Chairman’s Report 2019/2020

Croydon Council’s Overall Planning Policy
It is always difficult to keep up with where we are in the planning cycle. The current plan is the 2018 plan but is is in the process of being reviewed to increase the 20 year targets.  In December we submitted our views that the small site element of the targets was too high and that more emphasis should be placed  on building in the centre and along the Purley Way but not the Green Belt until there was a London wide review of the Green Belt.
The problem we have is that in this plan iteration, any site within 800m of a train or tram stop is deemed an intensification area.  we do not know exactly what this means at the moment but we know half our area is within 800m of either Lloyd Park or Coombe Wood tram stops.
One potentially  reassuring element of  this plan iteration is that there are targets by Ward.  Both the South Croydon Ward and the Selsdon and Addington Vilage in which our area resides have relatively low targets.
The Government White paper on Planning
David Rutherford put in a lot of work in putting forward the CVRA response to the White Paper.  The response is on our website. The gist of the rules seem to be to put more emphasis on the overall area planning stage with less emphasis on individual applications.  The look and feel of new residential buildings will be governed more by a pre-agreed design book.
This maybe a good thing as to me the Council Planning Committee has too much discretion at the moment.  There are existing guidelines but they seem deliberately vague.  When I pointed this out to Councillor Scott in a recent phone in he asked rhetorically whether the New York model where they have an over 1,000 page design book was the way to go. To me the answer is yes.
Coombe Wood School

We would now have three years worth of pupils making their way to the school – if it had been finished. The good news is that the permanent getting to school  solution whereby those pupils coming by tram cross Coombe Lane at a new crossing above Melville Avenue is just about in place and should be operational by the time the pupils return from St Andrew’sThe permanent buildings are almost complete.  They are huge – as  expected and style wise not at all in keeping with the area.

We will monitor Traffic along Melville at dropping off picking up times when the new school relocates back to Melville Avenue. The local residents asked the school to implement a  no dropping off scheme which is primarily a primary school thing but has been extended to include at least one secondary school.  They did not want to support the request.
Interestingly  a second Croydon school after St Andrew’s School is now closing.  Virgo Fidelis will close at the end of this school year and will join St Andrews in closing as Coombe Wood School is being built.  Coombe Wood School will be a tremendous resource for the community but you do wonder whether allowing existing schools to close and new ones built is the most efficient way of managing the school estate within Croydon.
Other Traffic Issues
Residents of Castlemaine, Croham Park Avenue and Campden have noticed an increase in traffic since Melville has been made one way.  This is something we will be looking more at next year.
Individual  Planning Applications
David Rutherford  has again done a fantastic job in identifying and organising our response to inappropriate applications in our area.  Whereas in 2018/2019 we felt we had some success in convincing the reject proposals which were not in keeping, for example the initial application for 50 Castlemaine was rejected due to size, we felt we had less success this year.
Three applications for developments in Croham Valley road were approved in one meeting earlier this year. Each of the three were inappropriate in their own ways but the Council seem to look for reasons to justify rather than rule out.
On of the developments has pitched roof but of metal rather than ceramic tiles. It was justified as not been readily visible from the main road.
A second one will be one story more than the very nice new house which it will be next to. Within the enew rules but will not be a balanced view from the road as well as taking light from the existing houses.
The third which is currently under construction next to the golf course will be over 900square meters. We will see over the next few months how large this will be.
We will carry on objecting and hope the Council feels a little more symapthetic under their changed circumstances.
Lastly on planning we can see 148 Ballards Way taking shape and the actual building confirms our view that the design is completely out of keeping with the surrounding buildings.
Last year we asked the Ombudsman to look at the details of committee meeting where the design was approved  as we felt some of the comments downplayed the differences with the existing housing stock.  The request was rejected as it was not submitted  by an immediate neighbour.  We ave now addressed this and await  a second response.
A thank you to all our deliverers
We would like to thank all the volunteers who have delivered and collected subscriptions in the past.  As we are moving with the times and are now asking for subscriptions  electronically or dropped of with either Wendy or myself we took the opportunity to also employ a deliverer. A local who appreciated the income in these hard times for some.
Angela and Edward
You will have seen the tributes to Angela Shaw and Edward Glynn in the Autumn newsletter. I want to again thank them for their work.
Jeremy Gill
11 November 2020