For the second time this year frustrated residents called on Croydon Council to adopt a brownfield first planning policy.

A petition calling on the council to “stop destroying family homes” and introduce Area Planning Committees for developments of less than 50 units was debated at full council on Monday night.

Last night lead petitioner Sony Nair from Shirley told councillors that he understands the need for new homes.

But he went on: “Residents like me are growing increasingly concerned because three bedroom family homes are being demolished for inappropriate developments.

“Many are built in areas of low public transport accessibility, we simply don’t have the infrastructure to support a growing population.”

But Councillor Paul Scott, cabinet member for environment, transport and regeneration hit back saying that 46,000 homes need to be built in Croydon in the next 20 years.

He added: “We are all Croydon residents here and we care about our local area, we understand that every neighbourhood has a character that needs protecting but to accommodate a growing population means that communities will need to develop and grow.

“Not all the new homes can fit in the town centre. We have a brownfield register but it is full of open retail  and employment sites, Croydon doesn’t have lots of derelict land to provide the many new homes we need.

“So, can we take a brownfield first approach? Technically we already are because the government definition of brownfield land is any previously developed land whether occupied by an office block or a bungalow.”

He added that the planning system means that the council could not stop new homes being built in the suburbs and said that the petition should really be put to the government, although it would be rejected there.

In the end, the petition from residents was not backed by the council.