'Croydon Council must get Coulsdon Masterplan right'
"GET it right" was the message from Coulsdon this week as plans for the regeneration of the town went public.
The council is being urged to ensure its masterplan for the town takes full advantage of opportunities for new investment in the town – not least Barratt's plans for redeveloping the Cane Hill site – but not at the expense of existing residents and small businesses.
The draft masterplan is due to be approved for public consultation at a meeting of the council's cabinet on Monday.
Its aims include identifying key opportunity sites such as the Lion Green Road car park and the former Red Lion pub site, now owned by supermarket Aldi, which offer chances for new retail, housing, leisure and commercial developments plus new jobs.
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There have been suggestions that the Lion Green Road site could be used to provide Coulsdon with a much-needed second supermarket.
The plan also looks at improving the town's environment by creating new public spaces, introducing street trees and improving public transport, pedestrian and cycle links between the centre and the Cane Hill development.
Councillor Jason Perry, the council's cabinet member for planning, regeneration and transport, said the plan was about revitalising the town and "setting the scene for putting Coulsdon back into the good times".
He said: "This vision for Coulsdon is realistic, deliverable and exciting."
Cllr Perry stressed that Barratt's plans, which include building 650 new homes and 70,000 sq ft of space for commercial and leisure use, would play a vital role in the overall regeneration.
But he said: "What we don't want is a development which is separate from the town.
"It needs to be a benefit all round."
That was a sentiment echoed by Charles King, chairman of East Coulsdon Residents' Association, who said: "We are looking for a proper regeneration of Coulsdon, including Cane Hill, a development which we want to complement the town, not be in competition with it."
Mr King said residents did want to see a bigger supermarket run by one of the "top four" in the town.
He said: "But it has to benefit the rest of the community and businesses in the centre.
"We don't want people driving into somewhere like Lion Green Road doing their shopping and just driving off."
He also wanted to see the provision of new leisure facilities such as a skate park for youngsters to form part of the plan.
Mr King said: "Overall, I think that everybody thinks this masterplan could be really positive for Coulsdon, provided they get it right."
Alan Harris, whose family have run Coulsdon Home Hardware in Chipstead Valley Road since 1954, said: "What would help businesses no end would be houses on Cane Hill being built close enough to the town centre to allow people to walk to the shops that are here.
"If they are too far away and people drive, they could be just as likely to go to another town."
He added a new supermarket on Lion Green Road could benefit the centre, provided it was designed to allow easy access to the existing shops.
Developer Barratt is aiming to submit an outline application for its Cane Hill project in the next four or five months.
The company announced last summer that it had exchanged a £250 million contract with the Greater London Authority to buy the 83-hectare site.
Its proposals are expected to include 650 new homes, 163 of which would be affordable, and up to 70,000 sq ft of commercial space.
Barratt also plans to renovate the chapel and water tower, the only parts of the former hospital still standing. It is thought the overall project will create 1,300 jobs during construction.
At the time, Mark Clare, chief executive of Barratt Developments, said: "We are committed to engaging with all partners and the local community."
Gary Ennis, Southern regional managing director for Barratt Developments, said on Wednesday: "Over the next few months we will be working with the local authorities and seeking consultation with the community with a view to an outline planning application in early summer."
Seven weeks of public consultation are scheduled for the Coulsdon Masterplan, assuming the draft is approved by the council's cabinet on Monday.
The consultation will run from February 25 to April 14, the extra week being allowed to compensate for the Easter holiday.
The exercise will include two yet-to-be-arranged exhibitions and public meeting, one being held in the day and one in the evening.
Residents will also be able download copies of plan from the council's website and make comments online.
Comments can also be made via e-mail or social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter.
The plan will be publicised in the council's Your Croydon magazine, which is delivered to all homes in the area and copies will be available at libraries and Access Croydon, the council’s information area in its Taberner House headquarters in Park Lane, Croydon.