Friday 12 September 2008

Plus Ca Change

Property Week reports that Croydon Council has finally admitted defeat in its long running battle to impose an arena on Croydon, and said that "it is eager to work with Stanhope and Schroders" the developers of the rival Gateway site in East Croydon.

The council's agreement with rival developer Arrowcroft terminated at midnight last night.

The council and Arrowcroft had six weeks to mount a legal challenge to the Secretary of State's refusal of planning permission. Having not made this challenge, the agreement terminated last night and the council is now talking to Stanhope and Schroders about taking their rival 1m sq ft Ruskin Square scheme forwards.

Councillor Tim Pollard said:

"By there being no challenge to the public inquiry decisions, the opportunity exists for the Stanhope Schroder partnership to make its mark in Croydon through the early development of the site.

What matters now is building a positive relationship with Stanhope so that their scheme can be taken forward on what is the most prestigious building site in the town.

The Gateway site has stood empty for far too long – a real blot on our landscape and an unwelcome sight for every train passenger passing through East Croydon. Now that planning issues have finally been resolved there is no longer any obstacle preventing its redevelopment.

A chapter has closed and a new one opened – with a great opportunity for Stanhope to do something special for Croydon. Our early talks with the developer will aim at achieving a happy ending


The Gateway site has stood empty for far too long – a real blot on our landscape and an unwelcome sight for every train passenger passing through East Croydon.

I am glad Councillor Pollard agrees with me, I have been saying that for years now (see and this site).

The irony being that had the council not tied themselves to the mast of Arrowcroft's sinking ship, and thus delayed the development becuase of their CPO and public hearings etc, the site would have been developed by now.

The council are the cause of the delay.

Wednesday 20 August 2008

Wasting Our Money

I recommend that you read the Croydon Guardian story about how Croydon Council have wasted our money on their unloved arena plan.

"The council reached an agreement with Arrowcroft in May 2006 that it would cover the costs of a compulsory purchase order for the Croydon Gateway site and then claim the money back from the company at a later date.

A Croydon Guardian investigation can reveal that the council has issued Arrowcroft with six invoices from September 2007 to July 2008, totalling £168,727.30 in legal fees and advice from its own chartered surveyors. £78,000 remains unpaid.

Under the agreement, Arrowcroft promised to pay the council 'all CPO costs incurred by the Council. . . within 20 working days of receiving a fully itemised invoice'.

Despite this, Arrowcroft took 305 and 171 days respectively to pay two of the bills.

Croydon Council does not appear to have charged the company any interest for the late payments

The council state:

"In line with other local authorities, the council does not charge interest on sundry debtors."

Why do they not charge interest on late debts?

That is normal commercial practice, given that the council is verging on bankruptcy it needs every penny it can make.

Why are the terms of credit so lax?

Is the relationship between the council and Arrowcroft a little too close for comfort?

Tuesday 19 August 2008

Guardian News

Read this week's Croydon Guardian, there is going to be a very interesting story about this subject.

Friday 8 August 2008

The Final Nail in The Coffin

The Final Nail in The Coffin
The final nail in the coffin of Croydon council's plans to impose an arena development on Croydon has been firmly hammered in.

The Croydon Guardian reports:

"Croydon council has been thwarted in its plans to force the Croydon Gateway developers to sell its land.

Hazel Blears, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has rejected Croydon Council’s request for a compulsory purchase order on the land next to East Croydon station.

It effectively spells the end of any hopes held by the council-backed developer Arrowcroft to build a 12,500 seat arena on the site

Property Week also covers the same story:

"The Government has given Schroders and Stanhope the green light to commence the Croydon Gateway development, alongside East Croydon railway station.

Hazel Blears, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has refused to confirm Croydon Council's compulsory purchase order on the site, which is owned by Schroders and Stanhope.

Last week she refused consent for a development scheme centred on a 12,500-seat arena, proposed by Croydon Council and developers Arrowcroft.

William Hill, managing director of Schroders Investment Managers, said:

'We are delighted that the Secretary of State has declined to support the CPO. We argued at the planning inquiry that the arena scheme was not appropriate for this site and we are pleased to see that the Secretary of State agrees that it does not justify taking our land

I personally am delighted, it is a victory for the citizens of Croydon.

However, I would remind people that Dingwall Road has remained untouched for years because of the intransigence of the previous and current council administrations. Had they not pushed for an unwanted and poorly thought through arena project, the site would have been developed by now.

We have not been well served by either the Tory or Labour administrations.

Those who pushed this scheme should resign, now!

Thursday 31 July 2008


Breaking News

"In a decision announced this morning communities secretary Hazel Blears has rejected the council-backed Arrowcroft arena, homes and offices scheme planned for the Gateway site at East Croydon."


A lot of good people put in much time, effort and energy into opposing this scheme, today is their day.

Let us not forget that had the council not tried to push through this unwanted scheme, the eyesore that is Dingwall Road would have been redeveloped by now.

The people who have suffered because of the council's arrogance are the citizens of Croydon. It is now time for high level resignations from the council.

A copy of the full decision can be downloaded here: Decision

Wednesday 30 July 2008

Gateway Decision Update

I am advised that Hazel Blears, in her wisdom, is posting the decision by Royal Mail today and won't tell anyone the result until they have all received it in the post.

Has she not heard of email?


I see that Labour, which foisted the unwanted arena project on Croydon in the first place, has now had a change of heart.

Pathetic hypocrites!

"Tony Newman, leader of the Labour party, said: 'I think if we are going to have an arena, a series of questions need to be asked.

Things have changed since we first considered this 10 years ago.

We have now got the O2 arena and in the current economic crisis is there still the money to build one?

Any development must incorporate the modernisation of East Croydon station'

Source Croydon Guardian

Wednesday 23 July 2008

D Day

Next Wednesday (30 July) is Decision Day for the public inquiry into the arena development on Dingwall Road.

Given the departure of Goodwin, director of planning and transportation at Croydon Borough Council, my guts tell me that it will be a victory for the citizens of Croydon and a defeat for the council's plans to impose an arena on us.

I could of course be 100% wrong!

Wednesday 16 July 2008

Our Non Listening Council

With very few weeks left before the results of the public inquiry, Stanhope made a full presentation to the Shadow Cabinet on 30 June.

It was, I understand, well received with extensive questioning on all aspects of the scheme including; housing mix, the new Warehouse Theatre, public performance space, build time, committed financing and the future of Fairfield Halls.

This is in stark contrast to the ruling Conservative administration of Croydon, who have refused a similar offer from Stanhope.

Wednesday 9 July 2008

Leaving The Sinking Ship?

Is it possible that the resignation of Phillip Goodwin, director of planning and transportation at Croydon Borough Council, is a straw in the wind indicating that Croydon Council will fail in their bid to build an Arena in Croydon?

Property Week states:

"Goodwin has also been a key backer of Arrowcroft's arena-led plans for the Croydon Gateway."

I hope that is an augury of the future.

Thursday 29 May 2008

A Response - Sort Of!

It is now three months to the day since I first wrote to the Secretary of State, Hazel Blears.

Having sent several reminders, and having cajoled Boris Johnson into prodding Ms Blears to answer, I finally have been sent an apology for the delay and a response (not from Ms Blears of course).

Here is the apology:

"Dear Mr Frost,

Please find attached a reply to your letter of 28 February to the Secretary of State. Please accept my apologies for this late acknowledgement. At the time you wrote, this case was being dealt with on behalf of the Secretary of State by the Planning Inspectorate and your letter was accordingly forwarded to them

However, the astute amongst you will notice that the response (see below) does not answer any of the questions that I raised in my letter of February.

I suppose I should be grateful for at least receiving a response!

"Dear Mr Frost

Town and Country Planning Act 1990 – Section 77

Land adjoining East Croydon Station, George Street, Dingwall Road, Lansdowne Road, Croydon – Application by Arrowcroft Ltd

I am writing to confirm receipt of your letter to the Secretary of State, dated 28 February 2008, about the above planning application.

The Inspector's report and recommendations are currently being considered by the Secretary of State before she proceeds to issue her decision on this case. The contents of your letter have been noted and will be taken into consideration.

Yours sincerely,


Case Officer

Thursday 8 May 2008

Stanhope and Schroders Win Croydon Appeal

Croydon Council said today it would not contest an appeal lodged by Stanhope and Schroders over non-determination of its planning application to redevelop part of the controversial Croydon Gateway site.

In December 2006 Stanhope and Schroders’ Croydon Gateway Limited Partnership submitted an application for a residential-led scheme to the north of Lansdowne Road.

The Council said it had not had time to determine the planning application as there were some unresolved matters but it was ‘not in the public interest’ to contest the non-determination appeal lodged in February.

A spokesman for Stanhope and Schroders said the decision meant that its planning permission for the entire site was in place "We are very happy with this decision and we hope that what this will mean is that we can engage with Croydon Council on a site that can be delivered."

Source Property Week.

This of course means that if Arrowcroft and the Council were to win the CPO, the price that they would have to pay for the site with planning permission would most as likely be out of their reach.

Thursday 24 April 2008

A Question of Money

Here is an extract of a press release made by Arrowcroft (the company pushing for the arena) on 9th December 2003:


Date of issue: 9th December 2003

Croydon Arena to be UK 'centre of excellence' for Paralympic sport
On Monday 8th December, StadiVarios Croydon Limited, the British Paralympic Association (BPA) and Arrowcroft Group Plc signed a symbolic Memorandum of Understanding, through which the proposed Croydon Arena will be established as the prime UK venue for regional, national and international Paralympic events.

StadiVarios Croydon Limited has an agreement with Arrowcroft to build, own and operate the 12,500 state-of-the-art multi-use sport and entertainment arena, the centrepiece of the £400 million redevelopment proposed by Arrowcroft, the developer appointed by the London Borough of Croydon, for the strategically important Croydon Gateway site adjoining East Croydon railway station......

Patrick Nally, of StadiVarios Croydon Limited, said:

'The Croydon Arena will be designed to the highest specification with full provision within the architectural designs for disabled access to all public areas. We hope the BPA’s association with the Croydon Arena will be a long and fruitful one.'

Now here is an extract of article in The Independent (18th March 2001) about Patrick Nally:

"The man behind a much-hyped new musical about Manchester United football club left a trail of debts from his previous theatrical production, the Independent on Sunday has discovered.

A media and TV production company controlled by Patrick Nally, a smooth-talking sports promoter turned theatre producer, is being pursued through the courts for hundreds of thousands of pounds in unpaid bills

Are the council really so sure that the arena, were it ever to be built is financially viable?

Tuesday 22 April 2008

A Large Slice of Fudge

I wrote to Boris Johnson's campaign website, on 16 April, asking:

"Where do you stand on the Arena proposals that the council is trying to ram through?"

They answered today, and served me a large slice of fudge:

"Dear Mr Frost

Thank you very much for emailing the Back Boris campaign, and please excuse the delay in getting back to you.

With less than 14 days to go until the polls open in the Mayoral contest it is not possible for Mr Johnson and his team to look at each such issue that is raised with him and the team. Boris also can't comment on the specific project as it may well end up being passed to the Mayor's office for a formal decision. I do urge you to get in touch after May 1st when Boris may be able to look into the matter in more detail. If there is anything else you would like to bring to our attention, please do not hesitate to get back in contact with us. It is vital that we hear from Londoners about the issues that matter to them.

Yours sincerely

The Policy Team

Ken was able to give an opinion on it!

The Real Scandal of The Arena

This comment has just been posted on Croydon Is Crap.

I would be very grateful if the person who posted it could get in touch with me.


"My company were the originators of the Stanhope Schroder scheme having secured options on the site in 1976 in open competition. The site was originally due to be developed as a Millennium Site with completion in 2000 - what a joke.

After years of frustration the Council became seduced by an individual promoting an Arena as a so called expert. This same individual has tried unsuccessfully in other UK towns and been thrown out of most of them. To this day, he has no experience of building or running an Arena.

We fully investigated the Arena concept and had it potentially valued by one of the world's top consultants. In a nutshell, the Arena would cost £80m to build (ex land cost) and be worth £5m. on completion. There is no possibility of a privately funded Arena being built in a town centre anywhere in the UK - all others in Europe have had public funding and/or free land. American Arenas are supported by Ice Hockey which is their national sport.

It is arguable that through their intransigence Croydon Council have cost borough residents (of whom I am one) £millions in lost revenue from business rates on this site.

After spending £2m. and seven years on this site, we sold to Stanhope/Schroder as we were 'losing the will to live'

Friday 18 April 2008

Thanks Boris

My thanks to Boris Johnson for stepping in to give Hazel Blears a nudge re her non reply to my letter of the 28th February:

"The Rt Hon Hazel Blears MP
Secretary of State
Dept. for Communities & Local Government
Eland House, Bressenden Place
London SW1E 5DU 18th April, 2008

Dear Hazel,

Ken Frost

Ken Frost has asked me to point out that he has had no reply to his letter to you dated 28th February, 2008, a copy of which I enclose. Could I ask, in the absence of his own MP, that you reply to him directly at ***.

Yours sincerely,


Tuesday 15 April 2008

Ken Blasts Arena Plans II

Ken Livingstone asked:

"Who needs an arena which will often be empty. Does anyone seriously believe that the Rolling Stones will come and perform in an arena that small?"

Source Croydon Guardian.

Friday 11 April 2008

Ken Blasts Arena Plans

Ken Livingstone spoke at the Croydon Business/BID Candidate hustings, and included a section on the Arena.

He said that the Arena was a wasted opportunity for Croydon, and a waste of a fantastic site for jobs and homes without all the transport problems.

Ken then went on to blame Croydon council, both the current administration and the previous one, for its obsession with this unwanted development.

I couldn't agree with him more!

Monday 7 April 2008

Slow Response

Sent to Hazel Blears today:

"Dear Ms Blears

Please advise as to when you will respond to my letter sent via email and snail mail on 28 February re the Croydon CPO.

I have yet to receive any acknowledgement.

Thank you.

Kind regards


Croydon Against The Arena

Friday 7 March 2008

Terror Threat Ignored

The Croydon Advertiser reports that Chief Inspector Phil Willis, in charge of Croydon town centre policing, has warned that neither Croydon council nor Arrowcroft are taking the terror threat arising from their misguided plans for the construction of an arena seriously.

Chief Insp Willis wrote to the planning inspector:

"This venue may be vulnerable to terrorist attack.

Croydon Police reiterate the need to work closely with the counter terrorist security advisor to ensure that this issue is fully addressed as the development progresses

Arrowcroft seemingly is not obliged to liaise with the Met's security advisor, and no contact has been made with them.

Chief Insp Willis added:

"I was disappointed that most of the points made in previous submissions have not been included as conditions for the developers, or obligations under the planning scheme, or covered in response from the developers."

This provides further evidence, as if it were needed, that the arena scheme has not been properly thought through; it will fail.

Monday 3 March 2008

Croydon Council Stalling

In a particularly pathetic attempt to slow the development of The Gateway site down, and favour their preferred project submitted by Arrowcroft, Croydon Council have been stalling on making a decision about the planning application submitted by Stanhope Schroders (the owners of the site) in December 2006.

Stanhope and Schroders have now lodged an appeal against the council.

David Camp, chief executive of Stanhope, and William Hill, director of property at Schroders, is quoted in Property Week as saying:

"Stanhope and Schroders already have planning permission, a fully assembled site and funding in place to commence work on the redevelopment of the Croydon Gateway main site - called Ruskin Square.

It is extremely frustrating to find ourselves in an appeal situation once again particularly when the development in question will deliver the much needed regeneration of a key site and additional affordable housing to Croydon in line with Council policy

Croydon Council, by their actions (or rather their "inactions"), are demonstrating yet again that they are not acting in the best interests of the citizens of Croydon.

The Gateway site, had it not been for the obstacles put up by Croydon Council would have been well on the way to being developed by now.

Friday 29 February 2008


Further to my earlier article about the letter from Berwin Leighton Paisner (Arrowcroft's lawyers), informing me that the Secretary of State had extended the deadline for making representations in respect of Arrowcroft's further environmental submission from 15 February to 17 March.

It seems that Berwin Leighton Paisner have made a "snafu" in their letter. They refer to the revised deadline (17 March) twice. However, in the final paragraph in bold print they state:

"If you wish to make any representations on the further environmental information you should do so in writing to the Planning Inspectorate...before 15 February 2008..."

The 15th of February is of course the original deadline for submissions, and ten days before the date of the letter sent out by Berwin Leighton Paisner.

It seems that Berwin Leighton Paisner are prone to making errors and mistakes.

The question is, have they made any other errors and mistakes?

Thursday 28 February 2008

Letter To Hazel Blears

Submitted to Hazel Blears today:

"Right Honourable Hazel Blears MP
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Planning Division
Government Office for London
9th Floor, Riverwalk House
157-161 Millbank
LondonSW1P 4RR

28 February 2008

Dear Ms Blears,

Subject London Borough of Croydon (Gateway Site) Compulsory Purchase Order 2007

I have received a letter (dated 25 February 2008) from Berwin Leighton Paisner, solicitors for Arrowcroft Ltd, in respect of Arrowcroft’s further environmental information submitted to you on 24 January 2008. They state that the deadline for submitting objections to Arrowcroft’s revised/new data has been extended to 17 March 2008.

I wish to formally object that, despite the fact that the public inquiry into the CPO has officially ended, Arrowcroft are still being allowed to submit revised/altered information:

· This is outwith the time limit of the inquiry

· It is my, and indeed many other residents’, understanding that once the inquiry ended no further information could/should be submitted

· Berwin Leighton Paisner, Arrowcroft’s solicitors, are seemingly setting the timetable and deadlines for objections

· Berwin Leighton Paisner, and by definition Arrowcroft, appear to be acting on your behalf

· The additional information being submitted after the end of the inquiry, and onus to object to it, is confusing to the residents of Croydon (myself included) who are negatively impacted by Arrowcroft’s plans. We have no specific legal expertise, and trust you to act impartially.

I have the following questions:

1. Who is running this inquiry, you or Arrowcroft?

2. Given the ongoing bombardment of information and changes by Arrowcroft, how can lay people possibly keep track or indeed understand what is happening?

3. Given the ongoing changes of information and revised deadlines for objections, how can we possibly keep track of the process that is being followed by you in trying to come to a decision wrt the CPO?

4. Has the application been altered?

5. Why is Arrowcroft being allowed to set the deadlines?

In my opinion the independence and impartiality of the inquiry is being severely, and openly, compromised by Arrowcroft’s and Berwin Leighton Paisner’s actions.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you in advance.

Yours sincerely,


Croydon Against The Arena

cc Deborah Tobin – Planning Inspectorate
Andrew Pelling MP

Wednesday 27 February 2008

Deadline Extended

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP (Arrowcroft's lawyers) have written to me, and other objectors to the Arena, to advise that the Secretary of State has extended the deadline for making representations wrt Arrowcroft's additional environmental information (submitted 25th January) to the 17th of March.

Monday 18 February 2008

The Theatres Trust

15 February 2008
Ms Deborah Tobin
The Planning Inspectorate
4/04 Kite Wing
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Temple Quay
Bristol BS1 6PN

Dear Ms Tobin,

Town and Country Planning Act 1990 – Section 77 Application by Arrowcroft Limited. Site at land adjoining East Croydon Station, George Street, Dingwell Road and Lansdowne Road, Croydon Application ref: APP/L5240/V/1198485 Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment)(England and Wales) Regulations 1999

London Borough of Croydon (Land West of East Croydon Station, the Gateway Site) Compulsory Purchase Order 2007

The Theatres Trust was sent a CD on 25 January 2008 of information which responds to comments and criticisms of the Environmental Statement (dated 2007) made by objectors to the planning application. I am writing to express our concern over proposals for the replacement for the Croydon Warehouse Theatre (WT).

The Theatres Trust is The National Advisory Public Body for Theatres and a statutory consultee on planning applications affecting land on which there is a theatre. This applies to all theatre buildings, old and new, in current use, in other uses, or disused. It was established by The Theatres Trust Act 1976 'to promote the better protection of theatres'. Our main objective is to safeguard theatre use, or the potential for such use, but we also provide expert advice on design, conservation, property and planning matters to theatre operators, local authorities and official bodies.

The Theatres Trust has no confidence in the additional information supplied following the Public Inquiry and does not consider that the proposals put forward guarantee a proper replacement for the Croydon Warehouse Theatre. The referred plans are inadequate in that there are no existing and proposed sections or plans for the theatre and therefore it is difficult to assess the integral design or whether the theatre will be fit for purpose. Theatres are very complex buildings technically and do need to be very carefully planned both inside and out. Furthermore, we would need to be certain that safeguards are in place to secure the sustainability of the theatre set out in a Section 106 Agreement.

We are deeply concerned about the suggestion on page 39 (S12.5 P12.51) of WSP's Response that 'the relocation of the WT will be dependant on agreeing lease terms and Theatre to relocate, fit out and operate a replacement theatre and the production of a business plan demonstrating to Arrowcroft's satisfaction that would be able to operate a theatre within the development on a viable basis.' This clause would make the prospect of the Warehouse Theatre moving to new premises virtually impossible.

The Warehouse Theatre or indeed any other theatre operator would never be able to prove that such a business would be viable particularly where additional capital money would be required for fit-out. Small independent theatre companies have very tight margins and work for the cultural benefit of the local community. They rely on public funding from bodies such as the Art Council Lottery Fund, the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Big Lottery, the RDA or the local authority. Funders require evidence of need to be demonstrated by catchment and competition analysis, public benefit, social, economic and environmental impact, and evidence that stakeholders' views have been taken on board through consultation.

Furthermore we note that a separate application for the Warehouse Theatre would be required and that it is only Arrowcroft who have to be satisfied that the theatre can operate on a viable basis. With so many indeterminable outcomes the Trust fails to see how a replacement theatre would meet conditions as required by Arrowcroft. In addition Arrowcroft appears to put all the risk onto the theatre but does not accept any responsibility or offer any compensation for the environmental or operational conditions that would be imposed by its development and which would adversely affect the delivery of a viable business plan.

Without clear plans planning permission and fair provisions with a Section 106 The Theatres Trust continues to oppose the application.

Yours sincerely,

Mark J Price
Planning and Architecture Adviser

The Theatres Trust is the National Advisory Public Body for Theatres, protecting theatres for everyone.

A list of the trustees can be viewed here.

Friday 15 February 2008

Canning and Clyde Road Residents Association

Attention: Deborah Tobin
The Planning Inspectorate
4/04 Kite Wing
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Temple Quay
13 February 2008

Dear Ms Tobin

APP / L52040 / V / 06 / 1198485
Application by Arrowcroft Limited in respect of a proposed development at land adjoining East Croydon Station
Notice of Submission of Further Information to an Environmental Statement

We have been informed by Berwin Leighton Paisner that we have an opportunity to comment upon the Further Information to an Environmental Statement for the important East Croydon Gateway site. As before, we are sending this objection on behalf of Park Hill Residents Association, Morland Park Residents Association, H.O.M.E. Residents Association and our own Association. This represents over 4,000 households in the vicinity of the proposed development. We are aware of strong opposition to the applicant’s scheme by other residents who do not have the representation of an association.

Our comments in this letter do not repeat anything we said in our letter of 11 August 2007 with reference to the Planning Application nor anything in the Canning & Clyde Road Residents Association letter of 18 August with reference to the Compulsory Purchase Order. We would ask that the comments in all three letters and supporting documentation be taken into account by the Inspector and Secretary of State.

Our comments are restricted to the Transport Assessment and Crowd Management Strategy sections of the revised statement.

1. Transport Assessment

1.1 The revised Transport Assessment states that the mass transport system has enough spare capacity to accommodate the peak hour of patrons arriving at East Croydon for an event at the Arena on a Monday to Friday. It only shows that there is spare capacity on trams from Wellesley and Lebanon Gardens or on trains from South Croydon, Selhurst and Norwood Junction. This is not adequate. The Transport Assessment needs to demonstrate that the transport system has spare capacity for the whole of the journey that is required to be made. In the evening peak hour there is no or very little spare capacity on trains leaving Clapham Junction for East Croydon or on trams from Wimbledon. This means that the usable spare capacity available for Arena patrons on trains from

Clapham Junction and trams from Wimbledon has been substantially overstated and indicates a need to increase train and tram services. It is our understanding that there is no spare track capacity to increase train services or trams available to increase tram services.

1.2 Patrons arriving for evening events at the Arena by car will be travelling into Croydon at a time when the main travel demand is out of Croydon. Most roads, except those such as the Mitcham Road, where peak travel demand is similar in both directions, will have some spare capacity but traffic congestion will be increased at junctions such as Purley Cross, Lombard Roundabout and Fiveways. Congestion at junctions has only been considered in the immediate vicinity of East Croydon but the impact of the Arena may be more serious on certain junctions further afield. This issue needs to be considered.

1.3 There is no comparison for door-to-door journey time between car and mass transport (if available) for homeward journeys after 2300 hours and no evidence that there is adequate spare capacity on all southbound trains after 2300 hours on a Friday night to demonstrate that mass transport is a reasonable alternative to the car.

Arena patrons are likely to want to get home without having to hang around too long and therefore leave en masse. There are likely to be severe capacity problems in and around East Croydon Station as people leave.

The simultaneous egress of large numbers of cars from any car park will be a slow, noisy and polluting process. It may well deter motorists from using the car parks again on their next visit to the Arena and will encourage them to park in surrounding roads instead.

After customers to public transport have queued and been subjected to stewards with loudhailers it may well make the use of cars seem more appealing for a subsequent visit.

1.4 The distribution of arrivals by time and the modal split for patrons arriving for events at the Arena are all based on those found at the inner suburban O2 Arena. There is no evidence provided to show that these distributions are valid for Croydon. The overstatement of capacity available for Arena patrons arriving by tram and train indicated in para 1.1 above indicates that the proportion arriving by car is likely to be understated.

Should evening events at the Arena cause mass transport to overload or the road network to gridlock, the prosperity of the town centre will be jeopardised together with the attractiveness of the town as a residential location.

The developer assumes that parking restrictions will be enforced (against fierce local opposition) on surrounding roads and that patrons arriving by car will park in designated car parks as this will prove cheaper. The car parks mentioned are all privately owned and the Council has no control over the pricing. The Council only controls four very small car parks in Central Croydon.

The Fairfield car park is as close as the Allders and Whitgift car parks, with better pedestrian links (i.e. avoiding subways) and more readily accessible by vehicles from the A232. There is nothing more quickly guaranteed to kill Fairfield than to deprive the car borne audience space in the underground car park which is both (relatively) safe and convenient; why should the existing audience be shunted off to somewhere else? The reverse policy should apply (i.e. very high parking charges unless one is a Fairfield/Ashcroft patron).

1.5 The responsibility for procuring an adequate train service lies with the Department of Transport. The Southern Railway does not have grounds to object as their franchise expires in 2009 which is before the Arena can open (para 18.7.27).

1.6 As the tram stops are outside the station, patrons leaving Arena events may well choose to access them along Dingwall Road. There would need to be crowd management on Dingwall Road, as non-Arena bus passengers for routes which stop in Dingwall Road would then prefer to use Dingwall Road stops rather than East Croydon Interchange stops to reduce the risk of being left behind.

2. Crowd Management Strategy

2.1 The Crowd Management Strategy only defines responsibilities. It does not give any indication of the controls needed to facilitate the free movement of buses and trams along Dingwall Road and over East Croydon bridge when patrons leave an event at the Arena.

2.2 The author of the Croydon Management Strategy does not appear to be familiar with East Croydon Station and its surroundings. All three island platforms can be, and are, served by both northbound and southbound trains so segregation of patrons into northbound and southbound is not practical.

2.3 The tram stops are outside the station which means that people wishing to reach them would use Dingwall Road.

2.4 There are normally queues for buses and taxis at East Croydon Station in the late evening even when bus and train services are running well. Further crowding is liable to occur when services are disrupted.

2.5 In 6.1.1 a pedestrian travel time of approximately 3.5 minutes indicates too short a time for any significant crowd dispersal of thousands of pedestrians. Only a much longer walk than this would work.

2.6 There is no mention of how the co-ordination is to take place of the control of customers into the Station using the exit ramp from the Plaza with those using the main entrance into East Croydon Station.

2.7 There is no mention of crowd control for those congregating to await coaches at the end of an event.

2.8 The developer does not consider pedestrian noise (with or without ‘binge drinking’) outside the immediate site. No account is taken of people returning to their cars in residential streets late at night.

2.9 Showsec state that the Police will be responsible for the crowd outside the Arena site. Has anyone asked the Police if they have sufficient resources to do this? Who will meet the cost?

Finally we note that many of the developer’s submissions of material for the Planning Inquiry have been late and have had to be revised when challenged.

Yours sincerely

Anne Bridge
Secretary, Canning and Clyde Road Residents Association

Also on behalf of Park Hill Residents Association, Morland Park Residents Association, H.O.M.E Residents Association and the Croydon Transport Focus Group

Monday 28 January 2008

Another Bite of The Cherry

I understand that Arrowcroft's Solicitors (Berwin Leighton Paisner) are sending out to various parties another document, attempting to bolster Arrowcroft's case for the arena, which they intend to submit to the Secretary of State.

It is from Showsec about Crowd Management Strategy, and the hard copy is accompanied by a CD.

Unfortunately for Arrowcroft the CD seemingly contains numerous errors, and is accompanied by an errata slip.

The package makes much of the staggered arrival of spectators before events, but ignores that fact that people will leave afterwards en masse (particularly, late at night).

Whilst they are allowed to send it to the Secretary of State, the inquiry inspector will not look at it now that the inquiry is over.

In other words, it is a waste of time and effort.

This act of desperation by Arrowcroft appears to be a last ditched attempt to plug holes in their case.

Those who take a second bite of the cherry, need to beware that they don't swallow the stone.

Thursday 17 January 2008

D Day

A decision on Croydon's Gateway site will be made by the summer, the planning inspectorate has announced.

The secretary of state will decide on, or before July 30, as to which developer (Arrowcroft or Stanhope) gets to build on the land already owned by Stanhope (which also has planning permission).

Congratulations to Croydon council for dragging this sorry farce on for so long, and for allowing the blight that the citizens of Croydon have had to suffer to continue.

The Gateway site, but for the council, would have been developed years ago.