Labour's local plan is bad for Sanderstead
17/12/2015 09:20:00......Posted by Tim Pollard
We are coming to the end of the consultation period on the Labour council's proposed changes to the local plan. This local plan is the set of principles and policies which determine what sort of development can go ahead and in what places. Essentially if a development is consistent with the local plan, it will most likely be approved.
More details of the proposed changes to the local plan can be found here.
The changes to the local plan fall into two categories: there are many minor amendments which are good, and which tidy up the somewhat confusing plethora of current policies. However, some changes are not so good and will change the character of our area, and Croydon more widely, in some quite funamental ways.
The new plan proposes three new Traveller sites to be designated, for permanent encampments. All three of these are in Green Belt and all three - by one of life's funny little coincidences - are in the south and in Conservative-held wards. Well, there's a thing.....
We object to these on a number of grounds: the government has recently ruled that traveller encampments are inappropriate development for the Green Belt. The law is shortly to change meaning councils will no longer be obliged to provide extra sites. And we have sufficient brownfield sites to enable any necessary expansion in provision to happen there - if indeed any expansion is necessary at all.
Another unwelcome change is the de-designation of some Metropolitan Open Land to an unprotected status, so that it can be built on. This will change the character of an area of Shirley (another ward our Labour colleagues don't represent) for ever. And a number of Green Belt sites including Purley Downs and Sanderstead Plantation are to be downgraded from Green Belt to MOL.
Garden-grabbing is also encouraged in the new draft plan. The previous Conservative administration introduced strong policies to restrict garden grabbing, but Labour is to go back to a free-for-all. This is contrary to Boris' London plan, so may be challengeable on that grounds.
In terms of Sanderstead ward, there are several changes (in addition to those outlined above) which are very unwelcome. Firstly the former Good Companions site is to be designated for mixed use development of retail and residential. Given that the Appeal on this site for store-only use last year was quite clear that a supermarket development is not appropriate, the idea that Croydon council may later be able to force through a supermarket topped with housing is not good news.
But most bonkers of all is the proposal to allow 'intensification' of development in the area between Limpsfield Road and Addington Road - including Onslow Gardens, Cranleigh Gardens, Blenheim Gardens and Stanley Gardens. This is all low rise revelopment consisting of suburban semi's, detached houses and bungalows. But under Labour's plans, all those properties could be replaced by blocks of flats. Flatted development is perfectly appropriate along Limpsfield Road, but not in the hinterland behind it.
The ward team are objecting to all these plans and you can find a copy of my letter of objection here.
It isn't too late to object yourself - the deadline is the close of play on Friday - and details of how to do so can be found here.