BEDWARDINE ROAD HOUSING PLANS SET TO GET GO-AHEAD (even though ward councillors are unable to be there to object)

Controversial plans to build three blocks of flats in Bedwardine Road are set to be discussed by a Croydon council planning committee on Thursday – even though the area’s three ward councillors are unable to attend and give their views on the application.   

A report to the committee says all units are proposed for private sale but does not appear to mention the name of the applicants in all three cases – Croydon council’s own Brick by Brick development company which is 100 per cent owned by the borough.

Three separate reports say the applications are being reported to the committee at the request of Cllr Stephen Mann (Lab, Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood) and also “in view of the fact that representations in excess of the committee consideration criteria have been received” – councilspeak for more than a designated number of people objecting.

In a statement campaigners say: “More than 80 local  residents have voiced their objections to Croydon council’s proposed development of three blocks of flats on Bedwardine Road SE19.

“Our objections are based primarily on the following grounds: overdevelopment and contravening of Croydon’s own local plans, failure to respect the nature of the Upper Norwood Triangle conservation area and lack of parking provision and the inevitable increase in congestion in a road which is already full to capacity parking-wise and increasingly used as a cut through.

“We have now heard that the planning application will be heard in committee on Thursday 29th  August when most of the residents concerned will still be away on holiday and none of the local councillors will be available to represent us.

“We feel strongly that the lack of representation for our concerns is undemocratic and that the nine days’ notice given for the meeting  in the summer holiday period was insufficient.

“We are not against building flats on our road and recognise that there is a need for more housing in Croydon, but we feel we have been misled from the beginning – we were told that these flats would provide some social housing) and that at no point have our concerns been listened to, despite our many and valid objections.”

A Croydon council spokesman told News From Crystal Palace: “Whether through the planning portal, by email or via the web site, all comments made by residents are taken into consideration by planning officers and the planning committee.

“We give those interested in specific applications at least five working days’ notice of proposals coming to committee, as in this instance.
 
“Where ward councillors are unable to make the meeting, another councillor from the same ward of a neighbouring ward can speak for them to ensure representations are heard.”

An officer’s report to Thursday night’s meeting of Croydon council’s planning committee (6.30pm, Croydon town hall) includes the following on the first of the three applications – for land adjoining 91 Bedwardine Road:

The application for demolition of garages/storage sheds and erection of a three-storey building to provide three flats together with landscaping, refuse and cycle storage as well as other associated works is recommended for permission subject to the prior completion of a legal agreement to secure the following planning obligations: Affordable housing delivery; and the restriction of car parking permits for further residential occupiers of the development.

3.5 Three separate planning application have been submitted (including this one in relation to three individual sites). These are standalone planning applications which should be considered as such, although there are noted to be planning considerations which will need to be cumulatively assessed such as the proposals impacts upon parking.

3.6 There is no relevant planning history directly related to this site, however there are two other applications submitted by the same applicant which are relevant to this proposal. These are:

Garage Block And Land Adjoining 53, Bedwardine Road, Upper Norwood:

19/00343/FUL – Demolition of existing garages/storage sheds and erection of a three storey building to provide six flats together with landscaping, refuse/cycle stores and other associated works: Pending Decision

Garage Block And Land Adjoining 21 Bedwardine Road, Upper Norwood:

19/00346/FUL – Demolition of garages/storage sheds and erection of a three storey building to provide six flats together with landscaping, refuse and cycle storage as well as other associated works (amended description): Pending Decision

There have been 79 individual responses, 77 of which object, two of which support. A petition signed by 16 people also objects to the scheme,.

6.2 Cllr Stephen Mann has objected to the scheme, making the following representations: Overdevelopment; Conservation Area Impact

6.5 The North Croydon Conservation Area Advisory Panel has made the following representations:

  • The proposed in-fill development should not dominate its setting and this proposal would be visually dominant.
  • The loss of gap between buildings would result in the loss of the effective division between building styles.
  • The design is overly fussy.
  • The loss of parking could result in greater pressure on street parking.
  • The proposal should be considered against the other two applications to fully consider the cumulative impact on the overall street scene.

8.8 The site is directly adjacent to the Harold Road Conservation Area and as well as in a location which could affect the setting of the Upper Norwood Triangle Conservation Area. The existing garages on site are not a positive addition to the streetscene and therefore, their demolition and replacement with a high quality building has the potential to enhance the sites location adjacent to the two conservation areas

8.17 The properties most affected by the development would be the immediate neighbours (91 Bedwardine Road and 71 – 89 Bedwardine Road),

91 Bedwardine Road

8.18 This single family dwelling-house adjoins the site to the south-east. There is approximately a three metre separation between the flank elevation of this adjoining occupier and the proposed building. Whilst there are a number of side facing windows located within this adjoining occupier, these are either non-habitable or secondary windows.

As the proposal would continue to allow acceptable daylight and sunlight in accordance with BRE guidance to all habitable spaces, with all proposed flank facing windows conditioned to be obscured glazed/non-opening and that that the proposed balconies include privacy screening, overall there is not considered to be a detrimental impact upon this adjoining occupiers amenities.

71 – 89 Bedwardine Road

8.19 The proposed building would adjoin the stairwell of this adjoining flatted block and whilst it would not project beyond the rear elevation it is noted to project beyond their front elevation. However, all of these flats would continue to be provided with acceptable daylight and sunlight in accordance with BRE (Building Research Establishment) guidance and outlook as the proposal development is set below and with the proposed fenestration conditioned to be obscured glazed. Therefore, overall the proposal is not considered to detrimentally impact the amenities of this adjoining occupiers.

8.28 Whilst this application is a stand-alone application due to the other two applications on Bedwardine Road currently also for consideration, the cumulative impact of these proposals has been considered. Across the three sites, 13 garages would be demolished and a maximum of 14 car parking spaces would be removed to facilitate the development. It should be noted that the garages are not built to current standards and as such are generally not large enough to park a modern vehicle in. Most of the car parking spaces are located in front of garages and so give rise to tandem parking.

8.33 The site is on the edge of a District Centre and there is a significant amount of on-street parking. Considering the parking stress levels set out above, officers consider it pertinent to restrict future occupiers from applying for future parking permits should a Controlled Parking Zone be introduced in the future. This can be secured by a legal agreement.

8.41 The development would be CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) liable. This would contribute to meeting the need for physical and social infrastructure, including education and healthcare facilities.

Further reading: LABOUR COUNCILLOR CRITICISES BRICK BY BRICK September 13th 2018

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