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Founded 1937

What Will Riddlesdown Look Like In 2036?

Planning Workshop Feedback - Updated 26/9/17

By Nick Tennant


In the last issue of the Recorder, I wrote a think-piece speculating about how Riddlesdown might look like by 2036, and more importantly, inviting your views on what kind of Riddlesdown you wanted. My reason for writing the article was the publication of the draft Croydon Plan. The current Croydon Plan requires a minimum of 20,200 new homes to be built over the period 2011-2031. It proposed the building of 31,850 new homes in Croydon over the period 2016 to 2036 – a 48% increase in the number of homes required in the Borough each year. This included between 310 - 2070 new homes in Purley over the same twenty-year period.


At the Riddlesdown Residents’ Association AGM on 5 April, we asked attendees whether there was any interest in us running a planning workshop to understand better the community ’s concerns regarding future development in Riddlesdown. We explained that our ambition is to produce a Supplementary Planning Document, which sets out our community’s vision of future development in Riddlesdown. The intention is that this document will influence where and how new development occurs.


Determining the issues of greatest concern to Riddlesdown’s residents is crucial to the success of any Supplementary Planning Document. We have to be realistic in terms of the objectives of a plan for Riddlesdown. If we try to do too much, it’s unlikely we’ll have any impact. Whereas if we focus on those issues that people are most concerned about, we have a much better chance of making a difference.


Riddlesdown Workshop
Following positive feedback at the AGM, we subsequently held a workshop at Riddlesdown Collegiate on the evening of Monday 10 July. Despite the splendid summer weather, 40 people joined us to consider current and future planning issues under the following themes: housing, transport, environment and community facilities.


The evening began with four 15-minute workshops based upon the themes of housing, transport, environment and community. After the workshops, we used a ‘heatmap’ to allow people to reflect upon the discussions by sticking post-it notes on a map to show which were the issues that they most cared about. The points raised are summarised below.


Workshop Feedback Housing
• There was a broad preference for new housing over flatted development, as this was felt to be more in keeping with the existing housing stock in Riddlesdown. Specific concerns were raised over the current trend of demolishing family homes to build flats.

• Recent flatted development was felt to be in keeping with the local style and size of development. For example, the scheme opposite Riddlesdown station was generally liked, although the promised infrastructure to address flooding issues has not been provided.

• In terms of future development, attendees felt that the focus should be on affordability across a range of groups and ages, for example purpose-built retirement flats and two-bedroom ‘starter homes’. In addition, density guidelines should be reinforced as recent development in the area is too large in terms of scale and size.

• It was recognised that development brings particular pressures on parking, so perhaps new developments should include basement parking.

• The need for additional infrastructure investment to support development was highlighted, particularly in respect to flooding, parking and public realm improvements.

• There was a feeling that development should not be developer-led. Local residents need to be pro-active in suggesting/promoting locations to encourage developers to focus their efforts there.

 

Environment
• During discussion of the green belt, the majority of views were strongly against any development of the green belt. A few comments were made that specific areas of the green belt could be suitable for development for new housing or a new primary school.

• The green verges around Riddlesdown were felt to be poorly maintained (overgrown grass or bare patches) and badly damaged, partly due to too much parking. Attendees commented that shrubbery was often too tall in many places and was blocking sightlines on driveways, for example Ingleboro Drive. Linked to this, overgrown vegetation on footpaths (especially private footpaths near the Common) needs to be cut back. The idea of a working group was floated to address these issues and create a sense of community spirit.

• Flooding by Riddlesdown Station and St Edmund’s Church was felt to be partly due to the greater number of hardstanding front gardens leading to more water surface run off.

• There were mixed views on whether flytipping has increased locally since nearby local authorities started to charge for waste.

• Concern was expressed regarding the amount of litter around Riddlesdown. One particular issue raised was that Riddlesdown Collegiate students were considered to be generating too much rubbish (e.g. bottles, cans, crisp bags) during term time, especially on Dunmail Drive. Attendees felt that the Collegiate should do more to safeguard the local environment, working with the local community to clean up litter, including getting involved in litter picks. Some attendees raised the need for more Council highway bins around Riddlesdown, especially on the Common where there are only dog-waste bins.

• In respect to the Purley Oaks Recycling centre, the new layout was felt to be an improvement although access was still poor, with too much queuing traffic. Some suggested enlarging the Centre to improve recycling capacity.

• Whilst Riddlesdown Common was considered to be well-managed by the Corporation of London, there was a perception that it is not used enough and could be more child-friendly. There was strong support for a tea room and toilets. Other options include an adventure playground, trim trail (like Happy Valley), more benches, seats and picnic areas. Some expressed concerns that the Common is over-managed for cattle/sheep. There were split views over dogs, with some believing that there are too many nuisance dogs roaming and that there should be designated areas for dog walkers, whereas others were happy with the status quo.


Transport

• There was a general belief that Riddlesdown is currently well-served in respect to public transport given the size of the local community.

• Parking was felt to be the most pressing problem. Parking along Lower Barn Road and Riddlesdown Avenue was reported to be very difficult at peak hours, with the amount of construction on the latter road exacerbating the issue. Riddlesdown is the last Zone 6 stop on the East Grinstead line (Editor’s note - in London - Upper Warlingham is the last stop for zone 6); some believed that this encouraged commuters to drive to the area and park around the station. Parking along Lower Barn Road and Riddlesdown Avenue was very difficult at peak hours, with the amount of construction on the latter road exacerbating the issue. Mixed views on solutions – controlled parking zones could just lead to displacement of the problem to adjoining roads.

• The traffic and parking congestion around Riddlesdown Collegiate is felt to be getting worse; the potential use of Dunmail Drive as an access road was frequently mentioned. Possible options include the creation of a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ), the introduction of residents’ parking permits, using gates to open Dunmail Drive periodically (i.e. during pick up/ drop off times) and encouraging more students to walk to the school.

• Trains are felt to be full to capacity, although it was noted that some relief might be provided by the East Grinstead to London Bridge services transferring to Thameslink in 2018, enabling direct services from Riddlesdown to Bedford and Cambridge. Notwithstanding the ongoing issues with Southern, people are generally satisfied with the level of proposed service, with BR Purley serving as a back-up when the East Grinstead line experiences problems.

• Buses (especially the 412) were considered to be too infrequent, with more services required during school travel hours. It was noted that the 412 often stops (i.e. turns around) at Sanderstead Pond. The idea of a shuttle bus between the Riddlesdown Station and the Collegiate was proposed as a means of reducing the number of short car journeys and providing a service to the station for people living near to the school.

• There was some support for the 20mph zones being brought forward by the Council, with concern expressed that roads like Riddlesdown Road are being treated as a drag strip. Set against this, others were concerned that the 20mph limit will only increase pollution, especially diesel exhaust. The repair of potholes by the Council was slow, and temporary repairs like those on Ingleboro Drive are a false economy.


Community facilities
• Shops and other existing amenities were perceived to be very important to the community. There is a strong desire to protect existing community shops. Commuter parking is preventing some people from accessing these facilities.

• The need for a social focus like a pub was recognised, with consideration of other options like the St Edmund’s community hall or Purley Bury tennis club bar. Similarly, ideas like a café, tea shop or club house were floated, with comparisons drawn to the facilities at Whyteleafe Park and the previous tea room that existed behind the Ranger’s cottage on Riddlesdown Common. There was interest in a community run enterprise on the line of Priscilla’s Tea Room at Sanderstead.

• Support for a new playground either on the Common near the car park or on the green space adjoining St. Edmund’s church, or opposite the shops on Lower Barn Road.

• General satisfaction with the current level of healthcare provision, with particular praise for the local GP. Linked to this, recognition of the importance of protecting and maintaining the local Chemists on Lower Barn Road. No particular interest expressed in creating service ‘hubs’ in future, although no one was actively opposed to the idea. Recognition that with an ageing population, access to healthcare facilities would remain an important issue and that an elderly people’s community facility should be considered.

• No concerns with secondary school provision in the area, notwithstanding the points already raised concerning litter and access to the Collegiate. Primary school provision was raised as an issue as Riddlesdown is situated between four catchment zones. Parents of younger children reported that securing places at preferred schools is becoming increasingly problematic. Opinion was divided as to whether a new primary school in Riddlesdown is the answer, with some supporting the expansion of nearby existing primary schools.

• Lack of awareness of how many community activities are already provided locally, with many expressing a desire for information to be made more widely available. It was felt that Riddlesdown Collegiate could do more to make its facilities available to the community, linked to using the school more as a community resource.

• Additional thoughts on community events included restarting the Riddlesdown Fun Day, street parties, community schemes like the Purley Breakfast Club (i.e. a once-a month gathering as a way of bringing people together to socialise) and creating more opportunities for elderly residents to socialise. Linked to this, there is a need for more regular information on what is going on locally, possibly a RRA monthly email.


Heatmap Feedback
After the workshops, we used a ‘heatmap’ to allow people to reflect upon the discussions by sticking post-it notes on a map to show which were the issues that they most cared about. This is important as we have to be realistic in terms of the number of objectives of a plan for Riddlesdown. The nine most mentioned themes of the ‘heatmap’ were:

• Making the most of our green space. For example, improved footpaths and a cafe on Riddlesdown Common.

• Litter control - more rubbish bins and working with Riddlesdown Collegiate to educate pupils on caring for the environment.

• Parking controls around Riddlesdown Station.

• Improving the traffic flow around Riddlesdown Collegiate at peak hours.

• Our community should be pro-active about new development – setting out what we want to see in terms of the location, design and type of housing.

• New housing should be aimed at local people - retirement homes, starter homes etc.

• New housing needs to be accompanied by additional infrastructure in terms of roads, flooding, adequate car parking, public realm improvements etc.

• Community cafe – providing a meeting place for the community.

• Encourage more use of our local amenities. For example, Wesson’s shop (PO & newsagent), the Pharmacy.

We’d like to thank all of you who joined us on the 10th July for a stimulating and wide ranging discussion of the type of Riddlesdown you want to see in future. You gave us some clear messages, but before we start to draft a Riddlesdown Plan to share with you all, we’d really welcome any additional thoughts from all of you reading this. Do you agree with the themes emerging above? If not, why not? Are there other issues that you think we should be looking at? Please feel free to post your thoughts on the RRA Facebook page or email them to us at Riddlesdownresidents@gmail.com






























































RIDDLESDOWN NEEDS YOUR VIEWS


Update 6/4/17


This topic was discussed at the RRA AGM on 5 April 2017. It gave those residents present an indication of want is proposed - a “Riddlesdown Plan”.

On the “Riddlesdown Plan” we are hopeful we can get Croydon Croydon to adopt it as a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). But even if they don't, we believe there is value in us setting out what we want as a community in terms of future development. It sends a clear message to Croydon Council that we expect more in terms of the approach to development in Riddlesdown.


Within Croydon Council’s Local Plan, which is currently under discussion and to be reviewed by a Planning Inspector in May/June, we want our residents voice and views to be heard and taken into account on planning and environmental matters. There is very little mention of “Riddlesdown” in the Council’s proposed Croydon Plan and we believe this is not correct.


Further RRA discussion/workshops are proposed for June/July and we will update with these dates soon. However, if you were unable to attend the AGM, we would love to hear what you want for our area. Please send your views to us at Riddlesdownresidents@gmail.com



Presentation below by Nick Tennant


Ever wondered what Riddlesdown might look like in 20 years time?


Probably not. But now is a good time to get thinking as Croydon Council are currently reviewing the local plan for the Borough – which sets out what type of development will be allowed over the next twenty years, and importantly, where it will occur.


The document setting out the proposed changes to the plan (see www.croydon.gov.uk/sites/default/files/articles/downloads/clpstrategic-policies-partial.pdf ) says ‘Croydon is a growing borough. It is already the most populous borough in London and aims to be London’s most enterprising borough’.


Perhaps the most important change is the proposal for 31,850 new homes to be built in Croydon over the period 2016 to 2036. That represents a 48% (1) increase in the number of homes required in the Borough each year. This includes between 310 - 2070 new homes in Purley over the plan period.


‘Am I bothered?’ you might be asking yourself. After all, this is leafy, suburban Riddlesdown where nothing much happens…..


But that isn’t strictly true, as developers have tried over a number of years to build upon farmland on Mitchley Hill and Mitchley Avenue. The RRA worked closely with Croydon Council to prevent development upon this greenbelt land, and will continue to do so in the future. Riddlesdown Collegiate have recently announced plans for a new primary school on (or close to) the existing secondary school, to open in September 2018.
See
www.tct-academies.org/Media/CFPS%20Leaflet%20with%20Survey.pdf


So back to the question I started with – what do you want Riddlesdown to look like in 2036? It’s fair to say that the need for more homes across Croydon is going to increase the pressure for development in Riddlesdown. Is this a good thing or not?

Do you think:







The RRA want to hear your views on what kind of Riddlesdown you want.


Over the next year, we want to develop a shared vision of what Riddlesdown should look like in 2036, and the principles that any future proposals for development in the area will be expected to reflect. We’re looking to draw up a short statement – no longer than a few pages – which clearly sets out what we want for our area. It won’t be part of the Croydon Plan, but because it will be developed with you – the Riddlesdown Community – it will carry weight as a planning document which developers and Croydon Council will be expected to consider when preparing and considering planning applications.


You’re welcome to post your thoughts on the RRA Facebook page (see www.facebook.com/RiddlesdownResidentsAssociation ) or email them to us at Riddlesdownresidents@gmail.com  They can be as long or short as you like – what matters is that you tell us what you think.

To get you in the mood, here are a few more questions to consider:







One final thought: even if you don’t feel like writing to us, maybe talk to your road steward or any of the committee members of the RRA about your thoughts. We can only make sure that Riddlesdown continues to be the kind of place you like to live in, if you tell us what you want.


(1) The current plan requires a minimum of 20,200 new homes to be built over the period 2011-2031.


Map below: Extract from the proposed changes to the Croydon Plan. The plan is silent in respect to the future development of Riddlesdown – aside from the swathe of green belt land running from Riddlesdown Common down to Whyteleafe Park, across to Hamsey Green and up to Sanderstead Recreation Ground; and identifying an Archaeology Priority Area across Riddlesdown Common.



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