General Election 2019: Lib Dems and UKIP agree over Croydon housing

By Samuel Draper
December 10 2019, 10.45

It’s rare the Liberal Democrats and UKIP see eye-to-eye. 

But in Croydon South, national foes are united. 

Anna Jones, a vocal Liberal Democrat and Twitter user standing in her second successive general election, and UKIP candidate Kathleen Garner, who is absent from social media entirely, are both in agreement on one issue: housing. 

Mrs Jones said: “People struggle to find great but affordable places to live. 

“There’s a lot of anger against the Labour-run Croydon Council in the south of the borough because they feel there’s a council strategy to replace family homes with build flats. 

“Knocking down family homes is not appropriate. They’re changing the environment. I’m not against building but it shouldn’t be flats, it should be family houses and gardens. 

“If you are tougher on applications that come through, you get better applications. If you start refusing things, they come back with better designs. Otherwise there’s no impetus for developers to make more appropriate plans. 

“Locally, we should get a reputation for demanding the best in terms of design.” 

A particular set of plans that continually make local headlines is the Purley skyscraper.

Plans for a 17-storey block of flats, along with two other buildings, were first approved by Croydon Council in 2016. 

However, three years of wrangling have left the plans for the creation of 220 flats on derelict land up in the air, with both major parties facing a share of the criticism for the proposals. 

December 3, 2019 marked the start of a four-day public inquiry into the plans. 

Locals expressed concerns about building work and the lack of proposed parking spaces for the buildings. 

Mrs Garner said: “Major parties are ignoring the fact concrete is replacing grass. 

“The pleasant green nature of south Croydon is rapidly disappearing, and the worst excrescence will be the tower block in Purley. 

Chris Philp, Conservative MP from 2015-19, said: “I remain disappointed and shocked by the council’s decision to contemptuously ignore the wishes of residents when it comes to Purley skyscraper.

“I hope that everyone who fought so hard against it before will continue to do so. I will fight the skyscraper again.”

Read more about what’s important to south west London constituencies in our 24-page General Election preview special.

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