Very little thought was given to the design of the building. Residents of 1 Bensham Lane must leave the building to access the bin store which opens onto the street. Each resident has a key but the locks can break. Then vagrants sleep there and make the place messy and untidy. There are two locks but, at the time of writing, only one works.
Residents of 3 Bensham Lane and the London Road block have access to their bin store via the car park but they have no car parking spaces.
There are cycle stores but there is no process for gaining access. I have requested this on a number of occasions without success. One of my reasons for purchasing my flat was that I thought that secure cycle storage was available. After moving in, I locked my bike in one of the bike stores but it was soon vandalised and bit by bit parts were stolen until there was othing left. The specific location where I locked my bike has a fence but it doesn’t reach the roof so thieves simply climbed over. There are two bike stores with fences that do reach to the roof, making them secure, but they are already taken. Now I take must carry my bike through my flat (to avoid dirtying the carpets) and park it on the balcony. My balcony is very small so I must upend the bike to open and close the door.
Building management is below average with the lobby frequently looking untidy. A lot of the paintwork is dirty. Carpets are falling away on the staircases.
Clarion have never provided me with a correct invoice for my monthly management charges. I have been chasing them since October 2019 (I moved in in August 2019) for correct invoices but they seem uninterested in engaging with me.
Please tell us what you like and dislike about this area:
The immediate area has a good selection of small stores: Tesco Express and many ethnic groceries; also various harware stores. It is not far to walk to Croydon town centre where there are larger shops.
There is a good Chinese takeaway across the road. There are also plenty of chicken and chips takeaways in the local area. Also one or two ethnic eateries. For bars and dining out, one would need to go into or around Croydon town.
There is no green space in or around the block.
For transport, there are a numbber of bus routes that stop very close to the block. West Croydon train and bus station is within walking distance. East Croydon station, with high speed trains to London, Gatwick and Brighton, is a 25 minute walk or a bus ride away. Croydon has trams to Wimbledon, Beckeenham and New Addington.
Each flat in owner occupied 1 Bensham Lane has a single parking space in a covered car park. Cars enter via fob operated gates which frequently do not work and are left open. Pedestrians can enter from the road through a fob operated pedestrian gate. Residents of 3 Bensham Lane can also enter via an exit from their block even though they have no car parking spaces there. The same applies to the block on London road.
There is no free parking in the street during weekday daytimes, though there are metered spaces where one can park for a limited time. After 5pm and on Sundays, parking on the single lines is free.
There is a lot of traffic noise, especially from emergency vehicle sirens and motorists sounding their horns, although when the windows are closed, the double glazing mitigates the sound significantly.
The area in which the block is located tends to have a numer of less desirable people who have been known to cause trouble in the car park when the gates are left open. In the evenings and night some local anti-social behaviour can occur. I would not recommend single women to walk between the block and West Croydon station in the dark evening when crowds of youths congregate on the streets. There have been a number of stabbings recently.
Please share one thing (or more) which you wish you had known before you moved in:
I wish I had known that secure bike storage is unavailable.
I wish I had known that there high speed broadband is unavailable. The internet is the copper cable ADSL. I had assumed that a block as new as this would have fibre to the flat or, ate the very least, fibre to the cabinet but this is not the case. It is impossible to obtain an estimate of when this might become available although the residents are attempting to have it installed privately, i.e not through BT Openreach.
How has the building management responded to any problems or issues you have raised:
I am an owner occupier so Clarion will not help with internal repairs. For small repairs in the communal areas, they are reasonably responsive. For more major issues such as the car park gates or the lift out of action, one may wait for some time.