Lion Green Road scheme at risk
19/01/2016 08:14:00......Posted by Mario Creatura
Information is scant, but it appears that the Lion Green Road has hit the rocks.
Whilst I had no part in the decision to grant the development (I wasn't a Councillor then), I have said publicly that I didn't see a problem with the plans as long as the store and community facilities opened as fast as possible and with the agreed large car park.
The Council is not being forthcoming with the details of the failure of the development, which is a shame given their pretence at being 'open and transparent'. Here is what we know from the Council press office:
- The council will no longer be progressing the proposed development of the Lion Green Road site, in Coulsdon in its current form.
- The decision was made following agreement with the developer CCURV that the current project was no longer a viable option.
- We are still committed to developing the site and are currently exploring alternative development options. We remain in discussion with Waitrose who are still keen to be part of the scheme.
But only in November, a Council spokesperson said that there would be "no delay" in the development of the site following the discovery of ancient remains and the understandable need for them to be investigated.
What happened in the following months has not been revealed by Croydon Council. It should not be unreasonable for the Council to tell me and my residents why and how the collapse of the scheme was allowed to happen; when they first learned the scheme had failed and what they urgently plan on doing about it.
Chris Philp MP and the local Councillors have asked for the car park to be opened up as soon as possible to mitigate the impact that this development has had on the businesses and residents of Coulsdon. Short-term pain for long-term gain is understandable, but with this administration potentially failing with this development it seems there is lots of pain and no gain for my residents. We have been told that the whole car park cannot apparently be opened because of the archaeological discovery and they cannot at this stage guarantee that the car park will be re-opened at all. This is simply unacceptable.
Questions to consider:
- The Council issued a press release of 14th July 2015 which states ‘The car park will close on 19th July with work beginning the following day’. Why did work not start as promised on 20th July? What changed between the 14th and 20th of July 2015?
- Were the Council aware of any potential viability issues when the car park was closed on 19th July? Or following confirming to the Croydon Advertiser in November that there was 'no delay' in the development? If so, then when did you become aware of them?
- How long will it take to develop new plans? Does the Council have any initial thoughts about what will happen with the site?
As ever, I will seek to update this blog as and when new information is released.
Yesterday Cllr Bains wrote to the Council, on behalf of the three Coulsdon West Councillors, urging them to open the car park as soon as possible. He said:
'In July of last year you committed to start work on the new Waitrose development on the day after Lion Green Road car park was closed. This did not happen and in fact several months have passed during which time Coulsdon residents have been denied both vital parking and the promised development.
Will you now open the car park immediately and let local people use it until you have established certainty over the site's future?
To continue to keep it closed in the current manner benefits nobody and only exacerbates the already severe parking problems you are causing in Coulsdon.'
We received a welcome reply today, saying:
'Thank you for your email. We are working to opening the car park as soon as possible.
It is important given the archaeological dig that we are able to secure the site adequately and decisions need to be taken by the Transport Committee in order to re-establish the car park but I can assure you we are working as quickly as possible.'
We have been told that Council officers will keep us updated on the timescales as this clarity emerges. We will of course share any information we receive with you all as and when we receive it. These calls have been echoed by Steve O'Connell, our GLA member, and Chris Philp, our local MP.