The Secretary of State’s decision to refuse planning permission for the Purley Baptist Church site is to be quashed.
An order has been drafted to overturn James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government’s decision to refuse the Purley Baptist Church planning application last year. This now means the judicial review hearing, set for 10-11 April, will no longer take place.
The Secretary of State has conceded he failed to give adequate reasons when refusing planning permission and has accepted his decision letter should be nulled.
It is expected the order will be confirmed by the High Court in the next few days and the application will be referred back to the Secretary of State for reconsideration.
The council and the developer had submitted written legal arguments to the High Court earlier this year, highlighting a lack of explanation and justification regarding the Secretary of State’s decision.
Back in December 2016, Croydon Council had resolved to grant planning permission to Thornsett Group to build 220 homes, including 39 affordable, along with a new home for Purley Baptist Church with community facilities including a sports hall and community and exhibition spaces.
The principle of a tower on the site was properly considered as part of the Croydon Local Plan and planning application process, and an Independent Design Review had supported such an approach. Although the proposed 17-storey tower was one storey higher than the Local Plan, there was no reason to refuse.
“It’s pleasing the Secretary of State has accepted errors were made in justifying his refusal of planning permission for this important brownfield development, which was fully endorsed, not only by the council’s planning committee, but also the Mayor of London.
“The proposed development was also supported by the Secretary of State’s planning inspector – and it would provide much-needed homes in the borough, with a replacement church and community facilities while incorporating the highest standards of architecture and materials.
“Earlier this year at the Building London Summit, the Secretary of State was praising Croydon for going the extra mile to build more homes.
“All planning applications we receive are subject to a stringent planning process – and this development was deemed to be both sustainable and appropriate on a site allocated in the Croydon Local Plan.
“Development on the site remains long overdue and I hope the Secretary of State fully recognises the full regenerative potential of these proposals.”
Councillor Paul Scott, cabinet member for environment, transport and regeneration