Officer: Shifa Mustafa
Key decision: yes
The Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport & Regeneration (voting – Job Share) stated that all planning documents were important, however Supplementary Planning Document 2 was especially important as it sought to deliver the homes which were needed within the borough. It was noted that Croydon was required to deliver 33,000 additional homes in the next 18 years and the necessary social infrastructure to support additional housing.
To facilitate the delivery of the additional homes, the Cabinet Member stated, the council had taken a proactive role in developing the guidance which had already been nominated for a planning award before it had been adopted. The Cabinet Member thanked all the officers involved in the development of the document and consultation events.
The Cabinet Member read out an email which a colleague had received from a Kenley resident to remind Members of why it was important that such a Guide was needed. The email outlined the residents’ desire for Kenley to remain the same, but that they supported planning applications as it was not possible for young people to afford houses in Kenley but flats would be more affordable. The email concluded by requesting that Members think of the young people in the borough when considering applications.
A presentation was provided to Cabinet which set out the context in Croydon which required a third of new homes to be delivered in the suburbs and the evolution of the suburbs over the last 100 years. The Guide, it was stated, sought to encourage developers to ensure sites were not underdeveloped and as such looked for wider, deeper and taller homes to ensure the effective use of sites. Whilst it was recognised that there would be an impact on the area following development, it was the ambition of the council to ensure that the negative impact was as small as possible.
The Cabinet Member noted that there was often a large amount of discussion in regard to character at Planning Committees, and whilst the Guide sought to retain the character of the area it supported innovative design or modern interpretation. Additionally, transport and parking were often discussed and it was recognised that social infrastructure and sustainable forms of transport were important for the delivery of homes, and the council continued to work with the Mayor to deliver transport improvements.
To facilitate the consultation on the Guide, officers set out windows at the events at the distance proposed for as gaps between developments so residents would be able to establish the possible impact.
The Cabinet Member stated that they had worked with officers to produce a guide which ensured sensitive intensification of land.
Concerns were raised by the Opposition spokesperson that the Guide did not protect the character of areas or support the right mix of development. It was felt that the Guide did not work for the current communities of Croydon, and that larger, taller, wider and deeper development would not fit within the local areas. As such, it was suggested that many residents would ... view the full minutes text for item 30