Planning Report – September 2021

Applications

New
Decided
Awaiting Decision
Appeal

Additional Matters


Applications

New

27 Orchard Rise – Ref: 21/04094/FUL
Demolition of an existing house and erection of two semi-detached pairs to provide 4 houses including associated amenity space, landscaping, parking, cycle and refuse storage.

We objected to the proposed development on the grounds that:

  • This proposed Development would result in the loss of a family home with garden.
  • The proposal has inadequate in-built storage for the future occupants which is an indication of overdevelopment as the Developer is attempting to squeeze as much as possible into a limited site area which does not allow the minimum internal space standards to be implemented.
  • Built in Wardrobes are presumed excluded from the minimum standard. The London Plan suggests these space standards are a ‘minimum’ and should be exceeded, if at all possible, which means reducing the densities accordingly such that all space standards can be generously met.
  • Plot 4 is to M4(3) Wheelchair user accommodation Building Regulation standard, but the disabled Car Parking Bay is furthest from the dwelling instead of a position closer to the disabled dwelling at Plot 4.
  • SPD2 requires a minimum drive entrance width of 3.6m and for Fire appliance access, this should be increased to 3.7m width. The Site Layout indicates the width is 5.35m at para 9 of the ‘Fire Strategy Statement’ whereas the actual width as physically measured is 3.35m kerb-to-kerb.
  • It is of significant concern therefore, that the proposal assumes a Fire Appliance could access the drive up to a distance of 20m and be 35m from the furthest dwelling to attend an incident. The Swept path requirement for access from Orchard Rise (5m wide) is Turning Circle ≈15.5m, with a clear Swept trajectory Circle of ≈17.5m which again may be impossible.
  • The Drive would not support the weight and regularity of construction, earth moving or construction material delivery lorries or the weight of fire appliance tender vehicles of approximately 14 tonnes.
  • The most contentious issue raised by local residents is ‘over-development’ of a site. The current adopted Croydon Plan does NOT provide any methodology to determine individual locality “Site Capacities”, “Character Assessments” or “Design Codes” of sufficient detail (for any localities within the Places of Croydon), to assess an application’s Local ‘Site Capacity’ in accordance with the new London Plan (2021) Policy D3.
  • The objective of the New London Plan is to provide housing to the highest quality whilst “optimising site capacity” to meet the ambitious targets and address housing ‘need’ while maintaining good external and internal design, which is quite different from optimising a single dwelling’s site capacity to provide as many units as possible (4 in this case), that can be squeezed onto a site to maximise profit at the expense of supporting a ‘Sustainable Development for the Site Capacity’ .
  • This proposal does NOT provide an appropriate acceptable value for “gentle Densification” or “Gradual, Moderate Incremental Densification” as assessed according to the London Plan definition for “Incremental intensification” over and above that of the existing locality for a suburban area of PTAL 1a (Less than 3 to 6) and at greater than 800m from a train/tram station and greater than 800m from a District Centre.
  • We have assessed this proposal using as much evidence as available which is appropriate for evaluation. The Croydon Local Plan Review is not produced concurrently with the new revisions of the London Plan Policies and therefore the adopted Croydon Plan does NOT include the requirements to implement the New London Plan ‘Design-Led-Approach’ Policies. We have used the NPPF references and the NPPF National Design Guide and National Model Design Code where appropriate.
  • The appropriate Residential Density at PTAL 1a at a Suburban Setting should be in the range 91.5 to 152.2 Bedspaces per hectare, nominally 122 bedspaces per hectare when the proposal is for 172.6 Bedspaces per hectare (i.e., a 41.48% increase from nominal) requiring a PTAL of 2.178 and the available PTAL is 1a (≡ to 0.66). This gives further indication of Over Development. The analysis clearly indicates a simple methodology for assessment when there is NO equivalent Policy in the London Plan or the Croydon Local Plan.
  • The Planning Committee emphasise the “compelling need for more homes” for which appropriate targets have been identified. However, the pressure to meet housing ‘need’ in the MORA area has been categorically satisfied by over-provision of the established strategic targets for the Shirley Place. It would therefore be inappropriate to quote this ‘need’ as a significant reason to approve this application as the identified ‘need’ has been more than met within the Shirley North Ward to meet the whole Shirley Place Targets. Or alternatively, explain why the Shirley North Ward should exceed the strategic quota
  • Any additional overspill on-street parking would reduce the road width available to other road users and would cause additional hazards.

MORA Submission: 31st Aug 2021
Consultation Closes: 8th Sep 2021
Target Decision: 28th Sep 2021
• Total Consulted: 10
• Objections: 26
• Supporting: 0

Decided

65 Gladeside – Ref: 21/02795/FUL
Construction of single storey detached dwellinghouse (following demoliton of existing outbuilding)

We objected to the proposed development on the grounds that:

  • The Proposed Development does NOT follow the Building Line of Fairhaven Avenue.
  • The proposal fails to meet the required Gross Internal Area (GIA).
  • The proposal has no allocated in-built storage space.
  • The proposal has no dedicated Play Space for children of the future occupants.
  • The Space Standards are a Minimum which should be exceeded if at all possible.
  • The bedroom in the loft roof space has inadequate headroom of a maximum at the centre at approximately ≈1.5m (3.7m – 2.2m) and tapering down to ≈0.75m at the room edge. The minimum floor to ceiling height must be 2.5m for at least 75% of the Gross Internal Area (GIA).
  • The location as defined by London Plan Policy 4.2.4 is inappropriate for Incremental Intensification and the proposal at 869.57bs/ha (bedspaces per hectare) would present a 1048.07% increase in Density above the GLA average Residential Density for the Shirley North Ward of 56.81bs/ha (bedspaces per hectare). This is a significant increase in Residential Density which could NOT realistically be described as “Gentle Densification” in a Suburban locality of PTAL 1b and as stated ‘inappropriate’ for ‘Incremental Intensification’.
  • The adopted Croydon Local Plan (2018) and the New London Plan (2nd March 2021) does not define the acceptable parameters of ‘Incremental Intensification’ or ‘Gentle Densification’, but it can be logically presumed that “Gentle Densification” or “Gradual, Moderate Incremental Densification” (Undefined) would have an appreciably ‘discernible’ reduction of Density than those categories listed in Croydon Local Plan Table 6.4 – Accommodating Growth
  • The Applicant has NOT provided a Planning Statement or Design & Access Statement accessible on the LPA Public Access Register – Document Tab.

Permission Refused

Reason(s) for Refusal:-

  • The proposal by reason of its siting, scale, appearance, design, layout and footprint would represent an incongruous, ad-hoc, cramped and dominant overdevelopment of a constrained site, to the detriment of the street scene and surrounding amenity and character. As such, it is contrary to policy DM10 of the Croydon Local Plan (2018), policies D3 and D4 of the London Plan (2021) and the Suburban Design Guide SPD(2019).
  • The proposal by reason of its insufficient internal floor area, poor outlook and daylight/sunlight provision, compromised privacy, insufficient floor to ceiling height and poor quality external amenity space would provide substandard accommodation for future occupiers, to the detriment of their residential amenity. As such, it is contrary to policies SP2.8 and DM10.4 of the Croydon Local Plan (2018), policies D3 and D6 of the London Plan (2021) and the Supplementary Planning Document: Suburban Design Guide (2019).
  • The applicant has not demonstrated how the development has been designed to achieve the highest standard of fire safety. The proposed development fails to comply with policy D12 of the London Plan (2021)

MORA Submission: 12th Jul 2021
Consultation Closes: 18th Jul 2021
Target Decision: 21st Jul 2021
• Total Consulted: 6
• Objections: 1
• Supporting: 1
Permission Refused: 6th Sep 2021

Awaiting Decision

21 Woodmere Gardens – Ref: 21/03702/FUL
Demolition of single-family dwelling and garage and the erection of 3 x two storey terraced houses with accommodation in the roof space, with 3 off street car parking spaces and a detached 2-storey building with accommodation in the roof space, comprising of 6 self-contained apartments with integrated bike and refuse stores and 6 off street car parking spaces.

We objected to the proposed development on the grounds that:

  • The proposal has inadequate in-built storage for the future occupants which is an indication of overdevelopment as the Developer is attempting to squeeze as much as possible into a limited site area which does not allow the minimum internal space standards to be implemented. The London Plan suggests these space standards are a ‘minimum’ and should be exceeded, if at all possible, which means reducing the densities accordingly such that all space standards can be generously met.
  • The most contentious issue raised by local residents is ‘over-development’ of a site. The current adopted Croydon Plan does NOT provide any methodology to determine individual locality “Site Capacities”, “Character Assessments” or “Design Codes” of sufficient detail (for localities within the Places of Croydon), to assess an applications’ Local ‘Site Capacity’ in accordance with the new London Plan (2021) Policies D2 and D3.
  • Recognising the foregoing, and acknowledging that the adopted Croydon Local Plan is ‘inadequate’ in specifying meaningful ‘growth’ definitions or to implement the New London Plan Policies D1, D2, D3, D4 and H2, Planning Officers must therefore make an assessment, based upon the current and future known public transport accessibility with other available services infrastructure’, ‘Local Character’ and ‘Site Capacity’ to estimate an appropriate level of Residential and Housing Densities for Sustainable Development within the available existing parameters, without ‘cognitive dissonance’, as there is no prospect of local supporting infrastructure improvements in the locality over the lifetime of these Plans.
  • The objective of the New London Plan is to provide housing to the highest quality whilst “optimising site capacity” to meet the ambitious targets and address housing ‘need’ while maintaining good external and internal design, which is quite different from optimising a single dwelling’s site capacity to provide as many units as possible (9 in this case), that can be squeezed onto a site to maximise profit at the expense of supporting a ‘Sustainable Development Site Capacity’.
  • This proposal does NOT provide an appropriate acceptable value for “gentle Densification” or “Gradual, Moderate Incremental densification” as assessed according to the London Plan definition for “Incremental intensification” over and above that of the existing locality for a suburban area of PTAL 1a (Less than 3 to 6) and at greater than 800m from a train/tram station and greater than 800m from a District Centre.
  • We have assessed this proposal using as much evidence as available which is appropriate for evaluation. The Croydon Local Plan Review is not produced concurrently with the new revisions of the London Plan Policies and therefore the adopted Croydon Plan does NOT include the requirements to implement the New London Plan ‘Design-Led-Approach’ Policies. We have used the NPPF references and the National Design Guide and National Model Design Code where appropriate.
  • The NPPF National Model Design Code 2B indicates Housing Density for Suburban localities should be within the range 40 to 60 units per hectare. This development proposal has housing density of 78.38 Units per hectare which exceeds the Guide maximum of 60 by 30.6333% and should therefore be refused. This proposal should tend toward the lower limit of 40 u/ha as the PTAL is Zero.
  • The NPPF National Model Design Code ‘Built Form’ indicates that the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) in a suburban setting should be (Less than) <0.5, whereas the Floor Area Ratio for this proposed development is 0.57 and should therefore be refused.
  • All the foregoing reasoning confirms this proposal is an over development of the site at this location. It can however be logically assumed that “Gentle Densification” or “Gradual, Moderate Incremental Densification” (all undefined) in an area “inappropriate” for “incremental intensification” would have an appreciably ‘discernible’ reduction in Density than those localities categorised and listed in Croydon Local Plan (2018) Table 6.4 – “Accommodating Growth”.
  • It is overwhelmingly apparent therefore, that this proposal is an overdevelopment for this locality on the many methods of evaluation referenced in our submission, bearing in mind that recent cumulative developments have already placed significant strain on the available supporting infrastructure such that there is now inadequate infrastructure to support this and the previous developments when completed and fully occupied. It is recognised that there is no planned improvement in Public Transport Accessibility in the foreseeable future for the Shirley North Ward.
  • The Planning Committee emphasise the “compelling need for more homes” for which appropriate targets have been identified. However, the pressure to meet housing ‘need’ in the MORA area has been categorically satisfied by over-provision of the established strategic targets for the Shirley Place. It would therefore be inappropriate to quote this ‘need’ as a significant reason to approve this application as the identified ‘need’ has been more than met within the Shirley North Ward to meet the whole Shirley Place Targets. Or alternatively, explain why the Shirley North Ward should exceed the strategic quota.
  • We have clearly established that both the New London Plan and the current Croydon Local Plan is ‘devoid’ of any defined policies to determine either acceptable or unacceptable ‘growth’ of any proposals with regard to the ‘Site Capacity’ and the available infrastructure for sustainable Densities which means the Policies are ‘unenforceable’ and ‘undeliverable’ which also means the LPA is not meeting its Statutory obligations to ensure Development Proposals are Sustainable Developments.
  • The proposal would result in the loss of a family home with generous garden space.
  • An approval of this Development Proposal would make a ‘mockery’ of all the NPPF Policies, Design Code Guidance and London Plan Policies referenced in this submission.

MORA Submission: 16th Aug 2021
Consultation Closes: 25th Aug 2021
Target Decision: 22nd Sep 2021
• Total Consulted: 9
• Objections: 3
• Supporting: 0
Councillor referral: Councillor Richard Chatterjee (31st Aug 2021)

13 Gladeside – Ref: 21/03518/FUL
Demolition of existing dwelling and erection of a two-storey detached building with accommodation in roof space comprising 6 flats and provision of associated landscaping, car parking, refuse and cycle storage.

We objected to the proposed development on the grounds that:

  • The proposal has inadequate in-built storage for the future occupants which is an indication of overdevelopment as the Developer is attempting to squeeze as much as possible into a limited site area which does not allow the minimum internal space standards to be implemented.
  • The proposal does NOT provide adequate Play Space for the children of the future occupants of the development for the life of the development. The London Plan requires 10m2 per child and the probable number of children would be 8 requiring 80m2 Play Space Area. This is another indication of overdevelopment as the ‘Site Capacity’ does not allow this requirement to be met.
  • The ground floor Flat 2 is to M4(3) Wheelchair user accommodation Building Regulation standard but there is NO Disabled Car Parking provision within the 4 allocated spaces.
  • The most contentious issue raised by local residents is ‘over-development’ of the sites. The current adopted Croydon Plan does NOT provide any methodology to determine individual locality “Site Capacities”, “Character Assessments” or “Design Codes” of sufficient detail (for localities within the Places of Croydon), to assess an applications’ Local ‘Site Capacity’ in accordance with the new London Plan (2021) Policy D3 and H2.
  • The objective of the New London Plan is to provide housing to the highest quality whilst “optimising site capacity” to meet the ambitious targets and address housing ‘need’ while maintaining good external and internal design, which is quite different from optimising a single dwelling’s site capacity to provide as many units as possible (6 in this case), that can be squeezed onto a site to maximise profit at the expense of supporting a ‘Sustainable Development Site Capacity’.
  • This proposal does NOT provide an appropriate acceptable value for “gentle Densification” or “Gradual, Moderate Incremental Densification” as assessed according to the London Plan definition for “Incremental intensification” over and above that of the existing locality for a suburban area of PTAL 1a (Less than 3 to 6) and at greater than 800m from a train/tram station and greater than 800m from a District Centre.
  • The NPPF National Model Design Code 2B indicates Housing Density for Outer Suburb to be in the range 20 to 40 Units per hectare and Suburban localities should be within the range 40 to 60 units per hectare. As the Shirley North Ward is located within the Outer London Borough of Croydon, the area could be considered as “Outer Suburban”.
  • This proposal should tend toward the lower limits of ‘Outer Suburban’ (we are in Outer London Suburbs) at 20 Units per hectare or ‘Suburban’ of 40 u/ha as the PTAL is 1a and at a housing density of 78.38 Units per hectare which exceeds the Guide maximum of 60 by 30.6333% should therefore be refused as inappropriate for the locality.
  • The NPPF National Model Design Code ‘Built Form’ indicates that the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) in a suburban setting should be <0.5 (less than) whereas the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) for this proposed development has offered GIA of 408.2m2 and Site Area of 625.05m2 = 0.653 (FAR) and should therefore be refused as it is >0.5 (greater than) and thus inappropriate for the locality.
  • All the foregoing reasoning confirms this proposal is an over development of the site at this location bearing in mind that recent cumulative developments have already placed significant strain on the available supporting infrastructure such that there is now inadequate infrastructure to support this and the previous developments when completed and fully occupied, it is recognised that there is no planned improvement in Public Transport Accessibility in the foreseeable future for the Shirley North Ward.
  • It can however be logically assumed that “Gentle Densification” or “Gradual, Moderate Incremental Densification” (all undefined) in an area “inappropriate” for “incremental intensification” (London Plan Policy para 4.2.4) would have an appreciably ‘discernible’ reduction in Density than those localities designated and listed in Croydon Local Plan (2018) Table 6.4 – “Accommodating Growth”.
  • The Planning Committee emphasise the “compelling need for more homes” for which appropriate targets have been identified. However, the pressure to meet housing ‘need’ in the MORA area has been categorically satisfied by over-provision of the established strategic targets for the Shirley Place. It would therefore be inappropriate to quote this ‘need’ as a significant reason to approve this application as the identified ‘need’ has been more than met within the Shirley North Ward to meet the whole Shirley Place Targets. Or alternatively, explain why the Shirley North Ward should exceed the strategic quota.
  • Gladeside has blind bends and any additional on-street parking reduce the road width available to other road users and would cause additional hazards.
  • It is likely that at least 2 on-street overspill overnight parking spaces will be required.
  • Swept path diagrams should be provided for Bay 1 (nearest the building) to prove acceptable ingress and egress from that bay as it is likely to be a difficult manoeuvre.
  • The proposal would result in the loss of a family home with generous garden space.

MORA Submission: 23rd Aug 2021
Consultation Closes: 25th Aug 2021
Target Decision: 26th Aug 2021
• Total Consulted: 4
• Objections: 9
• Supporting: 5

Flyer for download and social media sharing.

75 Shirley Avenue – Ref: 21/02622/FUL
Conversion of and extension to existing dwelling to provide four self contained flats.

We objected to the proposed development on the grounds that:

  • The proposed development is within an area of PTAL 1b which is inappropriate for “Incremental intensification” as it is NOT in an existing residential area within PTALs 3-6 or within 800m distance of a station or town centre boundary for “Incremental Intensification” as defined in the London Plan (2021) para 4.2.4.
  • There is NO definition of magnitude for acceptable Gentle Densification or Incremental Intensification and therefore we request that the Case Officer provides justification for the assessment of “Site Capacity” to meet the proposed sustainable development for this Site.
  • The proposed development does NOT provide full evidence to meet the London Plan Minimum Space Standards with respect to In-Built Storage Space
  • The proposal is non-compliant to requirement detailed in SPD2 Chapter 4 – Residential Extensions & Alterations. The Ground Floor Plans show the proposed extension at ≈9.8m width when the extension should generally be no wider than half the width of the existing house (5.25m) and no deeper than 45° (in plan) as measured from the assumed nearest habitable room windows on neighbouring properties which requires clarification but gives cause for concern
  • The ground floor extension 7.4m into the rear garden seems excessive.
  • The proposal has inadequate parking provision at a locality of PTAL1b for 12 persons probably 8 adults who could own a car or van for business purposes. 6 vehicles may need on-street parking.
  • The strategic Housing Need for the Shirley “Place” has been exceeded by cumulative developments in the MORA Post Code Area over 2½ years which is just a small portion of the Shirley North Ward (Not even including Shirley South Ward). Therefore, the housing need for the Shirly Place has been exceeded by recent developments and proposals in the MORA Post Code Area alone.

MORA Submission: 25th Jun 2021
Consultation Closes: 8th Jul 2021
Target Decision: 14th Jul 2021
• Total Consulted: 4
• Objections: 32
• Supporting: 0
Councillor referral: Councillor Sue Bennett (26th Jul 2021)

34 Woodmere Avenue – Ref: 21/02212/FUL
Demolition of the existing property and the erection of two storey terraced houses with accommodation in the roof space, comprising six dwellings with six off street car parking spaces.

We objected to the proposed development on the grounds that:

  • This proposal, and the cumulative Cluster of Developments in the vicinity of 34 Woodmere Avenue, should be evaluated and considered as a whole as the combined increase in population has implications on the supporting infrastructure sustainability, which is a legal requirement of local planning authorities, serving all the new developments and for the existing residents. This additional proposal would result in a local Population Density of 421.35 residents per hectare, which is a 364.542% increase for the Shirley North Ward, from the 2021 Average Density of 56.806 Residents per hectare for the Shirley North Ward Based upon GLA Data and for the The London Plan Policy H2 Small Site para 4.2.4 limitations of ‘inappropriate’ “Incremental Intensification”.
  • The recent cumulative cluster of developments in the vicinity of 34 Woodmere Avenue, and including this proposal, all within ≈100m radius and within an area of ≈3.14ha, and all at a PTAL of 1a has and will completely changed the Character of this locality from single dwelling households with associated gardens to blocks of multiple dwelling flats and terraced houses in an area NOT subject to “incremental Intensification” as defined by the London Plan Policy para 4.2.4
  • It is overwhelmingly apparent therefore, that this proposal is an overdevelopment for this locality on the many methods of evaluation referenced in our submission, bearing in mind that recent cumulative developments have already placed significant strain on the available supporting infrastructure such that there is now inadequate infrastructure to support this and the previous developments when completed and fully occupied, it is recognised that there is no planned improvement in Public Transport Accessibility in the foreseeable future for the Shirley North Ward.
  • There is also lack of stated ‘minimum’ required built-storage capacity for future occupants which, by its omission is further proof of over development. The applicant would have difficulty squeezing all these requirements into the Site Area and straightening the curtilage boundaries, meet all the minimum space standards and design requirements within the site constraints. Although the rear gardens meet the required amenity space standards, they are extremely small compared to the local character of rear gardens generally across the Ward.
  • The Front curtilage boundary between Units 1 & 2 and Units 4 & 5 are configured slightly to encroach in what would normally be considered within the front curtilage of Units 1 (for unit 2) and Unit 4 (for Unit 5). It is appreciated that this arrangement is necessary to provide adequate Refuse Bin Storage and Parking Provision areas for Unit 2 and Unit 5 within the forecourts, but it provides further evidence that the site is over developed as the Boundary curtilages would normally follow the building line unit separation boundary projected into the front forecourt as is shown with the rear garden unit separation boundaries.
  • The proposed development Parking Bays are configured North/South on the forecourts of all units and if vehicles are parked in a forward direction will be required to exit in a reverse gear with minimal visibility of any pedestrian or road traffic in the path of the reversing vehicle.

MORA Submission: 21st May 2021
Consultation Closes: 4th Jun 2021
Target Decision: 24th Jun 2021
• Total Consulted: 18
• Objections: 12
• Supporting: 0
Councillor referral: Councillor Sue Bennett (3rd Jun 2021)

81 The Glade – Ref: 21/00108/FUL
Demolition of existing dwelling and erection of a 4 storey building comprising 9 flats with associated landscaping and amenity space, and relocation of vehicular crossover.

 

Flyer for download and social media sharing.

Suggested Reasons for refusal:

  • 4 storeys total with accommodation in the roof-space.
  • No Lift.
  • Over-Development Residential Density at close on 379.08hr/ha; for Public Transport Accessibility Level (PTAL) at 1a;
  • Over-Development Housing Density at close on 117.65units/ha at PTAL 1a;
  • No improvement to supporting infrastructure.
  • No forecast improvement to Public Transport Accessibility.
  • Bed Spaces for 30 new occupants and only 7 car parking spaces;
  • Inadequate Play Spaces for Children
  • Overbearing of adjacent properties.
  • Does not respect the character of the Area.

We objected to the proposed development on the grounds that:

  • The proposed development ‘exceeds’ the “Number of New Homes” for this site at Option 1 by ≈1 dwelling. The proposed development therefore ‘exceeds’ the “Number of New Homes” for this site at the ‘Preferred Option 2’ by ≈5 dwellings.
  • Based upon the LPA’s own evidence, this proposal is an over development for this ‘typology’ and suburban setting locality based upon the ‘Small Site Evidence Assessment’ for the Local Plan Review. The Residential and Housing Density for this proposal is the ‘maximum possible’ crammed into the Site Area only limited by the need to meet the London Plan Policies on Minimal Internal Accommodation Space Standards.
  • The reason is assumed to maximise profit, ignoring the local character etc.
    A 4-storey (Three Storey with accommodation in the Roof-space) building on a site area of 0.0765ha significantly exceeds ‘Gradual Densification’ or ‘Limited Growth’ for the area and, for the preferred option, it is nearly double the Option 2 “Number of dwellings expected” with Density uplift of 104,58u/ha for this locality which is tantamount to “Focussed Intensification” for the available site area.
  • Windfall redevelopments in the Shirley North Ward can only be commensurate to “Limited Future Growth” assumed “gradual, moderate incremental densification” as there is no planned improvement in supporting infrastructure to support unrestricted ‘intensification’ i.e., equivalent to “guided” or “Focussed Intensification”
  • There is no quantifiable definition of “gentle Densification” or “Gradual, Moderate Incremental Densification”. Thus, all these Policies are subjective, vague and inadequately defined for professional assessment. The assessment is at the subjective whim of the case officer. Para 6.66 promotes building height of 3 Storeys whereas this proposed development is 3 storeys plus accommodation in the roof-space.
  • This proposal is NOT ‘Gradual Gentle Densification’ when there is no planned increase in supporting Public Transport infrastructure for sustainable development at this location for the foreseeable future.
  • The interpretation of ‘Minor Developments’ Para 3.2.4 for this application, where there is ‘no probability of improvement to Public Transport Accessibility’ over the Life of the Plan and NO LPA “Infrastructure Delivery Plan” for the Shirley North Ward is that the incremental impacts of minor developments should be mitigated by ensuring a much gentler densification of gradual, moderate incremental densification for this locality.
  • The proposed development does NOT meet the requirement of Policy D2 Para A, B & or C. The proposal does not consider existing or future planned levels of infrastructure for minor developments and as there are NO ‘infrastructure delivery plans or programs for the Shirley North Ward we can conclude that cumulative minor developments would require additional supporting infrastructure to be available for sustainable developments in the Ward (as defined by para 3.2.4).
  • We challenge the viability of this proposed development as it is NOT acceptable in terms of use, scale and massing given the surrounding built form as defined in London Plan Policy D2 para-C.
  • The Croydon LPA has NO published ‘Infrastructure Delivery Plan’ or program for the Shirley North Ward to improve Bus or Tram Public Transport Infrastructure for the residents of Shirley North Ward over the life of the plan. In fact, Shirley is not even mentioned in any of the 143-pages of the ‘Infrastructure Delivery Report’.
  • We have had NO improvement in local infrastructure to support any of the year-on-year cumulative developments and NO visible Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) contribution has been spent in our area. We have NO knowledge of an ‘Infrastructure Delivery Program’ for our area and NO proposed improvement to Public Transport Accessibility.
  • The proposed development could NOT be considered of ‘limited’ growth “within the broad parameters of the existing local character reflected in the form of surrounding buildings and street scene” or, for the site area and local character assessment as required by the vague and subjective Policies D2 & D3 ‘Design-Led-Approach’ of the New London Plan.
  • Therefore, we would seriously suggest that this development proposal’s Residential and Housing Density is significantly too high and inappropriate for the locality and if the case officer is minded to recommend approval of this application in defiance of this ‘overwhelming foregoing evidence’, we would expect a stated justification of how this assessment is derived and that a significant Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) contribution from the developer is required in order to fund actual ‘significant improvements’ to local Public Transport Accessibility for this high level of Residential Density for an appropriate and actual recognisable improvement in public transport accessibility in The Glade, as required by the Policy.
  • SPD2 paras 2.6.1 & 2.6.2 recognises increased demand on Public Transport but it is also recognised that this will NOT be forthcoming over the life of the Plan. This will result in occupants making more use of car journeys than otherwise and is detrimental to the Policies of reducing car usage and effects on climate change.
  • The proposal does NOT reflect the character of the area with regard to Massing or Density, and does NOT reflect the Borough Character Appraisal for the “Shirley Place”.
  • The proposal does NOT closely relate to the existing surrounding typologies by pursuing a similar density, massing, style, materials and detailing and is therefore not acceptable.
  • There is No Daylight Study Report to investigate overbearing nature of the proposal on the adjacent property at 83 The Glade and there is no surface water drainage proposal or report on surface water SuDS management.
  • The height of three storeys, plus accommodation in the roof-space (4-Storeys), of the proposed development will, by its positioning, significantly shield and cast a shadow over the southern aspect and most of the garden of 83 The Glade. The proposed development would undoubtedly appear overbearing to the neighbouring property at 83 The Glade and therefore should not be supported.
  • The Rear East Facing Elevation of the proposed development and the adjacent property at 83 The Glade shows overbearing and unreasonable impact on neighbours’ amenity and the failure of the development to meet the 45° (vertical) Policy defined in SPD2 Section 2.11 and image 2.11c.
  • SPD2 recommends that in areas of semi-detached homes in a planned estate, that proposals should not exceed 3 storeys, and that the 3rd storey should be partially concealed within the roof form which, for gentle densification, would be considered a maximum and more appropriate for this location.
  • The estimated number of children of occupants of the development could be a maximum of 12 which would require a play space allocation of 120m2, to comply with London Plan Policy S4, a deficiency of 16.5m2 – 120m2 = 103.5m2.
  • This Proposed Development does NOT comply with Policy DM10.4 d). and should be refused.
  • For this proposed development the number of bays, including disabled bay, = 7 (which is an availability of 0.233 per person), so the proposal is deficient by 6.5 bays, rounded ≡ 7 bays (which is ≈50% below the Policy allocation).
  • There is no mention of any electric charging points or provision of infrastructure for electric or Ultra-Low Emission vehicles. 20% of 7 = 1.4 rounded = 2 should at least be equipped with such infrastructure.
  • There are no swept path illustrations to ensure vehicles can enter any parking Bay, with minimum manoeuvres, when all other Bays are full and exit in a forward gear onto The Glade, also when all other bays are full again with minimum manoeuvres.

MORA Objection Sent: 28th Jan 2021
Consultation Closes: 7th Feb 2021
Target Decision: 8th Mar 2021
• Total Consulted: 8
• Objections: 25
• Supporting: 1
Councillor referral: Councillor Sue Bennett (8th Feb 2021)

Appeal

176 – 178 Orchard Way – Ref: 21/01635/FUL
Demolition of existing dwellings, erection of three pairs of two storey 3-bed semi-detached dwellings with roof accommodation and one pair of two storey 2-bed semi-detached dwellings with car parking, formation of accesses onto Sloane Walk together with a new pavement, and provision of cycle, refuse and recycling stores and soft landscaping.

Para 4.2.4 of the New London Plan defines the “Incremental intensification” criteria for existing suburban residential areas which are required to be within PTALs 3-6 or within 800m distance of a train or tram station or within 800m of town centre boundary (interpreted as an equivalent to a District Centre – (NOT a Local Centre as defined in the Croydon Local Plan).

The location at 176-178 Orchard Way is assumed to be PTAL 1a (as 176 is PTAL 0 & 178 is PTAL 1b) and the development site falls outside of the 800m limits of these defined requirements, and as such, the locality of this site is therefore inappropriate for “Incremental intensification”.

The ground floor plan and site layout (Drawing PL-04) show that Units 5, 6, 7 & 8 are remarkably close to the new public footpath and the south facing ground floor windows are set at eye level allowing passers-by on the new public footpath to have unobstructed views directly into the ground floor living accommodation of these units. This is unacceptably close for future occupants of this proposed development.

The access to the rear of Plot 5 is shared with Plot 4 and the Bin store for Plot 5 will need the Refuse Bins to be dragged via this route on refuse collection days. There is no specific position for these Refuse Bins (nominally three per property) to be left at the front of the properties which should NOT be on the public footpath (probably in one of the parking bays). There would need to be Refuse Bins for Units 4 & 5 within the front curtilage of Unit 4. This is unacceptable for future occupants of this proposed development.

Similarly for Plots 6 & 7. The Refuse Bins for Plots 6 & 7 need to be dragged from their respective Bin Stores via the shared access path to the front of the properties, but again have no reasonable allocated space for the bins to be positioned awaiting refuse collection. This is unacceptable for future occupants of this proposed development.

The application documentation gives no details of the proposed new Pavement or its specification, whether it provides drop kerbs or any drainage channels (CD 239 Rev1) and where and if draining channels are connected to the Main Drains. Also, if the new pavement is within the curtilage of the new development, who owns and maintains it and is public access allowed? It also needs to be confirmed that provision of the new Pavement will not reduce the Road Width of the existing Sloane Walk public highway.

Strategic Option 2 Map – Bungalows with a medium sized garden – within 800m has an estimated Participations Rate of 1% and beyond 800m is 0.5%. Or Low Density Scattered Housing on medium sized Plots – within 800m has an estimated Participations Rate of 1% and beyond 800m has Participations Rate of 0.5%

It is understood Option 2 is the preferred Option for the Local Plan Review.
Thus, for this proposed development:
Number of expected new homes [18] ≈ PR (0.5%) x Uplift in Housing Density (u/ha) x Area (ha) ≈ 0.5(%) x (42.54u/ha) x (0.14 ha) ≈ 2.9778 units
Thus, Number of new homes (for this site with this local character) is expected at ≈3 units. Whereas the proposal is for 8 Units.

The proposal meets most accommodation standards as defined by the New London Plan (2021) except that the proposal does NOT appear to provide any detail of ‘In-Built’ Storage capacities that are appropriate for the storage of the normal living clutter requirements for future occupants as defined in the New London Plan (2021) Table 3.1.

These are ‘minimum’ Accommodation space standards requirements which the London Plan further recommends that “these minimum standards should be exceeded if at all possible”, in development proposals. It is unacceptable that this detail is NOT submitted in the application documentation.

Units 1, 2, 3 & 4 Parking Bays are on the forecourts of the proposed development configured north/south. If a vehicle enters in a forward gear, exit MUST be in a reverse gear giving the driver extremely limited vision to ensure public using the footpath are not inconvenienced or placed in any danger. Units 2 & 3 have trees restricting the visibility of the driver when exiting in a reverse gear. Any future planting could further reduce visibility splays. See DM30 para b) & c).

Unit 5 Parking has been accommodated by reconfiguring the curtilage of Unit 4 front forecourt to enable a parking provision for Unit 5. This provides evidence that the site capacity is inadequate for the number of units as the plots are not fully self-contained. Unless a physical boundary is visible this arrangement will seem unacceptable to observers and future occupants.

Unit 6 parking bays are staggered such that the first parked vehicle is blocked in by the second subsequently parked vehicle. This will mean that for the first parked vehicle to exit requires the second parked vehicle to previously exit to allow the first parked vehicle to then exit. This manoeuvre would create local confusion and possibly be hazardous to other road users. It may also be the cause of potential conflict if any individual needs use of their blocked vehicle in an emergency. See DM30 para b) & c).

It is not specified if any parking provision is to be equipped with Electric Charging capability or that dropped kerbs are to be provided for each access. In summary, the parking provision has been squeezed in as an after-thought and has not been fully integrated into the design proposal.

The car parking provision has not been considered at the outset of the development and has not been fully integrated in the design (Policy DM30 para 10.43). This is further evidence of over-development of the site as these parking arrangements are NOT consistent.

A minimum of 2 Cycle Storage spaces is required for each new dwelling. Presumably, Units 1 to 5 are provided within the Sheds which could accommodate the two cycles per dwelling (if they are NOT Garden Sheds). Units 6, 7 & 8 have external Cycle Stands which the illustration shows as one cycle per dwelling in the forecourt of Unit 8, which could be construed as within the curtilage of Unit 8, which is inadequate and in an unacceptable location.

Permission Refused

Reason(s) for Refusal:-

  • The development would be detrimental to the visual amenity of the site and street scene by reason of the excessive amount of forecourt parking across the site and would thereby conflict with Policies D3 and D4 of the London Plan 2021 and Policies SP4.1, SP4.2, DM10.2, DM10.8 of the Croydon Local Plan 2018, and Croydon’s Suburban Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document 2019.
  • The design of houses numbered 7 and 8 on the submitted drawings would be out of character with the site and surroundings and would not maximise the opportunities for creating an attractive and interesting environment by reason of the poor siting and massing of the front outriggers. It would thereby conflict with Policies D3 and D4 of the London Plan 2021 and Policies SP4.1, SP4.2, DM10.1, and DM10.7 of the Croydon Local Plan 2018, and Croydon’s Suburban Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document 2019.
  • The development would be detrimental to the amenities of the occupiers of residential occupiers in Sloane Walk by reason of its siting and layout resulting in loss of privacy. It would thereby conflict with Policies D3 and D4 of the London Plan 2021 and Policies SP4.2 and DM10.6 of the Croydon Local Plan 2018, and Croydon’s Suburban Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document 2019.
  • The development could result in local traffic congestion/additional local parking stress by reason of loss of on-street parking provision in Sloane Walk. It would thereby conflict with Policies T4, T6, and T6.1 of the London Plan 2021 and Policies SP8.3, DM29 and DM30 of the Croydon Local Plan 2018.
  • The position of the vehicle access to house numbered 1 on the submitted drawings would not be safe, secure or efficient and would thereby conflict with Policy T4 of the London Plan 2021 and Policies DM29 and DM30 of the Croydon Local Plan 2018.
  • In the absence of a legal agreement, the application does not offer a contribution towards sustainable transport initiatives in the vicinity to alleviate traffic generation created by the development. The development would thereby conflict with Policies T4, T5, T6, T6.1, and T9 of the London Plan 2021 and Policies DM29 and DM30 of the Croydon Local Plan 2018.
  • The siting and layout of the development could result in the loss of or the putting at risk of valued trees, including trees subject to a Tree Preservation Order, and has not demonstrated a net biodiversity gain and would thereby conflict with Policies G6 and G7 of the London Plan 2021 and Policies DM10.8, SP7, DM27 and DM28 of the Croydon Local Plan 2018.8 The development could result in the putting at risk of a protected species and would thereby conflict with Policy G6 of the London Plan 2021 and Policies DM10.8, SP7.4 and DM27 of the Croydon Local Plan 2018.
  • The development fails to demonstrate how it would ensure the safety of all buildings users in relation to fire, thereby conflicting with Policy D12 of the London Plan 2021.

MORA Submission: 29th Apr 2021
Consultation Closes: 15th May 2021
Target Decision: 25th May 2021
• Total Consulted: 105
• Objections: 44
• Supporting: 0
Councillor referral: Councillor Richard Chatterjee (26th May 2021)
Permission Refused: 14th Jul 2021
Appeal Notice: 24th Aug 2021

19 Orchard Avenue – Ref: APP/L5240/W/21/3266351
Demolition of existing dwelling, erection of 9x flats, revised access, parking, landscaping and relocation of dropped kerb.

We object to this proposal on grounds of significant overdevelopment for the locality if classified as a “suburban setting” at Residential Density of 400 hr/ha and Housing Density of 150 units/ha at an average of 2.67hr/unit. So, this proposed development is an OVERDEVELOPMENT for a Suburban setting at PTAL 2 and forecast to remain at PTAL 2 until at least 2031. These Residential and Housing Densities are more appropriate to an “Urban” Setting.

We object to this proposed development on grounds of excessive Residential and Housing Densities for a Suburban Setting as defined in the current adopted London Plan Policy 3.4 – Optimising Housing Potential, Table 3.2 and DM45.1 – The Shirley Place at locality of PTAL 2 when the Densities would require PTALs exceeding the maximum Residential Density at a numerical value of 4.5 and a Housing Density of 4.22.

There are no other available adopted Policies in the Croydon Local Plan to meet the NPPF requirements of para 16 d) or Para 122 – Achieving Appropriate Densities.

We object to this proposed development on grounds of non-compliance to London Plan Policy 3.5 Quality and design of housing developments Table 3.3 Minimum Space Standards for New Dwellings, as the appropriate information has NOT been provided.

We object to this proposed development on grounds of inadequate off- street parking at a locality adjacent to Red Route restricted parking which will require overspill on-street parking to be a significant distance from the development and cause local congestion along this feeder road which provides the 367-bus route and the link between the A232 and the A222.

We object to this proposed development on grounds of inadequate parking provision in a Suburban setting of PTAL 2 of only four Parking Bays when the current London Plan Policy 6.13 requires up to 1.5 space at PTAL 2 and at a recommended Residential Density of 150hr/ha & recommended Housing Density of 50 units/ha which equates to 13.5 Parking Bays for 9 dwellings.

Also, there are no swept path illustrations to prove that an egress manoeuvre is possible if parked in a forward direction, in a forward gear if all other 3 bays are full – to exit in a forward gear across the footpath and into Orchard Avenue.

Also, there are NO Sight Lines to ensure safe exit over the footpath and into Orchard Avenue and therefore should be refused. Orchard Avenue has a high footfall of pedestrians, including children travelling to the two schools in close proximity.

We object to this proposed development on the grounds that there is no allocated Play partitioned Space for Children of the future occupants and should therefore be refused.

We object to this proposed development as it clearly fails to meet the design guide requirement of SPD2 Chapter 2 – Suburban Residential Development section 2.11c which requires clearance of the projected 45° Rule from the centre ground floor rear window of adjacent properties. This proposed development significantly fails this 45° Rule for both adjacent properties and therefore this proposal should be refused. This 45° Degree vertical rule is totally independent of the daylight and sunlight requirements (as the policy indicates “also” in the definition which indicates the two policies are “mutually exclusive”).

We object to this proposed development on grounds of there being no quantifiable definition of DM10.11 as required by NPPF para 16 d) and NPPF Para 122 Achieving Appropriate Densities for “Focussed Intensification” to allow most efficient use of available infrastructure or capacity for growth, resulting in an overdevelopment as defined by the London Plan Policy 3.4 Table 3.2.

This application is non-compliant to the definition of “incremental
Intensification” as defined in the New Draft emerging London Plan Policy for “Incremental intensification” given at para 4.2A.1 which defines Incremental intensification areas to be within PTALs 3-6 and within 800m of a rail station or town centre boundary. This location is at PTAL 2 and is way over 800m of any rail station or Croydon town centre boundary and should therefore be refused as referenced in Sarah Jones’ MP – letter relating to change of Policy for Shirley intensification.

We object to this proposed development on grounds that it does NOT fully meet the capacity requirements of Policy DM13 or Council Guidance on Refuse & Recycling for New Developments as published by Croydon Council with regard to Storage Area Capacity, Access and location within the building envelope.

As detailed under London Plan Policy 6.13 we reiterate our objection on grounds of Policy DM30 objecting to this proposed development on grounds of inadequate parking provision in an Urban Shopping Locality of PTAL 2 of only four Parking Bays when the current London Plan Policy 6.13 requires up to 1.5 space at PTAL 2 and at a recommended Residential Density of 450hr/ha & recommended Housing Density of 120units/ha which equates to 12 Parking Bays for 8 dwellings and should therefore be refused.

Permission Refused

Reason(s) for refusal :-

  1. The proposed development, by reason of its design, proportionality, scale and massing would be out of character with the local character and distinctiveness and would thereby conflict with Policies SP4 and DM10 of the Croydon Local Plan 2018, Policies 7.6,7.8 of the London Plan 2016 and the Councils Supplementary Planning Document Suburban Design Guide (SDG) 2019.
  2. The development would result in poor standard of accommodation by reason of its unsatisfactory layout which fails to keep to a minimum the number of single aspect flats, has awkward window arrangements leading to lack of privacy, fails to provide safe direct access from the building to the rear communal garden and playspace, and wheelchair access to all levels, conflicting with Policy DM10 of the Croydon Local Plan 2018: and the London Plan Housing Supplementary Planning Guidance Standard 28 (March 2016) and the Councils Supplementary Planning Document Suburban Design
  3. The proposal by reason of its massing and proximity with no.17 and 21 Orchard Avenue would result in an intrusive and imposing form of development detrimental to the visual amenity and outlook for neighbours at 17 and 21 Orchard Avenue and privacy for no.17 Orchard Avenue contrary to policy DM10 .6 of the Croydon Local Plan 2018 and the Councils Supplementary Planning Document Suburban Design Guide (SDG) 2019.
  4. The local authority is not satisfied that sufficient detail has been provided to ensure that a significant amount of replacement trees would be planted to re establish the visual character of this part of Orchard Avenue prior to the proposed felling of trees and therefore would be contrary to Policy DM28 of The Croydon Local Plan 2018
  5. The local authority is not convinced that sufficient detail has been provided to demonstrate that the proposal would not have an adverse impact on the highway transport network contrary to Policies 6.3, 6.9 and 6.13 of the London Plan and Policies SP8 and DM30 of The Croydon Local Plan (2018).

MORA Objection Sent: 7th Sep 2020
Consultation Closes: 17th Sep 2020
Target Decision: 13th Oct 2020
• Total Consulted: 12
• Objections: 2
• Supporting: 0
Councillor referral: Councillor Richard Chatterjee (10th Sep 2019)
Permission Refused: 22nd Oct 2020
Appeal Notice: 6th Jan 2021
Appeal Representations: 17th Aug 2021
MORA Appeal Submission: 28th Jun 2021


Additional Matters

Croydon Local Plan Review – Consultation (Autumn/Winter 2021)

Croydon Council is updating the Croydon Local Plan (adopted 2018). The review will update the vision and strategy for Croydon’s growth up to 2039 and set out how the council will continue to deliver much-needed new homes, jobs and community facilities.

The first stage of the review was to gain feedback from the community, referred to as the Issues and Options consultation. This took place between November 2019 and January 2020. We would like to thank everyone who participated in an event and/or shared feedback. All representations made during the consultation period were reviewed and will be used to shape the draft Local Plan Review.

Next steps

The draft Local Plan review (regulation 19) is the next stage where a single option will be presented which was influenced by what we heard during the Issues and Options consultation, further evidence and the sustainability appraisal process. This was programmed to happen in late 2020. However, due to the council’s financial situation, the Local Plan review was paused and work on it did not resume until April 2021.  Consultation on the draft Local Plan review (regulation 19) is anticipated to take place in Autumn/Winter 2021.

The Local Plan review will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for Examination early in 2022. It is anticipated that it will be adopted in early 2023.

For a detailed timetable please refer to the Local Development Scheme page.

Tree Felling at Land Rear of Firsby Avenue

We have had a number of local residents in the Verdayne Ave – Firsby Road Area of Shirley North Ward raising concerns of Tree Felling in the Backland area which currently accommodates a building which we believe is used for a Children’s Playgroup.

This plot of land at rear of Firsby Ave, Verdayne Ave, Ridgemount Ave has gone untouched for 30 years with established trees and plants and teeming with wildlife living there, badgers, foxes, birds etc.

One resident advised us that the land owner had planning permission over 30yrs ago to build a bungalow and apparently put foundations down but didn’t proceed to completion. Since, then it has been left to overgrow and create a small wooded area.

On the 20th/21st July 2021 tree surgeons arrived and have felled most of the trees on behalf of the owner.

The owner has recently put a small notice of the work. He also mentioned the original planning permission and that he is looking to build a slightly smaller property and possibly involve a 3rd party and there may be other units. The Notice has subsequently been removed.

We understand the owner acquired land approximately 5 to 6 years ago which currently is used by Masons pre-school.

As you can imagine residents are all very upset given that there has been a minimum of 30 years growth of trees, an abundance of wildlife etc. In a matter of two days they are not far from having taken them all down.

We understand a resident has requested a badger charity attend to check for sets as it is believe they are also in there.

Whilst cutting the trees down the works has blocked all access to the rear of the properties with no notice.

Whilst we fully appreciate the landowner took the time to visit, we are still concerned of his intentions and just the mere fact that in a matter of days it’s no longer the outlook it once was. There are other concerns with regard to drainage, security, future plans (the impact possible plans being considered).

On 29th July 2021 MORA received notice that the matter will be investigated by a Planning Enforcement Officer.

56 Woodmere Avenue Conditions of Approval – Stage 1 Complaint (2nd Aug 2021)

56 Woodmere Avenue – Ref: 20/06052/DISC
Details pursuant to the discharge of conditions 7 (landscaping), 9 (SUDs), 10 (playspace), 13 (visibility splays) and 15 (emissions) from planning permission 19/01352/FUL for ‘Demolition of a single-family dwelling and erection of a 3- storey block containing 2 x 3-bedroom and 7 x 2-bedroom apartments with associated access, 9 parking spaces, cycle storage and refuse store’

Although this application (Ref: 20/06052/DISC) is NOT identified for public consultation, we would like to place on record our concerns relating to the applicant’s request for approval of Condition 9 (SuDS) with reference to our objections and the Case officer’s report and the AMBI≡NTAL Report on Surface Water Management.

MORA Comment sent: 9th Dec 2020

The approval of Application Ref: 19/01352/FUL on 25th October 2019 listed Conditions of approval.

Condition 9:
Prior to the commencement of any above ground works, detailed design of a surface water drainage scheme shall be submitted to and agreed with the Local Planning Authority. The development shall be implemented in accordance with the approved scheme and shall thereafter be maintained.

On 23rd November 2020, the Developer Presented Application Ref: 20/06052/DISC in response to Conditions 7, 9, 10, 13 & 15 requesting approval of the conditions, with a determination deadline set by the LPA of 18th January 2021.

Site Clearance works had been undertaken by the Developer at this time and was due to lay foundations to determine Finished Floor Levels.

On 9th December 2020 we raised issues relating to Condition 9 (SUDs) with regards to the AMBI≡NT Surface Water, Drainage and SUDs Report which stated at para 5.12:

“5.12 The finished floor levels or thresholds of the buildings should be raised at least 150mm above ground levels, to mitigate against surface water flows entering the building in an exceedance event.”

This is especially relevant with increases in precipitation resultant on Climate Change.

We have had no response to our letter of 9th December 2020 and no approval or comment on Application Ref: 20/06052/DISC but building works proceeded to virtual structural completion as of today (2nd Aug 2021):

We followed up our letter of 9th December 2020 with a further enquiry on 12th July 2021, again, with no response or acknowledgement.

We therefore requested this enquiry to be processed as a Stage 1 Complaint.

Questions:

  1. What is the LPAs position regarding works proceeding to virtual completion of this application without approval of Conditions 7, 9, 10, 13 and 15?
  2. Condition 9: Can you advise whether the actual built structure finished floor levels (FFLs) or thresholds of the buildings has been raised by at least 150mm above ground levels, to mitigate against surface water flows entering the building in an exceedance event as recommended by the AMBI≡NT Surface Water, Drainage and SUDs Report?
  3. Can you advise whether the built structure follows the approved plans, and that the development Fitted Floor Levels and thresholds meet the approved plans which indicated would be sunk below the existing ground levels, and by what depth?
  4. Should building works proceed without agreement by the LPA of the Conditions of Approval and if not, who is responsible for ensuring conditions are met at the appropriate stage of development; Development Management, Building Control, or the Developer?
  5. How can this Application Ref: 20/06052/DISC be discharged now that the development is virtually completed?
  6. What remedial actions can be pursued to avoid future surface water flooding of the ground floor apartments of this development if the recommendations of the AMBI≡NTAL Surface Water Drainage and SuDS Assessment Conclusions have NOT been implemented.
  7. Has there been any agreement in writing or any correspondence between the Applicant and the LPA for any delay in assessing this Application Ref: 20/06052/DISC for approval of the Conditions 7, 9, 10, 13 and 15?
  8. Can you advise if all the Conditions 7, 9, 10, 13 and 15 are deemed to have been discharged (Town & Country Planning – Development Management Procedure Articles 27, 28 & 29) and if so, why were the conditions required if they can be assumed “discharged” without LPA assessment or approval?

See also NPPF Planning and Flood Risk paragraph 160.

MORA understand that The Town & Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) Order 2015 Article 27 (2) requires that Applications made under a planning condition meet the following requirements:

“The authority must give notice to the applicant of their decision on the application within a period of 8 weeks beginning with the day immediately following that on which the application is received by the authority, or such longer period as may be agreed by the applicant and the authority in writing.”

Unless:
Article 28.—(1) Subject to article 30, a planning condition to which section 74A(2) of the 1990 Act applies is deemed to be discharged (1) with effect from the date provided for paragraph (2) where—
(c) the period for the authority to give notice to the applicant of their decision on the application has elapsed without the authority giving notice to the applicant of their decision.”
(2) Deemed discharge takes effect on the date specified in the notice given under article 29 or on such later date as may be agreed by the applicant and the authority in writing, unless the authority has given notice to the applicant of their decision on the application under article 27 before that date.

MORA has requested substantive and justifiable reasons why this advice has been ignored and the Application for approval of the conditions 7, 9, 10 13 & 15 have not been assessed within the statutory required time.

New National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) Design Codes & Design Guides


The New National Planning Policy Framework was published on 20 July 2021, and references two important documents:

  1. National Design Guide
  2. National Model Design Code

These documents support the New London Plan Design Led Approach and the definition of “Design Codes”. MORA are currently experimenting using these documents to prepare Design Codes for two MORA areas, the results of which we will publish in due course.

Holding Local Planning Authorities to Account
After a number of our complaints have been escalated to the Local Government Ombudsman which, on analysis, conclusively shows that there is no method of holding an LPA to account for any maladministration by a Resident Association as the RA is not ‘materially’ affected by the maladministration and therefore the LGO will not investigate these issues.

Although the occurrences of maladministration are likely to be low and infrequent, there should be an ultimate procedure for accountability – which there isn’t.

This letter (sent 29th Jan 2021) to our MP Sarah Jones sets out our concerns and requests that we would appreciate our MP’s good offices to highlight these issues to those responsible with the objective of defining proposals for a realistic resolution to the problem identified as appropriate.

The letter has been approved and endorsed by our Executive Committee. An excerpt is shown below:

The only way Local Councillors are able to represent our views on planning decisions is at the planning committee meetings where a limited number of representatives are given just 3 minutes each to present their points, mainly objections. ‘Scrutiny’ cannot consider complaints but may consider any policies, practices or procedures that are giving cause for concern. Scrutiny does not consider matters within the remit of the Planning and Licensing Committees and rarely considers issues that affect just one locality in the borough.

All of MORA’s objections to planning applications are presented during the consultation period, prior to the LPA making their decision. These include detailed references in the application to non-compliance with adopted planning guidelines and regulations. As well as points specific to the proposed design of the structure, including accommodation standards, many of these refer to points such as over-intensification, progressive intensification, lack of infrastructure and/or facilities to support the proposal, all of which affect the wider area, not specifically the immediate residents. However, all residents in the wider area are ‘materially’ affected by these issues.

If the LPA refuse a planning application, the applicant has the right to appeal. This appeal process does not question maladministration or service failure, but the appellant’s “grounds of appeal” can question the actual decision itself. In other words, the applicant is allowed to question or appeal the decision.

However, if the LPA approves a planning application, there is no equal and opposite right of appeal by objectors. A challenge can be made by Judicial Review but this is extremely costly and limited to maladministration, not the decision itself.

Therefore, the questions MORA poses to you and wants you to escalate to Government and the Local Authority, are as follows:

1) For the Government:
Can you advise who is responsible for ensuring the LPA abides by its Constitution and adopted Planning Policies and Planning Law if a Planning Officer recommends an application which is then granted based upon suspect guidance or non-compliance to adopted Planning Policies, as we have evidence that the cycle of Stage 1, Stage 2 Complaints and escalation referral to the LGO is limited and inadequate?

2) For the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government:
Can the law/policy be amended to allow objectors’ appeals to the Planning Inspectorate if an approval is given based on suspected or proven non-compliance to adopted Planning Policies or false guidance to the Planning Committee?

3) For the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government:
Can you request an amendment to the Local Government Act 1974 Section 26A Legislation to allow the LGO to investigate complaints from bodies such as Residents’ Associations, when a complaint affects the wider locality, not just a ‘materially’ affected neighbour, on grounds of the “Communities Right to Challenge” Statutory Guidance?

The 1974 Act requires that a complainant must have ‘sustained’ injustice in consequence of maladministration in connection with the action taken by or on behalf of an authority. (“Maladministration” is not defined in the legislation).
And if none of the above are possible, can you inform us who actually holds a Local Planning Authority to account?

4) For the LPA:
Can the Planning Constitution be clarified to indicate that recourse to the LGO is limited ONLY to those residents materially affected by the approval of a development?

Response Received on 14th April from Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP Minister of State for Housing:

The right of appeal recognises that, in practice, the planning system acts as a control on an individual’s use of land that they may own. As a result, the Government believes it is right that they have the option of an impartial appeal against the refusal of planning permission, or failure to determine an application. While there is only a right of appeal for those applying for planning permission, the planning system is centred on community involvement. It gives statutory rights for communities to become involved in the preparation of the Local Plan and neighbourhood plans for the area, and to make representations on individual planning applications, and on planning
appeals. Plan preparation is the best way for communities to have their say and guide future development in their area, as local plans and neighbourhood plans form the basis for decisions on planning applications under planning law.

Ultimately, local authorities are accountable for their actions to their electorate and must act within their statutory powers. There are procedures for making a complaint if your constituent is unhappy with the way in which a planning application has been handled. All local authorities have a complaints procedure and I note that your constituent has followed this process.

Following this, your constituent has made a complaint to the Ombudsman. The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman is charged by Parliament with the investigation of complaints by members of the public, or those acting on their behalf, who have suffered personal injustice arising from maladministration by local authorities. The Ombudsman has produced guidance for his staff to provide a clear and consistent interpretation of the legislation that affects their work. Page 33 sets out the conditions under which a voluntary group such as a residents’ association may make a complaint on behalf of a member of the public, and page 75 details the legal bar on complaints which affect “all or most” of the residents of a local authority. This ‘Guidance on Jurisdiction’ has been published online to improve transparency about how the organisation operates and can be found at: https://www.lgo.org.uk/information-centre/staff-guidance.

If your constituent believes that a local authority has failed to follow the law, or its own stated policies, they may wish to bring their concerns to the authority’s Monitoring Officer. It is the role of the Monitoring Officer to ensure the authority abides by the law, and its own stated policies at all times. The Monitoring Officer has a statutory role in reporting on matters which are, or which they believe to be, illegal or amount to maladministration.

We are continuing to communicate with Sarah Jones in an attempt to resolve this issue and have summarised the issues at hand and highlighted some possible options going forward:

  1. Raise the issue at the Planning Select Committee or with the Chair of Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee – Mr Clive Betts MP (providing our history and evidence supporting our reasoning as required).
  2. Lobby members of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee for support.
  3. Raise a Government e-petition to allow an appeal process to the Planning Inspectorate if good reason to question an approval if non-compliant to planning policies.

 

DEREK RITSON
MORA Planning

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