60+ Oyster card under threat

One of our members has alerted us to the following email he has received …

Over the past two years Londoners like you have been powerful defenders of both the Freedom Pass and the 60+ Oyster Card. We’re very grateful for your support, which has been brilliant. Your support has been amazing. I’m writing because we need you once again.
Yesterday evening (15th December) we heard that the long-term future of the 60+ Oyster Card is under threat and that there are plans to phase out this travel concession for Londoners aged 60 to 66 entirely over a 12-year period. We are deeply concerned about the impact this regressive cut will have.
Please sign the petition to save the 60+ Oyster Card
It is important to note that the plans will not affect current holders of the 60+ Oyster Card. It will however affect Londoners currently in their 50s and younger who would normally be eligible for the card on their 60th birthday. Campaigning for an age-friendly London is about fighting for a better city for both the older Londoners of today and the older Londoners of the future.We know many of you continue to be impacted by the suspension of concessionary transport before 9am on weekdays. We are very worried that this latest attack on affordable transport will make things much worse for thousands of people.

Please sign and then share the petition.
We are in the final few hours of the current Government/TfL funding deal and we need to make our voices heard.

The Sandrock – appeal against refusal of planning permission

The following has been received from Croydon Council …

TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING ACT 1990

Appeal under Section 78

Location:      The Sandrock , 152 Upper Shirley Road, Croydon, CR0 5HA,

Application Number:  20/02136/FUL

DoE Appeal ref: APP/L5240/W/21/3279949

Details of Application:  Erection of two storey side and rear extension to The Sandrock Public House to provide an enlarged service (including front seating area) to the existing pub (Sui Generis) and conversion of the upper floors including extension to form 4 flats and construction of a three storey building to the rear comprising 11 flats and 4 houses, hard and soft landscaping, communal/amenity/play space, car parking between the two buildings, new crossover along Sandrock Place, boundary treatment and refuse and cycle provision.

Appellant’s name:  C/o Agent  Appeal start date: 9 December 2021

I am writing to let you know that an appeal has been made to the Secretary of State in respect of the proposed development described above. The appeal follows the Refusal of planning permission decided by the Council on 10.03.21 and entered in the planning register as such.

 1The proposed development, by reason of the height, width, depth and overall design of the extensions would poorly integrate to the public house and with the siting and massing of the rear block would be detrimental to the appearance and setting of the locally listed building resulting in a development that would be out of keeping with the character of the area and cause harm to the locally listed building. As such, the proposal would be contrary to Policies D1, D3, D4, HC1 of the London Plan (2021), Policies SP4, DM10, DM18 of the Croydon Local Plan (2018) and the Croydon Suburban Design Guide (2019).

 2The proposed development, by reason of its combined site layout, height, width and depth would result in a cramped form of overdevelopment that would be detrimental to the residential amenity of neighbouring and surrounding occupiers as well as future occupiers of the development especially in regards to daylight/sunlight. As such, the proposal would be contrary to Policies D1, D3, D4, D5, D6 of the London Plan (2021), Policies SP4, DM10 of the Croydon Local Plan (2018) and the Croydon Suburban Design Guide (2019).

 3The proposed development, by reason of insufficient on-site parking for future users of the public house would result in overspill parking which would be detrimental to the highway and pedestrian conditions of the area. As such, the proposal would be contrary to Policies T1, T4, T6 of the London Plan (2021), Policies SP8, DM29, DM30 of the Croydon Local Plan (2018) and the Croydon Suburban Design Guide (2019).

The appeal is to be decided on the basis of an exchange of written statements by the parties and a site visit by an Inspector.

Any comments already made following the original application for planning permission will be forwarded to the Inspectorate, copied to the appellant and will be taken into account by the Inspector in deciding the appeal.

The Planning Inspectorate has introduced an online appeals service that you can use to submit comments or withdraw or change your earlier comments on this appeal.  You can find the service through the Appeals area of the Planning Portal – see https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk. The Inspectorate may publish details of your comments, on the internet (on the Appeals area of the Planning Portal).  Your comments may include your name, address, e-mail address or phone number.  Please ensure that you only provide information, including personal information belonging to you, that you are happy will be made available to others in this way.  If you supply information about someone else, please ensure that you have their permission.  More detailed information about data protection and privacy matters is available on the Planning Portal.

You can also write direct to Sara Burke – Case Officer The Planning Inspectorate, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square,

Bristol, BS1 6PN,

quoting the appeal reference number given above.  You must send 3 copies.  Please ensure that any comments that you wish to make on the appeals are received by the Planning Inspectorate by 13th January 2022, otherwise they will not normally be seen by the Inspector and will be returned.

The Inspectorate will not acknowledge your letter unless you specifically ask them to do so.

Note: Important Information relating to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The Planning Inspectorate have advised us to inform you of the importance of referring to their webpages for up-to-date information about how best to correspond with them during this time and to submit representations via the Appeals Casework Portal whenever possible (as our office is currently closed, we are unable to receive postal representations).

If you do not own the property you occupy would you please tell the owner about this letter.

The Planning Inspectorate will not send copies of appeal decisions to interested parties but will publish them on the Planning Portal website at https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk

The Appellant’s grounds of appeal can be viewed online from the Public Access Planning Register on the Council website at https://publicaccess3.croydon.gov.uk/online-applications/ 

If the link doesn’t take you to the search page, then copy the link into an internet browser and go to the page. Enter the planning application number shown above in the search box to access the application. The Appellant’s grounds of appeal can be found in the documents section.

Yours faithfully,

Nicola Townsend
Head of Development Management 

Solid wall insulation – a message and a warning from the Council

Malcolm Bell, Croydon Council’s Energy Projects Manager, has written a warning as follows …

Unfortunately I am writing to inform you, a resident has informed me a company called UK ECO solutions (or someone on their behalf) is doing door knocking in the borough about grants for solid wall insulation, claiming they are working with Croydon Council.  I have recently seen Facebook adverts from them hinting they work with and/or the funding is from the Council.

I can confirm Croydon Council not working with this company, nor are they a sub-contractor for one of our partner companies, nor has the team had any discussions with them.   The sub-contractor working with our partner AgilityEco currently installing solid-wall insulation for home owners is called Simple Green Energy, and they will only be contacting residents who have applied, or been referred into the scheme with their consent.     None of the companies we are working with are doing any cold calling/door knocking promotions.

All the private sector grant providers/schemes we work with are listed on our Energy Advice webpage   www.croydon.gov.uk/energyadvice     Although residents can apply directly for these schemes (as opposed to a referral through Croydon Healthy Homes), we do recommend residents use one of our partner organisations to access grant funding if they are eligible.  For some schemes eligibility/grant may be dependent upon a signed declaration from Croydon Council, and we only do this with companies we have an agreements in place with.

I would strongly advise residents to check the web page to ensure any company claiming to work with the Croydon Council is genuinely working with us.  Alternatively they can email healthyhomes@croydon.gov.uk or call the Healthy Homes Freephone number to check 08002922529 (the number currently diverts to an answerphone, but we aim to call back all residents as quickly as possible, and all within a week).

May I also take this opportunity to notify you the Croydon Heathy Homes team will be hand delivering leaflets about our services to homes in areas with high-levels of fuel poverty, especially older properties.  This week we delivered leaflets in the Waddon area.  The letter we delivered was in the name of our Healthy Homes Advisor, Jayesh Patel.

Shirley Library – opening times

We have been advised that Shirley Library will be open on Mondays and Tuesdays starting on 6 September, from 10am to 1pm and from 2 pm to 5 pm.

Please see the following link to the Council’s website; https://www.croydon.gov.uk/libraries-leisure-and-culture/libraries/find-your-library/shirley-library

Heathfield – reduction in access for public use of the grounds

SPRA has written to our Councillors as follows

Heathfield – a ‘phoney’ consultation?

Some of you may be aware that there are changes afoot at Heathfield. Somewhat ‘under the radar’ the Council launched a consultation about the lease of Heathfield House to a local private school, Cressey College.  This would appear be to the detriment of visitors to the gardens, and to the Ecology centre which operates there.  SPAN has featured Heathfield regularly (see August SPAN), as we know it receives many visits from Spring Park residents, even though it is outside our membership zone.

In particular, we understand the impact of the plan on visitors to the gardens will include closure of toilet facilities; to the Ecology centre: the loss of indoor space for nature study visits from Croydon schools and removal of storage space for exhibition, catering and bazaar equipment;  to the community : loss of a corporate venue for meetings and events.

Disability access for all groups will be affected by the removal of the only level route for wheelchairs to the rock garden.

A further concern for SPRA is the process of consultation over the plans. It is true that the statutory announcement was made via the Croydon Guardian in mid-June, with the consultation closing on 9 July.  Many Residents Associations including SPRA were thus unaware of the plan and unable to respond.

At a time of far-reaching changes required to offset the effects of the Council’s mismanagement of its finances, it is essential that consultations are open and transparent. We applaud the Council on achieving this so far in the reorganisation of the Libraries. It is very regrettable that the process with Heathfield House seems to have fallen so far short. This instance of poor communication deepens the lack of trust residents have in the Council, a lack which needs to be urgently reversed.

SPRA has written to our Ward Councillors and to our MP to express dissatisfaction over the process and with further questions about how much they were aware in advance of this proposal.

Footnote – see also letter on page XXXX

336 words

Calling all birdwatchers

We have been asked to alert members tothe following …

The British Trust for Ornithology and the behavioural science research group at Middlesex University have just started an online project where volunteers can submit observations of birds for research. I was wondering whether this might be a of interest to your community group?
The first aim of the project is to study how commonly different species in different areas of the UK eat human foods and litter instead of “natural” food like worms and insects. The second aim is to engage more people in birdwatching: a common barrier is that most citizen science projects require bird ID skills, so we designed this study in a way that bird names aren’t required at all. Our hope is that this will help to engage more people with nature and birds. 

https://mdxl.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cON8ssxLcI8T6Wq

Could you help us spread the word and distribute this among your group members please? The study will be open until 26th August and volunteers can participate as many times as they like.

GP data transfer

We have received the following …

GP Data transfer to national database (NHS Digital)

There is an important change underway.  From 1 September 2021, medical information held at GP level will be passed to a national database.   Data will be anonymised, so that it cannot be traced to individuals and will be used to improve health service provision, track health trends and aid research.

Individuals who do not wish to have their data moved to a national database, must fill in an opt-out form. Any information passed on after 1 Sept cannot be ‘retrieved’, so it is important to act quickly if you intend to opt out.

To find out more of the details and to access the opt-out forms go to

General Practice Data for Planning and Research (GPDPR) – NHS Digital or speak to your local GP practice.

Bogus Surveyor – Warning

Please be aware, if you are having building work done, resident in Palace View this morning had smartly dressed man knock pretending to be his surveyor, luckily he realised he was not genuine. This appears to be common at the moment, stealing valuables once inside.