It was standing room only at Kendra’s AGM on Wednesday 2nd May, with more than 120 members packing the Kenley Memorial Hall. The agenda was dominated by local planning issues, which have caused much concern for residents.
Croydon Council sent a team to explain and gather feedback about the ‘Kenley Community Plan.’ A presentation on display boards listed local issues and members were encouraged to show which caused most concern or should be prioritised. A pdf copy of the presentation can be viewed here. You can complete the Community Plan Survey to have your say or contact the Croydon Community Plan team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Two members of architectural consultancy AOC, commissioned by Croydon Council, told the meeting how they had been conducting interviews with local residents and ‘stakeholders’ in and around Kenley. They stressed they were independent of the Council, although paid for by them. They encouraged all residents to help them build a view of what is needed to improve Kenley’s infrastructure and services with money raised by a levy on new developments. There was some scepticism about the purpose of the plan, given the councils stance on planning issues in Kenley.
Kendra’s planning guru, Geoff James, spoke about the FIZ (Focused Intensification Zone) and how developers saw this as a green light, despite the deep concerns of local residents. He also reiterated that many of the proposed developments across Kenley involved demolishing existing homes and replacing them with oversized blocks of flats, which would increase population density and eventually change the way Kenley looks. Concerns were also raised about the lack of adequate parking in most of the proposed blocks, leading inevitably to local roads being choked with parked cars. Read Geoff’s analysis of planning and explanation of the FIZ . To be informed about developments subscribe to Kendra’s weekly planning e-newsletter.
Croydon South MP, Chris Philp, spoke about the astonishing approval rate of building applications submitted to Croydon’s planning committee. The vast majority are passed despite local objections. He said this is peculiar to Croydon, neighbouring boroughs turn down a much higher proportion of applications. He claimed the committee largely voted on political lines, six to four, and can’t see how it will change.
He thought having an elected mayor could be a route for residents in the south of the borough to get a fairer hearing in view of the council’s current political make up.
On the subject of the ‘Purley Skyscraper,’ despite it having been rejected by the then Secretary of State, Sajid Javid, the developers had won an appeal in the High Court. This meant the planning process would be restarted with a possible additional inquiry. To keep up to date sign up to Chris Philp’s newsletter.
Geoff James revealed that changes to the EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) meant Kendra was subject to the same rules as corporations such as Facebook. This means that committee members could face prosecution and even bankruptcy should they be in violation of the legislation. He said that although very unlikely, it was not a risk that unpaid volunteers should be expected to take.
In order to protect committee members the only option, as far as is he understood it, was for Kendra to become a ‘company limited by guarantee’ (CLG) which would limit committee members liability to £1 each. This would require Kendra, as it is, to be wound-up and the CLG set up. The ‘new’ Kendra would have exactly the same aims and relationship with its members and would continue as a not for profit association. A motion to let this proceed was passed, subject to its feasibility, and followed by a further motion to limit any expenditure for the undertaking to be under £1000. Members will of course be kept informed of any changes via the planning newsletter and on the website.
The recycling bins in Kenley Station Car Park were the subject of one member’s annoyance, who asked if they could be removed. The bins are constantly overflowing, despite regular emptying by the council. Some evidence points to the bins being used for commercial waste. Jan Buttinger said she had spoken to the council recycling team and they were aware of the issue. CCTV was one of the options being considered to catch the culprits.
A full copy of the AGM agenda and minutes will be available at a later date.