Council plans to demolish Community Centre and cut parking in Coulsdon
01/01/2018 18:21:00......Posted by Mario Creatura
The Labour-run Council has recently put in a number of planning applications which will:
- Demolish the Coulsdon Community Centre on Barrie Close and replace it with 33 flats
- Move the Centre to the old CALAT site, cutting its parking provision by 1/3
- Erect flats for some 237 residents, whilst cutting public parking provision in Coulsdon
I have written to the Council objecting to these plans. You can read my full arguments below. If you could like to do the same you can visit the applications and easily post your views: plan to demolish the Centre are here and the plans for Lion Green Road are here.
The more who object, and the more who attend the Planning Committee where it'll get decided, the more likely it is to be thrown out. I hope the Council will listen, and I'll be working with my fellow Councillors to do just that!
I would like to please object to two linked applications 17/06216/FUL and 17/06297/FUL and refer them both to the Planning Committee for refusal.
Taking them each in turn:
17/06216/FUL - demolition of existing community centre and erection of 33 residential units comprising 4 one bedroom flats, 12 two bedroom flats and 17 three bedroom houses, together with provision of car parking, landscaping and other associated works). My reasons are as follows:
1. There is no compelling case for the Council owned and run development company to use Croydon taxpayer funds to relocate the Coulsdon Community Centre given its immense popularity with the thousands of residents who use it on a regular basis. It is fine where it is and has served its community very well under its current management committee.
2. Parking is already very heavily congested at the section of Chipstead Valley Road that the Centre currently occupies, including the perpendicular roads of Coniston and Sherwood. One space per property for 33 properties is not enough for these new builds and will only make parking worse for those residents already in the locale - particularly those in Barrie Close.
3. As the new proposed development is up hill from existing properties there is fear from the many residents who have contact me that they will be able to look down directly into bedrooms and bathrooms of existing properties, seriously affecting privacy and security.
The council’s own Development Presentations for item 5.1 of the Committee Planning Agenda for 21 November 2017 state: “Thought should be had in terms of mitigating the loss of privacy experienced at these properties, perhaps through landscaping provision.” The planning statement’s claim that “existing residents [sic] amenity is protected” is therefore contradicted by the council’s own documentation, and nothing has been included in the design to mitigate this issue.
The 21st November 2017 Development Presentations for item 5.1 of the Committee Planning Agenda state:
“It is considered that 3 storeys would be an appropriate maximum height for the properties to avoid the development having an overbearing impact on the surrounding 2 storey context. It is important that only the rooftops of the properties are visible through the trees from the surrounding area to be consistent with local character.”
The design of four storeys high is therefore contradictory to the council’s own development presentation. A reduction in the height/size of the development should be considered to mitigate these very real fears.
4. There is fear that the removal of trees will negatively impact the local ecosystem.
5. It is well known that the sewage system on this part of Chipstead Valley Road has overflown several times in recent years, adding this many properties to the outflow without heavily investing in underground sewage infrastructure is believed it will only make the problem worse.
6. There are a large number of other residential developments that are either in construction, have been recently finished or have recently been approved including the hundreds of homes on Cane Hill, the Lion Green Car Park development, new flats at 177 Chipstead Valley Road, new flats at 193/195 Chipstead Valley Road etc. all with insufficient parking provision. Altogether, this will result in around an extra 900 dwellings in Coulsdon. Without any planned changes to the town’s infrastructure – especially with regard to trains, roads and schools – this is a clear case of over-development.
7. The loss of the existing Coulsdon Community Centre building would be a sad event. The building dates to 1935 and has much architectural and historic interest to the local community. It is well-used, with 95% occupancy rate. Last year Cllr Timothy Godfrey, Labour Cabinet Member for culture, praised the community services offered by the Coulsdon Community Centre and has cited it repeatedly as an example of best practice in the borough. Demolishing this Centre seems entirely contradictory, hypocritical and destructive to our community.
17/06297/FUL - redevelopment of site to provide 5no. five, six,seven storey buildings providing 96 one bedroom, 42 two bedroom and 19 three bedroom flats: provision of vehicular access, residential and town centre car parking spaces, hard and soft landscaping works and new private and public amenity space.
1. Out of keeping with the local area: the 7-storey buildings are at the back of the site where the elevation is higher. The plans appear to reduce the elevation from the current level, however I believe the development will appear to be more like 8-stoeys above St Dunsten’s Cottages.
2. The previous plans for this site proposed a non-residential development of four-storeys. This is significantly higher than that, and all other properties in the locale. Consideration should be considered to revise this application so that the height-limit is protected and therefore in keeping with the local area.
3. There will be a loss of light to the rear of St Dunsten’s Cottages and Wells Cottages not to mention a loss of privacy at rear of St Dunsten’s Cottages homes, in back gardens and to Wells Cottages.
4. St Dunsten’s Cottages are part of a Local Heritage Area. The view of the cottages with towers over them will result in a significant loss of their aesthetic charm. There is deep concern that the huge scale of this development will put that at risk, harming the character of the local area which should be protected.
5. Impact of increased traffic and changing traffic flows at the Chipstead Valley Road/Lion Green/Woodcote Grove Road junction. This is further impacted by the development of the Coulsdon Community centre and the increased capacity planned at Smitham School.
6. The Traffic Assessment makes no mention of the Chipstead Valley Road/Lion Green/Woodcote Grove Road junction. This surprised all of us as anyone local to the area would see the contact queue of traffic at that junction. Adding to this daily misery for my residents should not be something actively pursued by this Council.
7. The biggest reason for objecting to this application, however, is lack of consideration for the increased strain on local infrastructure that the at least 237 additional residents (96 x 1; 42 x 2 and 19 x 3) will have. Virtually everyone agrees that Coulsdon needs more parking. The site has historically had 350 parking spaces, now cut to 115.
8. The current Lion Green Road car park has over 100 of its 115 spaces used nearly all day. In the context of the rest of the town, there is no argument for reducing this provision:
o The CALAT car park has 35 well-used spaces.
o Aldi car park is often full with four or more queuing and over-flowing into the main road, obstructing public transport and other vehicles.
o Waitrose car park likewise is often full with a couple queuing and some obstruction of passing traffic.
o The side roads with free bays or no controls are also heavily parked - notably The Avenue, The Grove and South Drive. Other roads with no charges are also well parked.
9. Continued reduction of parking provision will continue to strangle local businesses, harm the environment through increase pollution and over-burden our straining local infrastructure. This is not the first time that I’ve written to the Council or spoken at Planning Committee on this subject!