Archive for the ‘Key benefits for all’ Category

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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It is reported that Addiscombe has relatively low crime figures but many residents will be aware of incidents such as graffiti, criminal damage, theft, burglary, assault, drug dealing and car theft. Oval Road has suffered recently from increased incidences of anti-social behaviour and a dispersal order has recently been issued in Cherry Orchard Road. The fear of crime and awareness of it has increased over the past years and this could be put down, in part, to the neglected and empty areas such as Cherry Orchard Gardens and Quest House providing blind spots in which criminal activity grows. Certainly, these areas are foreboding at night, with no human presence to offer a sense of security. It can be a very uncomfortable walk home from the station.

This planning application could help to alleviate many of these problems. The nature of an hotel is that it operates 24 hours a day, with staff and concierge always present, as well as guest coming and going at different times. The very presence of these people on Cherry Orchard Road is the first step in surveillance, as crime is often committed when criminals believe they are unseen. The new affordable housing will stretch along a length of Cherry Orchard Road, with balconies and windows looking directly over the street, providing vantage points above. The ground floor retail units beneath will have active frontages throughout the day and may be illuminated in the evening and night. Again, the new bars and restaurants will operate into the evening, with patrons observing the activity and people around them.

One of the greatest elements of a sense of community is when people look out for each other and also when people feel they are being looked out for by others. It is what helps to make us all responsible for ourselves and for each other.

People are also inspired and up-lifted by better surroundings. Areas which are run down or neglected fall more rapidly into decline, as they are seen as being insignificant and worthless;  better surroundings give rise to better behaviour and a greater appreciation of the immediate environment.

Quest House, Cross Road, empty and neglected

If the application succeeds and East Croydon undergoes its regeneration plan there could be more positive results. Companies like LondonNewcastle, who already have planning permission for Quest House in Cross Road, may have renewed confidence to undertake and pursue their own plans and to replace what are currently empty and neglected offices with smart and stylish new homes. Gradually, Addiscombe transforms and evolves for the better, increasing the security and safety of all its residents.

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