Purley Planning Summary – 3rd May 2020
The current volume of planning applications and decisions in the PWRA area can make it challenging to keep up with what is being proposed for our area. Consequently the PWRA Planning Officer now prepares a summary of planning activity in our area so we can more easily track this, and determine the action we will take for new planning applications.
We believe that this will also be useful for members and publish it here so YOU can quickly see what we believe to be the most significant planning matters in the PWRA area, the actions we will be taking / have taken, and enable members to take their own actions (eg objecting or supporting new planning applications).
8-10 Grovelands Road – Still showing as pending
Land Adjoining 68 Beaumont Road (Ref: 19/05245/FUL) Construction of a 5 bed house
27 Plough Lane (Ref: 19/05937/FUL) Erection of two storey 5 bedroom dwelling with accommodation in the roofspace.
Comment: We expressed a neutral opinion to this proposal.
Cappella Court 725 Brighton Road (Ref: 19/04440/FUL) Change of use of the 5th floor from a medical facility (Use Class D1) to 9 no. residential units (Use Class C3).
Comment: Seems strange as the rest of the block did get change of use under GDPO, and whilst the reason for refusal reads: ‘The proposed development through its loss of a community facility, without demonstrating through a robust marketing exercise for a minimum of 18 months that there is no need for the existing premises or land for a community use and that it no longer has the ability to serve the needs of the community’, it is surely for the local heath authority to determine how local needs are best served, rather than a ‘marketing exercise’ (?)
5 Godstone Road (Ref: 20/00884/GPDO) Notification for prior approval under the GPDO 2015 for change of use from a tattoo parlour to 1 x 2 bed flat
42 Grovelands Road – Construction and Logistics plan (Ref: 20/01104/DISC)
Comment: This property already has planning consent for 9 flats from May 2019. This was an application to discharge the planning condition on construction and logistics. This is the first time I have seen a construction and logistics plan refused. No officers’ report is included with the documents and the Decision Notice also does not give the reasons for refusal. It would be useful if a Councillor could get a copy of the officers’ report as this might provide us with some guidance for future applications. (Update – It appears that the applicant did not provide sufficient information with their application)
24 High Street (Ref: 20/00986/FUL) Change of use from retail shop with a flat above to a children’s nursery on the ground and first floor with ancillary accommodation for a maximum of 27 children. Reasons for refusal: 1) loss of a retail unit which would be detrimental to the retail character, vitality and viability of the main retail frontage of the High Street, and 2) loss of a residential unit.
30 Russell Hill (Ref: 20/00456/FUL) Demolition of former Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Residential Care Home and construction of two residential blocks with a total of 25 flats.
Comment: We had objected. The stated reasons for refusal are: 1) The development would fail to adequately contribute to addressing London’s and the borough’s need for affordable homes (The developer provided a financial appraisal with their application purporting to demonstrate that it was not viable to provide affordable housing in the scheme. This is clearly the main reason for the refusal, and is the area covered in most detail in the officer’s report), 2) The development would fail to mitigate the impacts of the development in relation to the following issues: – Local employment and training – Car club – Travel Plan – Carbon offsetting – Air quality, 3) Insufficient information to demonstrate that the parking, transportation and highway impact would be acceptable, 4) Trees on this site are subject to Tree Preservation Orders and the loss of these trees would be detrimental to the character of the area, and 5) The proposed development would result in an overdevelopment of the site and would result in poor amenity for future residents
As we have seen many times, exactly the objections that we and others raise are those used by LBC when it suits them. I also found the following paragraph in the officer’s report: ‘The draft London Plan, which is moving towards adoption (although in the process of being amended) proposes significantly increased targets which need to be planned for across the Borough’. The officer’s report then goes on to quote figures from the Croydon Local Plan Partial Review, and NOT those from the draft London Plan. I believe this to be incorrect, misleading, and to put it mildly, disingenuous. It raises more questions about the impartiality of planning officers and the ‘politicisation’ of the planning process in Croydon.
Significant New Applications
129 Foxley Lane (Ref: 20/01671/FUL) Conversion of a single (semi-detached) dwelling house into two self-contained flats (2 x 3 bed) with 4 car parking spaces.
Comment: This property already has a pending application for the erection of a single storey side extension and a dormer to the side roof slope. It is not clear if this application is cumulative and based on the enlarged footprint from the first application. Object based on:- Loss of a family home, and also request clarification whether this second application is cumulative on the first (in which case both existing applications should be withdrawn or rejected and a new combined application submitted)
67 Higher Drive (Ref: 20/01484/FUL) Demolition of existing building and erection of a four storey block of flats comprising 17 Flats (2 x 3 bed, 12 x 2 bed, 3 x 1 bed), with 13 Car Spaces.
Comment: Object based on:- Loss of a family home, Overdevelopment of the site with the proposed development significantly increasing the built area of the existing family home, and resulting in inadequate amenity space for potential occupiers, Design totally out of keeping with the locality and surrounding townscape, as a result of its massing, form (incl height), and overall appearance, Detrimental to the amenity of occupiers of adjoining properties, Inadequate car parking resulting in additional on street parking, putting parking pressure on the surrounding area, and increased traffic movements greatly endangering road safety.
36 Oakwood Avenue (Ref: 20/01658/FUL) Demolition of a single-family dwelling house and erection of 4 two-storey semi-detached houses with accommodation in the roof (4 bed), and 4 one-storey semi-detached houses with accommodation in the roof (3 bed), with 9 car parking spaces.
Comment (Update): Whilst a ‘neutral’ stance was proposed (principally because this a proposal for houses vs flats), following discussion / information from neighbours this has been revised to ‘object’.
126 Pampisford Road (Ref: 20/01550/FUL) Demolition of four detached dwelling houses and the construction of 66 flats in four buildings with heights ranging from two to five storeys (Private: 13 x 1 bed, 22 x 2 bed, 11 x 3 bed. Social: 16 x 2 bed, 4 x 3bed) with 52 car parking spaces.
Comment: This is a proposed development with 4 blocks of flats replacing 4 houses, situated on the bend of Pampisford road opposite Wyvern Road, and not far from the Edgehill roundabout hard and soft landscaping. The application includes a somewhat strange statement on social housing saying that although the developers financial appraisals show that neither 50%, 30%, nor 15% affordable housing would be viable, the developer is prepared to offer 30% of the proposed 66 units for affordable housing(?!). Object based on:- Loss of family homes, Overdevelopment of the site, Inadequate amenity space for potential occupiers, Design is totally out of keeping with the locality and surrounding townscape, Detrimental to the amenity of occupiers of adjoining properties (visual intrusion, increased noise and, loss of privacy), Inadequate car parking for a development of the size and scale proposed, resulting in additional on street parking, putting parking pressure on the surrounding area, and increased traffic movements so greatly endangering road safety at this location.
Windsor Lodge, Purley Rise (Ref: 20/01691/FUL) Demolition of the existing bungalow roof, and erection of a first floor extension with hipped roof over to create a two-storey building with 5 flats (3 x 2 bed, 2 x 3 bed) with no car parking spaces.
Comment: Whilst the application clearly states that the one existing car space will not be retained, an existing garage on the site is to be kept and so maybe there will be limited on site car parking. Object:- Loss of a family home, Overdevelopment of the site with the proposed development significantly increasing the built area of the existing family home, and resulting in no on site car parking and inadequate amenity space for potential occupiers, Detrimental to the amenity of occupiers of adjoining properties, Completely inadequate car parking resulting in additional on street parking, putting parking pressure on the surrounding area, and increased traffic movements greatly endangering road safety.
15 Russell Hill (Esther Care Homes) (Ref: 20/00765/FUL) Extension of the existing care home by adding a part single, part two storey side and rear extension, together with a lower ground floor extension, and additional accommodation in the roofspace. This will provide 8 additional bedrooms for residents and 2 additional staff rooms (to be in the roofspace).
Comment: Adopt a neutral stance.
Croydon Local Plan Partial Review – Rotary Field
Very encouraging response to the request for photos’ and details of events on the Rotary Field. Many photos of events have been sent, as well as details of the Rotary Field being used by local people for activities we have not previously included in our submissions (eg outdoor group exercise classes). PWRA will write this up as an addendum to our most recent submission and submit, with copies to you all.
Conversation with Chris Philp on LB Croydon and Planning
PWRA had a conversation with Chris Philp 2 Fridays ago. High nett summary of that conversation is: All the actions we are taking (ie DEMOC, objections to planning applications, etc) must continue, no matter how frustrating it is to see them essentially ignored. One new point / action for Chris from the discussion is for him to write to the relevant body to request an urgent review of LB Croydon’s finances given its very high level of debt (£1.5bn), funding of B x B, purchase of dubious investments, etc.
Enforcing Restrictive Covenants
Below (in blue) is the response Andrew Gammie of PWRA received from Sanderstead residents who looked to enforce restrictive covenants. It is quite complex, and we have thanked those who provided this information as clearly a lot of work has been done which has enabled them to produce this summary.
Whilst we are not solicitors – and am very happy to be educated by those with more knowledge in this area – our high net summary of this clearly complex area of property law from the response is that; the date of the first sale of the plot (or property) one owns needs to be after the date of the first sale of the property one is wanting to enforce the covenant against. If this is the case then one (as the original landowners’ successor in title) does have the benefit of the covenant. If the date is the same or later than the sale of the property one wants to enforce against then one would need to find if the landowner who put the covenant in place still has property in the area, which could benefit from the covenant (which is probably difficult, unlikely, and potentially risky (as the landowner once alerted to this situation could go and strike a deal with the developer / landowner of the property one is wanting to enforce the covenant against to remove the restrictive covenant).
PWRA think the action in the final sentence (which we have put in italics) is something to keep track of, and we will do so.
Thank you for contacting me and I apologise for the delay in replying. Although I was involved in getting us into a position to enforce the Covenant pertaining to 45 The Ridge Way the bulk of the work was done by a neighbour who wishes to ‘lie below the radar’ as he is very busy at work and does not have the time to assist with queries. He has given me the following information to pass onto you, which we hope will be useful to your Residents’ Association. It is based on our work and what we have heard from other cases in Sanderstead and elsewhere.
As you will be aware the enforceability of covenants binding freehold land is a very complex area and each case will turn on its specific facts. Equally, legal costs can easily become high as a lot of time is required to research each case (unless this research work is undertaken by local residents themselves).
We are aware of a number of cases where groups of local residents have taken it upon themselves to gain a basic understanding of the law surrounding restrictive covenants attaching to freehold land. This has meant that they are in a position to do a significant amount of preparatory work before approaching lawyers. This in turn has meant that the legal costs can be kept to a minimum. Copies of property Titles can be obtained from the Land Registry (www.landregistry.gov.uk) for £3. Sometimes it may be necessary to consult the original conveyance and this is often filed at the Land Registry (but is not available on line to the general public). It is possible to use a commercial site to obtain this – cost circa £35 (including VAT).
As you are probably aware, in order for a covenant to be enforced, first the restrictions imposed by the covenant have to be clear and the covenant must prohibit the proposed development (eg restrict what can be built on the plot to a single detached dwelling house). Secondly, someone must be in a position to enforce the covenant. In order for someone to be able to enforce a covenant they must have the benefit of the covenant. Typically, in a case where the property in question (developer property) was sold on or after 1 January 1926 (when the Law of Property Act 1925 came into force) this is going to be a case of confirming that the covenant was expressed to benefit the original vendor’s retained land (as at the date the developer property was first sold) and that the person seeking to enforce the covenant has the benefit of the covenant. In a typical situation one will be looking for a property on the vendor’s retained land (as at the date the developer property was sold), ie a property which was sold after the developer property. This may involve a degree of research into the history of land transactions in the local area and it may be necessary to check with local residents to see if they have copies of the original deeds in their possession as from the information available from the Land Registry it may not be possible to immediately ascertain the land benefited by the covenant. As an example, in one case we are aware of the covenant referred to the land benefitting from the covenant as all the land forming part of the estate of X as at 23 March 1919. This land was identified on the basis of information on title deeds held by local residents.
There is a lot of material available on the Internet, including helpful articles written by various barristers and solicitors on restrictive covenants. These can be found by searching for restrictive covenants, covenant challenges and the like.
It would be worthwhile purchasing “Restrictive Covenants and Freehold Land A Practitioners Guide” (5th edition) by Andrew Francis, published by LexisNexis in 2019, cost £154.41. This is a practical guide which explains the topic very clearly and provides a step-by-step approach. It is likely to be the book that developers’ lawyers will be referring to.
It is not necessary for action by local residents opposing developments to be co-ordinated by a member who is a lawyer. The successful local challenges we are aware of have been led by tax advisers who have got to grips with the law in this area.
We would recommend choosing a solicitor with experience in property litigation (and ideally with experience in advising on covenants). Our group used a general litigator (who was in the same firm as one of our local residents) and he did not have the expertise to advise on points of land law and he had to refer everything to counsel. We are aware of other cases where the solicitor advising local residents was in a position to answer questions and only needed to refer complex points to counsel. We are checking with a local property litigator, who has acted on some other covenant challenges in Sanderstead, whether he would be prepared to offer an advisory service to a wider circle of local residents who wish to see if they can enforce restrictive covenants in order to prevent the construction of flats.