In moving the recommendations contained in the report, Councillor Newman stated that this would be one of the most important decisions that the Council would take, and would affect the borough for the next 20 years. There had been a huge consultation process, and it was important that the plan was submitted, otherwise there was a danger of central government imposing one on the Council. Croydon was London's largest borough, and was the highest growth borough, and therefore it was important that a robust plan was submitted. It would secure local job for local people and improve the quality of life for the current generation and the next. It created sustainable policies from transport to employment. It was vital that all residents in Croydon shared in the growth and development in the borough.
Councillor Butler seconded the recommendations.
Councillor Perry moved that the recommendations be deferred back to the Cabinet for further consideration. Councillor Fisher seconded the motion.
Speaking in favour of the motion for deferral, Councillor Perry stated that there had not been due scrutiny of the plan. Concern was raised that the Council had not listened to the people of Croydon on some key issues in the plan; this included areas of intensification, loss of protection of conservation areas, and the proposed site in Purley Oaks of a traveller site. The paperwork in the Council agenda papers failed to identify how many representations had been received. Despite the significant number of objections, the modifications were only minor with no fundamental changes. Why had it been that some modifications were made while others rejected? There had not been enough scrutiny on this issue and the consultation had been too little, too late.
Councillor Scott, speaking against the deferral motion, stated that the proposed plan was ambitious and dealt with the borough's rapidly growing population. The plan had been contributed to by both parties and dealt with the huge scale of challenges that faced Croydon, particularly the housing crisis and the need for school places. It protected green land and expanded the green belt. The plan contained a fair distribution of housing development across the borough, which included retaining the original Conservative proposal to build a tower in Purley and four storey developments in Shirley. The administration were committed to protect the character of local areas. The proposed location for the traveller site was above the flood risk and was already marked for residential housing. New homes would build stronger communities, local neighbourhoods would be strengthened and a new dynamic centre that would serve the borough rather than dominate it.
Councillor Fisher, speaking in favour of the deferral motion, questioned the purpose of the consultation if concerns raised by thousands of residents were not taken on board. That some areas were given protected status was welcomed, but then it did not explain why other areas were not given this same protection. If the plan promoted the quality of life of Croydon, what about the quality of life of the residents of Shirley Oaks village? This was an opportunity to say to the thousands of residents that objected that their concerns had been listened to.
Councillor Shahul-Hameed, speaking against the deferral motion, stated that the plan protects the character and open spaces of the borough. It provided the land, jobs and homes needed for the current and future generations of Croydon. The process had been open and transparent; concerns from communities and businesses had been listened to. The plan addressed the social needs of the borough, from healthcare facilities to schools. There was a stronger garden policy and new green spaces, as well as the protection of the character and distinctiveness of local areas. The plan protected local employment opportunities and tackled climate change and flooding dangers. It set out how Croydon would thrive and grow, and was ambitious.
Councillor Brew, speaking in favour of the deferral motion, stated that it was unfortunate that the administration would not look again at the proposed traveller site at Purley Oaks. The Council's own independent report in 2014 had stated that the site posed a flood risk. In addition the site was adjacent to a contaminated pond and the noisy Brighton mainline rail track. These factors made it inappropriate for residential housing. The site was also located behind the recycling centre which was in need of expansion. It was impossible to believe that there were no other areas in the borough that would be appropriate for a traveller site.
Councillor Butler, speaking against the deferral motion, stated that when the Purley Oaks depot site had originally been designated a residential site, no issues had been raised. The Council was listening to residents' concerns; following consultation 22 changes had been made in Shirley alone. The Local Plan must be justified and effective; where representations have been accepted they been included within the main modifications. All of the borough must play its part in the intensification in Croydon. The plan had prepared to adhere to both the national plan policy framework and the London plan. There had been ongoing discussions since Local Plan process began in 2013 under the previous administration, and the plan had been to the Council's scrutiny committee. The plan is sound and justified.
Councillor Creatura moved that the vote on the item be undertaken by a show of hands. The Mayor declined to exercise his discretion on the matter and moved to the vote by voices.
The motion to defer the recommendations to Cabinet for further consideration was put to the vote and was lost.
The motion to adopt the substantive recommendations, as contained in the report, was put to the vote and carried.