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Posts Tagged ‘Addiscombe’

‘Residents For Regeneration’ aims to provide a platform for an impartial view of the proposed redevelopment plans for East Croydon. As residents, we feel it is important to share information in a balanced way so we can all understand the proposed changes that could affect us all.

There are many benefits for local residents and businesses. These include:

Improved public open areas
A new two storey community centre
New entrance to East Croydon mainline railway station
Affordable housing on the derelict Cherry Orchard Gardens site
A pedestrian footbridge connecting Cherry Orchard Road to Central Croydon

Grade A start up offices
Independent small retail outlets
Iconic landmark private residential tower
A four star boutique hotel, with gym & recreational facilities.
Increased employment opportunities

This will be the first major investment East Croydon & Cherry Orchard Road has had in over thirty years.

To register your support to Croydon Council before 21st July 2011 please click here

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Having lived in the area for many years we have always hoped that the area around along Cherry Orchard Road and East Croydon would improve. It sorely needs it, as anyone who makes that journey on foot each day knows too well. It is a bleak, uninteresting and depressing walk at the best of times during the day and, increasingly, feels more unsafe at night. The Cherry Orchard Gardens site has been empty since 2006,  boarded up, squatted and vandalised for the past few years and been an ugly eyesore acting as a bolt-hold for drug users and drug dealers. The small, unkept grassed area with the two tatty benches is littered with beer cans and rubbish, a constant reminder that this area is predominantly used by an increasing number of itinerant drunks.

This is where we all live. This is what we see each day. This is what greets us in the morning and we leave behind at night. It really should not be like this and nobody else has ever tried to change it over the past thirty years. This is why we are bothered.

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Two issues with have been raised regarding overlooking, one from residents and one from parents with children at Oval Road primary school. Both concern the fear of overlooking from the 53 storey residential tower. Fortunately,  most residents are not concerned by overlooking from the other elements of the development, namely the new hotel and affordable housing buildings as these will have views already blocked by existing buildings or, in the case of the start-up office block, will not overlook any potentially sensitive areas.

Oval Road primary school is set some distance from the development site, an approximate 5 minute walk. It has a large playing field and other hardstanding play areas variously located outside the main school building. These areas are used mostly at lunch time and during physical and recreational lessons and, of course, at hometime. The school site on the Oval Road side has its boundary on one side with Oval Road consisting of predominantly two and three storey terraced houses and on the other side with Cherry Orchard Road, with two storey terraced houses backing onto the site and the twelve storey Galaxy House office building an approximate 30 second walk away.

There is already the potential of overlooking from the houses on Oval and Cherry Orchard Road and from the very nearby Galaxy House office block. As far as we know there have never been any incidences of invasive overlooking. The only report we have had confirmed by an ex-governor was  from pedestrians lingering in the footpath leading from Cherry Orchard Road to Oval Road and we understand a privacy screen has been erected to deal with this. We think, realistically, the 53 storey residential tower is set sufficiently away from the school site to pose any potential problem and that there will be no more invasive overlooking issues than have yet occurred from the houses and office already much closer to the site.

Colson Road view of Knollys House

With regard to residents being overlooked, we also foresee this would not pose a  major problem and we have concluded the fear is probably greater than the reality.  To give some context Oval, Cedar, Colson, Blake, Brickwood and Bissenden Roads are the residential roads closest to the site; predictably, this is where opposition has been most widely canvassed. It is worth remembering, however, that these roads are already closer to the following tall office blocks, Stephenson House, Knollys House, Simpson House, the former Amy Johnson House and, crucially, the NLA tower.

NLA tower from Bissenden Road

 The NLA tower was built in 1970 and is 24 storeys high. Residents in that part of East Croydon would have had this view for the past 41 years. It can be assumed that anyone who has chosen to purchase a property in the past 41 years has taken the view that the NLA tower is already there and they must have decided that its presence was not of material concern to them.

It does beg the question as to why these same residents are being whipped into a frenzy regarding overlooking and loss of privacy? Or is it the case that this is simply being used as a basis to object to the application even though there will be very little real loss of privacy?

A greater insight into overlooking is appreciated from living in a high-rise than from living beneath one. The views from the upper parts of the twelve storey Cumberland Court residential flats in Cross Road demonstrates that the eye is drawn out further from the immediate surroundings and that all detail immediately down below becomes small and insignificant. Panoramic far distant views are always much more interesting and easier viewing than drawing room windows far below. From the upper parts of a 53 storey residential tower it can be concluded that the risk of overlooking and loss of privacy become very difficult arguments to maintain.

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East Croydon is one of the busiest train station outside central London. Last year almost 20 million passengers entered or exited it for rail travel. Those who use it frequently will know that it operates reasonably well outside of peak hours, with regular and fast connections to central London. However, most people would agree it struggles at peak times, with too few entrances and exits, too few ticket booths and a mass of people who make the main hall difficult to navigate easily, made worse by the proximity of the busy tram interchange directly outside. It is not a welcoming station, with few and limited facilities; it is difficult to stop and take in information boards, unpleasant to wait for a friend, almost impossible to use with a young family.

New Station Entrance on Cherry Orchard Road

The new proposed new station entrance is long overdue. It is clearly the most sensible option to relieve an already over-congested main entrance, allowing residents of Addiscombe to enter into and exit directly from their own neighbourhood. The glass covered bridge will have its own ticket machines for everyday ticket purchase together with season ticket scanners and Oyster card readers and passengers will be able to descend directly onto the platform. The approach to the bridge will pass newly planted mature trees in Cherry Orchard Road to the grand, broad and spacious  two tier flight of steps, landscaped with planted green borders and furnished with new seating areas.
 

A smarter, sleeker more stylish station entrance

The staircase opens onto a very generous, uninterrupted public space which will be surrounded by new bars, restaurants, cafes and independent shops, together with further recreational facilities in the new four star boutique style hotel. It will provide all the everyday amenities which the current station entrance either lacks or provides inadequately, making the journey to and from work more pleasant, exciting and fulfilling. It also provides a comfortable and stylish place to meet friends, wait for passengers or do a little interesting shopping, making what is currently an unused wasteland a desirable new vibrant urban space and a long-awaited smarter “front door” for the residents of Addiscombe.

 
The bridge will also provide an open access, safe and secure pedestrian link to central Croydon, crossing high over the railway tracks and descending near to the current roundabout on Lansdowne Road, making the journey to the main shopping areas of Croydon easier and quicker for all residents of Addiscombe. Innovatively, and for the first time at East Croydon station, lifts will be installed allowing  wheel-chair users, families with children in push-chairs and the elderly access to the platforms and the direct pedestrian link to central Croydon.

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Some residents closest to the development site are concerned that the application may have an effect on parking. Their concern is that a number of new residents will compete with existing residents to use the limited number of resident only parking bays near to the development and that spaces outside of restricted hours on single yellow lines will also be fought over.

The residential tower will provide 427 new homes. In the basement of the tower, spread over three floors, 173 parking bays will be provided exclusively for the use of residents. This meets the guidelines set by Croydon Council and far exceeds the expectations of Transport for London. Each apartment in the residential tower will also have its own incorporated cycle storage bay, as well as a further 636 cycle bays in the basement and 50 cycle stands on ground floor for the use of visitors. As an imaginative innovation, a Car Club Scheme will be introduced for those who require the occasional use of a vehicle but who ordinarily do not own or have the need to park a private car. The Car Scheme could also grow and develop if the residents of Addiscombe supported its use.

Transport for London would prefer to see no parking facilities provided at all. Transport for London recognises that the development site is a key transport hub and would encourage residents to rely more heavily on using public transport rather than owning a private car. The residential tower will be located directly on the mainline railway station at East Croydon and within short walking distance of both the bus hub and the tram interchange. In choosing to live in the residential tower it is easy to suppose that many of the new residents will make their choice to live there based on transport links with where they work, that is to say they may commute to London or work locally within Croydon town centre or other employment centres such as Redhill, Crawley, Gatwick and Brighton. It may well be the case that the expectation that every new resident will have a private car is not entirely realistic.

The developers, Menta, also wish to safeguard the right of existing Addiscombe residents to effectually use their parking permits and are prepared to stipulate as a condition on the new residents’ leaseholds that they will not be able to apply to Croydon Council for residential parking permits. This will be a legal clause in their leasehold prohibiting them from applying for a parking permit from Croydon Council which, in the event that this clause is breached, would jeopardise their investment in their new home. This scheme has been used recently in the newly completed Strata Tower  in Elephant and Castle where it has proved effective in preventing new residents from using parking bays reserved for existing residents.

Existing residents should feel confident that Menta will actively protect their right to easily park near to where they live.

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