Why you should object to Menta’s Turgid Twin Towers

Menta’s own representation of size of new buildings

Make sure you have your say over Menta’s new planning application for their Twin Towers proposals and a new building on the old Cherry Orchard Gardens site, next to the entrance of Oval Road. The formal deadline is Thursday 9th November 2019 but submissions after this date will still be considered.

Otherwise, please copy in your local councillors at Addiscombe@croydonlabour.org.uk, or copy our local MP, Sarah Jones on sarah.jones.mp@parliament.uk, as elected representatives have up to the 13th November 2017 to make submissions.

Addiscombe Councillors are having their residents surgery this Saturday, 11th November between 10.30am and 12 noon. If you have a query or a concern about the application please come along to the Sir Philip Game Centre, Morland Avenue, Croydon.

Many local residents breathed a sigh of relief when after 10 years Menta finally abandoned its plans for a 55-storey skyscraper for its vacant site on Cherry Orchard Road next door to Billington Hill. With its scrapping hopes were raised that the new proposals would be more in keeping with the surrounding area, that the link to the new bridge would be delivered, and that homes that local people could afford or rent would be built. Sadly, it seems Menta only want to deliver one of these three things, which is the link to the bridge, and there is no guarantee whether this will be built first, as local councillors are pressing for.

Menta is now proposing to build two 25-storey rectangular blocks with a central plaza that links Cherry Orchard Road to the new bridge. Compared with the original skyscraper proposals these blocks have little architectural merit.  Thankfully, the towers will be clad with a brick façade, but the choice of dull-brown means they will be rather turgid in appearance.

Menta’s own glossy planning documents point out that the new plaza will be rather windswept and not a comfortable place to linger without mitigation. Menta’s proposals to plant trees in this new plaza is welcomed, and will probably make a difference in summer, but there is a lot of scepticism that the trees will make much difference in winter when there is a Siberian wind blowing, and the trees have no leaves.

But the main reason to oppose this planning application is Menta’s proposal to only deliver 15% affordable housing for the site, way below the 30% to 50% threshold that the Council and the Mayor of London is asking for. Of the 445 homes proposed 67 will be for shared ownership and none will be for affordable or social rent. This follows the pattern of Menta’s previous development on Cherry Orchard Road where they made every effort to ensure they didn’t deliver any affordable rented homes on their site. It does seem that Menta only wants to develop homes for the wealthy.

Menta excuse for this 15% is as follows “The level of affordable housing is lower than the current target sought by policy however this is due to the financial viability of the development. It is, however, in accordance with the minimum level of on-site provision that is expected under emerging policy. A fully evidenced Financial Viability Assessment is being submitted with the application which demonstrates that this affordable housing offer is the maximum which the scheme can support.

What Menta doesn’t say is that this Financial Viability Assessment document has been kept secret and members of the public are unable to review their calculations. As local councillors we have asked that Menta make this document public.

Croydon has a housing crisis and ordinary residents on average incomes have been priced out of the housing market, with both rents and house prices that are out of reach. Croydon doesn’t need any more buy-to-let flats that are sold abroad to private investors. What we need are decent homes that ordinary people can afford. We therefore ask all residents to object to Menta’s application and demand that affordable family homes are included in the scheme.

You can object to the planning objections by emailing Development.Management@croydon.gov.uk .  Please quote the Planning application number 17/05046/FUL.

Details of the current planning applications. First is for the residential homes, and the other is for the Bridge Link.

Planning application number 17/05046/FUL;  Application number 17/05046/FUL for Erection of two 25 storey towers (plus plant) and a single building ranging from 5 to 9 storeys (plus plant) to provide a total of 445 residential units, with flexible commercial, retail and community floor space (A1/A2/A3/A4/B1a/D1/D2) at ground and first floor level of the two towers and associated amenity, play space, hard and soft landscaping, public realm, cycle parking and car parking with associated vehicle accesses http://publicaccess2.croydon.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=OXJPC8JL0BK00

Bridge Link application number 17/05035/FUL for Installation of a bridge link from the existing pedestrian footbridge across East Croydon Station to the proposed Morello II development site on land adjoining East Croydon Station, Cherry Orchard Road, Croydon. http://publicaccess2.croydon.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=OXEPRLJLLSH00

About Sean

Councillor for Addiscombe Ward, 1994-2006, re-elected in May 2010 along with Mark Watson and Patricia Hay-Justice. Since May 2014 Chair of Scrutiny. Lives locally in Addiscombe.

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