Ashburton Playing Fields Development

A scheme has been proposed for development of two artificial football pitches on the Woodmere Avenue end of Ashburton Playing Fields.

Initial views and perspective from Shirley North Councillors (Cllr Sue Bennett, Cllr Richard Chatterjee and Cllr Gareth Streeter) have been outlined in this document.

Details of the document are outlined below, and in addition points from our MORA Planning Specialist…

Summary view:

  • The scheme itself will provide benefits for Croydon as a whole and significantly increase access to superior sporting facilities for teams across the borough
  • Some of the additional facilities – such as a gym and a possible café – might also be attractive to some in the wider community
  • However, our initial view is that the benefits of the scheme will not be ones that appeal to its proposed immediate neighbours – the residents of Woodmere Avenue and other nearby residents.
  • The scheme would however, present potentially significant challenges to residents such as loss of view, closing off of MOL, light/noise pollution and increased traffic.
  • As such, it is highly unlikely that the Shirley North team of councillors would feel able to support the scheme without significant and substantial changes

Scheme details:

The current understanding is that the scheme would consist of the following:

  • 2 x artificial pitches
  • Changing rooms
  • Community room
  • Car parking
  • Small community gym

There is also the potential for a community café although it is not currently clear if that would be an additional facility of located in the community room.

The initial funding for the project would come from the Football Foundation (Premier League) and would be run as a commercial venture. The London Football Trust would give / sell the long lease (25 years) to a contractor to run.

Site location:

The site would occupy 5 hectares of land (currently classified as MOL) at the corner of Woodmere Avenue. The map below details where the site will go (NOTE: this map has been constructed by the Councillors based on a verbal briefing and has not been provided by the officers behind the scheme):

Ashburton Playing Fields Development Proposed Location

Potential problems / risks / concerns

  • Closing off of MOL (there would be fencing surrounding the site)
  • Flood lighting on the pitches and potential light pollution
  • Noise pollution
  • Road access from Woodmere Avenue would be created
  • Increased traffic down Woodmere Avenue and surrounding roads (Orchard Avenue / Glade / Gladeside and others)
  • Risk of on-street parking issues despite presence of car park
  • Loss of view for some Woodmere Avenue residents
  • Loss of privacy – particularly depending on how vehicle access is managed
  • High risk of significant change of character

Issues highlighted by MORA Planning Specialist

  • Loss of MOL (We are looking into the Planning Policies for development on MOL)
  • Noise nuisance from football fans of playing clubs
  • Local parking problems
    – Increased parking, there are already problems at the weekends
    – Woodmere Avenue is too narrow to take additional traffic and parking.
    – At the weekends, it is impossible for the emergency services to gain access
  • Noise from additional traffic
  • Loss of views
  • Flood lighting would be very intrusive to the neighbouring houses
  • A café would increase rubbish, vermin and also unsocial behaviour
    – What would be the open hours of the Café
  • A facility of this nature is totally unsuitable in a residential area
  • We already have several local sports facilities
  • Increased Flooding risk of rear gardens and properties in Bywood Avenue from the Chaffinch Brook which runs through Ashburton Playing Fields

Ashburton Playing Fields Flood Map

Potential material planning considerations

  • Change of character
  • Environmental – noise / light pollution
  • Contravening local policies (building on MOL)
  • Loss of privacy


Officers are planning to submit a full planning application in ‘late summer’ with a full consultation commencing soon.

Next steps

  • Councillors to discuss scheme and planned response with MORA and residents
  • Consider organising a public meeting and inviting Cabinet member responsible

London Mayor and Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith both promise to protect our green spaces

Dear Save Shirley residents,

We are committed to keep up the pressure on the decision makers who can influence what’s going on in our area. That includes Boris Johnson and mayoral candidates Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan.

Sadiq Khan won’t respond to any of our questions or invitations to come and talk to the people of Shirley. However, Zac has…

Following an invitation to visit the area and see for himself the devastating effect the Croydon Local Plan will have on Shirley, Zac put his money where his mouth is and attended a meeting with Save Shirley campaigners.

Zac’s visit to Shirley was reported in the Croydon Advertiser. If you missed it click here to read the full story.

Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative candidate for London Mayor returned to Croydon for a general meeting this week with residents from across the borough organised by Gavin Barwell MP.

Zac addressed residents for 10 minutes and then opened the floor for questions. During the lively debate, Zac confirmed his promise to the Save Shirley and MORA that if elected in May he will protect London’s green belt.

Boris Johnson #PQT

We recently attended Boris Johnson’s People’s Question Time when it came to Croydon Fairfield Halls on Thursday 3 March 2016.

The all ticket event, held twice a year, gives Londoners the chance to quiz the mayor and London Assembly members on topics including housing, transport and community safety.

Save Shirley attended with Sony Nair, MORA Chairman. He asked Boris and the panel for a response in relation to proposals to intensify Shirley by knocking down residential homes and replacing them with high rise blocks of flats and building new homes on our green spaces:

“I would like to understand the GLAs position on Croydon’s Local Plans for intensification of residential areas that will wreck neighbourhoods and build on green spaces when there is plenty of brownfield sites that are suitable for development.”

In his response, The Mayor of London said although it is a Croydon Council matter he “will very much disagree” with their plans to build on Croydon’s green spaces.

Steve O’Connell, our Assembly Member, chaired the event.

To watch Boris answer Sony’s question, tune in at Save Shirley TV

Or

Don’t forget to follow us on twitter for all the latest updates @ShirleySave or check out the website

Council granting outline planning permission for high-rise block of flats in Orchard Avenue is politically motivated

40 Orchard Avenue, Croydon, CR0 7NA

Demolition of an existing dwelling; erection of a three storey building with basement containing 8 two bedroom flats; formation of associated access and parking

Dear Save Shirley residents

Tell us the intensification of Shirley isn’t politically motivated.

On Thursday night six councillors voted to allow a detached residential home be demolished and in it’s place a high-rise block of flats.

However, we believe the Planning Committee did not judge the application on current planning policies, but on a prejudiced and vindictive rebellion against the Shirley Residents and a further assault on the character of the area.

We believed this is a direct response to the ‘Save Shirley’ campaign and our objection to the proposed Croydon Plan CLP2.

This application was not determined upon the current Planning Policies. It’s out of character with the area and shows a total disregard for the character of the area and surrounding properties in Shirley.

Worryingly, this will now set a precedent for the destruction of Shirley.

All six councillors are Labour. Their details are below. we urge you to email them to demonstrate how disappointed we are that the people in charge of Croydon’s planning applications make their decisions based on political point scoring.

Dear, Cllr [Insert name]

Ref: 15/05247/P

We object to the Planning Committee voting in favour of granting outline planning permission for 40 Orchard Avenue in Shirley.

We believe the Planning Committee did not judge the application on current planning policies, but on a prejudiced and vindictive rebellion against the Shirley Residents and the character of the area.

This application was not determined upon the current planning policies. It’s out of character with the area and shows a total disregard for the surrounding properties in Shirley.

We ask you to reconsider the application based on current planning policies adopted by the Planning Inspectorate.

Kind regards,

The members of the Planning Committee who voted in favour of the outline planning application were:

Cllr Paul Scott (Chairman) (Woodside)

Cllr Maddie Henson (Ashburton) or tweet @MinsuR

Cllr Bernadette Khan (West Thornton)

Cllr Sherwan Chowdhury (Norbury Ward) or tweet @SherwanCroydon

Cllr Jamie Audsley (Bensham Manor) or tweet @JamieAudsley

Cllr Humayun Kabir (Bensham Manor)

Save Shirley is a non-political campaign created by residents and MORA (Monks Orchard Residents’ Association). It’s backed by seven Shirley residents’ associations to oppose this current administrations politically motivated plan to wreck our residential neighbourhood.

Our fight goes on.

We would like to thank MORA member Lianne for speaking against the proposal at the planning meeting. Also to the Shirley residents that filled out the Public Gallery. You made sure our united voice of objection was heard. Thank you for your continued support.

Save Shirley
Follow us on twitter

Shirley residents out in force


Croydon Town Hall was overwhelmed on Monday night with more than 450 Shirley residents to hear the Save Shirley petition of more than 3,600 signatures presented to the council and the debate that followed.

Our intention was to be heard, and we certainly did that. Cllr Tony (concrete) Newman, Leader of the council told the Croydon Advertiser: “I believe residents have legitimate concerns.”

So, thank you to all of you who queued down Katherine Street. The meeting was delayed by 20 minutes as council officials struggled to set up screens and speakers so everyone who had arrived for the meeting could watch the webcast and lively public debate.

And it went downhill from there, with the meeting being suspended by 15 minutes as Croydon CEO, Nathan Elvery and the Mayor left the meeting amidst utter chaos. There blatant bias culminated in the refusal to allow a vote. It’s obvious that there is no such thing as democracy in Croydon Council.

Save Shirley and MORA have called for a public meeting with Cllr Newman on the proposals, but he said he will not agree to this until the outcome of the public consultation on the proposals has been published.

We are not prepared to wait that long. So we’re starting to build momentum and have a few more things up our sleeves, but we still have a long way to go.

So we’d appreciate if you’d email him at urging him to accept our invitation and keep the pressure on.

There will be more articles in the press. Croydon Advertiser has already published a couple of articles online already about the event:

Then on Tuesday morning Save Shirley was invited for a TV interview on the London Live Breakfast Show, our local MP, Gavin Barwell, attended this.

It’s about 4mins in length, but the interview has also been posted online.

If you want to watch the meeting webcast, it’s available on catch-up now:

If you would like to read the speech Dave Greenwood presented you can download a PDF copy here. and follow us on twitter at



This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Council meeting – We need your support

Tomorrow night (Monday 25 January) at the Council meeting is a BIG opportunity for Shirley Residents to force Croydon’s councillors to rethink their plans.

If we don’t change their minds they will concrete over where we live and replace our houses with 4-storey blocks of flats, build gypsy/traveller sites in the Green Belt, allow housing on our precious green spaces and back gardens and completely change the character of Shirley.

We have a fight on our hands. This is why we need to pack the public gallery with residents and make as much noise as possible.

Meet us outside the Council Chamber at 5.45, Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon, CR0 1NX. The meeting starts at 6.30.

Thank you

Save Shirley is backed by the following residents’ associations
MORA (Monks Orchard Residents’ Association), Shirley Oaks Village, Spring Park (SPRA), Shrublands, Bishops Walk and Shirley Hills.