Here is an update on Croydon Council’s proposed Local Plan, in which they seek to massively increase the number of properties through “Intensification” (their own description).
Labour-led Croydon Council rushed out a consultation on 6th January to seek comments from the public on their plans to build tens of thousands of “homes” (in reality often small flats) across the borough: https://www.croydon.gov.uk/planning-and-regeneration/planning-policy/ge…
Buried within this was a very complex document, nearly 1000 pages long. The public was given until only 17th February to submit their answers. This is a very tight timescale for ordinary members of the public to meet. And the council tried to force people to use a cumbersome online form that many people found almost impossible to use.
It is also highly questionable that such a major change should be foisted onto people just weeks before an election in which the people may vote for change.
I raised serious concerns about apparent errors with the process and errors in the documents, but the council ignored these concerns.
We asked for the consultation to be paused so that these serious concerns could be addressed, but the council refused.
This Labour-led Council is officially bankrupt and has had two Reports in the Public Interest against it. It has not kept proper records – that’s an official finding by independent external auditors. This consultation process should therefore have proceeded with care and caution, but they carried on in this haphazard manner.
I had the task of ploughing through this document and maps and references as your Shadow Cabinet Member responsible for planning policy for the Opposition in the Council. You can see the Conservative Group’s formal response here: https://www.croydonconservatives.com/sites/www.croydonconservatives.com…
What is clear is that this Labour-led council has chosen an approach called Intensification to build vast numbers of blocks of flats. In fact in Addiscombe, for example, they propose “moderate intensification”. But look at the details and it’s anything but “moderate”.
Throughout Croydon people could find the whole character of their homes and streets changing. In fact, in the proposal by this Labour council they literally deleted entire sections that refer to protecting the character of areas - example attached.
It does not have to be like this. Other boroughs use approaches such as Character-Based. The Intensification approach is a deliberate choice by Labour. And they are already exceeding the required housing target. Again, no other borough does this.
In order to comment on the consultation, you had to say whether or not you think the proposals are Sound. Soundness is defined as: Positively Prepared, Justified, Effective, Consistent with National Policy. Each of these terms also has a set of sub-criteria.
I managed to get the council to agree to allowing people to submit their comments by email rather than the clunky online form. We got the key points out to lots of local organisations. Many local people and Residents’ Associations did a magnificent job and submitted their comments on time. Sadly, though, there will be a huge section of the population that would neither have known about this consultation nor had the time to respond.
This is a travesty for something that will have a huge impact on Croydon if it is allowed to stand – which it will if the election on 5th May doesn’t change who leads the Council.
Cllr. Jeet Bains
Councillor for Addiscombe East ward (Conservative)
Shadow Cabinet Member for Culture and Regeneration
c/o The Town Hall