Labour’s ‘Local Plan’ went through its Inspection in Public, which resulted in a few changes to the original proposals. Conservative councillors attended most inspection sessions to support residents, unlike Labour councillors who stayed away.
Creating the local plan is a legal requirement and the work has been going on for many years and goes through lots of stages. And there is much to like in the final plan, which lays down the policies and proposals which will determine what does and does not get planning permission over the next 20 years or so. But there is also some very bad, unsound policy, and where it is bad, it’s very bad.
The bad policy falls into a number of key areas:
Loss of Green Belt status for a number of cherished open green spaces in the south of the borough. Some of those spaces will end up with no protection whatsoever
Downgrading of a major area of Metropolitan Open Land in and around Shirley Oaks Village to having no protection at all (MOL is a form of protection like Green Belt which makes development in an area
very difficult). Some of the land had its protection reinstated by the inspector, but some did not
Creation of a number of large ‘intensification areas’ where developers are encouraged to greatly increase the allowed density of development: these areas include parts of Kenley, Forestdale, South Croydon and Shirley. The proposed Sanderstead area was deleted as unsound by the Inspector
The creation of a Gypsy and Traveller site behind the Purley Oaks Recycling Centre – this would preclude the desperately needed recycling centre expansion. Having backed down from putting the site on Green Belt land in Croydon Central (good) they have now chosen instead a site in Purley whose only qualification for being a gypsy and traveller site is that the council is the land-owner!