AUCKLAND RISE: LOCAL GROUPS NOT CONSULTED – OR STEVE REED MP
Myriad of criticisms include:
“Just because Brick by Brick is the council’s own development company, it should not mean they can be exempt from any official plans and guidance.”
“If Brick by Brick had really listened and acted upon people’s views, this proposed development should never have reached the application stage.”
“This appears to have been just an empty promise by Brick by Brick like so many others.”
A multitude of objections have been made from people living both on the estate and in nearby homes to the Brick by Brick proposals.
What follows is a precis of some of them:
I have reviewed the submitted documentation in detail and have come to the conclusion that there are many serious flaws in the proposed development that have to be raised.
Briefly, these issues include:
numerous inaccuracies, mistakes and omissions with the application which exacerbates the poor quality of the application
designs that would cause an alarming change of character to the site – with huge detrimental impact for current residents, wildlife species and neighbouring conservation areas
plans to build ‘high density’ (applicant’s words) housing that will cause significant overcrowding,
residents adversely affected by loss of light, harmful substances being set loose, and a significant loss of green space, which will cause serious harm and a material lessening of wellbeing
failure to meet policy requirements, especially with regards to affordable housing
failure to refer to a relevant previous failed application for development on the proposed site that Croydon council rejected. – Matthew Twaddell.
The proposed development breaches numerous national and local planning policy guidelines, including those relating to loss of light, parking, destruction of mature trees and loss of amenity green space. – Robert de la Poer.
I am appalled at the lack of care the developers Brick By Brick have taken to ensure that the current residents’ amenities are not compromised, and their lack of care to maintain the existing sylvan, rural feel of the area.
The application is a typical example of what the general public loathes about developers – trying to squeeze as much value as possible from each square footage of land to maximize profit whilst paying little regard to the impact on the neighborhood and quality of life.
It appears very clear that Brick by Brick has applied such massing that would only be acceptable to a fully urban location like Central Croydon. It is not acceptable to turn a semi rural estate with character into an over massed urban development.
The present block on Church Road already suffers from low light levels due to the topography of the land, but adding a new block opposite would not just severely block more light, but also take away their current vistas of the street, trees and sunsets, much enjoyed by the residents.
This development proposes to create over-development in the terms of the number of blocks, the size of the flats and the potentially over crowded plots that will be cramped in appearance as they are sited too near each other and encroaching peoples privacy.
The London Plan sets out the minimum gross internal living area for new housing known as the G.I.A. Disappointingly, Brick by Brick meets the bare minimum area allowed by just two inches.
Mr Scott’s (Planning Inspector) observations in his planning refusal in 2012 (see below – Ed.) apply as strongly now to the new planning proposals by Brick by Brick:
“Schemes like the one proposed, are more suited for larger sites. “The site (Auckland Rise) is not suitable for an intensive development as proposed” he said.
Block B would result in a visual intrusion, and reduced amenity, as the proposed building would block light from the gardens of The Gables (on Sylvan Hill) and reduce daylight into the rear of their properties.
They would suffer more light pollution (The Alto building on Sylvan Hill has nine floors of light pollution and stands adjacent to The Gables) and inevitably increased noise as the proposed Block B has balconies and gardens.
The current sylvan view from the rear of The Gables has long vistas of green spaces over trees which would be replaced with a view of bricks and mortar. – Janice Flint.
In-fill blocks C1 and C2, which the proposal shows to be two blocks of three floor flats, have stepped flat roofs in the design. These blocks will be positioned adjacent to 14-24 Auckland Rise, and almost ‘sandwiched’ opposite 9-19 and 66-88 Auckland Rise. These existing blocks have a pitched roof design. The stepped flat roof design will look like a design anomaly and against the mentioned blocks and not aesthetically sympathetic.
The same argument could apply to the block being positioned adjacent to 9-19 Auckland Rise and opposite 2-12 and 14-24 all of which have pitched roofs, this sloping flat roof again will look out of character.
And again for block E. The infill nature of this unit between two 54-64 and 66-88 Auckland Rise which are pitched would make this design stand out for all the wrong reasons. It would be a visual eyesore, jarring with the current pitched roofs design on the adjacent blocks and looking completely out of place.
The proposed position of Site F design is ill-conceived for several reasons. Placing a three storey building at one of the steepest point of the estate would obliterate a long treasured landscape view overlooking South Norwood and Croydon areas and beyond – totally destroying the open plan feel.
Historically, I’m sure you are aware that this estate is quoted by Nikolaus Pevsner a highly regarded architectural historian whose publications are reference points for current architectural design and planning. I highlight below:
‘…. In Sylvan Hill, replacement began with some good housing, by Riches & Blythin, 1956, taking advantage of the trees on the site…’
B. Cherry and N. Pevsner – Buildings of England; London 2: South pg. 235 (1984 reprint of the First Edition of 1983).
Riches and Blythin’s design of the estate, ensured that the Auckland estate was built in harmony with the natural area. As a result, we have broad corridors of open green spaces much enjoyed by residents on the estate. – Tabhitha Wilson.
DAYLIGHT AND SUNLIGHT
The applicant says of Plot A (in 7.48) that the proposed buildings “particularly within the south eastern elevation closest to the block containing Nos 339 – 369 Church Road, have been designed so that they would not result in any undue adverse impact upon the privacy of the occupants of any neighbouring property.”
But if you study the Daylight and Sunlight report (1.5.2 on its page 4), 24 windows in block 339 – 369 Church Road (by the way, the report authors shamefully mistakenly call this 339 – 369 Auckland Rise – do they not even know the land they’re proposing to develop?) are adversely affected, and a further nine windows adversely affected in block 371 – 425 Auckland Rise (sic).
1.5.8 of the Daylight report itself states “the site being open prior to the construction of the new building.” By the very implication of that statement, the site will no longer be open.
1.5.9 goes on to state that 20pc of windows will now fall short of the assessment criteria. This is unacceptable.
Within the existing properties of 339 – 369 Auckland Rise (sic) 50pc of windows would fall short of acceptable BRE compliant standards.
That is a huge negative impact, and permission for this application should be refused on this point alone.
7.56 states that the levels will be acceptable for neighbouring properties. That’s only if you aggregate the proposals. For those living in the block behind (and to the east) of the proposed Block A, they will see a loss of light of 50pc. How is that acceptable? How is that deemed to not be a negative impact on those current residents? – Martin Twaddell.
NO THREE BED OR LARGER HOMES
2.11 of the report to committee states that 13 per cent of all new homes built by the council will be three-bed or larger – this proposal by Brick by Brick has 0 (zero) three-bed or larger homes.
Brick by Brick contend that more than 45pc of all the new units across their portfolio will be affordable homes. Application 16/06512/FUL has just 33pc earmarked as affordable stock, with 19 affordable units out of a total 57 units.
Therefore the proposal falls disgracefully short of planning policy targets, with only a third of the proposed new units designated as being ‘affordable’ with none for rent.
These numbers fall is spectacularly short of the London Plan Policy 3.11 target as well as Croydon council’s own target of 50pc affordable housing.
If Croydon council approve this application it establishes a scandalous dereliction of duty. – Matthew Twaddell.
The proposed blocks are out of keeping with the current buildings. The proposed materials are inappropriate, with the proposals of using yellow bricks, aluminium windows and bronze drainage. This conflicts with the current reddy-brown brick, white windows and black drainage of the estate.
The proposed development is over-bearing, incoherent and unsympathetic with existing dwellings. The proposal is very much offering a change of character. The proposed new blocks would cause a significant loss of green space throughout the estate, resulting in an over massing effect in the site. Yet more reasons for refusal. – Matthew Twaddell.
We moved back here from Hastings for career reasons and chose to live in Crystal Palace for its pleasant woodland environment.
The house we live in is amongst the trees, one of our noisy neighbours is a nest full of magpies in
the holly tree level with our bedroom window.
In the garden and surrounds we see Lesser Spotted Woodpecker,Tawny Owl,Jays,Goldfinch, Bullfinch and Song Thrush,Starlings (approx. 30 other species) bats, squirrels, foxes, voles, frogs, toads and bats.
Many of the creatures listed are recognised as being endangered on the latest Biodiversity Action Plan.
The abundance of species thrives due to the habitat corridors of woodland, hedges and large garden. The planned loss of trees, open space coupled with the density of the proposed housing would considerably impact on the local wildlife. – Roger Fell.
It’s alarming that the confirmed presence of Common Pipistrelle bats and their roosts would be destroyed by the destruction of their habitat if this proposed gets approved (7.110).
7.111 confirms that “the proposed development will require the demolition and subsequent loss of the Common Pipistrelle bat roost”.
The planned felling of 25 trees would be a tragic loss to the estate of fine, healthy, well established group of mixed species arboriculture. In the councils arboreal survey the trees are classified, nature knows no class. Large Sycamore, Chestnut, Oak and Cherry all provide excellent habitat, nesting and nourishment for wild life. That a tree is not native to England or have self germinated is of no interest to a hungry bird. The fact is these foreign tree species are not prone to the diseases of native trees and would fare much better in this age of climate change. I take great exception to the felling of the fine Holm Oak on Church
Road side of the estate, I would be surprised if there were not a preservation order on this.- Roger Fell.
7.96 quotes from London Plan Policy 7.21, saying that trees of value should be retained and any loss replanted.
The applicant also quotes from London Plan 7.19 that proposals should “make a positive contribution to the protection, enhancement, creation and management of biodiversity.”
7.98 quotes Saved UDP (Unitary Development Plan) Policy NC2 stating that planning permission will not be granted for development that would cause demonstrable harm to species or animal or plant or its habitat.
If you assess the proposal, the applicant fails to meet these policy requirements, and quite clearly is proposing a scheme that removes valuable trees, would damage biodiversity and cause demonstrable harm to animals, plants and habits.
The applicant negligently answered incorrectly question 15: Trees and Hedges. The applicant has answered ‘No’ to the question ‘are there trees or hedges on land adjacent to the proposed development site that could influence the development or might be important as part of the local landscape character?
7.109 states that Beaulieu Heights Woodland and Oakland Wood are within the zone of influence of the proposed development.
In Brick by Brick’s submission of the application form, their answer to Question 15 completely ignores this, which is terribly misleading.
Beaulieu Heights and the Oakland Wood play area are both designated as Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC). This designation should have been included in the submission form, but it was not.
The removal of a large category B tree in order to build on Plot F has root systems quite clearly marked within the bounds of the privately owned 83 Auckland Rise property – privately owned land, not land given to Brick by Brick by Croydon council.
Croydon council’s arboriculturist Simon Kaye, has recently written to say that he finds the tree removable from specific locations on the site unacceptable.
7.100 outlines the scale of loss of trees as seen in the Arboricultural Report. Over one quarter of all tree stems are to be removed: 32 of 119 stems. And 21 of 58 trees to be removed. That’s almost 40pc of all trees to be removed. It’s a devastating cull. – Matthew Twaddell.
Point 4.4.1 “trees, shrubs, hedges, are often used with, or on their own, as boundary treatments, providing a visual noise buffer for properties from the road”
The present ‘noise buffers’ in front of the current block are four mature trees that are proposed to be felled. The new block A will therefore have no noise buffer as it will be sited parallel to the streetscape and endure the greater proximity of traffic noise in the proposed location. – Janice Flint.
The risk for land slippage and subsidence has been brought up several times by the resident working group in communication with Brick by Brick. No attempt was made to give any reassurance that existing buildings will not be at risk and who will liable for any potential damage caused.
If this is to go ahead we need assurance that any damage and caused by the development will be repaired and / or paid for in full by Brick by Brick.- Simon Kaempfer
We are told by our elected representatives,the local councillors who will not represent us in this fight, that the borough needs to provide 1000 new homes allegedly for local people on modest incomes. I notice that none of the proposed properties are for families (one & two bedroom).
There are no rental properties and in reality they are not priced within the reach of people on moderated incomes. So it might be assumed Brick By Brick is a simple income generating arm for the council. Across London there appears to be an atmosphere of economic cleansing taking place. Removing existing tenants from the inner cities to Bedford, Luton and Hastings overwhelming these communities with this challenge. Then in turn changing the social fabric of London. – Roger Fell
The proposal fails to address the needs of the estate as a whole and if the development goes ahead will create a two class community on the estate.
The proposed building will stand out as new luxury flats (as none of the new flats will be for rent) and do not harmoniously integrate into the estate. The new blocks will visually overpower the current buildings and will lead to a perception of the existing buildings as being second class. – Simon Kaempfer
The new parking planned on the estate is not sufficient to cope with the need created by the additional 57 flats. As the parking survey shows parking on the estate is already at nearly full capacity.
Existing residents will be forced to park in the surrounding streets and will lose the privilege of parking close to their home. The parking assessment does not take into account the topography of the estate and the fact that being unable to park close to ones home will be a major struggle for disabled, older people and families with small children, which is against London plan policy.
Shortage of parking already leads to tension on the estate at the moment as personally experienced when questioned if I’m living on the estate by an neighbour when parking in the residents parking on Church Road. – Simon Kaempfer
The summary of car parking (7.95) states the proposed development would “generate no residual transport related impacts”. The applicant is proposing the creation of more high density housing in an already high density neighbourhood of London, with suggested parking on main roads such as Church Road, and to park within the cycle lanes.
Coupled with a new Hills-built development on Sylvan Hill that is nearing completion, the already over-stretch road infrastructure on roads such as Sylvan Hill, Sylvan Road and Auckland Road will be made even worse. – Matthew Twaddell.
The Transport Assessment concludes that ‘the development would generate no signifiant residual transport related impacts’. This is far from the truth.
The Travel Plan states that ‘a net total of new 18 car parking spaces is within the permitted level of parking provision’ which it is highly questionable. According to the Census 2011, the car ownership level for the site is 0.72 vehicles per household which equates to a parking demand of 42 vehicles for the proposed new 57 flats.
Increase of only 18 parking spaces as proposed by the developer is, in other words, a shortage of 24 vehicle spaces on the 94pc fully parked estate ( according to their parking survey on 30th June 2016 ) and will force some of the existing and new residents to park outside the estate, away from their home.
The developer’s suggestion for residents to park on the streets outside the estate includes some areas which are not only unsuitable to park but also dangerous to residents and the community. For an example, the stretch on the Church Road (A212) where, in theory, there is no prohibition for parking, in reality, is one of the most congested two lane roads in Crystal Palace with a cycle lane and a primary school entrance right opposite the estate. The developer’s suggestion to park on this stretch will result in serious congestions and potential accidents between cyclists and cars and will put children at risk. – Yuki Sugiura.
It should be noted that the developer’s response to widespread community concern about the impact of the development on local parking is, effectively: there is no problem.
The developer does not cite any changes made to the plans to address residents’ concerns, but instead relies on a pious hope that residents will give up their existing cars because there are more cycling spaces available. – Robert de la Poer.
Since 2015, 11 new dwelling places were completed on Woodview Mews at the top of the estate, 48 dwelling places were built in the YMCA Millennium Centre, 52 new dwelling places are currently under construction on the “Alto” block on Sylvan Hill, and there is proposed development of Land Adjacent And Rear Of 110 Auckland Road And 4 Sylvan Road of 9 2-bedroom flats.
The additionally proposed development of 57 new homes on the Sylvan Hill/Auckland Rise estate will significantly increase the already high local housing density by 177 dwelling places. Currently there is only one bus route along Auckland Road that serves Crystal Palace station, Crystal Palace itself and Croydon East. Due to the steep slope of the land the elderly, infirm and parents of young children already have difficulties climbing up through the estate and others should not be expected to do so to be able utilise the other bus service running along Church Road at the top of the estate. – Timothy Read.
The traffic in the surrounding area is already problematic at present but it will be catastrophic with the new development as indicated below:
Sylvan Hill is already a very busy road with a high volume of vehicle movement in the morning and in the evening because:
• there is a Harris Academy Crystal Palace on Maberley Road
• it is a short cut route between Anerley and West Norwood
• it acts as one of the few alternative routes when Church Road is naturally heavily congested at both AM and PM peak hours or blocked for any work along the road.
It is not unusual for the road to be jammed…. The situation becomes worse when the Harris Academy has events or an Open Day.
Although rather astonishingly the developer chooses not to mention in their plan, there will be significant increase in traffic in the immediate area from the summer 2017 when the Hill development completes their construction of Alto, a large block of 32 flats and their new residents move in.
It should be noted the Transport Assessment does not mention the Sylvan Hill development at all thus the Travel Plan has not taken the potential effect from a large development adjacent to the estate into account. – Yuki Sugiura.
LOSS OF GREEN SPACE
To say residents are “concerned” by the loss of green space and numerous mature tress is a gross understatement. Residents are horrified by this proposed act of vandalism on their neighbourhood, which will forever change its character for the worse.
Dismissing these vital green spaces as being of “poor quality” shows just how out of touch the developer is with the reality on the estate.
Six of the seven new blocks will be sited on pleasant, grass and tree-covered hillside which currently marks the estate as one of the more pleasant examples of post-war development. While also marking the estate as an attractive place to live, the space is regularly used by children and families as a play and picnic area; it is a safe, enjoyable and essential amenity for the whole community. Many of the trees which give the estate its character pre-date the estate, which partially designed around them.
It is a complete fallacy that as stated in section 6.8 “the design proposals will provide significantly improved areas of open space”, or to imply that residents had any input in its design. Instead of large areas of shady green hillside, there will be small patches of ground overshadowed by unbroken rows of massive housing. While residents naturally would like improved street ornaments, bulb planting and shrubs, it is clear that none of them want this at the expense of their neighbourhood. To suggest otherwise is to grossly misinterpret even the limited responses contained in this document.- Robert de la Poer.
New residents will benefit from dedicated and secure cycle parking within their block while there is no such provision considered for the existing residents despite the fact that 26% of people attending the public consultation have cited need for own bicycle or motorbike storage.
At the first public consultation, one of the information boards actually stated “New car and cycle parking for existing neighbourhood and the new development” under the heading of “what are we proposing?”
This appears to have been just an empty promise by Brick by Brick like so many others. – Simon Kaempfer
The applicant asserts that the site has no relevant planning history. I believe this is a false statement.
Consideration needs to be given to the failed planning application 11/02855/P for 81 & 83 Auckland Rise – properties which abut the new proposed Block F. Permission was refused by Croydon council. The decision was then appealed by Noura Investments Ltd.
The Planning Inspectorate upheld Croydon council’s decision. The Appeal Decision letter is here, which I recommend you read: http://planning.croydon.gov.uk/DocOnline/98918_2.pdf
“There were three main issues in this previous case which the Planning Inspector investigated and ruled upon, all of which are pertinent to my objection of this current application.
The Planning Inspector states: “I consider the three main issues in this case to be the effect of the proposed development on; firstly, the character and appearance of the area; secondly, the living conditions of the adjoining and potential occupiers; and lastly, on transport choices, with particular reference to car parking.”
On the first point the inspector states:
“I conclude on the first issue that the proposed development would be harmful to the character and appearance of the area, in conflict with the requirements of policies H2, UD2 and UD3 of the Development Plan.”
On points two (living conditions) and three (parking) they go on to say:
“I find that the proposed development would have an overbearing, claustrophobic effect upon the adjoining occupiers.”
“The appeal site location has poor accessibility to public transport links. “Parking arrangements exist in and around the housing area. “The proposed development would increase the number of households and the demand for car parking. “LP Policy T8 applies maximum parking standards with reference to sustainable transport choices and the aim to restrain car use.
“There is limited, communal car parking provision.”
Considering this new proposal 16/06512/FUL is over 10-times the size of this previous application, on the same Auckland Rise, it will be remiss of the adjudicating panel to not consider the findings of the site and this previous ruling.
Please do have a read of these documents on your own planning portal. – Matthew Twaddell.
In 4.6 of the report it says there are to be six wheelchair user flats – but from reading other documents there looks to be only to be only four new wheelchair user parking spaces – that seems insufficient to me. – Matthew Twaddell.
A large number of residents living immediately adjacent to the estate have never ever been notified by the council or Newman Francis despite the fact the statement of community involvement states that all priorities within 50m from the site have received a letter about the Brick by Brick plans and an invitation to the public consolations. – Simon Kaempfer (Consultations? – Ed.).
I do want to query the assertion made by the applicant in 5.18 that letters were sent to 349 properties within a 50m radius of the site. Newman Francis employees stated in 2016 that this number was closer to 100.
5.14 of the report says that by listening to the views of the local residents and stakeholders, Brick by Brick and HTA architects responded to the design related concerns of residents, and changes were made to the design proposals.
This ignores that the fact that the vast majority of those questioned during the poorly marketed engagement event did not want this development to happen at all: 93pc against as recorded on the Newman Francis website. – Matthew Twaddell.
The developer has, in its Statement of Community Involvement, made several statements which are demonstrably false or misleading.
The developer has failed to take into consideration the comments, objections and concerns of the local community before submitting their planning applications, as required by policy.
Croydon council’s Statement of Community Engagement states: “The Localism Act 2011 introduced a new duty governing consultation before applying for planning permission. “Prospective developers must first consult the local community and any specified persons, so that they may collaborate or comment (the prospective developer must have regard to any advice that the local planning authority may have provided). “The developer must have regard to any comments or responses generated by the consultation undertaken when deciding whether to make any changes to their proposals before submitting their planning applications. “The outputs of such consultation must accompany any planning application for development to which the new duty applies, in order to make it valid.”
Further, the National Policy Planning Framework 2012 states that: “Early engagement has significant potential to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the planning application system for all parties. Good quality pre-application discussion enables better co-ordination between public and private resources and improved outcomes for the community.”
There was therefore a clear legal and local policy mandate for Brick by Brick to consult with the local community prior to submission of the application.
The consultation is intended to be beneficial to the community, and there is a requirement for the developer to take account of residents’ responses when altering their plans prior to submission.
Many of us received no notification of the June “consultation” at all, despite living within 50 metres of two of the proposed sites. I did receive notification of the August consultation (more on this below), though many other residents on and near the estate have subsequently informed me they did not.
Please note that the letter dated Saturday 6th August makes no mention of “an opportunity to view the further developed proposals and to again discuss with the architects, ask questions and offer their views and comments” (4.3). Indeed, the letter gives no indication of its true subject at all. It references the June “drop in event” to which many of us were not invited, and mentions only a “proposal that is local to you”. There is no map or artwork showing the proposed sites or buildings; instead a map on the rear of the letter points only to the location of a “Gazebo”.
As a result of this obfuscation, many of those residents who did receive the letter failed to understand its relevance and potential impact on their neighbourhood. In short – either through deliberate omission or calculated design – this notification failed utterly to inform residents about the proposed development or offer them sufficient reason to attend the “consultation” event on 17th August.
Finally, the date of the second “consultation” event is itself significant. The event was held on 17th August (NOT 9th September as the Statement of Community Involvement repeatedly and incorrectly states.) and therefore fell in the middle of the school holidays.
Only 53 residents from 41 household attended the 17th August event. As a result, I am still – more than six months on – meeting residents who remained unaware of the proposed development until the site notices were posted on 2nd February 2017.- Robert de la Poer.
CONSULTATION – “INTERESTED PARTIES”
In section 4.4, the developer cites several individuals and groups which it informed prior to the “consultation” events. These, it claims are evidence that it “maintained [contact] with key stakeholders concerned with the development proposals”.
This list is misleading, as it includes several groups which have no relevance to the proposal, and excludes several groups which should have been informed and invited.
Although listed, the following groups are all located more than a mile away from the proposed site and will not be impacted by, or have impact on, the proposed development. They are therefore irrelevant to this application:
Downsview primary school; Cypress infants and junior schools; Schools Plus at Virgo Fidelis; and
Downsview Methodist church. South Norwood Residents Association does not include or represent any residents from the area affected by this proposal, and is therefore irrelevant to this application.
The developer failed to engage with several relevant and interested local groups and individuals:
Croydon North MP Steve Reed, who was shocked to learn of the development when residents informed him in September 2016.
St John the Evangelist Church, the focal point of the local conservation area surrounding the proposed sites.
Harris City Academy, a school situated within 200 metres of the proposed site, which has a significant daily impact on parking and traffic across the local area.
The Norwood Society, a local conservation group with an active interest in all developments in the local area.
This omission of groups and individuals with a legitimate interest in the development, combined with the misleading inclusion of irrelevant groups, further demonstrates the developer’s willful failure to properly engage with the local community.
The Auckland Rise, Church Road and Sylvan Hill Action Group was formed by concerned residents with the specific aim of engaging with the developer over the proposed development. The group, of which I am a committee member, is an informal collective of residents from the Auckland Rise Estate, Sylvan Hill, Church Road and Auckland Road.
At the consultation event on 17 August, and at the site meeting on 18 August, it was made clear to the group that the developer wished to engage with residents – through the group – and seek their input over issues such as the design of children’s play areas, street lighting, and parking. In addition, the group’s committee expressed a wish to discuss concerns including the loss of amenity green space, destruction of mature trees, overmassing, etc.
During the site meeting on 18 August, residents asked to be included in design and decision-making meetings, so that local concerns and perspectives would be reflected in the final plans. Specifically, we asked:
For residents to be included in design/planning meetings
To be informed when surveys would be released, and to receive copies.
To be informed when iterations of the design were finalised.
For clarification over why many existing trees were not marked on plans.
For clarification over the proportion of affordable and social rented housing
For information on liability over possible property damage caused by building work or related subsidence.
For an opportunity to share residents’ proposals over play facilities and communal areas.
For alerts over key progress dates ahead of planning submission.
For an additional consultation event which would be better advertised to the wider community.
These requests are itemised as action points on the minutes of the meeting.
Every single one of these reasonable requests was denied.
Despite repeated follow-up emails and phone conversations by members of the Group’s committee, including myself, the developer made clear that residents would not be included in the planning or design stages of this proposed development, and that their views were subordinate to what was or was not allowable under planning regulations.
While the developer did agree to a meeting with the Action Group in October, they failed to advertise it to the wider community, and once again disregarded or dismissed our concerns and suggestions.
You can see in section 4.21 a fair summary of some of our concerns, not one of which was at any point addressed.
We therefore strongly object to our attempts at participation being cited as a positive example of engagement by the developer in the Statement of Community Involvement.
In section 4.7, the developer states that “all queries are responded to directly or fielded to the relevant organization.” I can state from personal experience, and that of other residents, that staff at Brick by Brick several times failed to respond to emails concerning the development.
By way of example, I can cite an email exchange between myself and Amena Matin and Laura Kavanagh of Brick by Brick concerning the inconsistency between the developer’s claims over resident notification of the “consultation” events and the comments of Mr Lee, as detailed above.
I emailed Amena Matin on 22nd October with a list of questions that should have been simple for the developer to answer. She replied on 23rd October, saying that she would respond on Monday 26th. She did not.
When I received no response, I emailed again on 25th October. No response.
When I still received no response, I emailed again on 29th October. Still no response.
Simple requests for meetings, information or consultation by other residents were met with similar silence. In addition, residents were not informed when key staff members such as Laura Kavanagh left the company, leaving many without a contact within the company.
All this serves to demonstrate again the developer’s lack of commitment to transparency and engagement with residents and local groups.
It is of particular note that Brick by Brick chooses only to address three “key issues” identified from the “consultation” event (6.1): Scale and Massing/Loss of Amenity; Parking/Traffic; Loss of open space.
It should be noted that many more material objections and concerns have been raised by residents, both at the “consultation” events and subsequently, which the developer has ignored, dismissed or failed to address. – Robert de la Poer.
The applicant’s assessment includes the description, and tenure makeup of Upper Norwood ward and is analysed and represented with facts and figures, including a table in 8.26.
Unfortunately the applicant has made a big mistake here with this application, as the location of the site is actually in the South Norwood ward. No analysis of the tenure within South Norwood is provided. – Matthew Twaddell.
In its brief description (3.8) the applicant forgets to include any reference to Church Road. Considering that the applicant proposes to build Block A on Church Road, I find this shocking. – Matthew Twaddell.
Of Plot F, the applicant says it has “the appearance of only two storeys to the front of the building” – it is in fact a set of three storey houses. – Matthew Twaddell.
7.22 mentions improvements to communal amenity space, such as improving pedestrian routes or eradicating Japanese Knotweed – I contend that this is Croydon council’s public responsibility as the landowner, and remedial action should happen anyway. These are not example of works solely dependent upon building new housing properties. The site’s maintenance should not be held to ransom by developers. These supposed improvements should be discounted from this application. – Matthew Twaddell.
Just because Brick by Brick is the council’s own development company, it should not mean they can be exempt from any official plans and guidance. – Yuki Sugiura.
If Brick by Brick had really listened and acted upon people’s views, this proposed development should never have reached the application stage. – Matthew Twaddell.