Residents of the social housing that will be demolished for Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park stadium expansion have called Croydon council’s lack of communication “absolutely disgusting.”
Following the recent planning committee meeting that discussed the Section 106 agreement that lays out the plans, Eastlondonlines spoke to residents of Wooderson Close whose homes face demolition.
Les Parry, 69, has lived in Wooderson Close for the past 20 years with his family told ELL: “The last form of communication we received was in June this year, so we had no prior knowledge of the section 106 agreement being agreed before the planning committee.”
“We weren’t even informed that the Mayor of London had approved the plans.” he added.
Parry said that the majority of the information residents have received is from the media rather than directly from the council. “We first found out through a media press release that our homes were going to be demolished.”
“We’ve been treated shabbily, and the council has been so involved in their bubble of development that they haven’t thought of the people affected”, he said. “All these issues people have, like medical issues for example, have not been treated with any consideration or compassion.”
Uncertainty during a pandemic
Julie Choudhury, 30, spoke on behalf of her parents who have lived in Wooderson Close for over 20 years. Her father is disabled, and she told ELL that the council has not considered this in the treatment of their family. “When someone is disabled and has been living there for 20 years, I think the emotional connection combined with the anxiety of having to potentially move during a pandemic is just not fair.”
Choudhury said that the council has not mentioned the pandemic in relation to this project. “Having the possibility of moving looming during the pandemic is just further anxiety-inducing. Of course, no one could have envisaged this, but it is the current situation, and I haven’t seen any correspondence that has made reference to this.”
Although the prospect of losing their homes has been devastating, Parry says that the prolonged disruption and uncertainty has caused far more distress. “Because of the way we’ve been treated we basically just want to go now,”
“The key thing affected is mental health, I can’t stress that more, it’s the anxiety of not knowing”, said Choudhury. “I know your rights are limited because you’re a council resident, but you’re still human.”
Parry said that residents have had enough of being left in a state of limbo, something Chief Planner Nicola Townsend said she hoped to avoid by getting Crystal Palace to set out their time scale. “What they don’t realise is the effect it’s having on us every day of our lives, and it’s not fair.”
A council spokesperson said: “Following the recent planning committee discussion on Crystal Palace FC’s plans to extend Selhurst Park, we will shortly be delivering update letters to affected neighbours.”
“Although the section 106 terms have been agreed, this only sets out the requirements for the stadium planning consent. There are still many months of work ahead before these major plans can be finalised, and a key part of that is agreeing suitable new housing for households impacted by the proposed stadium extension.”
“In the meantime, detailed discussions between the council, the club and other landowners continue, and if neighbours have concerns or queries our officers will do all they can to help.”