Croydon Council publishes planning guidance on boosting densities in suburbs

The London Borough of Croydon has published a supplementary planning document (SPD) setting out guidance on suburban development, including increased housing densities in such areas.

Shirley, Croydon. Pic: Malc McDonald,
Shirley, Croydon. Pic: Malc McDonald,

According to the council, the Suburban Design Guide SPD supports policies in the Croydon Local Plan 2018, which was adopted in February, and the delivery of about 10,000 of the borough’s target of 32,890 new homes by 2036. 

The document provides guidance for suburban residential developments, development in the borough's four 'areas of focused intensification' and extensions and alterations to homes across the borough.

The Croydon local plan defines areas of focused intensification as "areas with established infrastructure but relatively low density and the potential to accommodate a significant increase in residential development".

The council added that the SPD also includes technical design guidance that "seeks to limit negative impact and frame opportunities where increased densities can enhance and bring benefit to communities".

The SPD, which has been published for consultation, says that it "should be used by residents, developers, builders and agents including architects and planning consultants in shaping development proposals, and will assist in making decisions on planning applications and inform the council’s pre-planning application service".

The document states that about one third of the Croydon local plan target "will be delivered through small scale suburban developments (windfall developments)". 

It adds: "In Croydon there are a number of low density and suburban locations which have been identified as having the capacity and ability to accommodate additional housing, benefiting new and existing residents." 

The SPD goes on to say: "It must however be recognised that delivering approximately 10,000 homes in the suburban places of Croydon will result in an evolution of the existing character of suburban streets and that the increased density of homes can impact on the amenity of existing residents if not properly managed. 

"This guide provides technical design guidance that seeks to both limit any negative impact on places, including the amenity of existing residents, and frame opportunities where increased densities can present significant opportunities to enhance places and bring benefits to communities."

The council has also published a revised statement of community involvement, which, it says, details how the authority "will engage with stakeholders in preparing planning documents and carrying out management functions" and provide support on the preparation and adoption of neighbourhood plans.

People can make representations on both documents until 15 October.

Policies requiring councils to plan for higher densities are included in both the draft New London Plan and the revised NPPF.

Paul Scott, the council's cabinet lead for regeneration and planning, said: "Croydon will undergo some major changes in the future to provide the additional homes our growing community needs. 

"The Suburban Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document and Statement of Community Involvement are important documents that will help shape how the borough will look in future."

Further details on both documents can be found here.

A session on  densification, including the opportunities and challenges it presents, and featuring Heather Cheesbrough, Croydon's director of planning, takes place at this year's Planning for Housing 2018 conference.

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