For more information on current Redrow Morelo Apartments near East Croydon station see their website.
THE MENTA REDROW TWIN TOWERS DEVELOPMENT – AN UPDATE
The main points below can be found in the comments of the Planning Committee and Cllr Fitzsimons within paragraph 5 and my own comments in paragraph 6.
- I last reported to ECCO members after the Planning Committee meeting on 6 April 2017, when the Planning Committee had a pre-application discussion about the revised Menta Redrow (“MR”) application (16/05511/PRE) for the final phase of their Cherry Orchard Road development. The various documents relating to that can be found on the ECCO website by clicking on the following links:PLN20170706_05_02_6.1_Land_Adj
- Subsequently, MR have further amended their application, and the Planning Committee received a presentation from the Architect at their meeting on 6 July. A discussion followed once again on a pre-application basis, that is, this was an occasion to scrutinise that which was proposed, but not an occasion to determine the application.
- The committee papers record that the key changes from the preceding pre-application presentation were as follows:
(i) in respect of the East Croydon Station 999bridge link crossing land owned by Network Rail, MR would submit two concurrent applications: one for the development on their land and another for the “link” part of the bridge. MR Staed willingness to contribute to the cost of the link, willingness to undertake physical construction of the link, but unwillingness to obtain required consents from Network Rail to relocate the temporary station servicing facilities sited in the area beneath the link;
(ii) alteration in the design of Cherry Orchard Gardens: the proposed building would now be L-shaped rather than curving around in line with Cherry Orchard Road;
(iii) the design in alteration would allow for the retention of three of the four mature plane trees;
(iv) the provision of three-bed family units is 7.4%.
- The following is a summary of key changes from the scheme for which MR have previously been granted permission:
(i) the new proposal does not include Network Rail land, and the Porter and Sorter land has also been removed from the application site;
(ii) the 54 storey tower has been reduced to 25 storeys;
(iii) the 16 storey hotel has been replaced by a 25 storey tower which is predominantly residential;
(iv) the single level basement beneath the towers would be removed, and a basement to the north of the site introduced;
(v) the proposal is now to build a staircase within the site and to do as set out in 3(i) above; this replaces the previous commitment to provide a direct link to the pedestrian bridge over the station, with publicly accessible terraces to connect to the bridge, with a “grand staircase” to connect the public realm to this terrace link;
(vi) in the application for which MR were given consent a terrace on the southernmost tower was proposed to facilitate future pedestrian links to Billinton Hill and to provide permanent enclosed facilities for station servicing below the terrace; in the period before Billinton Hill improvements took place, the approved MR scheme provided the temporary solution to deal with differences in levels which included a lift and stairs for public use in the southwest corner of the hotel;
(vii) in respect of the Cherry Orchard Gardens site, there were the following changes: retail and community uses removed; building height lowered from 4-10 storeys to 5-9 storeys; retention of majority of trees; loss of 320m2 of public open space on the corner of Cherry Orchard Road and Oval Road; decking level to the rear removed; town houses on Oval road removed; affordable housing percentage increased to 15% from 10%; tenure changed from affordable rent and shared ownership in equal shares to 100% shared ownership.
- Please see below the relevant part of the Council Minutes which summarise the key issues as identified by the Committee and by Sean Fitzsimons, Councillor for Addiscombe, who attended on behalf of the ward councillors.
6.1 16/05511/PRE Land Adjacent To East Croydon Station and Land At Cherry Orchard Road, Cherry Orchard Gardens, Billington Hill, Croydon
Erection of two 25 storey towers providing 170 and 152 residential units in the North and South towers respectively, each building on the Morello 2 site, and a residential building (5-9 storeys) to provide 98 residential units on the Cherry Orchard Gardens site. Public realm area works
Cara Bamford (Make Architects) and James Cook (GL Hearn) attended to give a presentation and to respond to Members’ questions and issues raised for further consideration prior to submission of a planning application.
The main issues raised at this meeting were as follows:
- Echoed serious concern raised by GLA in their response that the current affordable housing element was unacceptable. Review mechanisms would be required.
- Affordable housing to come forward with rest of development and not to be left to the end. Could it be part of the towers pepperpotted?
- The provision and delivery of the bridge link was an absolute requirement and needed to be linked to occupancy of development. Concern raised that applicant proposed to treat as a separate application, if two applications were to come forward they needed to come hand in hand and be determined at the same time. The bridge link was an integral part of the public realm and needed to be a robust design, despite its possible temporary state before station upgrade works.
- Single core arrangement questioned and whether this would allow for different tenures.
- Provision of social rented accommodation should be investigated.
- Appearance of the development was generally accepted favourably, although concern about canyon effect with Cherry Orchard Gardens.
- Mix of units – concern about low level of family units – clarity about which units were 2-bed 4 person units
- Parking critical – do not want over provision – 2 car club spaces would be welcomed
- Active and positive frontages required at ground level and towers side
- Pocket park around tree rather than private fenced off space
- Concern over single aspect units – particularly Cherry Orchards part of site
- Support for retention of most of trees
Cllr Sean Fitzsimons, ward Member for Addiscombe, made the following comments:
- Lot of effort to make scheme worse.
- Welcome retention of trees.
- Public open land for over 100 years and residents want to protect it.
- History of applicant not wanting affordable housing on their site.
- Do not need separate cores in developments any more. Every landing can have firewalls.
- Architecturally very nice but no active frontage – needs more life.
- There were 40 flats there. 100 flats in development.
- Do not need car parking spaces – could be used for community amenity space.
- Do not need a fancy staircase.
- From the point of view of ECCO members, the main positive development is the possible retention of mature trees. The loss of community open space and public amnity area will surely be unwelcome. As for the bridge to nowhere, I reported after the MR presentation at Oval Ark on 26 April that Craig Marks on behalf of MR had stated that Menta Redrow would “build it [ie the link], fit it and fund it”. He could not have been more clear. MR seem to have rowed back a little from that commitment in the intervening months.
- Realistically, the paramount issue for the Committee is likely to be that of the amount of affordable housing in the development. Since the original permission was granted, a new Mayor has been installed at County Hall, he has issued new planning guidance which the Committee can and will give significant weight to, and the Mayor’s guidance is likely to be fortified by the Local Authority’s own amended Local Plan which will probably be adopted in the early Autumn.
- So, the planning considerations which Committee will bring to bear in reaching their final determination – when they are eventually called upon to make it – are likely to be substantially different from those that governed preceding decisions. There may well now be a protracted dogfight about this development, one perhaps further complicated by post-Brexit caution in corporate decision-making.
If you have any views of any kind on what is being proposed, please send them to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org