Reinstating after repairs 15/04/2013 07:18:00......Posted by Tim Pollard
One of the most popular policies introduced by this Conservative administration has been the rolling programme of resurfacing roads entirely or in large stretches. The previous administration spent around £2m per year on patching up potholes but nothing on scheduled surface replacement. The result was that the general condition of the roads deteriorated sharply, and with more surface weaknesses come more potholes. Under this administration we have boosted spend on roads resurfacing to around the £7m mark and have a rolling programme of resurfacing the roads in worst condition. Now, where the road has been fully resurfaced, we should have many years during which the potholes are less likely to return because the surface is properly sealed. The logic is that whilst we are spending more capital funding on the resurfacing, our ongoing maintenance budget should fall in the long term as less patch up work will be needed.
The drawback with resurfacing is that the surface only remains fully sealed until a utility comes along and digs up the surface. A case in point is Arkwright Road between Church Way and Briton Hill Road. This was in poor condition so was fully resurfaced not long ago. Then a few weeks ago a contractor comes along and digs literally dozens of holes in the surface, for 'essential gas main replacement'. They also did the same on Briton Hill Road, but this is somewhat less irritating as that road is yet to be resurfaced (and needs it).
Unfortunately, the law allows that any contractor who can make a case that they need to dig up a road for safety reasons can do so, with our role being to control when and how (unless it is an emergency, in which case they can do it first and ask afterwards). So before we resurface we do aways try to find out whether the usual utility providers can foresee any reason they might want dig the road up and we try to get them to do anything foreseeable first.
In this case, it is just bad luck. What we can do is to ensure that we monitor the quality of the repair to the surface, insist that it is well sealed back in to the remaining surface and monitor it through the next couple of winters so that we can get them back to redo any areas which sink as the packing under the surface settles.
If any utility repair does subside, please do let us know and we will get them back to remedy it.
Wentworth Way closure 12/02/2018 12:38:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard
SGN are continuing with their gas mains replacement scheme this week in Wentworth Way. These works will take place during the half term break. Wentworth Way will be closed at its junction with Limpsfield Road to Ellesmere Drive, with two-way signals at the junction with Ellesmere Drive. Displaced traffic will be directed via Hilton Way.
Spineless council backs developers again 09/02/2018 11:20:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard
Last night I represented residents in Gainsborough Drive before the planning committee - and as is normal these days the Labour-run committee backed the developers rather than the residents.
The site is a back garden development which was refused by the council when under Conservative control in 2013, but the developer then got permission on appeal. When they came to build it, they built in the wrong place, to the wrong height, the wrong width, on a raised plinth instead of at ground level and with a sloping ramp to get access to the front door. Once it became clear that they were building much more than they had permission for, local residents contacted myself and the council enforcement team, who told the builder to stop and seek permission for what he was actually building. They repeatedly ignored this and the council did not compel them to, so in the end they completed the building at their own risk.
They then applied for permission for what they had built, which was refused by the council. They went to appeal and lost.
In his refusal of the appeal the Inspector particularly commented that removing the ramp “would still leave it sitting on what is in effect a raised plinth, with a door threshold level that would be incompatible with those of No1 to 7. I am not persuaded that the imposition of a planning condition requiring the ramp's removal would provide an acceptable alternative."
So the developer made a few changes, namely moving the front door so as to be able to delete the ramp and create a 1m space in front of the pavement in which they propose some planting to try to disguise the odd proportions of the raised building they are left with.
Council officers decided that was fine, saying ‘The proposed removal of the existing raised ramp, balustrade and the alteration to the location of the front door will help alleviate the inspector’s concerns.’
I don’t think so. With the door moved, and the ramp removed, we have an oddly proportioned building with its windows at the wrong height. The developer has not very successfully tried to disguise that with planting, but the reality is that the plants will struggle to survive in the few inches of space they have between the wall and the pavement. It will look horrible.
In his conclusion the 2016 Inspector said “I have found that the appeal development has an unacceptable appearance. The nature of the harm is such that I consider it could not be addressed by my imposition of reasonable planning conditions. The appeal is therefore dismissed.”
The Inspector was effectively saying that he does not believe there is anything the developer can do to make the building acceptable.
Clause 7.9 of the council report says ‘The inspector and officers are minded that reverting to the 2012 consent would involve the demolition of the house.’
And that’s exactly what should have happened to prevent the council becoming laughing stock amongst developers.
But no, the Labour controlled committee decided by 3 votes to two (breaking along party lines) that although the resulting building is wrong on virtually every level, it can stay, and they granted it permission. The message this sends to developers is quite clear. Build what you like in Croydon, our spineless council won't stop you.
20mph Zones in South of the Borough 16/01/2018 19:20:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley
As residents will be well aware signs are appearing in the south of the borough for the introduction of the 20mph zone. We realise that this may well be confusing for some residents with Sanderstead Road and a number of others remaining at 30mph whilst others such as Purley Downs Road are 20mph.
Residents may also find it particularly confusing when faced with a choice. What do you mean you might say? Well in some roads, Farmfields for instance, just by Sanderstead library the signs on the entry to the road show 30 on one side and 20 on the other.
I have asked officers if they can explain the signage which residents have brought to my attention saying they are quite confused.
Enquiry into Purley Tower 16/01/2018 14:31:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard
I today attended the morning session of the Purley Baptists' Church public enquiry. Below is the notes I based my comments to the inspector on - it's not verbatim, but it's pretty close to what I said.
I am not opposed to a mixed use scheme on this site per se. The Councillors’ manifestos in local elections 2002-14 all included a pledge to encourage appropriate development on this site. The issue for me is the scale and appropriateness of the application.
Many towns have faced a similar moment of decision, where a single application determines the future direction of an entire built environment. Croydon town centre had its moment in the early fifties – when it chose to become an edge city rather than a market town. This is Purley’s moment.
The future with this development seems certain to be quite different from the future without it. In most planning applications a building is just a building. In this case it is highly likely that it will determine the whole future of Purley.
Local MP Chris Philp has set out his view on how this development is in conflict with policy at national, regional and local level. That case has been extensively tested in the enquiry so I won’t repeat those arguments.
Just a few points from Chris’ evidence to highlight. From CLP2 (2017) DM16 tall buildings should “Respect and enhance the local character”. Elsewhere “The design should be of exceptional quality and demonstrate that a sensitive approach has been taken in the articulation and composition of the building form which is proportionate to its scale”.
I don’t believe this scheme in any way respects of enhances local character and my personal opinion of the design as set out so far is bog-standard at best. It is completely different to any other building in Purley or any building in the borough south of the town centre. It would not be out of character in Croydon centre.
As articulated by Chris Philp last week, there are other policies in CLP1 SP4 which it can be strongly argued this proposal contradicts: positive contribution to the skyline and high quality public realm appropriate to the scale & significance of the building.
Steve O'Connell spoke about the tunnel effect which would be created with the road running between the densely built southern site and the island site itself. I fully agree with him. The point has also been made that a ‘landmark building’ does not have to be tall – indeed the one marking the edge of the town centre which you see as you enter the gyratory under the railway arches is only 6 storey – it is the design which makes it a landmark, not the scale.
And the point has been made that Purley is accessible by public transport and has a high PTAL rating. That’s true if you are going north-south, but not east-west.
The strong local opinion against a development of this scale has been previously set before the Inspector. These residents are not nimby’s - they are local people who are concerned that this proposal will redefine Purley town centre for a generation and is taking the town in a direction which they, as local residents, have not signed up for.
Given the landmark nature of this decision I would urge that policy be interpreted in the light of the directional change it would mark for the town and great weight be given to those policies which can be seen as suggesting that this is not the right development for this site.
I would conclude by stressing that I want to see this site redeveloped. I want to see the church develop its community offer and I want to see the site contrivute to the housing needs of London. I just don’t want to see this happen at any price to the town. A smaller, less dense development which makes appropriate arrangements for parking in line with how people actually behave would be very welcome.
I therefore urge you to reject this application to enable a better one, which can have local buy in, to come forward.
Mitchley View road safety 18/12/2017 14:54:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard
Last week I received a petition many residents of Mitchely View, Briar Grove and the nearby area of Mitchely Hill have signed to request that the council agrees to extend the double yellow lines on Mitchley Hill to either side of the Mitchley View junction, with the aim of improving road safety as residents leave Mitchley View.
I have written to the council’s democratic services manager to ask that this be put on the agenda for the next full council meeting on 29 January 2018. I will present the petition to the relevant cabinet member and he will respond to the request either at that meeting or the next one.
A couple of concerned residents contacted me in the summer about this and I wrote to the council’s road safety officer asking that the junction be prioritised for consultation. The response that I got then was not encouraging, reproduced in full below:
The officer wrote……
I did spend some time on site looking at the sightlines and also observing driver behaviour at the junction and of course driving out of the junction myself. I’ve attached a series of photographs showing the line of sight for drivers emerging from the junction.
In short the existing double yellow lines and the fact that the junction is on the outside of a bend helps provide good sightlines and there is no justification in extending these at the present time. Care is always needed when joining a main road but I don’t consider this junction any different to many junctions across the Borough and if anything probably easier to negotiate than some.
Although this response was not favourable, and this will therefore colour the view of the cabinet member making a response to the petition, I do agree with residents (as opposed to the officer) on this and am happy to keep pressing the council to think again. A letter similar to this blog post will be hand-delivered to the residents affected in the next few days.
Xmas Lights - Sanderstead and Hamsey Green 05/12/2017 17:12:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley
On Saturday I attended the official switch on for the Xmas lights outside Priscillas Cafe. The Sanderstead councillors purchased additional lights for the trees and lamp posts from their councillor budget for Sanderstead and Hamsey Green.
It was a joyous occasion officiated by Jeremy Groombridge from All Saints Church and of course Santa who arrived courtesy of the Rotary Club. The lights will remain on during the day throughout the festive season and have low voltage bulbs.
It has made a huge difference to the area and we have received many compliments and thanks for all the work involved in making Sanderstead more festive!
Garden grabbing encouraged in Mayor Khan's London Plan 29/11/2017 13:38:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard
The key issues to note for Croydon are as follows.
As suspected, protection for back gardens has been removed. In addition, the Plan actually appears to be encouraging garden grabbing with a presumption in favour of 'infill development within the curtilage of a house'.
The housing density matrix has been completely removed. This means there are no limits or guidelines to the appropriate density of developments in particular areas.
Also as expected, there has been a drastic squeeze on parking standards. All developments with PTAL of 5-6 (i.e. areas with good public transport) are expected to be car free without exception. There is also a squeeze on office and retail parking.
Whilst internal housing space standards remain the same, it now says they should not be exceeded. The previous London Plan encouraged the space standards to be exceeded. So they are effectively now a maximum, rather than a minimum.
There are no targets for family homes, despite previous commitments. Boris's housing strategy had a target for 36% of affordable homes to be family sized. There was no target in Khan's housing strategy and we were told to expect this in the London Plan instead - however, it is not there. It also suggests that two bed units can be considered suitable for family housing.
As previously announced, the new London housing target is 64,935 homes a year across London. Croydon’s share is just under 3,000 homes per year, the fifth highest in London and the largest of any of the boroughs without large brownfield (former industrial or housing) sites. The borough breakdown show that Croydon’s target is double Bromley’s and three times Sutton’s.
Within this, there is also a new specific target for development on small sites of 24,573 homes per year. Again Croydon’s target is 50% more than Bromley’s and double Sutton’s.
There is a 'strategic target' for 50% affordable housing across London.
Cumulatively, these policies will encourage (particularly in outer London suburbs) a huge increase in the demolition of existing family housing and its replacement with blocks of flats with little to no parking provision.
Onslow Gardens closure: Tardis required 27/11/2017 13:05:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard
The council placed signs at the weekend announcing the closure of Onslow Gardens from 30th Nov to the 4th Nov. We think they meant until 4th Dec! So unless you have a time machine handy, don't worry about the closures in the past....
As is frustratingly common they put the signs up before telling the councillors, so we have been unable to shed any light on what is happening until now.
It seems that the closure is necessitated by the back garden development at no 24, about which I bloogged several times duing the planning process. The two infill houses need ot be connected to the mains sewerage and that is the cause of the closure.
The actual closure takes place on the following days 30/11, 1/12 and 4/12, according to officers, which suggests it will reopen over the weekend.
Displaced traffic will be diverted via Blenheim Gardens and Cranleigh Gardens. Access will be maintained for residents up to works site and via diversion.
Friends of Purley Beeches AGM 23/11/2017 16:15:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley
I attended the AGM of the Friends of Purley Beeches. Many of the members are shocked and horrified that 31 of the borough's parks and green spaces are without local protection. The Friends have worked hard in the beeches planting new trees and bulbs and cutting back much of the overgrowth from the natural pathways. It is a very beautiful spot and has some exceptionally rare and beautiful trees. Groups like this are so important in preserving our green spaces for all to enjoy. The group was formed after a number of trees were felled without informing local residents. Many trees have been planted by the Friends and I am pleased to announce that the Sanderstead councillors will be making a donation from their community budget towards some bulbs to be planted alongside some of the pathways. Do take a stroll through the woodland or maybe enjoy a game of tennis - its a real gem.
Trees Outside Priscillas and The Gruffy -- Xmas Lights 03/11/2017 15:58:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley
Residents will be delighted to hear that work is underway to put up the new Xmas lights purchased with the councillors community budget. The lights will encircle the trees outside Sanderstead Recreation Park and at the Gruffy. In order for the lights to be installed some minor works needs to be undertaken to remove some of the low hanging twigs and branches from the trees. There will also be some new lights around the lampposts near the roundabout. This builds on the lights already provided by the Sanderstead Residents' Association which will also be put up at the same time. I am sure it will all look quite magical and we are looking forward to the official switch on and Xmas Fayre which will take place on Saturday, 2 December, in the Recreation Ground.
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