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 The Sanderstead Blog
 
Cllr  Lynne  Hale
Cllr  Yvette  Hopley
Cllr  Tim  Pollard
 

Planning application for grazing off Mitchley Avenue
19/09/2013 12:38:00......Posted by Tim Pollard

A planning application has been submitted to erect some wooden stables and shelters in the Green Belt land behind the small group of houses on Mitchley Avenue close to the corner with Mitchley Hill. Details of the application can be found here.

 
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 Other Blog Posts
 

Noisy drain cover at Waitrose traffic lights fixed
19/02/2018 08:57:00.......Posted by Lynne Hale


If you have been anywhere near the Waitrose traffic lights since Christmas, you may well have heard a particularly noisy drain cover rattling around when vehicles drove it.
I reported this and some repairs were attempted with tarmac. However, although it quietened the noise a bit, it was clear that this drain cover was in fact broken and needed replacing.
It must then have come as a considerable relief for residents living nearby when Thames Water replaced the defective cover in early February.

 


 

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.

 


 

Westfield Avenue road name plate being replaced
09/02/2018 09:02:00.......Posted by Lynne Hale

 
 


A resident recently let me know about the very sad state of the Westfield Avenue road name plate – at the west end. Seemingly he has in the past painted it to keep it in good condition but it is now rotten and collapsing with heavily rusted supports.
I am pleased to say that the Council has agreed to replace this sign so we can look forward to seeing a new one there shortly.
 

 


 

Seat at 403 bus stop Sanderstead Recreation Ground
06/02/2018 12:38:00.......Posted by Lynne Hale


Following the loss of the bus shelter, with the toilets, and the opening of the wonderful Priscilla’s café a while ago, a number of residents have been in touch about having a seat installed. Clearly for some people if there is a bit of a wait for a 403 bus it can get a bit wearying standing at this stop.
I am pleased to say that a suitable spot has now been identified and he job is now being costed. I will update with further news…
 

 


 

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.

 


 

Purley Skyscraper
16/01/2018 12:30:00.......Posted by Lynne Hale


Today I attended the Purley Skyscraper Inquiry and had the opportunity of explaining to the Planning Inspector why I objected to such a tall building on this site. The site is desperate for re-development and we need more housing but I do think that 17 storeys is just too tall.
Below are the notes I spoke from:
“I am here to tell you why I think the plan for a 17 storey skyscraper here in Purley is completely inappropriate.

At 4 to 5 times the height of any other building for miles around, the skyscraper would stick out like a sore thumb, be significantly out of character with the area and would obliterate the current suburban feel.

Whilst the main focus of my concern is with the height of the proposed building, I also have serious concerns about the impact on local parking, the flood risk, the density of the development and the detrimental impact which such a tall building will have on local views such as those from Farthing Downs.

I have a close connection with Purley and the people who live here. My parents had a shop next to Purley Station and I have always lived in the area, representing Sanderstead Ward as a councillor – just a few miles up the road from here - for nearly 20 years. I also worked as a health professional in Purley Hospital for many years.

This site really does need developing. It has been sitting here abandoned and derelict for years creating a dreadful eyesore on this important Town Centre site. I have seen quite a few proposals for the site in the past, some of which have truly celebrated the site which should sit proudly on the junction between the A22 and the A23.

- Well-designed buildings of character – one of which I recall looked like the bow of a cruise ship facing you as you drove under the A22 railway bridge towards it – its tiered storeys reflecting beautifully the topography of the site. Imagine that!

It is therefore perfectly possible to have a beautiful landmark design which will put Purley on the map in terms of innovative design, not just in the community development world, but in the wider world of regeneration. Importantly though, of all the previous iterations I have seen, none has been more than 7 or 8 storeys.

And I would at this point like to commend the vision and energy of Purley Baptist Church in trying to bring sustainable life to this derelict site.

I don’t think this 17 storey building is where they wished to end up, but I would like to place on record my recognition of the huge amount of time, money and prayer which Purley Baptist Church has invested into the creation of a scheme, which they wished to bring to this site and which would enhance the lives of Purley residents.

I am saddened that the sheer size of what we have had to end up with means we are in the position of opposing what started off as such a wonderful worthwhile positive proposal for Purley.

What started as a project built on faith not finance has now become one driven by finance and a political interpretation of planning policies based on ideology rather than what is best for the local community and character here in Purley.

Unfortunately, this proposal will put Purley on the map for all the wrong reasons. This looming eyesore is a tragic waste of a site with real potential to deliver a community centre and housing which we could embrace and celebrate. This skyscraper would cause a shadow over central Purley and have a detrimental impact not just on the character of the suburban neighbourhood but would completely dominate it.
The proposal for 17 floors is inappropriate for the following planning reasons:

• It does not respect and enhance the local area – as required by Croydon’s own Local Plan and it cannot possibly be considered to be of exceptional quality with sensitivity applied to articulation and composition which is proportionate in scale. CLP2 (2017) DM 16.

• Referencing London Plan (2016) Policy 7.7 –
o  It will have an unacceptably harmful impact on its surroundings because of its being so much higher than any other building nearby
o It certainly won’t relate well with the surrounding buildings being completely at odds with and utterly dominating the prevailing street-scene and public realm
o And it certainly doesn’t form part of a cohesive building group – as defined by the Policy – because it is a complete one-off

In addition to breaching the London Plan and the Croydon Plan as illustrated by my previous points, the scheme also flies in the face of the National Planning Policy Framework (2012) para 58, sub point 4, which says that planning policies and decisions should aim to ensure that developments: “respond to local character and history and reflect the identity of local surroundings and materials.”

The reason for this breach is that the towering height of this proposal is completely out of character with any other building for miles around.

This design in its entirety would however, be perfectly at home in Croydon Town Centre, just up the road, where tall buildings and density of this scale are perfectly apt.

Turning now briefly to density and parking.

This development exceeds the upper end of the density reference range set out in the London Plan 2016 Policy 3.4 and Table 3.2.

The island site on its own, which in many ways it is, as it is completely physically separated from the rest of the development by a busy dual carriage way, is 50% higher than the top end of the density range.

The density range is there for a reason – to protect the living conditions of the residents who will live there – so it is unacceptable just to ignore it. Indeed density alone would be sufficient grounds to have refused the application.

We know we need more housing in Croydon Borough but it is unacceptable to squeeze families into developments that are just not suitable in terms of density – especially when there are plenty of brownfield sites which are sitting undeveloped in Croydon, crying out for regeneration. Placing hundreds of families on a roundabout in the middle of a busy gyratory system is just not fair on any of them.

Parking is already at a premium in Purley and with just 37 parking spaces for the 220 flats, this will inevitably put a huge burden on local street parking which is already stressed.

Residents should be given a real choice about how they travel (NPPF 2012 para 29) but this scheme would deny that and seriously adversely affect the current parking conditions.

My final point is around flooding in this high flood risk area. We all know that the centre of Purley floods on a fairly regular basis – the Bourne rises in the Caterham/Kenley section of the valley every 7 years or so and even a particularly heavy downfall can bring Purley Cross to a complete standstill as the roads flood.
So it is surprising that the scheme does not have more substantial flood mitigation measures in place.

As I have said, I know Purley Baptist Church has worked so hard for many years on trying to bring a scheme which will enhance the local area and support local residents.

But with regret I think this skyscraper proposal would fundamentally and detrimentally change the nature of Purley. The goal posts have significantly moved during the scheme’s development and what we have now ended up with is just too tall.

Mr Nicholson, in the circumstances, I hope that you will reject it.”

 


 

43 Downsway - appalling planning decision
12/01/2018 12:31:00.......Posted by Lynne Hale


I objected to the recent planning application which was lodged for 43 Downsway for the demolition of the bungalow and erection of a building containing 7 flats, effectively built across 4 storeys. Having referred the application to the Planning Committee for a decision I attended last night’s meeting to speak against the recommendation to approve the application.
Both Dennis King, Sanderstead Residents’ Association Chairman, and I both spoke strongly against the proposal but I am very sorry to say that the Labour controlled Planning Committee completely dismissed the very real concerns about the height of this proposed development and its impact on the properties adjacent to it.
The main details of my objection to the Planning Committee are set out below:

“Thank you Chairman.

There is so much to object to with this over-intensive application on this corner site such as;

• the access, insufficient on-site parking provision, the impact of overspill parking and highways safety issues
• the density - which exceeds the London Plan recommendations and is thus significantly out of character with neighbouring properties but
• my main concern is for the living conditions of adjoining occupiers and in particular the residents of the property immediately next door to the site at number 41.

The application site at number 43 sits considerably higher than number 41 and because it is located immediately south of number 41, it was constructed as a bungalow in order to prevent over shadowing; allowing the sun to shine on number 41 and natural light to enter the property and garden.

Previous applications for number 43 have taken into full consideration the very significant topography of this site and a past refusal for a 5.1m high roof 12.5 m from the boundary respected this.

This application for the erection of a large property just 1.8m from the boundary and 8m high therefore seems completely illogical and means the residents of number 41 will suffer overlooking, loss of privacy and by putting it completely in the shade, the complete lack of natural sunlight.

It is fully recognised that light is critical in the maintenance of good mental health and that a lack of sunlight is associated with reduced cognitive function among depressed people.

Housebound people in particular need access to natural sunlight in their homes and gardens and to deliberately take away someone’s access to sunlight seems to me to be completely unacceptable.

I would invite the Committee to have another look at the photographs (in the case officer’s report) of the bungalow’s relationship with number 41 as seen from Purley Downs Road. Add on the roof height of this proposal and it will tower over number 41.

In summary, this application fails to respect the significant changes in land levels and the appalling effect which such a large dominant building will have on the living conditions of the occupiers of number 41.

Loss of sunlight, overshadowing to the detriment of residential amenity and overlooking are all substantial material planning considerations and I hope that you will therefore refuse this application"

 

 


 

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.

 


 

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 Older Blog Posts
07/12/2017
98 Hyde Road - increase from 7 to 8 flats
05/12/2017
Xmas Lights - Sanderstead and Hamsey Green
29/11/2017
Garden grabbing encouraged in Mayor Khan's London Plan
27/11/2017
Onslow Gardens closure: Tardis required
23/11/2017
Friends of Purley Beeches AGM
11/11/2017
Litter picking in Riddlesdown
07/11/2017
Sanderstead Floating Shelter
03/11/2017
Trees Outside Priscillas and The Gruffy -- Xmas Lights
03/11/2017
Traffic Sensors - Purley Oaks Road
03/11/2017
Footpath 138 Between Shaw Crescent and Rectory Park/Road Cleansing/Garden Waste Dumping
03/11/2017
Bus Diversion
20/10/2017
Fly tipping in Hamsey Green
11/10/2017
Objection to local plan
29/09/2017
A Busy Day in Croydon
06/09/2017
Rec traveller update
01/09/2017
Eid prayers in the Rec
01/09/2017
Graffiti removed
01/09/2017
Sanderstead Rec travellers
01/09/2017
Eid Celebrations at sanderstead Rec
30/08/2017
Local Plan: good news for Sanderstead, not so good elsewhere
29/08/2017
Graffiti
24/08/2017
SGN road works in Hamsey Green
22/08/2017
Borough Grange garden furniture
22/08/2017
Change to Riddlesdown road works
11/08/2017
More roadworks in Sanderstead
03/08/2017
Update on Addington Road Gas Main replacement
31/07/2017
Long term roadworks on Addington Road
30/06/2017
A number of Essential Repairs Taking Place in Sanderstead
30/06/2017
Police Update - Theresa's Walk
12/06/2017
Sight lines on Mitchley View
 
 
 
 
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