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East Croydon Gateway Site

The planning application by Arrowcroft, backed by the Council, was turned down by the Secretary of State on the advice of the Planning Inspectorate.

We have kept this page as a record of what happened. We have not altered the tense of verbs.

Background Information

Croydon Council wishes to see, and has granted planning permission for, the development of a 12,500 seat arena at this important site. Obviously 12,500 people
arriving for an event just a 15 minute walk away would have a considerable impact on our area.

The preferred developer is Arrowcroft, to which Croydon Council is in some way contracted. This planning permission has been referred to the Government Office for London who decide whether to review it themselves or not. Croydon cannot grant actual consent until the Government Office for London make their decision. Should this be the case, then consent for the Arrowcroft scheme would be at least 12 months away.

The Council has hitherto refused to entertain the alternative Stanhope Schroder mixed development scheme including a brand new home for the Warehouse Theatre, residential
housing, keynote office buildings, healthcare facility, restaurant, cafes and four and a half acres of publicly accessible park.

With regard to housing, this has been extensively discussed with both the Greater London Assembly and Croydon Council; agreement has been reached with both authorities relating
to the numbers, mix and tenure. The provision of 560 new homes, 268 of which are affordable, is considerable. No other development in recent times has happened in Croydon
to make a similar contribution to the meeting of housing needs and policy targets. The whole Stanhope scheme is designed primarily by Fosters and Partners with one office building by Faulkner Browns and landscaping by West 8.

The Council's refusal to properly consider the Stanhope Schroder scheme is against the rules. This culminated in the Secretary of State calling an Inquiry in 2006 to hear evidence from both sides. (This first Inquiry is not to be confused with the latest Inquiry taking place in September 2007). It is clearly an expensive procedure. At this first Inquiry Croydon Council produced no witnesses, no evidence, nothing.

At the opening of the 2006 Inquiry Croydon Council said that it would be inviting the Secretary of State to grant Stanhope Schroder planning permission for its scheme. Basically the Council was not commenting on the application but was asking the Secretary of State, who has powers for a scheme this size, to decide.

This is important because the Stanhope Schroder application is a detailed application. The Arrowcroft application, although claiming to be detailed, at that stage was not.

Earlier in 2006 a similar public inspection into the Council's new Unitary Development Plan (UDP) dismissed the development of an arena at this site as not being essential.

Given the acceptance of Stanhope Schroder's detailed planning application and given that they are also the owners of the land, you would have thought this much needed redevelopment work could start almost immediately. But no. After inviting the Secretary of State to consider granting permission to Stanhope Schroder, the then Leader of the Council, Tony Newman, said that the Council still intended to pursue the arena scheme and use a compulsory purchase order. So again the Council introduced huge uncertainty and delays over the development of the site.

Why? No one has provided a convincing commercial justification for an arena, nor has anyone seen any detailed business plan or viable transport plan.

This is all extraordinary behaviour from Croydon Council. Stanhope Schroder could have claimed costs against Croydon Council for its failure and the costs of the Public Inquiry. In a
wish to work more closely with Croydon Council they have, however, asked for none.

Back in the summer of 2005 we wrote an open letter that we hoped would attract some answers. It was printed in the Croydon Guardian on 4 May 2005. A Croydon Councillor replied in a letter printed on 18 May 2005. Our response to this was printed on 1 June 2005. Click on the three links below to view each letter.

The 2006 local elections saw a change from a Labour run Council to a Conservative one. The local Conservative party is divided over whether or not to support the arena. The Council is still bound to Arrowcroft by a contract signed by the previous administration and fear has been expressed that Arrowcroft will sue the Council should they not support the arena scheme.

Our letter of 4 May 2005

Councillor reply of 18 May 2005

Our response of 1 June 2005

Position as at 11 June 2006

Position as at October 2006

Position as at January 2007

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