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Thursday April 02, 2020
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The current Croydon Local Plan (CLP) was approved by the Secretary of State for the Environment, which then became adopted by the Council in 2013.

The new, current administration at Croydon Council decided that much more challenging “social need” targets for new homes were required to be delivered in the Borough than the current CLP and that also various other changes were required to be added into that document. As a result of this, in early November 2015, the Councils Spatial Planning Department published a new set of CLP documents as a Revised Draft CLP.  Also in November, the general public was notified of this initiative on the Council’s websites and through the local press and other general media. There appears to have been little, if any, tangible prior advice or warning that this major set of policy changes was about to be introduced.

HADRA’s Chair, along with others, received a letter dated 6th November advising that a “consultation period” for members of the public, local organisations and businesses to decide whether they had any representations for the Council and its Spatial Planning Department to consider by a deadline of Friday 18th December 2015. As part of the consultation process, a touring one day exhibition was to be set up on six dates starting with New Addington, then Selsdon, Central Croydon, Addiscombe, Norwood, and finally in Purley on 8th December. The latter covering Purley, Coulsdon, Old Coulsdon and Kenley.

The draft revised CLP comprises three large volumes: Vol. 1 Proposed Changes (544 pages); Vol.2 Tracking of Amendments to the 2013 CLP (195 pages) and Vol. 3 Preferences (with alternatives) for Specific Sites (300 pages) totalling 1,039 pages.

HADRA, together with other Residents Associations and probably other local bodies wrote letters requesting an extension of time to the extremely minimal 6 weeks consultation period, but all received letters in response, from Cllr. Alison Butler, advising that no extension would be given. HADRA had managed to purchase a hard copy set of these documents to read through. However, though hard copies were deposited at the local libraries, the Council expected all those that did not manage to get their own copies to read it all off page by page from computer screens. 

However, gradually a number of individuals, some councillors and others members of Residents Associations in various “suburban” areas of the Borough began exchanging their reactions to the Draft document, mainly consisting of many items of specific detail.

It is clear from the Draft Revised CLP, that the “District Centres” of Purley and Coulsdon were particularly identified as places in the Borough where new high density housing solutions would be positively encouraged. This included the controversial and recently publicised 16 storey tower block to Banstead Road, with, it is believed, others to follow. There appeared to be little recognition in the draft document of the huge impact of the additional car parking implications in consequence of creating many more new homes.

This culminated in two formal LETTERS OF OBJECTION being emailed to the key Councillors and Spatial Planning officers involved in the draft CLP at the eleventh hour on 18th December, just prior to the deadline. The Chair of ECRA, Charles King, produced a long and thorough analysis of concerns, particularly relating to Coulsdon, that the draft document raises and this was fully supported and signed also by the Chairs of OCRA, CWRA and HADRA. It is understood other nearby Residents Associations also managed to submit formal objection letters as well, by the deadline.

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HADRA sent its own letter, picking up particular issues in Purley and questioning the realistic deliverability of the new housing targets within the context of the Borough of Croydon being the most populated Borough in Greater London at 370,000 inhabitants and the Council aiming to introduce a further 96,000 (our approximate estimate) by 2036.

 

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The Council’s programme towards getting the Revised Draft Approved by the Government is:-

1.       Public Consultation Completed by December 18th 2015;

2.       Publication of the final draft of the Revised Croydon Local Plan Spring/Summer 2016;

3.       Submission to the Secretary of state for the Environment late Summer/Autumn 2016

4.       Examinations by appointed Planning Inspectors early 2017;

5.       Adoption of the NEW Croydon Local Plan late 2017.

Responses to the various objections lodged are now awaited.

 

Note by Derek Maynard of HADRA 22/12/2015.                                   HADRA doc. ref. 0714503.

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