Planning betrayal at Green Dragon House

By - Friday 14th April, 2017

Conservative councillor Helen Pollard can’t see the bright side of new construction that will, for some, literally block out the sun

Image in public domain.

On 23rd March 2017, residents of Green Dragon House in my own ward of Fairfield witnessed another triumph for a property developer. Croydon Council’s planning committee approved a scheme that allowed a tower block to be built within metres of their homes, blocking light and removing views.

This is one of the worst betrayals that I have seen in my ten years as a councillor. Green Dragon House was converted from an office block to residential accommodation less than two years ago. Inspired Homes, the company that sold the apartments to unsuspecting buyers at that time, was the same developer that is now about to build a tower block right in front of their windows.

As I sat through the presentation with the carefully produced artists’ impressions that played down the impact the new tower would have on Green Dragon House, I thought that surely the planning committee could not approve such a scheme. There was a very good speech from a resident objecting to the tower, which clearly stated the impact it would have on himself and fellow residents. Council officers and the developer acknowledged the building would cut out light and take away views. Two Conservative councillors on the planning committee put forward a motion to refuse permission, but then, to my astonishment, the development was given the go-ahead.

Residents did not know that the company they had just bought their flat from was about to block out their views and much of their natural light

Let’s be clear. I am not against high rise development in the centre of Croydon. What I am against is the council supporting developers who use every trick in the book to maximise profits at the expense of residents.

When residents of Green Dragon House bought their homes just over two years ago, they were not told that the developer was about to submit a planning application for a tower block in their car park. People who bought flats at the back of Green Dragon House, with views over the west of Croydon and beyond, did not know that the company they had just bought their flat from, was about to block out those views and much of the light in their living space.

I understand that Inspired homes have offered to buy the flats at the back of Green Dragon House in some sort of deal they think will compensate residents for the losses they will suffer. This seems like a half-hearted gesture that is far too late. Surely, they should have been honest about their intentions right at the outset, so people could make an informed decision when they bought the properties.

The Scarbrook Road planning application follows hot on the heels of the Fairfield Halls application that was approved by the planning committee last month. This application was another where it was considered acceptable to have homes without the recommended access to sunlight or daylight.

The lack of regard for residents’ views is commonplace under the current administration of Croydon Council. If this carries on, Croydon will become the ‘get rich quick’ capital for developers who want to make money at the expense of residents who live and work in the town.

Helen Pollard

Helen Pollard

Helen has been a councillor since 2006 and is standing for re-election in Selsdon and Addington Village Ward in May 2018. In May 2016, Helen was appointed Shadow Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport. She is a marketing professional with experience in the financial services industry and education. Her interests include playing tennis and spending time at home with her family.

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  • Cathy de Veras

    How many of the residents actually objected to the planning application? Before it got to the Committee?

  • Toby Marsden

    Classic false biased negative rubbish spouted by bitter ignorant councillors attacking hard working ‘doers’ providing vital housing to their communities. I wonder what this ‘Helen’ woman has ever contributed to her community apart from moaning and criticising and trying to stifle progress and growth???