Call Community Roof Garden On New Whitgift Centre

The revised plans of Westfield and Hammerson’s Croydon Partnership for the enlarged Whitgift Centre scheme were made public on the Council’s planning register on 21 October with what appears to be only a 21 day public consultation period ending Thursday 17 November, despite the size and complexity of the scheme with documentation of over 4,700 pages. It is therefore very difficult for members of the public to comment.

Therefore some are focussing on just a few aspects. Andrew Kennedy, a  supporter of Croydon Town Transition,  writes:

‘Some of us are requesting a new green space or community garden for the roof top of Westfield. At present there is NO public green space planned. He is asking others to object to the outline planning application the Croydon Partnership have submitted, on the grounds that they are not meeting the publics wishes for more green space as identified by their own Statement of Community Involvement.

Please submit your views using the Public Access Register.

This is important. This scheme is being pushed through under the government’s own accelerated scheme for planning permission. It seems to be slipping through unnoticed so far and this will be a missed opportunity. If you don’t raise the issue now, you will never get it because a roof has to be designed to the right strength and with the right materials at the start to support it. Please give your views to the planning officials and to your Councillors by commenting on the Public Access Register.’

Andrew’s submission states:

“Reason: Meets neither the Planning Committee’s previous expectation nor the public expressed wish as stated in the developer’s own Statement of Community Involvement.

Table 4.2 Section 4.3.  Points raised by the Planning Committee – Housing “Covering the car park to create amenity space for the residents AND THE WIDER PUBLIC will be supported” (My capitalisation)

Appendix 9, Nudge Factory Questionnaire Report. Of 300 members of the public questioned, the number three priority was for more green space.

Comment: The current outline plan as submitted does not provide any PUBLIC green space on the roof where it would be eminently be both suitable and useful to put it.

The publicly accessible roof terrace on level 5 overlooking North End is both very small, not green and more importantly attached directly to a bar or cafe.

The members of Croydon Transition Town would like to see a 50mtr x 50 mtr green space e.g. a prairie garden with seating, arbours and pergolas. This could be set back from the edge of the roof overlooking North End.

It should have an open aspect to the west and to some degree the south so that there will be a view over the Wandle Valley and what we hope will be wonderful sunsets.

Please note there was once a roof garden on the top of Allders.

We would expect this space to be open until shortly after sunset unless there was a special event on. It is not necessary to have permanent catering facilities up there.

You could call this a “Peace Garden” and that would be it’s purpose. A respite for shoppers from the hectic atmosphere below and a new open space for Croydon.

It could be looked after by community gardeners. It would also be a more pleasant thing to look at for the residents of the tower blocks, to take the eye away from trunking and air conditioning on the bare roof. ”

You can see pictures of the proposal at www.facebook.com/groups/historiccroydon

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About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly, and am a member of the latter's Environment Forum. I am a member of the 5 Norbury Residents Associations Joint Planning Committee, and a Governor of Norbury Manor Primary School. I write for Croydon Citizen at http://thecroydoncitizen.com. I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and advise the North East People's History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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