This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 14/01/2019.
The controversial ‘Purley skyscraper’ could still be built as legal challenge launches
Despite 9,000 people signing a petition saying it will spoil their neighbourhood.
A controversial skyscraper which many say would ruin their neighbourhood could still be built.
It’s because a legal challenge against the government’s decision to block plans for the ‘Purley skyscraper’ has been launched.
In December, James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, rejected the plans to build 220 flats on derelict land to the west of Purley Cross.
Along with the tower block, there would have been two other buildings, of three and eight storeys.
The site, owned by Purley Baptist Church, had been granted planning permission by Croydon Council’s planning committee before it was called in with a public enquiry taking place last year.
Now London-based property developer Thornsett Group is legally contesting Mr Brokenshire’s decision.
Gerard Cunningham, executive chairman at Thornsett, said: “Given that proposals for Mosaic Place have received approval from all necessary statutory planning bodies, including most recently the planning inspector, we are disappointed that the Secretary of State has decided to reject these
“The discrepancy between the recommendation of the planning inspector and the Secretary of State’s decision is a cause of deep concern, particularly given that Purley may now be deprived of 220 new homes, significant community facilities and the catalyst for much needed regeneration.”
The development would provide 220 flats with 39 affordable homes offered through Optivo Housing Assosciation.
That’s as well as a new home for Purley Baptist Church, a new sports hall, a 450-seat auditorium, classroom and exhibition spaces.
Alison Butler, Croydon cabinet member for homes, welcomed the news of the legal challenge.
She said: “I’m pleased to see that the developer has decided to challenge the Secretary of State’s decision.
“The Secretary of State’s own planning inspector said it should be granted.
“I think it is wrong to go and find other reasons why he believes the application should be refused.
“Purley is a small district centre so I think the development could be beneficial – that is why it got the support of the businesses there.
“I hope that the courts look at this and overturn the decision in favour of the planning inspector.”
But there has been opposition to plans for the 17-storey block, which was branded the ‘Purley skyscraper’ with more than 9,000 people signing a petition against the proposal.
When it was refused, Croydon South MP Chris Philp said he was delighted with the decision.
At the time he said: “It shows that at long last someone is listening to local people in our neighbourhood.
“This was a terrible planning application that would have spoiled our neighbourhood.”