Croydon’s Mayor says Shirley Heath and Addington Hills are ‘not for sale’

By Harrison Galliven, Local Democracy Reporter

Croydon’s Mayor has reassured residents that land in the south of the borough will not used or sold to a golf club for the development of a new driving range.

This comes following suspicions that the council and golf club were planning to sell the Green Belt land for development.

In a statement published on X on Tuesday evening, Mayor Jason Perry said: “I want to reassure residents that the golf club’s aspiration to manage parts of Shirley Heath and Addington Hills and to build a driving range is not happening.”

The plans for a driving range on 56 hectares of Shirley Heath and Addington Hills were first revealed early last week in a brochure published by The Addington Golf Club.

Heather in bloom on Addington Hills (Picture: Peter Underwood)

The emergence of these plans prompted a huge backlash from residents and campaigners who demanded firm commitments to the protection of these registered Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation.

This opposition was backed up by a petition against the plans, which attracted over 5000 signees.

While Croydon council did not deny the existence of the plans, they insisted that they had no intention to sell the Green Belt land throughout.

In a statement on X last Friday, Mayor Perry said: “I met the golf club owner to discuss their proposals on May 18, 2023, and had a site visit on August 17 2023.

“These meetings were not an endorsement or agreement of the golf club’s plans.”

But, the revelation that Perry initially met with the golf club on two separate occasions has raised concerns from campaigners like the Green Party’s Peter Underwood.

A map of the proposed sites taken from the brochure (Picture: The Addington)

Cllr Underwood, the Green’s candidate for Croydon East, has led the opposition to the plans since they first emerged.

He said: “I think it is disgraceful that Jason Perry thinks he can have private meetings with developers about plans for Croydon while leaving us all in the dark.”

A spokesman from the Mayors office said: “It would be ridiculous and counterproductive if the Mayor were to publicise every idea put forward.

“On the reason for meetings: firstly, they were requested by the club. Secondly, their plans relate not just to Shirley Heath and Addington Hills but also their own property.

“Peter Underwood is a candidate in the forthcoming elections and has deliberately misrepresented these plans.”

The Addington are yet to publish a response regarding the plans.

Pictured top: Both Addington Hills and Shirley Heath are Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (Picture: Peter Underwood)

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