Croydon Citizens and local churches are pressing for a Croydon Community Land Trust (CLT) – a community controlled housing organisation.
Support for a CLT is Council policy following Leader Tony Newman chairing the Co-operative Councils Network’s Commission on Community Led Housing.
A Council officer is currently working on a draft strategy for implementing a Trust and other community initiatives such as self-build, to be submitted to the Cabinet early next year. CLTs also have wider regeneration roles.
As I have pointed out to the officer:
(1) A Borough wide CLT cannot be community led – the area is too big.
(2) The Council cannot be trusted having already sabotaged Norbury CLT’s wish to buy and develop a site next to the Railway Station as a community garden. (I am its Chair)
(3) More and more people are becoming hostile to the Council because of its top-down ‘we know best’ arrogant approach rejecting the views of local people and their organisations, and consider consultations and partnerships to be phoney.
(3) Transferring controversial sites from Brick by Brick will damage any community led organisation that takes them on.
(4) In many parts of the Borough new build is not an option but buying owner occupied and landlord properties is, as well as shops with living accommodation above.
(5) In some parts of the Borough what is needed is an approach which identifies older house owners who want to move into smaller homes but remain in their neighbourhood, and building suitable housing for them releasing their homes for family use.
(6) There are many properties in the Borough originally built as housing which are used for non-housing purposes. An approach is needed to try and re-locate the businesses and return the buildings to housing use. (This excludes housing that had shops added to the front).
Gentrification in Croydon documentary
Planning for the new autism school at Timebridge site
Inside Croydon criticises the Council for the short notice of a public event showing the proposals for the new school for children with autism and other learning difficulties held on Monday 10 December.
The proposals were subject to a pre-application discussion by the Planning Committee on 29 November.
As I sat in the public gallery my initial impression (and that of the Councillors) was that this appeared to be a well designed scheme, but …..
The first question I asked myself was what are the exterior security measures to prevent people getting in to the school site? Then I began to think the design was very complex and expensive design and may not achieve its objectives.
It is a big site with a community hall to be next to it, both with separate vehicle and pedestrian entrances. The concept of each classroom having external views onto a green or open space makes sense, as does the separation of 3-11 year olds from secondary age children. The playing fields for the school will be useable by the public out of hours.
The main building of the school is going to be in the middle of the site, It occurred to me that it might be better as a long building furthest away from the main road with views to the Green Belt and across a re-configured playfields area. Each class can still have its proposed private safe play and green space between the building and the playing fields.
Entrance into the classrooms could be along a pathway between the building and the edge of the site on the Green Belt side. By reconfiguring in this way the classrooms would be furthest away from the noise and pollution of the main road.
It might be possible to ensure that the site is set back from the main road to allow the planting of mature trees which will soak up pollution and also act as a green screen for the residents on the other side of the road.
Another approach might be to keep the vehicle and pedestrian entrance to the school completely separate from that the community hall by placing it on the left hand side of the site. This would create a clear demarcation between the two facilities and prevent times of access conflict during the day.
Planning Chair criticised for speech at opening of Leon House
Inside Croydon is critical of Planning Chair Toni Letts for speaking at the opening of the new homes at Leon House, the former office building converted without needing planning permission. The editor is right to be critical. The Planning Chair is a semi-judicial function to assess applications and should not be commenting on policy at such events. That is the role of Cabinet members, Alison Butler and Paul Scott. https://insidecroydon.com/2018/12/07/planning-chair-prejudices-position-with-speech-for-developers
Inside Croydon is also critical of the Council’s homelessness relationship with Thames Reach.
Limited value of Mayor’s Rogue Landlord Register
If you search Croydon as an enforcement authority on the Mayor of London’s rogue landlord register set up in May the following appears:
‘We’re sorry, but at present there are no enforcement records from this authority, that match your search criteria and which can be publicly displayed.’
The register is very limited because while landlords may be convicted of an offence in one Borough, such as Tariq Hussain in Waltham Forest, it will take a lot of time consuming and expensive research to check which other Boroughs they operate in.