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What is the Focused Intensification Zone (FIZ)

(Taken from Winter Newsletter 2018)

What does the Croydon Plan and SPD2 mean to Kenley?

We need to distinguish between those parts of Kenley inside the FIZ and those outside. The table below provides some highlights.

The Council is actively working with the developers to maximise the number of dwellings that are delivered by each new development proposal. This will usually mean that any house that is demolished or refurbished by a developer will become a block of flats with each flat only just compliant with the minimum floor area requirements. The Council can refuse planning permission for any proposals that fail to meet the minimum room and dwelling density requirements.

When you get into the details of the SPD2 policy it is realised that the objectives of the Council and the developers are not quite in alignment. The developers are working diligently to maximise the profit they can achieve from each redevelopment plot that they can gain control of. This creates two results:

1) The developers try to limit each new development scheme to a maximum of 9 flats. If they propose a scheme with more flats, then social housing rules will apply and this will significantly reduce any profit. From the developers’ perspective they want to pack in as many minimum-floor-area flats into each scheme up to the ninth dwelling. Once they reach 9 dwellings they will upgrade the flats to increase their sale value without creating more flats – so they will add bedrooms, make the bedrooms larger or provide en suites. This optimum at 9 flats makes the typical Kenley plot sizes particularly attractive. The typical housing plots in Kenley are large enough to squeeze in 9 flats, but not so large that the developer is expected to provide 10 or more flats.

2) The re-development of Kenley will progress in a piecemeal way with each developer forming their own view of character and which design elements need to be retained. There will be no process to harmonise the new designs across multiple schemes so that a new positive character for Kenley is created. There is also no process to enhance our wider infrastructure such as transport, road design, and shopping facilities to support the massive influx of people that these new dwellings will draw in.

There is no budget to implement the vision in SPD2

Croydon Council has no budget to develop their vision for Kenley and they are certainly not using any compulsorily purchase powers to support the developers. The process to redevelop Kenley is likely to proceed in an opportunistic manner. The developers will make offers to house owners and some owners sell. This encourages neighbours to consider selling and the changes will ripple through the area.
Many house owners tell me that they will never sell to a developer. However, it does not take much to realise that Kenley has a much higher than average proportion of retired residents. Simple logic then suggests that a large number of Kenley houses will become available for sale over the next 20 years – one way or another.

Criteria Outside the FIZ Inside the FIZ
Number of Storeys A minimum of 3 storeys except in some locations A requirement for 4 storeys, but will be increased to 5 or 6 storeys for some sites
Preservation of character Blocks of flats made to appear as large houses. Semi’s and blocks of flats can be inserted where they do not exist today Little intention to maintain character. Blocks of flats can present as “blocks” of flats
Building higher than adjacent properties Slight increases in height permitted. If the adjacent property is a bungalow then 2 storeys may be acceptable Significant increases in height expected to permit the doubling of the number of prevailing storeys in the area.
Building forward of the building line Front building line is maintained Building forward of the building line encouraged to provide additional dwellings
Building beyond the rear building line Yes Yes — required to achieve the room density targets
Provisions for car ownership Requirement to ensure 1 parking space per dwelling is available (either on-site or on-street) Expectation is that occupiers will not own a car. On-site parking will be discouraged (except for some disabled parking provision).
Controlled parking As existing but expect more yellow lines to help keep the roads and junction clears for pedestrians and buses etc. It is very likely that the FIZ will become a controlled parking zone. Occupiers of new builds may not be eligible for any residents’ parking permits.

Update on Oaklands as described within SPD2

Croydon Council is the land owner for the Oaklands estate. As such the Council is more able to implement changes to Oaklands. At the Croydon Council consultation meeting at Kenley Memorial Hall Steve Deddington attended from the Council. Steve is a strategic planner and helped develop the FIZ strategy for Croydon.

Many residents expressed concerns that Oaklands might be passed to the Council’s own development company “Brick-by-Brick” for extensive building work similar to what has occurred to many other Council owned estates across Croydon.
Brick-by-Brick tends to redevelop garages into blocks of flats or build blocks of flats on amenity space. It is also clearly suggested in the Council’s SPD2 document that the Oaklands’ garage block will be converted to a block of flats and other major development will occur on the Oaklands estate.
Steve Deddington has contacted Kendra and asked that we pass a message onto to the residents of Oaklands and the wider residents of Kenley. He assures all Kenley residents that there are no current applications for any redevelopment of the Oaklands estate, and that the site has not been passed to Brick-by-Brick.
We are reassured by Steve’s comments, but we must recognise that this could change very quickly.

Keeping informed on SPD2, FIZ and any other planning issues

The best way to keep up to date on Kenley planning matters is to receive our weekly planning email. The issues related to planning change far too quickly for the quarterly magazine. All members are welcome to register for the weekly planning email – just drop an email to planning@kenleyra.org.uk clearly stating your wish to join the weekly planning email list and provide your postal address so that we can verify your membership.