I am afraid that I have some terrible news on the Purley Skyscraper. After a four-year battle and following the second public inquiry last December, the Planning Inspector has recommended that the application be approved. Having spent four years fighting this – starting with the Labour council’s initial grant of planning in 2016, through two public inquiries and a High Court battle, I am absolutely gutted by this outcome. I am so angry and upset that this has happened.
The skyscraper is 17 floors high and totally out of keeping with Purley town centre. It also only has 30 or so parking places for 220 flats.
When the Planning Inspector recommended approval after the first public inquiry, the Secretary of State ignored the Inspector’s recommendation and turned down the application. The Secretary of State was then taken to the High Court by the developer and the Secretary of State lost (triggering the second inquiry). This previous court case established that in these circumstances it is – unfortunately – not legally possible for the Secretary of State to simply ignore the Planning Inspector’s report as they tried to do the first time. I cannot now think of any further steps that can be taken to stop this development from happening, unless the developer or the owners of the site decide not to proceed with it for some reason.
The Planning Inspector states as his reason for approval that the skyscraper “complies with and is indeed led by” the Local Plan:
The Local Plan is the document written by Croydon Council, which had provision for a very tall building in Purley. This shows how important the Local Plan is. The draft of the next Local Plan has already been tabled by the Labour-run council, and it envisages turning Purley into a small city and concreting over as much green space in Croydon as they possibly can – including options to concrete over part of the green belt.
In the meantime, the council’s 100% wholly owned developer Brick by Brick continues to concrete over green space owned by the council and flagrantly ignore resident’s wishes. Every week the council’s planning committee churns out approvals to destroy family homes and build flats. In the meantime, whole swathes of Croydon town centre which should be developed into flats lie derelict.
The council simply does not listen. The only way to make them do so is a Directly Elected Mayor. The petition that triggers a binding referendum on this can be found here: www.democ.org.uk. Please fill it in if you have not already. This campaign is being run by residents from across the Borough who are sick of being ignored by the council.
A Directly Elected Mayor would control Brick by Brick and would write the Local Plan. A Directly Elected Mayor is the only way to make the council listen.
We must keep fighting every step to maintain the character of our neighbourhood, and will never give up.