How green is it really? 'sustainable suburb' in Hackbridge doubted by campaigners

An artist's impression of the Felnex development in Hackbridge

An artist's impression of the Felnex development in Hackbridge

First published in News
Last updated
Sutton Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

A development heralded by the council as "one of the UK's most sustainable suburbs" may not be as green as it seems, environmentalists have warned.

Sutton Council has given planning permission to a redevelopment of the Felnex site off London Road in Hackbridge.

The project will bring 158 new homes - although this figure could rise to over 700 in the coming years - a supermarket, cafe, new junction and a cycle route to the area.

According to the plans, the development will be heated by the controversial incinerator waste management company Viridor plans to build near the site with back up from an energy centre. 

The council said the strategy will help cut the borough's CO2 emissions but green campaigners have labelled the project an "opportunity wasted".

Green Party members are already opposed to the incinerator as they believe it will pump out harmful pollution that could harm its neighbours in Sutton and Croydon.

They have also said the planned supermarket will bring extra traffic to the area while promoting the use of non-environmentally friendly packaging and practices.

Planning permission for the first phase of the project was granted last Wednesday.

It includes 158 homes, 20 per cent of which will meet affordable home standards, a supermarket with space for 206 cars to park and more. Further phases will bring more housing and retail space.

Councillor Richard Clifton, chairman of the council's planning committee, said: "The Felnex development will be one of the most sustainable neighbourhoods in the country.

"The Felnex development is a great example of how Sutton is leading the way when it comes to promoting sustainable living."

The project will be led by developer Savills. Savills' director of planning Nick Rowley added: "We have worked with the council and local people to bring forward a sustainable form of development of which we will all be able to be proud."

But environmental campaigners are less impressed with the plans.

The sustainability of new housing is rated on a one to six scale with 'code six' houses being the most sustainable. The houses planned for Hackbridge are only 'code four'.

The campaigners are also concerned the development is reliant on the planned incinerator due to be built by waste management firm Viridor in nearby Beddington.

The incinerator, or energy recovery facility, will burn rubbish from Sutton, Merton, Croydon and Kingston and convert it into electricity, which will go into the grid, and heat, which is planned to be used for the Felnex development.

However, the incinerator may never get built as it is still subject to a legal challenge and campaigners fear it could cause potentially fatal pollution.

Green Party member Jim Duffy said: "We're getting a sustainable suburb that won't be sustainable.

"It really is a mistake to call it sustainable. There were a lot of people, myself included, who were behind this project at first but the housing stock needs to be of a higher standard and a 4,000sq ft supermarket doesn't really fit in with green principles.

"It will just be a housing estate with a few bells and whistles."

Fellow Green Party member Bob Steele added: "It feels like an opportunity wasted.

"To be fair to the council, you always get these developers who will say 'if we don't get our way we'll pull out' so their hands are tied, but I think this is over hyped.

"It's the same old, same old - a big supermarket, lots of cars and lots of concrete."

Comments (7)

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9:28pm Wed 2 Jul 14

ResidentTony says...

Sure it's no BedZED 2, but it is still an attractive contemporary development, which put Hackbridge firmly on the map as a desirable place to live.
Sure it's no BedZED 2, but it is still an attractive contemporary development, which put Hackbridge firmly on the map as a desirable place to live. ResidentTony
  • Score: -6

1:38pm Thu 3 Jul 14

GreenBrown says...

Not building all those new homes on the site would be the greenest option. It doesn't matter how sustainable the houses are, all those extra people and the energy that they will consume will only contribute to more pollution. Add to that the extra pressure this will put on services already stretched and the increase on already heavy traffic, doing this does not make much sense. Of course this, like everything else isn't about whats best for the people or the country or the area, it's about making lots of money. If it wasn't about making money then surely the houses would be built to level 6 spec and the measly 20% affordable housing quota would be a lot higher because affordable housing is the main priority to most people in the country. I think they should give some of the land to Hackbridge School. Like so many other schools in the area, it looks like they've been building on the playgrounds over the years because of lack of space due to the overcrowded population in the area. Give the kids some decent space to run around in like I had when I was a kid. How crowded does this area/country have to get before the simpletons like Resident Tony wake up and see that such high density living isn't healthy or desirable.
Not building all those new homes on the site would be the greenest option. It doesn't matter how sustainable the houses are, all those extra people and the energy that they will consume will only contribute to more pollution. Add to that the extra pressure this will put on services already stretched and the increase on already heavy traffic, doing this does not make much sense. Of course this, like everything else isn't about whats best for the people or the country or the area, it's about making lots of money. If it wasn't about making money then surely the houses would be built to level 6 spec and the measly 20% affordable housing quota would be a lot higher because affordable housing is the main priority to most people in the country. I think they should give some of the land to Hackbridge School. Like so many other schools in the area, it looks like they've been building on the playgrounds over the years because of lack of space due to the overcrowded population in the area. Give the kids some decent space to run around in like I had when I was a kid. How crowded does this area/country have to get before the simpletons like Resident Tony wake up and see that such high density living isn't healthy or desirable. GreenBrown
  • Score: 3

3:10pm Thu 3 Jul 14

alroutemaster says...

If we didn't encourage unrestrained immigration (Tony B. Liar) and the population (especially from the African and Indian continents) exercised a bit of self restraint instead of just breeding indescrimately (no doubt in anticipation of our over generous benefits system), then we wouldn't need to build more houses everywhere there is a plot of land......
If we didn't encourage unrestrained immigration (Tony B. Liar) and the population (especially from the African and Indian continents) exercised a bit of self restraint instead of just breeding indescrimately (no doubt in anticipation of our over generous benefits system), then we wouldn't need to build more houses everywhere there is a plot of land...... alroutemaster
  • Score: 2

3:28pm Thu 3 Jul 14

Michael Pantlin says...

LB Sutton is already overcrowded with too many people getting in each others way as they try to move around. We should not be encouraging more in by sacrificing more space to accommodate them.
LB Sutton is already overcrowded with too many people getting in each others way as they try to move around. We should not be encouraging more in by sacrificing more space to accommodate them. Michael Pantlin
  • Score: 6

3:49pm Thu 3 Jul 14

alroutemaster says...

Michael Pantlin wrote:
LB Sutton is already overcrowded with too many people getting in each others way as they try to move around. We should not be encouraging more in by sacrificing more space to accommodate them.
NOT JUST SUTTON!
[quote][p][bold]Michael Pantlin[/bold] wrote: LB Sutton is already overcrowded with too many people getting in each others way as they try to move around. We should not be encouraging more in by sacrificing more space to accommodate them.[/p][/quote]NOT JUST SUTTON! alroutemaster
  • Score: 3

2:06pm Sat 5 Jul 14

Launchballer says...

I don't believe for a minute that the Sainsbury's local is the main supermarket for the development. What other supermarket is being put there? Purely from a selfish point of view, I'd like an Aldi because it's very easy to get to from North Cheam (where I live, it's a 151 to there) and I then wouldn't have to change at Morden to use the Anerley branch. It's actually the only major supermarket one can't get a single bus to from Sutton. (Wallington has Lidl, Iceland and Tesco Express so why can't Hackbridge have a discounter?) The Fabric Warehouse's old plot is perfect for this purpose but let's see what the plans state.
I don't believe for a minute that the Sainsbury's local is the main supermarket for the development. What other supermarket is being put there? Purely from a selfish point of view, I'd like an Aldi because it's very easy to get to from North Cheam (where I live, it's a 151 to there) and I then wouldn't have to change at Morden to use the Anerley branch. It's actually the only major supermarket one can't get a single bus to from Sutton. (Wallington has Lidl, Iceland and Tesco Express so why can't Hackbridge have a discounter?) The Fabric Warehouse's old plot is perfect for this purpose but let's see what the plans state. Launchballer
  • Score: -5

10:50am Wed 9 Jul 14

tjames says...

what is going on with the road improvement adjacent entry to hackbridge station--it is a complete mess and is causing serious bottleneck--who votes for these clowns?
what is going on with the road improvement adjacent entry to hackbridge station--it is a complete mess and is causing serious bottleneck--who votes for these clowns? tjames
  • Score: 0

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