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Council officers recommend Purley tower block be given the green light

Council officers recommend Purley tower block be given the green light
Dec 08, 2016 Shaking Hands 0 comments
This post was first published by The Croydon Advertiser on 08/12/2016

Council officers recommend Purley tower block be given the green light

Council planners have recommended that planning permission for a highly controversial tower block on the former site of Purley Baptist Church be granted.

The council’s planning committee is due to make a decision on the plan for a tower of up to 17 storeys on the Brighton Road site next Thursday (December 15). The committee is not bound by the officers’ recommendation.

As well as the tower block, other proposed buildings on the site would mean a total of 114 flats would be built on the site.

A further 106 flats would be built in blocks between three and eight storeys tall on land on the corner of Banstead Road and Brighton Road, opposite the former Baptist Church site.

A report published today (Thursday, December 8) ahead of the meeting reveals that 551 formal objections have been logged against the plan, while 57 people said they support it.

A petition with 4,117 signatures against the project, set up by Croydon South MP Chris Philp, has also been submitted to the council.

Mr Philp told the Advertiser: “Local public opinion is overwhelmingly against the development. It is completely out of character, the next tallest building is much lower and it is not the place for developers to build skyscrapers.”

But council officers said that though the current “uninterrupted skyline” will be broken by the development, the public benefits of the scheme outweigh the change to the skyline.

As well as the flats, a community and church space will be built as part of the development.

“The public benefits of the scheme within the application would outweigh the less-than-substantial harm caused to the setting,” the report says.

The report adds that the impact of the building, including its bulk, height, layout and mass, would be “acceptable”.

The developer says 18 per cent of the units in the development will be affordable, with about two-thirds of those for affordable rent and the other third as “intermediate housing” – that is housing for sale that is more expensive than social housing, but cheaper than at market rates.

The skyscraper would easily be Purley’s tallest building

Council officers said the 18 per cent figure of affordable housing falls short of the 50 per cent target the authority demands of developments outside the town centre.But, they said: “Given the significant amount of new high-quality community facilities and the regeneration of a prominent site, the shortfall in affordable housing is not sufficient to warrant refusal and [is] therefore acceptable in this instance.”

The developer, Thornsett, submitted an assessment to the council which reportedly showed a higher figure than 18 per cent of affordable units would have made the development unviable – if it were to build the church and community facilities.

“Although 50 per cent of affordable housing could potentially be achieved if there were no community facilities, there is clearly an issue with this proposition, as the church can only redevelop their premises if they are re-provided within the development,” council officers wrote.The application is due to be considered during the meeting of the council’s planning committee at Croydon Town Hall in Katharine Street from 5.30pm on December 15.