold, leasehold & tenancy which can be public or private, and shared ownership has also appeared on the scene relatively recently. 

There's another class of occupation called guardianship, which is sometimes applied to former commercial properties which have plans for redevelopment sometime in the future, but meanwhile they are standing empty and therefore likely to be vandalised or worse. Guardianship allows people to occupy the property under very strict conditions which include an absolute right to terminate the occupation with about 28 days notice, and the maintenance obligations on the landlord are less strict than for normal tenancies. 

The Council owns one such building which is occupied under licence by several couples. The Council granted control of the building several years ago to a company to which the occupants paid a license fee, but this company.has been dissolved following several criminal prosecutions against it, The directors of the old company are now asking the occupants to pay their fees to a newly formed company, but the occupants are very unhappy about the way the old and new companies operate. I'm hoping to persuade the Council to terminate their relationship with the new company and instead deal direct with the current occupants.



Parked motorhome causes concern to local resdients.
09/06/2020 11:58:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

Several residents in a Purley steeet have complained to me about a motorhome which has been stationary for several months, and was allegedly occupied by a family with connections to a nearby address. Residents reported seeing people enter and leave the vehicle at all hours of the day and night,  and seeing the motorhome’s toilet contents being emptied down the rain-water gullies followed by some disinfectant, which smelled for hours afterwards. 

It was possible that vehicle, vagrancy, public hygiene & public safety offences were all being committed here, and I also had concerns about safeguarding of whoever lives in the motorhome. I arranged that a Neighbourhood Safety Officer should call both on the house and on the motorhome; at the time of the call, surprise surprise it was being thoroughly cleaned, and there was no evidence of anyone living in it. 

The problem is now unlikely to recur, but I hope that the very act of launching an investigation will have alerted the owner to the regulations applying to motorhomes parked in the street. 




The sad passing of a stalwart PWRA supporter
05/06/2020 11:18:00.......Posted by Simon Brew


Beryl Gascoigne had lived in Purley Knoll for nearly 50 years until she died recently, and the extended family arranged that the cortege should stop outside her home yesterday. The event was beautifully arranged, with nearly 100 people lining the pavement to celebrate her life and to hear some reading, poems and eulogies. It's sad that it's not yet possible for friends and family to celebrate the lives of loved ones in the usual way, but this was an innovative alternative way to commemorate her long and happy life. RIP Beryl - we'll miss you. 



The BID is helping Purley businesses re-open after the lockdown
05/06/2020 10:56:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

I joined a short Business Improvement District meeting earlier this week and was delighted to hear about the BID's role in helping local businesses to re-open after the lockdown. The BID has procured lots of PPE and sanitisers etc which are being distributed to the local businesses, and here is a small sample! Let's hope that customers will eventually return to the High Street in their previous numbers, though the biggest change will come when bars and cafes can re-open. 

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SESW A22 roadworks POSTPONED till 2021
22/05/2020 14:56:00.......Posted by Simon Brew


For some weeks , the threat of an eight week closure of the A22 from the railway bridge to Dale Road (northern junction) has been hanging over a large number of residents and local businesses. This was because SESW wanted to lay a huge pipe from the Tesco site to a connection point in Dale Road.

I'm sure many residents will remember the very severe floods which closed the A22 for seven weeks in 2014 because the Godstone road waterworks were nearly inundated by the river Bourne bursting its banks. While accepting that the works might need to be done at some time in the future, I was appalled that, until earlier this week, there was no attempt to engage with local residents, businesses, the Purley BID or any other local organisations to consider the impact that such a closure would have, particularly as we all struggle to come out of the Covid-19 crisis. I and my colleagues asked lots of questions along these lines over two weeks ago, and we never got any coherent answers.

I'm delighted that the sensible decision has been taken to postpone these works for now; when they try again in the future, it will  hopefully be with a MUCH better communications plan, and with prior engagement with all local stakeholders. 



Serious delays in handing over Government COVID grants to businesses
20/05/2020 12:34:00.......Posted by Simon Brew

Purley BID has alerted me me to four or five cases where local businesses applied many weeks ago for COVID grants, but they have yet to see any cash in their bank accounts, even though HMG paid the money to the Council in late March. 

I've chased them all up with the LBC Director of Finance and I understand that things are at last moving. I was told that The Council didn't know how to contact one business even though it has been tradig in Purley and paying business rates for at least the last thirty years to my certain knowledge! I suggested Googling the company's name, and sure enough the contact details were found in a few seconds..... 



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 Older Blog Posts
VE-day (virtual) celebrations in Croydon on Friday May 8
Ever heard of Phishing?
> 200 flats in Whytecliffe Road South?
Flytipping in Smitham Bottom Lane
2 More Close - invalid planning application
Carehomes and COVID-19
67 Higher Drive - replacement by 17 flats ?
Two more one-bed houses in front garden of an approved scheme :-(
Mindless vandalism at Croydon Airfield :-(
Council tax and housing benefit: new reliefs announced
All parking charges suspended
Warning - COVID-19 Fraud alert
Transport difficulties? Try renting an (e) bike
Covid-19: Help is at hand OR Thanks for volunteering
Purley Rotary Swimathon - 80 lengths completed!
Purley Masjid (mosque) presentation
Croydon Community Consortium meeting at St Michaels, West Croydon
Retirement of Richard Pacitti, CEO of Mind in Croydon
FOUR more large family homes bite the dust :-(
IT advice to SECHC
SWLLC celebrates its 45th birthday
Packed meeting in Sanderstead to launch DEMOC campaign
Young Croydon seminar
Purley's Iron Horse project: Commemorative mugs on sale!
Mayoral celebration of Purley's Iron Horse Sculpture
Abandoned rentabike reported
Celebrating the Chinese new year of the Rat
Today is Holocaust Memorial Day
Only one week to the launch of the Iron Horse in Purley's Rotary Field
Croydon Community Consortium (CCC) - an interesting meeting
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