Friday, January 26, 2007

Press release: Housing developments


Photo Opp. Outside 2 Parchmore Road, Thornton Heath (formerly the Prince of Wales listed building pub) 3.15pm – 26th January 2007

Ill-thought out housing plans are putting many of Croydon’s green spaces at risk, warned a leading representative of the UK’s Green Party.

Sian Berry, the female principal speaker for the UK Green Party, made her remarks while visiting the area on 26th January. Ms Berry said that Croydon Council’s approach to meeting London’s housing targets was too simplistic as it failed to consider issues such as the availability of existing housing stock and the irretrievable loss of green spaces.

She said:

“Whilst there is, undoubtedly, a need for more homes in London, a lot more thought needs to be given to how this can be achieved. Croydon currently has more than 4,000 homes standing empty (1), so we need to ask why that is before embarking on an additional building programme – particularly as it seems that new houses in Croydon will come at the expense of local green spaces.

I am very concerned to hear that Croydon Council is talking about ‘nibbling at green spaces’ to meet its housing targets. This is an incredibly blinkered approach: as the population of London grows, green spaces need to be enhanced, not eliminated.”

Local Green Party campaigner, Shasha Khan said:

“What is of particular concern in this area is the threat to local green spaces. They are already badly neglected and poorly maintained – particularly in North Croydon. I am extremely concerned that this will lead to a dangerous, downward spiral – green spaces are neglected so the community stops using them and then opportunistic developers move in.

The Council has got to take a much more sophisticated approach to meeting housing need.”

Note to Editor

(1) The Department for Communities and Local Government Housing Strategy (2005) states that Croydon had 267 public sector homes and 4,296 private sector homes vacant. This represents 3.3% of all housing stock, compared to the national average of 2.9%.
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