Named and Shamed

Named and Shamed


Squalid roads, buildings and locations in Croydon named and shamed.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Developments Run Out of Money

As predicted on this site on numerous occasions, according to the Croydon Guardian:

"Minerva, the company behind the £500m Park Place project, has admitted it needs someone to bail it out otherwise the development will not happen."

Why have the successive councils that have "ruled" Croydon insisted on favouring property companies that offer fancy ego boosting schemes, that have not got a chance in hell of becoming reality?

Croydon Council's stubborn delaying tactics over the Gateway development appear to be causing Stanhope Schroders problems as well.

Well done the council, serving their needs before the needs of the citizens of Croydon!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Park Place Folly Destroying The Heart of Croydon

One of Croydon's oldest family businesses, Turtle's, is to close its doors for the last time on Christmas Eve.

The future of the business has been uncertain for the past couple of years since compulsory purchase orders were issued on Park Street shops to allow Minerva's massive Park Place retail development to go ahead.

The lease on the store which is famous for selling its huge range of hardware and tools, is coming to an end.

And owner Jeremy Turtle told the Advertiser renewing it was not really an option.
Mr Turtle said: "I am 65 and have been involved in the business for 44 years.
"I want to retire and there is nobody else in the family who is interested in taking over, so there is no choice but to close.

"Business has not been very good recently and I think it has been affected by the uncertainty. There is little chance of selling it as a going concern."

The store employs around 30 people, many of them on a part-time basis.

Mr Turtle said: "We are all very upset but you can't go on forever. I am very disappointed for my customers."

Source Croydon Advertiser

The Park Place development is dead in the water, yet it is still destroying the heart of Croydon.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Park Place Dead In The Water

In May 2008 I noted the following:

"Aside from our very naive council, who seriously believes that this development will ever take place in the next five years?

This scheme is sinking fast, and is dragging down local businesses and the environment with it (see my article in March 2008 for further background

In March 2008 I stated:

"How many years has the council (both Labour and Tory) tried to kid us that this development would ever happen?

Who seriously believed that this scheme would ever get off the ground?

In February 2005 I questioned the independence of Croydon Council:

"To my view, this must surely raise reservations about the council's independence.

As ever, the citizens of Croydon are left wondering when the creeping blight emanating from the town centre will be eradicated.

In my view, we are not being well served

The latest report in The Croydon Advertiser indicates that I was right to be cynical about this project.


"Croydon's flagship Park Place development will be delayed yet again and radically rethought, it has emerged this week.

Instead of this autumn, it will now be next year before any revised application emerges for the massive town centre scheme - and it looks set to be very different to previous plans

This project is going absolutely nowhere, and dragging the centre of Croydon and St George's Walk down with it!

Surely even Croydon Council cannot be so naive as to believe that this scheme is ever going to get off the ground?

Why has the council allowed the centre of Croydon to hemorrhage for a "pie in the sky" scheme with no future?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Minerva Offer Collapses

In July I noted that Minerva, the developer which Croydon Council expect to develop Park Place, had received an offer from Limitless.

Property Week reports today that:

"Shares in listed developer Minerva fell 33% to 52p this morning after Limitless withdrew its prospective takeover offer.

The development arm of the Dubai World sovereign wealth fund told the London Stock Exchange this morning that it had withdrawn its 160p-a-share offer

I do not see that this is good news for the Park Place development as, despite whatever Minerva claim, their financial position is now weakened.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Limitless Offer for Minerva

Property Week reports that the developer Minerva has received a £258M cash offer from Dubai property company, Limitless.

As I noted back in May, this bid may well affect the much delayed plans for Park Place.

The original plan was for work on Park Place to start in spring this year, with completion expected in 2012.

Croydon council now claim that it does not expect to receive a new planning application from developer Minerva until October or November this year.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Flower Baskets

I am pleased to see Croydon Council have started to festoon the town centre with flowers, both in hanging baskets and ground based tubs.

I do hope that they remember that the plants will need to be watered regularly though!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Enormous Crocus Approved

As noted on this site in February, Croydon Council have given Berkeley Homes the green light to build a £140M 44-storey tower in Croydon.

The development at Wellesley Square will include a total of 739 flats built across five blocks.

However, Property Week reports that the tower, designed by Rolfe Judd architects, has been designed to resemble a crocus. Seemingly, the name 'Croydon' was derived from the Latin for crocus and valley.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Croydon Selects John Laing

Property Week reports that Croydon Council has selected John Laing Projects and Developments as its preferred partner for a £450M regeneration.

John Laing beat competition from Land Securities Trillium to be selected as Croydon Council's partner to redevelop four council-owned sites and build the council a new headquarters.

The cabinet is set to approve the creation of the 50:50 urban regeneration vehicle on 9 June.

The council said:

"Through setting up a limited liability partnership in which the council and its selected private sector investment partner would each have a 50% stake (through the authority's land assets and the partner’s cash) the council will be able to ensure regeneration takes place in the way it wants and to realise much greater value from the proceeds."

Councillor Tim Pollard said:

"It won't have escaped anyone's notice that some of the most successful companies in the UK are property developers. The council has for some time sold sites to the highest bidder only for developers to take all the profit when land is developed.

The solution we expect to engineer with John Laing will ensure we get a big slice of the future action and make a lasting contribution to Croydon's regeneration

I might have more faith in the council's and Tim Pollard's abilities to regenerate Croydon, were it not for their obsession with trying to build an arena in Croydon.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Park Place Going Nowhere

The Croydon Guardian reports that the much vaunted Park Place scheme, that has caused the decay of St George's Walk, has been delayed again.

The original plan was for work on Park Place to start in spring this year, with completion expected in 2012.

Croydon council now claim that it does not expect to receive a new planning application from developer Minerva until October or November this year.

Whilst that is going on it seems that Minerva may well be taken over.

Aside from our very naive council, who seriously believes that this development will ever take place in the next five years?

This scheme is sinking fast, and is dragging down local businesses and the environment with it (see my article in March 2008 for further background).

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Consultation

There appears to be a consultation exercise going on in Croydon at the moment, wrt plans for Wellesley Road etc.

Go to the library and ask for a copy of the Summary and Comment form, the last date for comment and feedback is 14th April.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Park Place Collapse

It looks like the Park Place development scheme has collapsed (or rather is going to collapse).

How many years has the council (both Labour and Tory) tried to kid us that this development would ever happen?

Who seriously believed that this scheme would ever get off the ground?

How many other development schemes touted by the council are going to fail to get off the ground?

The failure of Croydon council to plan effectively has led to the degradation and decay of the area designated for the development, eg St George's Walk. Local businesses, such as Turtle's, have been under threat of closure because of this scheme.

In May 2005 I wrote that:

"Turtle's, one of Croydon's best known independent stores, is searching for new premises after compulsory purchase orders were issued to acquire the land for the £500M Park Place shopping centre."

In February 2005 I wrote about Minerva funding Croydon Council's fight against the Whitgift shopping centre expansion plans proposed by Minerva's rivals, who own the Whitgift. I stated then that this must surely raise reservations about the council's independence.

Interestingly, John Prescott crushed the rival scheme in March 2006; Andrew Rosenfeld (owner of Minerva) having loaned £1M to Labour.

According to The Times:

"Prescott killed the rival scheme, put forward by a consortium called Whitgift, by rejecting its appeal against an earlier refusal by inspectors to give it planning permission."

Prescott denied this and another allegation. Prescott confirmed that he had received the planning applications, but said he felt the decisions should be made locally.

"I passed it over to Croydon and (the other application) City of London Corporation.

They made the decision, not me

It is time that the council stopped kowtowing to the developers, and asserted a robust and coherent development policy that served the interests of the people who actually live and work in Croydon.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Diamonds In The Sky

"A bid to transform Croydon's skyline with four new diamond shaped skyscrapers will be officially launched at a property festival in Cannes."

An interesting idea, but I shall believe it when I see it!

Here is an artist's impression of the plans:

Pie in The Sky

Monday, February 25, 2008

Taking The Piss?

I see that The Guardian (the broadsheet not the local rag) notes that Croydon has "improved no end".

Are they taking the piss?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Thinking Big

Wellesley Road
I am pleased to see that there are finally plans to build on the derelict eyesore which is on the former Randolph and Pembroke House site in Wellesley Road.

This has been a rotting scab on Croydon's landscape since the two buildings were demolished in 1993, and has been featured on this site back in February 2004.

Berkeley Homes have had their plans approved by Croydon Council to build a 44-storey tower and a development that will see a total of 739 flats built across five blocks.

The question is, will companies come to Croydon and use this 44 storey tower?

Monday, February 04, 2008

Of Mice and Men

As the old saying goes "the best laid plans of mice and men..."

This most certainly is the case for the plans for the Park Place development, which have been gathering dust for years now.

Allegedly, the plan is to "regenerate Croydon town centre" (how often do developers and Croydon council use that phrase?), by amongst other things knocking down St George's Walk.

However, despite the developers and the council "talking big" for years about these plans, nothing yet has happened or looks like happening anytime soon.

The Croydon Guardian reports:

"Work was due to start in spring but Minerva and Lend Lease have still not secured an anchor tenant.

St George's Walk is under a compulsory purchase order and was originally set to be demolished late last year.

But it now looks as though it will still be open in 2009 and traders say they are fed up with not getting any answers from their landlord, Minerva

Meanwhile St George's Walk is rotting.

A cynic might suggest that the plan is to allow the area to rot away to nothing, then force the council to accept a second rate tenant and a third rate development.

Why should the citizens of Croydon be treated in this manner by their council?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Secret Judo Club Revisited II

The Secret Judo Club
In response to my letter to my ward councillors on 28th January, re the disused judo club, I received this email from one of them (Susan Winborn) on the 29th:

"Dear Mr Frost

Thank you for your email regarding the Judo Club site.

Planning permission was granted in September 2006 on this site for the erection of two four/five storey buildings comprising a total of nine one bedroom and 26 two bedroom flats; formation of vehicular access and provision of 18 parking spaces and cycle stores.


Cllr Susan Winborn

I raised the following question, by return:

"Thank you Susan

When will work commence please?

Kind regards

Ken Frost

She answered a couple of hours later:


I am afraid I cannot say when the developers are likely to be in a position to start work.

May I suggest that you look on the Croydon Council site under planning application number 06/01923/P. This gives you full details of this application which was passed by the Planning Committee including the name and address of the developers.



I was not that impressed with this, and wrote back later that afternoon:


Is this not your role to help me, as your potential "voter", and look into this on my (and your other "constituents') behalf??

If not, what exactly is your role in life?

The site as been derelict for over four years, the planning application has been in place (according to you) for 1.5 years (my site says longer).

Clearly the owner has either:

1 Run out of money, or

2 Is holding the site to make a profit for resale, undeveloped

Neither of which is good for the residents of Croydon.

How about helping resolving this issue, on behalf of your "voters"?

If you can't, what exactly did you stand for election for?



I copied the message to a number of organisations/individuals. I am pleased to say that Boris Johnson's office wrote back, and said that they would forward it to his housing policy group.

I will keep this site updated with any other responses that I receive.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Secret Judo Club Revisited

The Secret Judo Club
Sent to my local councillors today:

"Dear Councillors

I contacted the Empty Properties Department of Croydon Council a fortnight ago, to ask about the derelict site on Tavistock Road (where I live) that used to be a Judo club.

It has been abandoned for over four years, without any signs of it being renovated or redeveloped.

I have featured it on my website on several occasions, and it has been mentioned in the local press.

Yet nothing is being done with it?


The Empty Properties Department state that they cannot help, and advised me to write to you.

Please advise me as to when this blight on my road and the community will be addressed.

The fact that there is a severe housing shortage in the South East, and that this property has remained derelict and a blight on the community is nothing short of scandalous.

Thank you for you help.

Kind regards

Ken Frost

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Bird House Saga

The Bird House
I am advised by the council that if there is no change in the status/condition of the Bird House in Sydenham Road, then they will consider a compulsory purchase of this sadly neglected building.

This sad building has been a regular feature on this site ever since I started it back in 2004 (click the tag below). It is shameful that this once lovely building has been allowed to rot, especially as there is a housing shortage.

Friday, January 11, 2008


The Croydon Guardian reports that Croydon is overcrowded:

"Croydon is one of London's most overcrowded boroughs and is building a below average percentage of family homes.

A survey, by Inside Housing, has revealed that just seven per cent of the affordable homes built in Croydon last year was family sized

Why then are there so many derelict houses and areas in Croydon?

Why does the council insist on pursuing a policy of building more shopping centres and an arena?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Vision Thing

Given the prediction that by 2018 internet shopping could account for half of Britain's £300BN a year retail market, why is that Croydon Council and its friends in the property development companies are still pushing ahead with plans to build another shopping centre in Croydon?

Given the dismal failure that is Centrale, I would have thought that they would had learned their lesson by now.

The centre of Croydon does not need more shops, bars or restaurants. It needs people to actually live there when night falls, in other words we need housing in the centre of Croydon that will provide the engine for the regeneration of the local economy and the environment.

Unfortunately, the council and the developers lack the long term vision to see this.