Agenda item

21/02431/FUL - Development Site, Former Site Of 17 - 21 Dingwall Road, Croydon, CR0 2NA

Full planning application for development ranging in height from 9 (ground plus 8 levels) to 28 storeys (ground plus 27 levels), containing 199 residential units, a healthcare facility (Use Class Ee), disabled car parking spaces, cycle parking, and associated amenity space, hard and soft landscaping.


Ward: Fairfield

Recommendation: Grant permission


Full planning application for development ranging in height from 9 (ground plus 8 levels) to 28 storeys (ground plus 27 levels), containing 199 residential units, a healthcare facility (Use Class Ee), disabled car parking spaces, cycle parking, and associated amenity space, hard and soft landscaping.


Ward: Fairfield


The officer presented details of the planning application and in response to members’ questions explained that:


  • With regard to the affordable housing financial viability reviews, matters such as profit levels and the existing use value of the site were assessed by independent consultants. The details provisions of the financial viability reviews are included in the section 106 agreement. The Greater London Authority (GLA) had provided clear guidance on how section 106 agreements should be written and the way that the early and late-stage review mechanism were set out. The agreement between the NHS and landowner on the cost of the site was between them however the applicant could not claim to give the site to the NHS for free and then charge them a rate as this money could have been used to increase the affordable housing provision on the site. The Financial Review mechanism exists to ensure that any increased developer profit is fairly apportioned, and if changes (e.g. finance costs, commercial rates) result in additional developer profit, this would be reflected in the Financial Viability Reviews. If there was an uplift in value then it would be split between the Council and the developer, the GLA’s guidance on the standard split was 60/40 split in favour of the Council.
  • The developer was required to seek to achieve grant funding however this level of affordable housing was unlikely to be eligible for any grant funding.
  • The developer was building a facility suitable for the NHS in line with the site allocation. Any commercial agreement between the NHS and the developer would exclude the Local Planning Authority. The NHS have stated that they had a general need for floor space in the local area and once the facility had been built then the NHS would decide what their priority need was in the area and before deciding what the facility would be used for specifically.
  • The NHS had asked for an ambulance space to be provided and this request had been met.
  • The policy requirement was that an end user had to be specified, in this case it was the NHS. However, if the NHS decided that they no longer wanted to use the facility once it had been built then there was a requirement that if the space was uninhabited for two years then the developer would have to provide a basic fit out of the area for another party to use.
  • There was a policy requirement in the London plan called the urban green factor which determined a target for the amount of greenery on the site, which has been complied with.
  • The developer had provided a transport statement which had been reviewed by Council officers and the TFL. The proposed development included three blue badge car parking spaces and the traffic movement on the site was likely to be relatively low.
  • The Council had a list of sustainable transport measures which they allocated money towards, this included electric vehicle charging, car club spaces, improvements to public realm and improvements to cycle networks. The developer was providing a financial contribution of £199,000 for the Council to spend on improving sustainable transport and a £110,000 contribution for TFL to fund improvements to the capacity of their bus, tram and train networks.
  • If there were patients who could not be transported themselves then there was an ambulance bay on site which may be able to assist with pick up and drop off.
  • One of the three blue badge parking spaces on the site was for users of the NHS facility which could be booked.
  • The NHS Head of Asset Management for south London had been in touch with officers, and they were assessing the NHS’s needs across south London and not just the local area.
  • The Council did not currently have a district energy network. The key consideration was that there were new developments which were ready to connect to a network if this changed in future so new developments would need to be future proof and there were clauses in the section 106 agreements to ensure that this was possible.
  • The energy strategy was reviewed by the Council’s sustainable design officer and they were satisfied with the proposal. Energy was scrutinised by the GLA during their assessment and there were no issues highlighted following their stage one review.
  • The energy statement provided detail on the number of solar panels on the building and the amount of energy that they would be providing.
  • The Council did not have a housing officer who commented on the viability, tenure or mix of affordable homes proposed within planning applications.  The Councils planning officers used the GLA and independent viability consultants to assess the financial viability of housing schemes.
  • The local plan set out the requirements for units and tenure mix, subject to flexibility .
  • The developer previously had a registered social landlord (RSL) contract, and advice was provided from the RSL about their requirements for affordable homes in this location, which supported the tenure and unit mix which was proposed. The developer had advised that they had heard from several housing associations who were interested in taking over their affordable housing units.
  • The application had been to the GLA, stage 1 was where the GLA were consulted on the application, and they had concerns regarding the amount of affordable housing which falls short of the target of 50%. Once officers had a draft section 106 agreement the application would be referred back to the GLA at Stage 2. The GLA would then have two weeks to review the comments made on the scheme and see whether their concerns had been met. They would then make their decision on whether to allow the Council to make the decision on the application, to direct the Council to make a different decision, or to call in the application and make a decision themselves.
  • There were two blocks on the site which formed one building and the blocks would share the play space and amenities. The rear block was a mix of affordable and market housing. 
  • There was no policy basis to stop individual homes from overlooking communal spaces, and passive surveillance is positive in terms of safety. The building was designed so that the communal lounge overlooks the communal garden to allow passive surveillance. In terms of the individual units overlooking the communal gardens, these had been amended and carefully orientated to allow privacy for residents whilst maintaining some passive surveillance. There was a landscape buffer which provided physical separation from the activity spaces within the communal garden for some units.
  • The lower level units had worse daylight levels that the upper level units.
  • BRE guidance explained that it was appropriate to set alternative target values in more urban areas. All of the single aspect units were East and West facing so there are no north-facing single aspect units, and the sunlight and daylight impacts were all an improvement on the extant consent.


Councillor Ria Patel spoke against the application, Jamie MacArthur spoke in support of the application. After the speakers had finished, the committee began the deliberation, during which they raised the following points:


  • The scheme was in the right location for a development of its size, it had a high PTAL of 6b. The development was largely market housing which was acceptable in this location.
  •  The NHS provision was welcomed as there was often an issue with GP provision in schemes in the area.
  • Efforts had gone into minimising the harm to local heritage and to the conservation area.
  • The proposed development would provide 199 new quality homes which was needed in the local area. However, the nature of the housing, mainly 1-bedroom units was not suitable for the housing needs of the local area.
  • There was a 50% target in Croydon for affordable housing and this development only had 9% affordable housing units.
  • There was a strong wind tunnel on Dingwall Road already due to the number of high rise buildings along the road.
  • The first to third floor plans showed that the lower units would have a poorer access to light and would experience privacy issues due to the office buildings in close proximity and the lack of screening for the units.
  • The viability assessment of the scheme may have been out of date.
  • There will be two financial reviews over the next two years which may result in more affordable housing.
  • The cladding and fire escape improvements were essential improvements to the scheme.
  • There were major issues regarding wind tunnelling but due to the precedent set with other developments along Dingwall Road made this difficult to mitigate.
  • There had been a reduction in affordable housing in the scheme and this had been raised as an issue by the GLA and Council officers.
  • The type of housing provided by the scheme meant that the developers were unlikely to receive a grant.
  • The development did not meet the levels of affordable housing set out in the new housing strategy.
  • There was an extant permission.
  • The decision would go the GLA for a stage 2 review.
  • The play areas were suitable for all ages.
  • The site was prime for a significant development.
  • There was a planned through route on the site, the fire safety arrangements had taken into account new regulations.
  • Microclimate impact was a concern and would need to be looked at closely.


The substantive motion to GRANT the application based on the officer’s recommendation was proposed by Councillor Parker. This was seconded by Councillor Johnson.


The motion to grant the application was taken to a vote and carried with five Members voting in favour and five Members voting against. The chair used his casting vote to vote in favour of the application.


The Committee RESOLVED to GRANT the application for the development at Development Site, Former Site Of 17 - 21 Dingwall Road, Croydon, CR0 2NA.


Supporting documents: