Plans to build a four-storey apartment complex have been rejected by Croydon Council after concerns they would be ‘out of character’ with the surrounding area.

The decision was celebrated by Croydon South MP Chris Philp, who said flats should be built in Croydon town centre and not the suburbs.

Councillors and residents said the plan’s ‘excessive scale, overbearing appearance and perceived dominance’ meant it was ‘out of character’ with the surrounding area.

However, online campaigners have slammed the decision calling it ‘anti-family,’ and ‘simply nimbyism

The plans for 79 Riddlesdown Road, Riddlesdown would have seen the construction of a four-storey building, following the demolition of the preexisting family home on the site.

The building would have housed six energy-efficient homes with parking and cycle storage.

The development, led by Polaris Passivhaus Developments Limited, would have required a sizeable excavation and landscaping on the quiet, residential road.

The building’s four storeys would also rise above its two neighbours, giving rise to fears over a loss of privacy.

These were just some concerns raised by the 180 objections to the plans, ultimately leading to their rejection.

The Riddlesdown Residents Association led their opposition to the plans on the basis of its ‘negative impact on the character and appearance of the area.’

In the official report, published on March 22, Croydon Council’s head of development Nicola Townsend said: “The development would result in a building that is excessive in scale, depth, mass, bulk and height whilst also resulting in a significant amount of engineering across the site.

"The development proposals would therefore be out of character with the immediate area and would result in harm to the visual amenity of the street scene and the suburban character of the area.”

The report also stated: “The proposed development, by way of its excessive scale, overbearing appearance and perceived dominance to the adjoining occupiers at numbers 79A and 81 Riddlesdown Road, would cause harm to neighbouring living conditions through the creation of a sense of enclosure and loss of outlook and privacy.”

Riddlesdown Road is a residential area dominated by large single-family detached houses on the outskirts of Riddlesdown Common.

79 Riddlesdown is listed as a brownfield site and is currently occupied by a large detached family home.

The Conservative ward councillor for Purley Oaks and Riddlesdown Alasdair Stewart and Croydon South MP Chris Philp both raised the planned demolition of a family home as a reason for objection.

Mr Philp said: “Croydon has delivered huger numbers of homes in the past few years.

"What this proposal would have done is destroy a family house and we do need family homes instead of flats.

“The right place to build flats are in town centres like Croydon town centre, where thousands of flats have been built, and in industrial brownfield sites.

"I support building more of the right kind of housing in the right places. For example, I supported a development on Cane Hill, for 600 new houses.”

Other residents focused on the plan’s potential impact on nearby amenities as a reason for their objection.

One Riddlesdown Resident’s Association member took to venting their frustration with the plans on Facebook.

Lauren Birchmore commented: “We don’t want or need more flats in our area, doesn’t matter how pretty you try to make them.

"Because of these overdevelopments, our local facilities are being overstretched, for instance, you cannot register for a local NHS dentist in this area and try getting a GP appointment when you need it.

“These developments are also causing increased flooding in our area. We don’t need all these flats, people I know that already live in flats and who have been trying to sell have had literally no viewings from potential buyers as there are too many new builds so buyers wait and buy the new flats instead of buying one that has been lived in.

“So more and more people are getting stuck in these very expensive and small flats that they will not be able to sell on for love nor money! Families need and want proper quality houses, with plenty of parking for them and visitors.”

In response, Polaris’ commercial manager Liam Brennan, said these issues would be better put to the local authority. He also pointed out that the site’s position on a hill means it is at ‘a very low risk’ of surface and groundwater flooding.

It is also 370 metres from Riddlesdown station and approx 1.5 kilometres to the east of Purley town centre.

Its location, plus the nationwide housing shortage, meant that a number of people were also in favour of the plans. Many were also impressed by Polaris’s commitment to building energy-efficient homes.

Commenting on a post about the objections on Facebook, Croydon resident Teresa Horn said: “I think it also looks fantastic, I really don’t understand some people.”

Facebook user Anne-Michelle Beirigo added: This looks so much better than the existing eyesore! What an amazing initiative.”

This sentiment was shared by a number of X users, who criticised the decision to reject the plans as nimbyist and irresponsible in the time of a housing crisis. X user Anton said: “Blocking new housing during an affordable housing crisis is anti-family and anti-aspiration.”

S Coast Steve said: “Simply nimbyism, get out of the way of new home,” while Stephen took aim at Philp’s decision to celebrate the rejection on his own social media pages.

He said: “Well done Chris – stopping young families gaining a foothold on the market in London to on a brownfield site, you must be proud. Having said that if I done such a thing I’d keep very quiet about it.”