Opening Up the Brook in Norbury Park – Part 1 – Introduction

Norbury Brook 1

It has been a planning aim for some time of Croydon Council to open up the stretch of Norbury Brook that runs through Norbury Park. This has also been wish expressed in various consultations in recent years.

The Environment Agency is currently preparing proposals to open up (deculvert) the stretch of Norbury Brook that goes through Norbury Park as wide of a wider exercise to reduce flooding from the Brook as it flows through Thornton Heath and Norbury on its way to become the River Graveney. It is one of many projects around the country looking at deculverting rivers and streams. It decided to hold a meeting on 6 July with representatives of local groups because of the master planning exercise for Norbury Park that the Council has commissioned, and which the 19 August event is part of.

Environment Agency Meeting 6 July

The meeting was attended by Norbury Brook Alliance, Norbury Allotments Society, Friends of Norbury Park, Manor Farm group, Friends of Thornton Heath Recreation, Thornton  Heath Community Action Team, and Love Norbury. As Norbury Brook lies within the Wandle Valley Regional Park area, representatives of the Wildlife and Wandle Trusts were also present.

The Environment Agency spoke about its work and why deculverting could help reduce flooding and showed examples of schemes elsewhere. There were floods on the River Graveney and the Brook in 1928, 1937, 1968 and 1981. The area is therefore regarded as a flood risk one suitable for investigation as to preventative action.  The Wandle Trust spoke about the work that opened up the Wandle through Wandle Park. Different stretches of the Brook pose different problems, which will affect potential solutions. Ideas were discussed as to what could happen.

The Agency is now working up options for consultation and then will cost potential solutions and try and line them up with the Park master plan. One possibility for the Park is to include a water storage area underground. The cosmetic side (tree and other planting, etc) are not funded from Government grant to the Agency and would require other sources of funding, which the Council and local groups could help with. The timetable is that if a scheme is viable and fundable the Agency envisages submitting a planning application in September 2018, with implementation if approved in autumn 2019 or early 2020.

One issue was left as a quandry, the fact that sections of Thames Water’s  drainage system go into the Brook, and that excess surface water is becoming a problem especially with the Council unable to prevent non-permeable front garden driveways. A storm drain flows into to allotments section of the Brook.

2008 Pre-feasibility Study

Towards the end of the discussion it was mentioned that in 2008 the Environment Agency published the Norbury Park River Restoration Pre-feasibility Study produced by a team of consultants. The Agency has now made that report available. The rest of this blog posting and the ones that follow provide a summary and extracts from it. The full report, which includes detailed maps showing the different ways in which the Brook could flow can be seen here:

Norbury Park Pre-Feasibility Study

Assessment of Outline Options

The Study assessed outline options for restoring or re-naturalising the Brook which flows through in a culvert and concrete channel. This was done assessed according to their ability:

  • to improve the morphological and habitat quality of the Brook
  • to increase the biodiversity and amenity value of the Park
  • to enhance opportunities for flood storage within the Park
  • to contribute towards the delivery of London river restoration policies and key objectives from the Thames Catchment Flood Management Plan
  • to contribute towards the delivery of key Water Framework Directive (WFD) objectives

The consultants recommended that the existing culvert and concrete channel should be replaced with a new meandering channel which crosses the Park.

‘This channel should have a natural platform and bank profile and accommodate a diverse range of conditions capable of supporting a range of in-channel and riparian habitats. This will provide the opportunity for BAP habitats such as reed beds and standing water to be established. The channel will provide a reduced level of flood risk within the catchment through an increase in capacity together with the benefit of a flood bund located’ within and around the edge of the park …  and that enhancement works are undertaken within the channel immediately upstream of the park.’

The way it flows through the Park within two concrete-lined channels, a culvert, and a short open reach high, steep sides fenced off to prevent public access to the watercourse, means that the  Brook is ‘disconnected from both the wider environment and the local community and is currently of low habitat value.’

The consultants pointed out that ‘In addition to achieving biodiversity gains, previous studies have demonstrated that river restoration schemes undertaken in public parks have also resulted in considerable increases in visitor numbers and public participation in those areas.’ They evidenced the 78% increase the visits to Sutcliffe Park in Eltham increased by 78% following restoration works on the River Quaggy.

They anticipated that the works they proposed would enhance the Park for the benefit of the wider environment and the local community.

To be continued

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Havanas owner successfully prosecuted


Havana Frontage

The Council has successfully prosecuted the owner of the Havana shisha cafes in London Rd for allowing illegal smoking inside the premises.

The following email has been sent to Norbury’s three local Councillors by Shayne Coulter, Head of Public Protection at the Council.

‘I am writing to advise you that the food and safety team have taken a successful prosecution against the owner of the Havana Café for seven offences relating to smoking in an enclosed premises (Shisha).  The owner, Sohail Khan, did not attend court yesterday but was found guilty of all offences in his absence.  Given that the fine for each offence can be up to £2,500, and due to his non-attendance the magistrates did not have any information relating to Mr Khan’s financial means, sentencing was postponed for 14 days.  During this time the court will write to Mr Khan and invite him to attend on a date yet to be confirmed so that he can address the court, and we will find out the level of fines set at that time.

This matter is now in the public domain and the information can therefore be shared with any of your constituents who have been in contact with you about the issue.

I will update you once Mr Khan has been sentenced.’

This prosecution follows continual pressure by local residents  and the Love Norbury Joint Planning Committee, including the submission of a paper with details of the successful prosecutions mounted by other local Councils.

This prosecution follows on from the Planning Enforcement team clamping down on breach of closing hours by the owner.

Please monitor the premises

I am told that the illegal smoking has been continuing. It is therefore important that if anyone sees this in the lead up to the court sentencing hearing, that they email Shayne Coulter at

and copy to the Joint Planning Committee



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Norbury Park Vision Event 19 August

Norbury Park Poster

For background information see

The Future of Norbury Park

by Sean Creighton

(History & Social Action Pubications 2017)



Friends of Norbury Park Ideas

The Friends group’s ideas for improvement include:

a small wildlife meadow,

Norbury Brook to be more accessible to wildlife

more seating

an interactive nature trail

posters about the history and geography of the park

more bins that are regularly emptied

the majority of the grass  to be left for informal picnics, sport, etc

16 September Norbury Park Community Day

Inc. book stall, allotment produce, tombola, school art, bric a brac, raffle

Noon – 4pm

Organised by Friends of Norbury Park


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Norbury news at 26 July

New Planning applications

If you submit any comments on these please copy to the Love Norbury Joint Planning Committee (

4 Arnulls Road. 17/03578/LBC & 17/03577/HSE. Erection of new glazed link between dwelling & outbuilding, rebuilding of outbuilding & associated internal modifications to dwelling & outbuilding.

68 Briar Avenue. 17/0335/HSE. Erection of  single storey  rear extension.

A rear extension on this property was originally granted in 2007 under an application for a loft conversion and rear extension.  Application number: 06/03844/P. The consent lapsed before work took place and so a new application is being submitted with minor amendments from the original.

2 Christian Fields.  17/03557/GPDO. Erection of single storey rear extension projecting out 6 metres with a maximum height of 3.74 metres.

5 Copgate Path – Flat 1 Norwood Grove Mansion. 17/03683/DISC. Discharge of condition 2 attached to planning permission 16/05903/P for the alterations and use of garage as granny annexe.

2 Hollies Close. 17/02512/FUL.  Erection of two storey rear extension.

1539 London Road. 17/03548/FUL. Construction of first and second floors to provide a one bedroom flat.

263 Norbury Avenue. 17/03312/FUL. Erection of single storey side extension and conversion to form 2 one bedroom and 1 one bedroom flats.

275 Norbury Avenue. 17/01135/LP. Erection of dormer extensions in roof.

81 Norbury Hill . 17/02997/HSE for Erection of dormer extension in rear roof slope

73 Norton Gardens. 17/03452/HSE.  Demolition of an existing single storey rear extension. Erection of single storey rear extension and erection of a dormer extension in rear roof slope.

R/O 68-70 Pollards Hill North. 17/03363/DISC. Discharge of conditions 7 and 10 attached to planning permission 14/02311/P for the Demolition of existing Vicarage (No. 66 Pollard’s Hill North)

11 Pollards Hill West. 17/03515/HSE & 17/03516/HSE  Demolition and erection of single storey rear extension; and erection of dormer extension in rear roof slope.

18 Pollards Hill West. 17/02410/DISC. Discharge of conditions 1,3,6,7,8 and part discharge of conditions 2 and 9 attached to planning permission 15/04600/P for the Demolition of building, erection of 5 houses with garages and formation of access road

2 Somerset Gardens. 17/03703/FUL. Erection of conservatory.

40 Stanford Road. 17/03679/LP. Erection of gable end roof extension with dormer extension in rear roof slope and a single storey rear extension.

93 Tylecroft Road. 17/03576/HSE.  Erection of dormer extension in rear roof slope and rooflights at front.

Youth Engagement Projects

PC Ali Watts has provided the following list of youth engagement projects in Croydon.

Croydon Council Gangs Advice    T: 0208 404 5800

Croydon Young People’s Services

NSPCC Gangs Line      T: 0808 800 5000

NSPCC Free “For me” App   (Offers counselling & Advice)

Crystal Palace Football Club Foundation (football)

Gloves Not Gunz (boxing)

Croydon Amateur Boxing Club  (boxing)   (Situated in Norbury Park)

Reaching Higher  (creative projects)

Play Place Innov8 (youth clubs & projects)




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Norbury Manor Primary School. Have you ever thought of becoming a school governor?


Norbury Governors are seeking to strengthen the Governing Body. We are seeking people with local knowledge and experience of buildings management, financial management or children’s services.

Norbury Manor is a thriving lively school led by Sonia Potter, a creative and dynamic Head Teacher, and a Governing Body committed to ensuring that learning is fun and different subject areas are linked together. As the summer term ends the children have been involved in the third Challenge Week which takes a theme around which educational activities are focussed, the latest being on heathly living. A range of new clubs have been started, including a choir that has already performed on stage with an orchestra and sings at Assemblies. The children have their own School Council which has been active on projects to improve the playtime experience, to help choose the new lunch time caterers and their menu activities offer, and to question Governors on their roles and motivation. The Year 6 children who are starting secondary school in September have achieved higher SATs results than in previous years.

The school is 3 form entry Primary school serving a mixed population. We are improving the school since our last Ofsted 2 years ago.

Time commitment would be one or two meetings and one or two half days per term. We are all volunteers.

Please contact the chair of Governors for further information and to arrange a visit to the school:

Maggie Mansell, 07771 842984 or

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Residents Set Up Norbury Community Land Trust

A group of residents have set up the Norbury Community Land Trust so that the local community has more control over the development of Norbury.

It has been registered by the Financial Conduct Authority as a Community Benefit Society.

The Trust Board will seek out opportunities to become a community freehold and leasehold land owner of open space, community facilities, housing, shops and workspaces. It will raise money for the purchase of land and buildings through community fundraising, loans, and crowd funding, and if possible through grants.

The Trust is a member of the National Community Land Trust network which promotes trusts and is currently working with co-operative and co-housing organisations to influence Government to improve support for community led housing development. A major role of Trusts is to provide housing at genuinely affordable rents.

The Board is planning a membership recruitment campaign among local residents.

The Board members are:

Sean Creighton (Chair), who is also a member of the local residents associations’ Love Norbury Joint Planning Committee

John Rutherford (Secretary)

Gloria Hutchings (Treasurer)

Evelyn and Richard Palmer

Apart from Sean Creighton they all live along Norbury Avenue

The Trust can be contacted through John Rutherford at

Registered office: 314 Norbury Ave.

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JPC Views on recent planning applications

This posting is designed to give readers a detailed idea of the type of comments that the Love Norbury Joint Planning Committee makes on planning applications. The recommendations re-water butts is now to be a standard comment following a requirement for one at 28 Gibson’s Hill, with the aim of it becoming a standard requirement for all applications for extensions. The 3 Croft Rd application raises the concern about the number of houses that are being used for multiple occupation without having to be registered as legally defined Houses in Multiple Occupation. The planners have admitted that such a use does not require planning permission. The increasing number of hmos (as opposed to HMOs) is leading to more cares and litter bin problems.

8 Arnulls Rd. Erection of detached single storey garage in front garden. Consideration  should be given to the provision of a water butt to collect the water from the roof of the proposed garage.

54 Craignish Avenue. Alterations and use of garage as habitable room and erection of single storey rear and first floor side extensions. In addition to the measures outlined for reducing flood risk a water butt should be provided to collect water.

22 Norbury Court Rd. Erection of a single storey outbuilding in the rear garden. ‘Although the flood risk is low the Environment Agency made it clear at its meeting on the River Graveney and Norbury Brook this week that water from mains drainage does go into streams, brooks and rivers and contribute to the potential for floor risk along their courses. It would therefore be sensible to give consideration to the provision of a water butt to collect rainwater and thereby reduce the amount of such water that flows into the mains drainage.’ Specific JPC recommendation.

(1) A water butt shall be provided as specified in the application and shall be retained for so long as the development remains in existence Reason: To ensure that the principles of sustainable drainage are incorporated into the development and to reduce the impact of flooding. ( with 28 Gibson’s Hill. (17/01202/HSE).

(2) the approved building shall only be used for purposes ancillary to the main dwelling house and not as an independent unit, for so long as the development remains in existence. (e.g. 30 Norbury Close (16/04539/FUL), and 168 Norbury Crescent (16/05936/HSE))

3 Croft Rd. Roof alterations including hip to gable enlargement, pitched roof over side extension, dormer extension in rear roof slope and roof lights in front roof slope.

JPC comment. The house has already been enlarged under planning permission 13/02171/P. It currently appears to be rented out to a family of four. The dormer is clearly designed to provide two more bedrooms bringing the total to five. Bedroom three on the first floor is being reduced in size in order to accommodate the stairs to the proposed loft area. This appears to make it a very small room, and raises the question as to whether it meets the London Plan bedroom space standard requirements. At present the extension has a flat roof so the proposed pitched roof at the front will improve the visual look of the house from the street. However the dormer is not level across the back of the house and does not sit centrally on the pitched roof so that nothing of that roof is visible. This would appear not to comply with the Council’s preference for the way dormers are provided.

The risk with this application is that it could be designed to create a house in multiple occupation, with several people sharing the house and losing it as a family house in a quiet residential street. If Development Management decides that the application is acceptable, then the Committee would like to see the following conditions required.

(1) The property may only be used as a family house.

(2) A water butt shall be provided as specified in the application and shall be retained for so long as the development remains in existence Reason: To ensure that the principles of sustainable drainage are incorporated into the development and to reduce the impact of flooding. (e.g. as with 28 Gibson’s Hill. (17/01202/HSE).’

7 Stanford Rd. Erection of single storey rear extension to provide an additional one bedroom flat. JPC comment:

(1) Some might consider that as the adjoining property has an extension of a similar but smaller extension that this might be considered a precedent that would be a basis for the approval of the proposed extension. This would be inappropriate in this instance as the adjoining extension, whether approved or not, is a visual intrusion and should not be repeated. Adding an extension of a greater size will result in a greater adverse visual impact.

(2) The extension significantly reduces the external amenity space reducing the enjoyment opportunities of the occupants.

(3) The internal layout of the proposed flat is unacceptable. The kitchen is on the first floor but the dining room is on the ground floor at the other end of the building.

(4) The conversion of the store on the first floor into a kitchen may involve a loss of amenity to the existing flat on the first floor. As the plan does not indicate what the rooms are in that flat then there is a risk that the proposed kitchen will be next to a bedroom or living room, adding to notice problems for its occupants. This would be detrimental to the amenity of the residents of the existing first floor flat.

(5) The Design and Access Statement indicates that the additional flat will result will be supplied with a wheelie bin at the front of the property and the recycle bins will be provided in the kitchen or a store. The kitchen is small and is on the first floor meaning that the residents will have to carry them down to the front. They may also need to sue the store for other purposes. There is a risk that they will not use the recycle bins and dispose of all rubbish in the wheelie bin, in the need for extra bin storage.

The JPC notes that in the refusal of the scheme at 68 Melrose Ave (17/01842)/FUL) the following was stated: ‘The development would result in the loss of existing off-street parking and alternative arrangements have not been made for additional car parking.’ Clearly therefore Development Management is concerned about on-street parking. If the occupants of this new flat have a vehicle (e.g. car or van related to work) this will add to the increasing problems of car parking along this stretch of Stanford Rd, and therefore constitutes a reason for refusal.

Overall the proposal constitutes over development.’

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