The Petition of New Addington residents,
Declares that much needed family homes are being shoe-horned into unsuitable former garage sites that compromise the visual amenity and environment of old and new residents alike, and that the local Council thus pays disrespect to New Addington.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to investigate whether value for money is being achieved from the housing grant paid to Croydon Council and to place improved conditions on quality of design and setting for new Council housing in the London Borough of Croydon.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Mr Andrew Pelling, Official Report, 30 March 2010; Vol. 508, c. 790 .]
Observations from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government:
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government understands that the London Borough of Croydon has granted planning permission for a housing scheme on a former garage site in New Addington and that the Registered Social Landlord is preparing to go on site. The Secretary of State also notes that although the garages were a source of anti-social behaviour, there are objections to the housing scheme.
The Government’s policy is not to interfere with the day-to-day planning control functions of a local planning authority unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. This is because local authority councillors are elected to represent the views of local people and, in the main, it is these councillors who are in the best position to decide whether a development should go ahead or not.
As part of their proposals for Building the Big Society, the Government intend to give communities more powers. In relation to the planning system they propose to give neighbourhoods far more ability to determine the shape of the places in which their inhabitants live.
The Government recently revised Planning Policy Guidance 3: Housing, putting power back in the hands of local authorities and communities to take the decisions that are best for them, and decide for themselves the best locations and types of development in their areas. This gives Local Authorities the freedom to prevent overdevelopment of their areas.
The majority of grant funding for house building is not paid to Councils, but direct to Registered Social Landlords. The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) works closely with Local Authorities to agree strategy and investment based on locally determined priorities. The HCA is working in this way with the London Borough of Croydon to provide housing which meets local needs and contributes to the creation of high quality places. Key funding provided directly to Croydon Council is for the Local Authority New Build (LANB) programme. The HCA assesses all bids made by Local Authorities for LANB funding against four areas of criteria—value for money, deliverability, strategic fit and design and quality. The Secretary of State has no reason to believe that value for money is not being achieved and does not propose to investigate at this stage, but he understands that the HCA will raise the concerns lodged in the petition from New Addington residents with the London Borough of Croydon to ensure that the housing which is provided within New Addington provides the best solution possible for residents.