This event was billed by Menta Redrow as a stakeholders’ meeting. Nine people attended. Tomas Howard Jones and Jerry Fitzpatrick attended on behalf of ECCO, and ECCO Steering Group member Esther Sutton was also able to be present for the majority of the meeting.
Menta Redrow’s purpose in convening the meeting was to make a presentation about their planning applications regarding the Morello 2 development and the completion of the east to west pedestrian link over East Croydon Station. The closing date for both neighbours’ and elected representatives’ objections to the two planning applications (Morello 2 and construction of pedestrian link) had passed on 9 and 13 November respectively. Perhaps it would have been more helpful for Menta Redrow to have held the meeting at the beginning of the consultation period.
The Menta Redrow team was led by the developer Craig Marks and Cara Bamford, who is the architect. Some of the main points put forward by Craig Marks were as follows:
- That he had a personal commitment to Croydon which had developed over a long period.
- That the benefits that the Council would get from the development were infrastructure and the right balance of homes.
- That the plane trees are being retained. Craig Marks was reminded that the application envisaged the retention of three of the four trees. Craig Marks stated that Menta Redrow’s tree consultant had recommended that the other tree might be dangerous and should be removed.
- That Menta Redrow would plant young trees. He promised that he would inform residents of the nature and extent of the proposed planting.
- That there would be an extended family playground and gardens in Morello 2. In Cherry Orchard Gardens, there would be private playspace in the area below the trees, and public seating.
- That the amount of affordable housing to be provided had increased from 10 to 15%. He was “open to delivering if possible more affordable housing”.
- That he was not opposed to the disclosure of the financial viability assessment for the scheme, which has not thus far been disclosed. (The significance of this document is that it considers the rationale for the amount of affordable housing in the development.)
- That the there would be significant commercial space in the podium of the towers. This space would be leased to a private facility operator, who would fund the space in accordance with their objectives. They would determine how this space would be used. There might be retail outlets including a café. There would be co-working space. (There was some backtracking from a previous claim that 100 jobs would be provided. Many of the 100 would be self-employed co-workers.)
- There was limited parking space, and such parking places would be “buried in the basement”, i.e. the car parking area would not be a visual intrusion.
- Menta Redrow will work with Network Rail and the Council to provide the pedestrian link. Menta Redrow had a working relationship with Network Rail. They had entered into an asset protection agreement. The link would be constructed when Network Rail called for it, and would use their design and process managers (Mott MacDonald and Hawkins Brown). Subject to the grant of planning permission, construction would commence “at the back end of 2018”. It would take two and a half years to complete. He was “looking at” whether the bridge would be available for use before the completion of the building of the towers. The cost of the bridge would be part-funded with part of the s.106 community funding which is part of a developer’s contribution to a major development. He could not say the precise figure that the part-funding would be: “we are just talking about the amount”.
Architect Cara Bamford spoke about various aspects relating to her role. The taxi waiting area would not be reduced. There was much bike storage space in the towers. The buildings were of sustainable construction. It was “non-combustible as far as anyone can say anything is non-combustible”. Much attention had been paid to the detail of the cladding.
Jo Sistern, who ably chaired the meeting, responding to concerns that the towers would create a significant wind tunnel, stated that the wind tunnel report had been disclosed. (Ms Sistern is employed by GL Hearn, the property consultants retained by Menta Redrow)