Many thanks to everyone who has already commented on the latest planning application for Cart Lodge Mews, between Lebanon Road and Oval Road, the site of ECCO’s Big Lunches and Halloween events . If not, you still have today and tomorrow to do so.
Here is the position of the ECCO steering group.
Subject: ECCO Objection to development of designated Amenity & Parking Space, 4 Cart Lodge Mews ( 20/01288/FUL | Erecting 2 storey dwelling house on empty plot | 4 Cart Lodge Mews Croydon CR0 6FG)
Preface: The ECCO stance on this proposal remains the same as for the previous applications to develop the site; ECCO objects to the proposals; ECCO supports the Council’s original planning decision to designate the plot as Amenity & Parking Space.
ECCO appreciates that the Council is under pressure enable small sites to be developed, and as a community organisation ECCO has constructively engaged with the Council in relation to the development and revision to the Local Plan. ECCO has collaborated with developers that have been willing engage with the local community to achieve positive outcomes for the current and future residents and community at large.
The East Croydon area is one of the most densely populated areas with major residential developments being constructed. There is no public amenity space in the immediate area.
It should be noted that the current owners of the Cart Lodge Mews properties and No’s 85 & 87 Lebanon Rd generously permit Cart Lodge Mews to be used on occasion as community amenity space to host community activities, such as the annual “Big Lunch” and Halloween events, as the Council does not permit Lebanon Rd to be closed for the purpose of these community events, and there is no other alternative venue. These events have been open to the community in the adjacent streets and are highly valued as a means to promote community cohesion. The Council has cited these events as prime examples of community engagement.
Grounds for Objection:
The 3 houses on Cart Lodge Mews were constructed, despite local opposition at the time, to what is now the reasonable development limit under current circumstances where every available viable small plot can be developed to enable the Borough to meet its new homes targets.
The plot in question, that is again subject to the owners seeking planning permission, was designated as amenity and parking. The original developer and subsequent owners are aware of this.
The primary objection to this development are as follows;
- The overall Cart Lodge Mews site is already at its development limit as was recognised by the Council at the original and all subsequent planning applications.
- The Cart Lodge Mews site has planning permission for the 3 houses, and amenity / parking space and there has been no attempt by any of the owners of the plot to undertake this. The owners should be required to complete the works to create the amenity and parking space prior to the consideration of any further planning application.
- The proposed development would deprive the adjacent gardens of sunlight (Oval Rd in the morning and Lebanon Rd in the afternoon and evening) as the proposed development of two storeys extends right up to the boundary of the plot East and West. This would be particularly extreme for the Lebanon Rd properties ( 87 upwards ) as their gardens are in shadow during the morning.
- There are established trees in the gardens of the Oval Rd properties that would need to be severely cut back and possibly removed to facilitate constructing the development along the boundary line as proposed in the drawings.
- The plot is designated as amenity and parking and the Lebanon Rd area has no other amenity space.
- The construction of the proposed development would negatively impact the value of adjacent properties, especially in regards to the Lebanon Rd houses.
- The quality of the proposed development is poor and does not enhance the area. By proposing to build to the limit of the plot, access for maintenance to the sides requires access to the adjacent private properties which may be denied and thus the property degrades.
ECCO has also been alerted to the fact that the proposed garden opens directly onto the alley to the rear of the adjacent Lebanon Rd houses. This alley is private property, regardless of the current condition, that is collectively owned by the householders of the existing houses providing rear access to their gardens. This was confirmed in 1990/1 in a legal case relating to the shared ownership of the alleys brought by a number of households on the other side of Lebanon Rd. This finding was in line with Croydon Council’s policies in relation to rear alleys at the time. For the existing houses on Cart Lodge Mews this was recognised and access to their rear gardens is entirely within the plot boundaries.
ECCO as the local community organisation is profoundly disappointed that the owners and their agents have not made any attempt to initiate contact to discuss the proposed development and consider what objections the local residents and wider community might have.
Further ECCO observes that,
- it would appear that the original developer acted in bad faith by not completing the development and making the plot into an amenity space and parking for the Cart Lodge Mews houses.
- Further the original developer / owner abandoned the site cluttered with debris and hazardous items, making no attempt to prevent members of the public accessing the plot. The original owner destroyed the fence after his planning application for a residential was rejected.
- Subsequent owners have left the site in dereliction and have shown no regard for the well-being of their neighbours and other members of the public. This lack of regard for the condition of their plot gives ECCO no confidence that any development will be carried out in a safe and considerate manner.
- Subsequent purchasers and applicants for planning permissions have never engaged with the community prior to purchase or applying for planning permission to gauge the likelihood of opposition.
While ECCO appreciates that the owners have invested in the purchase of the plot which is of little or no real value and want to make a profit or at least recover their money. It is ECCO’s belief that the purchasers were unwise to purchase the plot and that this would have been avoided had they engaged with the local community.
Further ECCO believes that the Council should take action to require the owners to make the site safe by either fencing it off to prevent access by members of the public, especially children, and / or remove the abandoned building materials and other detritus, including strands of razor wire. Or in the event of the owners not acting to remediate the plot and make it safe, that Council takes control of the site and conjunction with the local community remediates the site and makes it into the intended amenity & parking space.