I've just written a strongly-worded objection to a planning application for 4 Higher Drive, Purley; this is a lovely Edwardian house at the junction of HIgher Dive and Beaumont Road and it's threatened with demolition, inevitably to be replaced by yet another block of nine flats.
Here are my principal grounds for objection:
1) Cumulative impact – place of Purley.
Over the last 18 months, planning permission has been granted for about 60 homes to be replaced by blocks of generally 9 flats, adding up to about 520 new homes, and in addition the Mosaic Place development will add a further 220 new homes. This adds up to 740 homes which is 30% of the annual requirement for new homes for the WHOLE OF CROYDON, even assuming that the inflated targets currently being chased are valid, when the Mayor of London considers that they are not. Why is such excessive development being encouraged in just two wards in the whole borough? What about the other 26 wards?
2) Cumulative impact – Higher Drive. This is the FIFTH recent planning application to replace a large family home by a block of up to nine flats within 100m of this site, so five homes are being replaced with up to 45 flats, and in addition another 3 houses are being replaced by 60 flats farther South along Higher Drive; the cumulative impact of all these developments happening at roughly the same time is excessive on the local environment.
3) Cumulative Impact - Local Infrastructure: I’m concerned about the cumulative impact of schemes in this area on the additional traffic, car parking, health, education, residential amenity, and public transport. The Council continues to ignore the need for additional infrastructure and public services to support new residential schemes like this in the south of the Borough. Even para 6.42 of the CLP 2018 says “The need to deliver 32,890 homes does not outweigh the need to respect the local character, and amenity and to protect biodiversity.” This scheme breaches that policy.
4) Overdevelopment: This proposal constitutes over-development and intensification of the site, with nine new homes being squeezed into the space currently occupied by a single family home.
5) Out of character: the square grey slab design of the new building sits VERY uneasily with most of the local houses which have traditional gabled fronts, and is therefore out of character with the local environment.
6) Detailed design: This particular home is a very attractive Edwardian design with a delightful gazebo attached on one corner, and it is cultural vandalism that such an attractive home should be destroyed in favour of a square concrete monstrosity.
7) Trees: I’m appalled that no less than EIGHT MATURE TREES, of which FOUR are over 8M tall are proposed to be felled, and there is no space on-site for any replacements to be planted. This constitutes arboricultural vandalism on a huge scale, even by Croydon’s standards.
8) Traffic: The new homes will generate a large number of extra traffic movements at peak times, and, when considered alongside all the other consented schemes nearby, this will cause an unacceptable increase in traffic flows. This is particularly true because in the morning rush-hour, the traffic queue down to the Foxley Hill Road junction with Godstone Rd (A22) sometimes stretches back South along Higher Drive as far as Woodland Way.
9) Parking: As is the case with ALL planning applications which proudly say that they have used the Lambeth Methodology, the traffic and parking survey is flawed. Surveys are undertaken in the middle of the night when no commuters are present, yet the relative proximity of Purley station obviously attracts many commuters who need to park their vehicles somewhere – and why shouldn’t they, when the alternative is to drive for the whole journey which is surely less environmentally desirable? I acknowledge that there are spare spaces in the surrounding roads at night, but there are none during the day, which is when it matters.
It's highly regrettable that PTAL calculations do not take ANY account of topography, which obviously has a material effect both on walking and cycling journey times and on the propensity of local residents to feel that they need a car for essential transport purposes. This invalidates all PTAL-based calculations in hilly areas such as Purley, and particularly Higher Drive which itself is probably an 8% hill. It follows therefore that more car or van spaces are likely to be required by future residents than are provided for in this design.