THERE are fears rich and poor are being separated into opposing blocks of flats in Croydon town centre.
At a meeting of the planning committee last Thursday (December 4) Councillor Sean Fitzsimons, Labour ward member for Addiscombe branded plans to move all affordable housing from the Galaxy House development on Cherry Orchard Road into neighbouring Quest House develop ment as "skilfully segregated".
He said the plans for sites next to East Croydon railway station would make way for "additional homes for the Galaxy market that Croydon residents can't afford", and accused the development of having its "back to Addiscombe looking towards London".
He said: "This is social segregation, we shouldn't build schemes just for the rich."
Galaxy House and Quest House are separate schemes for new blocks of flats on sites next to each other.
The application from Galaxy House developer Menta Redrow Ltd to move the affordable housing would mean three more affordable flats than originally planned could be built two years ahead of schedule.
It would also free up space in Galaxy House for seven more one bedroom flats. These flats would replace a lift core, meaning block A of the development would look better from the railway station.
Mr Ruffles, of Family Mosaics who own Quest House, said he believes the changes will provide more affordable housing to be "better, cheaper, and sooner rather than later".
James Look of Menta Redrow said the changes will "optimise more housing" with 119 affordable rooms instead of 81, and that the company has a "long term commitment" to Croydon.
But Cllr Fitzsimons said this was insignificant compared to the life span of the buildings, and that Croydon was "only really getting three extra units".
He said the changes would not satisfy the London Plan, which states a development should have "mixed and balanced communities" with affordable housing provided on-site.
Councillors gave the plans unanimous approval, but expressed concerns over the possibility of social segregation and asked if shared communal facilities could combat this.
Chairman Cllr Paul Scott said: "Shared use of playground facilities would be a great way to join those two communities."
But planning officers said separate plots of land owned by separate people would usually be fenced off, and it would be unreasonable to ask Galaxy House and Quest House not to secure their properties.