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Tips and Guidelines for Planning Applications in Riddlesdown Updated 22/5/23
Riddlesdown is under threat from developers and owners who wish to profit from the over development of the area, from back land development and more recently, demolishing detached and semi detached houses to build flats and sometimes houses in gardens. We also abut a large area of green belt wood and farmland, which national house builder Bovis in 2016, have signed an “option agreement” with the land owner. Under current planning laws/government policy, all this green belt agriculture and woodland is safe from development.
All planning applications will be considered by Croydon Council against the Croydon Local Plan: 2018, as part of the borough's development plan. This plan was adopted by the Council on 27 February 2018.
Croydon Council are reviewing their CLP 2018 and this was an update on 11 April 2023 from the Council;
“We are contacting you to inform you of recent and future progress on the Croydon Local Plan Review.
The March meeting of LB Croydon’s Cabinet approved a new programme for the preparation of the Local Plan Review. This document, the Local Development Scheme (LDS), sets out the documents that make up the Local Development Framework, and the future steps in updating it. The Cabinet Report can be found here and the LDS can be found here. The key future dates are:
Croydon Council are governed by planning laws and they take advice from their professional planners. Planning controls are used to arbitrate in these situations. Deciding to grant or refuse a particular application requires various competing needs to be weighed against each other and each case is usually based on merit. However, this must be done so that the area is not overdeveloped making Riddlesdown too urban. Generally most applications for residential dwellings in Riddlesdown are extensions to existing buildings. However, we do very occasionally come across new larger developments but we are now experiencing more applications for flats.
The Planning Officers also refer to policies in the London Plan 2021
The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 states that development, which includes all new buildings, building extensions, changes of use and residential conversions, requires planning permission.
However, for some house extensions, planning permission will not be required for some alterations and extensions to your house if they don't exceed a specified cubic capacity. However, there are limitations as to size, which vary depending on the type of house, its location and the situation of the property. For example, more stringent limitations apply within conservation areas and particular rules apply to porches. Likewise, many works within the property boundary (curtilage), such as garden sheds and detached garages are permitted, subject to limitations relating to their size and position. Householders have also been given more leeway in building extensions without planning permission with the introduction of various General Permitted Development Orders. To give an indication of what can now be built, view an interactive guidance for householders on the Planning Portal website
Also since 30 May 2013, the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (as amended) Schedule 2, part 1 (Class A.1(ea)) secondary legislation was laid before Parliament which increased the size of single-
However this legislation above has now been made permanent and The Town and Country Planning (Permitted Development, Advertisement and Compensation Amendments) (England) Regulations 2019 came into effect from 30 May 2019.
The size limits have doubled from 4 metres to 8 metres for detached houses, and from 3 metres to 6 metres for all other houses. These new larger extensions (i.e. if they extend between 4 and 8 metres, or between 3 and 6 metres) must go through the following process:
1. A homeowner wishing to build a larger single-
a. a written description of the proposal which includes the length that the extension extends beyond the rear wall of the original house, the height at the eaves and the height at the highest point of the extension
b. a plan of the site, showing the proposed development
c. the addresses of any adjoining properties, including at the rear
d. a contact address for the developer (the householder) and an email address if the developer is happy to receive correspondence by email.
A plan drawn to an identified scale will assist the authority in assessing your development proposal.
2. The local authority may ask for further information if it needs it to make a decision about the impact of the development on the amenity of adjoining properties.
3. The local authority will serve a notice on adjoining owners or occupiers, i.e. those who share a boundary, including to the rear. This will give the address of the proposed development and describe it, including the information in 1(a) above. It will also set out:
a. when the application was received, and when the 42-
b. how long neighbours have to make objections (which must be a minimum of 21 days), and the date by which these must be received
A copy of this notice must also be sent to the developer.
4. If any adjoining neighbour raises an objection within the 21-
No other issues will be considered.
5. The development can go ahead if the local authority notifies the developer in writing either:
a. that as no objections were received from adjoining neighbours it has not been necessary to consider the impact on amenity, or
b. that following consideration, it has decided that the effect on the amenity of adjoining properties is acceptable
Note: restrictions on permitted development for extensions continue to apply.
6. If the local authority does not notify the developer of its decision within the 42-
7. If approval is refused, the developer may appeal.
8. The extension must be built in accordance with the details approved by the local authority (or, if no objections were raised or the local authority has not notified the developer of its decision, the details submitted), unless the local authority agrees any changes in writing.
9. The development must accord with all other relevant limitations and conditions which apply to other rear extensions allowed under permitted development..
These are set out in Class A, and include for example, the requirement that the extension must be constructed using materials of a similar appearance to those used in the construction of the rest of the house.
Further details and full guidance on these changes can be viewed on the Planning Portal website
A document also worth consulting is the National Design Guide (Oct 2019) issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
On 20 July 2021, the Government brought in this revised advice National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF 2021) for all Local Authorities in England and it sets out the Government’s planning policies for and how these are expected to be applied.
Hard surface (primarily for off road parking) situated between a wall forming the principal elevation of a house and highway that exceeds 5sq m, then the hard surface must be made of porous materials or the rainwater directed to a lawn or drain naturally. These regulations apply only to houses and not flats.
However you will NOT need planning permission if a new area, uses permeable or porous materials -
If you are making a new access into the garden across the Council's footpath, then you will need to obtain permission from the Highways Department and pay their costs for a dropped kerb. In some instances, if the new dropped kerb is made onto a main principal road, then planning permission may be required. The Council have also stipulated in 2015 that a householder can no longer have more than one vehicular dropped kerbs to their property (see condition 3 on the application form). This is to minimise the loss of kerbside parking!
If you want to alter or improve your home, put up a building in the garden or build an extension, and you are not sure whether it is permitted, it is best to always check with the Planning Department first on 020 8726 6800 or look at this link.
When a full planning application is submitted, Croydon Council will write to all immediate neighbouring properties (and directly opposite) to the proposed site, if they consider an adjacent property will be influenced by nearby development. However from August 2017, only immediately adjoining owners/occupiers will be notified by letter from the Council. They are no longer posting street notices at the front or at the rear of the site unless it is a ‘major’ application. But if there is no postal address at the rear or the side of the site they will post a street notice. If you don't receive a letter but find out about the planning application from the internet, newspaper, neighbour, the RRA or a site sign, it is still permissible to write and object if you don't like the proposed scheme.
All residential planning applications submitted to the Council in the RRA area are listed weekly, by street name or for nearby non residential and can be viewed from our weekly, or streets planning page.
If you disagree with the improvement/development, write to the Planning Department expressing your reasons (see below for some valid reasons). There is a time limit for comments, usually 21 days after the date the public consultation (the date will be specified on the Council’s website), although they may accept all comments up to the date when a decision is made. However, it is better to raise your concerns sooner, rather than later.
Contact the surrounding neighbours personally, or by flyer/letter to gauge their feeling and/or to gather support. If the general attitude is to resist, then start to form a group and share the work that is involved. Contact the RRA for advice.
The more individual letters the Planning Department receives, the more notice they may take of local opinion before Officers expresses their recommendation to the Planning Committee.
However, a word of warning; Petitions are useful to show the Planners the strength of feeling but they are not always effective. Planners usually take on board the arguments being made against the application and these have the greatest weight. Say 100 people, sign a petition and make the wrong argument. This carries very little weight with the Planners, but one person proposing the right argument carries a lot more weight. It is therefore about the issues. So do your homework and once you have got the right issue(s), then the number of people becomes a factor. Make sure the arguments are clearly stated at the top of the petition.
Croydon Council have two Planning Committee’s. The “Planning Committee”, which deals with larger applications and the “Planning Sub Committee” which deals with smaller, mainly residential schemes. These meeting are usually held every 2 to 4 weeks for each committee.
Most planning applications submitted to Croydon Council are dealt with under “delegated” powers by senior Planning Officers. Usually they either grant, or refuse the application. If Officers are minded to refuse permission, then an application will not be submitted to either of the Planning Committee(s).
Under procedures brought in by the Council to get an application to either of the Planning Committees, residents should note the requirements for the number of objections and timescales; Part 4K – Planning and Planning Sub-
At either the Council's Planning Committee or Planning Sub Committee meeting:
The Chairperson of either of Planning Committee’s will allow only 1 objector and the referring Councillor to speak for a maximum of 3 minutes each, stating their reasons for objecting.
The applicant or their representative, can if they wish put forward their reasons for the application, again for a maximum of 3 minutes.
All parties who wish to address the committee must notify the committee clerk by 4pm on the Tuesday prior to the day of the meeting. Email or telephone should be used for this purpose. This communication should provide the name and contact details (email address and/or phone number) of the intended speaker so that changes in arrangements can be communicated.
On the night of the committee meeting, anyone who has notified the committee clerk that they wish to address the committee must register their attendance at the Town Hall with the committee clerk at least 15 minutes before the meeting starts.
Where more than one objector has registered to speak and the arrangements have not been resolved in advance, the committee clerk will inform the parties involved as they register so that they can decide either who will address the committee or how they will divide up the three minutes allocated to them. Objectors are expected to come to an agreement between themselves on this. Where objectors cannot come to an agreement, the chair will decide who will be accorded the right to speak. Preference will normally be given to those who are potentially most affected by the planning application and particularly those closest to the application site.
All those involved in public speaking are restricted to a verbal presentation only. The distribution of additional material or information to members of the committee is not permitted once the meeting starts. If a speaker, or any other member of the public, wishes to bring material to the committee’s attention they need to either supply it to officers, if it is written material, by noon on the day of committee to include in the Addendum Report (see below for procedures, limitations and deadlines) or send it direct to members before the meeting.
Planning Committee Members and Officers have to abide by the;
You should include as many of the following as appropriate to the planning application (this list is not exhaustive).
Are the proposals in excess of the densities reflected in the adjoining properties? Are the new building(s) being crammed in across the site with a loss of spacing. Is the density out of character with the area? The coalition Government’s NPPF policy in 2012, encouraged a higher density of residential development within existing settlements than might have been considered acceptable a few years ago. This included infilling within existing residential areas. The effect of the development on the character of the neighbourhood has always been and remains, a factor which may lead to the refusal of planning permission, so you and neighbours should not hesitate to raise issues of density and possible overdevelopment of the site as well as the adverse impact which the proposed development might have on the character of the neighbourhood. The London Plan 2021 is also part of Croydon’s development plan and Table 3.1 gives guidance on the Minimum internal space standards for new dwellings, available on this link
2. PTAL (Public Transport Accessibility Level) and Optimising housing potential; Linked to point No 1, Transport for London (TflL) has a standard model which indicates a PTAL rating for all of London. The map can be found on this link and type in the address. The London Plan is also part of Croydon’s development plan, and the guidance for density is on this link (Table 3.2). Riddlesdown is mainly a “suburban” setting. These figures are for guidance only and can be exceeded by Councils. But the applicant should supply good evidence to the Planning Department to support the level of intensification proposed, especially when there is a poor/low PTAL rating of 0 (zero) and 1a and 1b.
3. Bulk, scale and massing:
Will there be loss of character in the area that affects the street scene with the proposed development. If the application is for flats and there are mainly houses in the close proximity, then say so. Usually 'residential development on back garden and back land sites will only be permitted where it respects the character and protects the amenity of adjoining residential areas. The form, layout and site area should respect the existing character'.
4. Parking facilities on the site or on public roads and effect on through traffic:
The development may have insufficient consideration for the number of cars that will be parked at the site or use the public highways. There are detailed rules for calculating the minimum number of parking places and access onto public roads. The Council's CLP 2018 Table 10.1 -
However, the number of parking spaces can also be set in relation to the PTAL rating of the site, which can be up to 1.5 spaces in a suburban area for a very low PTAL rating (0 to 1).
On traffic flows and highway parking and highway safety, the Council will consult their own Highways Engineers, so any objections here need to be detailed and carefully worded and if necessary photographs/detailed surveys supplied, to back up your argument.
A dim view is taken with loss of trees especially mature ones. This includes the consideration of earthworks during the construction. This is usually unacceptable in an area such as Riddlesdown where trees are a major feature in the landscape and should be retained where possible. Some trees on the site may already have Tree Preservation Orders (TPO's) on them. Check with the Planning Department (Tree Section) to see if this is the case.
6. Will you be overlooked (from windows/balconies etc) and have a loss of privacy?
If the development is large or inappropriate with windows/balconies/patios that may overlook adjacent property owners, with a subsequent significant loss of privacy, then say so.
Riddlesdown has much wildlife including many bird, fox, deer, bat, dormouse and badger populations and it is crucial to retain this invaluable habitat that is essential to the survival of wildlife. If there are any wetland nearby then the Great Crested Newt may also be present.
8. Loss of light and overshadowing:
Will the new building take any prescriptive rights of light from any existing doors and windows, particularly to habitable rooms. Will there be extensive loss of sunlight to habitable rooms. If so, say so.
9. Noise and disturbance:
If the application is for a commercial change of use and is next to or close to existing residential dwellings then highlight the possible noise disturbance from the trade use and the additional traffic movement that might take place. Indicate any possible smells that may emanate from the proposed site/application. Note: the Planning Department cannot take into account, the noise or nuisance or disturbance that the building work will cause.
10. Loss of view:
A fair number of buildings in Riddlesdown are built on slopes. One point which could be relevant in planning terms, is the loss of a view. It has been said that “there is no right to a view”. Whilst that is correct in legal terms, it does not mean that the loss of a view is necessarily irrelevant to planning. The enjoyment of a view could be an important part of the residential amenity of a neighbouring property or properties, and its loss might therefore have an adverse impact on the residential amenity of that property or properties. Loss of a view from a public viewpoint might also have a wider impact on a neighbourhood, and such matters ought to be taken into account when they are raised, although the decision can often be at the discretion of the Planning Officer. There is no hard and fast or legal rule here.
11. Croydon Council’s and Government Planning Policies:
And finally, study the Council’s “Croydon Plan” and Government planning policy on the Planning portal website (the links are above in the Introduction). Try and ensure that the proposed development submitted, complies with those policies. If you don’t think it does, then say so.
If the proposed development is acceptable then either support it by writing to the Council's Planning Department, or make a comment on line via the Council's Planning page website, or do nothing.
1. “I don't like the look of the proposed building or structure” -
2. “It will depreciate the value of my property” -
3. “There have been repeated planning applications on the site” – an applicant/owner can make as make applications as they like and multiple applications are quite common. In some respects developers try to 'grind down' local residents', who object to their scheme(s).
4. “The development is purely for financial gain and the dwellings might remain un-
5. “I don’t like the applicant or business”, (unless a previous complaint about noise has been made to the Council). The Planners will also not consider any racial or ethnic origin of the applicant, religious, political, or any other personal vendetta against the applicant, so don’t both mentioning it.
Some other tips from Croydon Council’s website -
The RRA review the planning application, and decision list weekly so the chances are, we will usually have picked up the planning application and posted it on this website.
It is normally the RRA's policy NOT to intervene in disputes between neighbours, or to raise objections to the Council, regarding each and every residential application, unless the Committee consider it will have a detrimental effect on the neighbourhood. This is usually left for adjoining residents to make comments to the Planning Department. However, we are contacted, on a number of occasions by residents asking us to intervene in disputes regarding planning, boundary walls and hedges. We normally refuse this request, as it should be something that neighbours should discuss between themselves. We do NOT give advice to third parties about house purchases and/or associated planning applications.
We only intervene if the RRA Committee considers it is in the best interests of many residents in the locality. If you are thinking of extending your property or erecting a new structure within your garden, then please do discuss and talk it through with your neighbour, as discussions at an early stage can alleviate many problems and the ill feeling that can subsequently develop.
It is the mandate of the RRA, to maintain a watching brief and to ensure that any development merges with, or is complementary to, existing housing or surrounding areas.
If it is a major development or a telecommunications mast, the RRA Committee will consider the application and if necessary write/e-
For the Applicant
Sometimes if Croydon Council refuse a planning application, the applicant or his/her agent have the right of appeal to the Planning Inspector. This appeal normally has to be lodged within 6 months of the Council's decision date. Unfortunately there is no right of appeal for adjoining owner(s), if they disagree with the Council's decision in granting approval to a scheme.
An applicant also has a time limit to appeal if Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) do not determine the application within the statutory time limits. LPAs usually have 8 weeks, (13 weeks for large scale applications, or 16 weeks with an environmental impact assessment) -
The Planning Inspector (based in Bristol) appointed by the Government's Secretary of State, can then decide how the appeal will be heard. In most cases this will be in writing with the Council submitting all the paperwork to the Planning Inspector. If it is a large development then the Planning Inspector may call a Local Public Inquiry normally held in the Croydon Town Hall and this can last a few days or a number of weeks.
If you are not the Applicant
Currently there are no third party rights of appeal through the planning system against a decision of a Local Planning Authority. Therefore, if you have concerns about a planning application and permission is granted, you cannot appeal that decision. Any challenge under current legislation would have to be made outside the planning system through a process called Judicial Review (JR).
A ‘claim for judicial review’ includes a claim to review the lawfulness of a decision, action or failure to act in relation to the exercise of a public function, in this case, a planning decision. The court’s permission to proceed is required in a claim for Judicial Review. A claim for Judicial Review is dealt with by the Administrative Court and if leave to judicially review a planning decision is granted, the Judicial Review will be decided by a judge at the High Court. Since July 2013, an application to Judicial Review a decision must be made within 6 weeks of the decision about which you have a grievance being made.
Leave to proceed with a Judicial Review will not be granted by the Court unless there is evidence that a legal mistake has been made – this might include, for example, that the Local Authority failed to take into account opinions put forward (this does not mean that the Council has to agree with them), that the procedure in dealing with the application was flawed, that a Councillor failed to declare an interest, etc. A Judicial Review will not succeed if it is based solely on a difference of opinion with the decision that has been made. You will also need to show that you have a clear interest in the decision that has been made.
If you think that you may wish to pursue a Judicial Review it is strongly advised that you seek your own legal advice as soon as possible after the decision (about which you are aggrieved) has been made.
For further information on judicial review and the contact details for the Administrative Courts, then go to; http://www.justice.gov.uk/
In some instances, some planning appeals can be “recovered” by the Secretary of State, even where the Planning Inspector has “dismissed” the appeal. This means that the Secretary of State, rather than a Planning Inspector, will rule on them and make the final decision. This is usually only done in cases where the development is of strategic importance, has significant implications for national policy or raises novel issues.
The Secretary of State can sometimes “Call In” an application after a Local Authority has approved it. However, this is very rare occurrence and is usually only for “major” schemes. This happened in 2017, for the 16 storey development in Purley town centre which has been “Called In”. A Planning Inspector is due to hold a Public Inquiry in 2018.
The RRA are aware a number of developers are seeking to purchase houses for re-
The RRA are receiving reports of developers expressing an interest and sending unsolicited offers for properties within Purley & Sanderstead (Riddlesdown), particularly detached houses. A number have already made offers locally and planning permission has been granted by Croydon Council to build flats. These developers are also active in other parts of the Borough of Croydon.
The developers typically want an "option" and will only complete the purchase if planning permission is obtained. Having paid around £5,000 to £10,000 for the option, the developer then funds the planning application process and if successful they have first-
As the RRA currently understands it, if a developer approaches you, then there are some important matters to consider: -
1. The developer may not be "purchasing" the house right now, but generally looking to lock the home owner into a contract that is likely to force a sale in 12 to 18 months time (or longer). Only the developer can walk away from the agreement.
2. They can fail to gain planning permission -
3. The "option" process may create a great deal of inconvenience to the seller. Having taken the “option” payment the developer maybe entitled to force the sale of your house. Even if your circumstances have changed, or you have simply changed your mind once you see how much your neighbours resent the planning proposal.
4. If for any reason you need to unexpectedly sell your house urgently, you will probably be unable to whilst the developer holds the option. You can only wait for the planning process and let the developer decide.
5. We understand that some developers are currently offering a "fixed price" for Purley & Sanderstead houses that is to be paid in 12 to 18 months. You may not benefit from any uplift in the value of your property.
6. Should you be tempted to enter into an option-
7. If one (or both) owners die, then the situation maybe more complex in respect of probate.
8. Are there restrictive covenants on your land? A lot of land in Riddlesdown does have restrictive covenants for the types of houses that can be built in the street, the number of houses in the street and on your plot. Some covenants specifically prohibit the building of flats. We are given to understand that legal opinion received by some adjoining residents to plots that have already been granted planning permission, is that some of these restrictive covenants maybe enforceable. But this does depend on each property and the exact wording of the restrictive covenant. It cannot be generalised. Again legal opinion needs to be sought before signing with a developer. Restrictive covenants usually ‘run with the land’. This means that they are applicable to all future purchasers of the property and not just the original purchaser. In some instances restrictive covenants have been used locally to prevent developments and//or seek a financial settlement from a developer if a covenant is breached. However it is a very complex matter and it is preferable to consult with a solicitor who specialises in restrictive covenants.
Local Planning Authorities will usually not take into account restrictive covenants when making their decisions on an application.
Section 199 Law of Property Act 1925 is an important date and benchmark and this Land Registry link gives more advice
These are just some of the issues to consider. It is not an exhaustive list. The advice is given in good faith and some links may be out of date. Every effort is made to ensure that the above information is factually correct but accuracy must not be assumed and no responsibility can be taken for any actions arising in the case of error or otherwise.