By Tara O’Connor, local democracy reporter
Police were called as council officers and builders removed tables and chairs from a communal area at a block of flats in Croydon.
Residents of Warbank Crescent, New Addington will soon lose a small area of concrete to a new development.
The area is used by children to play and neighbours to meet up.
Work on 36 new flats in New Addington, overseen by Croydon Council-owned developer Brick by Brick, is nearly complete.
The small square at the bottom of a block of flats will be redeveloped into parking spaces and electric car charging as part of the work – something residents claim they were not aware of.
Residents of the block were shocked to see council officers at the site yesterday morning (Monday, June 28), accompanied by police, removing outdoor furniture including chairs left in the area.
They had been given notice to remove personal belongings by Monday, but left the chairs in the area ahead of a meeting with Croydon Council’s engagement team on Tuesday night.
Scott Ainsworth-Payne from the New Addington Residents Association was woken up by a call from one of the distressed residents and headed straight down to the scene.
He told the Local Democracy Reporting service: “There were parents with their children going off to school and the police were there with the council. It was really horrendous, how do their kids feel thinking they are going to lose their playground?
“The council started removing and disposing of the residents outdoor furniture, and only after intervention from residents did the council stop, after they had already chucked several items in the back of their council lorry.”
He said that builders had arrived on site ready to fence off the area to start work before council officers turned up with police to remove the outdoor furniture.
He says it was only after calls to local Conservative councillor, Kola Agbola, and Croydon Central MP, Sarah Jones, that the police, council officers and builders left the scene around 45 minutes after they arrived.
Scott added: “Needless to say it was an excessively heavy handed approach and incredibly distressing having the council removing and destroying furniture, the police being in their to support the eviction and the builders waiting to destroy this much loved space.”
Brick by Brick did not comment on this incident but previously said that the local community was “consulted extensively” in the pre-planning process, adding that a new playground will be built as part of the development.
Croydon Council did not respond to a request for comment.
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