Coulsdon Masterplan: The road ahead
SPECIAL REPORT: Rachel Millard takes an in-depth look at the implications of the Coulsdon Masterplan, following its publication last week...
A SKATE park, leisure centre, new supermarket, leafy outdoor seating and health centre.
This could be the shape of Coulsdon in a few years' time if the town's new "masterplan" is realised.
The draft document outlining the development of Coulsdon and Cane Hill – where more than 650 homes are due to be built – was approved at a council cabinet meeting on Monday.
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It will now go out for public consultation and, once finalised, provide a template for development in the town.
Jason Perry, the council's cabinet member for regeneration, said the plan had been drawn up with both landowners and developers to be "realistic and deliverable".
He said: "The area has enormous potential and it is genuinely exciting that individual landowners are signed up to work together on the development of a shared understanding that will ensure the district grows in a co-ordinated manner.
"By looking at the area as a whole, we can plot a major transformation that addresses the town's physical, economic and social needs for the years to come."
The 129-page document has also been shaped with input from community representatives, who have broadly welcomed the published plans.
Richard Thurbon, chairman of the Coulsdon West Residents' Association, said: "It has got some really interesting concepts.
"Particularly the skate park, which is something that has been on the agenda for 20 years, so it is really good that someone has listened to that.
"I think a lot of the residents' associations agree the Lion Green Road site would be ideal for the much-mooted leisure centre and the health facility we have always asked for."
But he hoped there would be enough thought given to providing the right transport, school places and other services to serve the development.
"We want to avoid Netherne-on-the-Hill-ing it," he said, referring to a development similar to Cane Hill just across the Surrey border. "That has just got its first bus after 20 years – which is privately run."
Nigel Rea, vice-chairman of the Old Coulsdon Residents' Association, said the plans presented both prospects and problems for the village.
He said: "There will be some better shopping available to us down there. The other side of it is all the housing [on Cane Hill] could become an eyesore from our direction. I think it is too early to judge how it might look."
Traders in the town centre, where discussions over a yet-to-happen second supermarket have been held for years, said they hoped this time was for real.
Alan Wright, owner of Express Copy in Chipstead Valley Road, had not seen the draft masterplan, but said: "Anything that benefits Coulsdon, I am all for it. Do it as fast as possible. As long as it does not hinder people coming into Coulsdon."
Mr Thurbon added: "Our overriding concern is how quickly is this going to be implemented: we don't want to wait another 30 years."
The consultation will run from February 25 to April 14. Dates and times have yet to be set for two exhibitions and public meetings, and the plan will also be available for comments on the council's website.
Ward councillors Ian Parker and Jeet Bains have stressed the importance residents' and businesses' involvement.
Cllr Parker added: "I hope that businesses and residents will take the opportunity to comment on the masterplan, which provides many opportunities for Coulsdon.
"As the development progresses I want to ensure that residents and businesses are kept well informed by the council and by Barratt as this will help to allay the understandable concerns that will arise as such an important development takes shape."
Ideas in the plan:
- NEW SUPERMARKET: Five sites have been earmarked as possibilities for a new supermarket. They are Lion Green Road, Sentinel House and the Red Lion car park, the Calat centre, Waitrose and its car park, and the site of the former Pinewood Motors. The latter is due to be developed by The Oakwood Group into more than 80 flats. Some residents have warned of too much traffic if the Lion Green Road is used for a supermarket. CLS Holdings, which owns Sentinel House, told the Advertiser this week it they had 'no plans' to release the site for development. It is home to renowned industry magazine Jane's Defence Weekly. A spokesman for the magazine declined to comment this week, saying it was a matter for the landlord.
- PUBLIC OPEN SPACES: An area of public open space is to be provided at the top of Cane Hill, offering 'recreation space for the community', the masterplan says. It adds: "In addition, woodland tree-belts will be retained and public footpaths and play areas will be provided." The plan also proposes setting aside spaces in the town centre for open-air seating and public events.
- CANE HILL HERITAGE: Natural England will be investigating the site of the iconic former mental hospital for archaeological remains. Some preliminary digging is planned, with more if there are interesting finds. The hospital's surviving buildings, the administration building, chapel and water tower, are to be kept. The setting of the surviving embankment of the Surrey Iron Railway is also to be improved. The Scheduled Ancient Monument is on the western edge of the Lion Green Road car park, but is covered with trees.
- THE CALAT CENTRE (Croydon Adult Learning and Training): The masterplan suggests moving the Calat centre, in Chipstead Valley Road, to the Waitrose site in Brighton Road, creating a mixed-use site. "They want to offer more classes and certainly they have been looking for a site for a number of years," said Richard Thurbon, chairman of the Coulsdon West Residents' Association.
- A SKATE PARK: A council spokesman said the idea followed feedback from residents. She added that details, including its location, would be finalised after the consultation on the masterplan. Charles King, chair of the East Coulsdon Residents&' Association, said: "We have been campaigning for the last 10 to 12 years to get something for kids. It won't be something huge, but perhaps if there was a supermarket in Lion Green Road they could have one round the corner. We would also like a fishing pond in the area. I keep raising it - Barratt said they were not sure, but I will keep plugging away."