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Legal challenge launched against Brokenshire London tower refusal

Words: Laura Edgar
Legal challenge / iStock-914921790

A legal challenge has been launched against the housing secretary’s decision to refuse plans for a 17-storey residential tower in Purley.

Developer Thornsett Group’s application concerned two areas of brownfield land in Purley, 6.5km south of Croydon town centre. As well as the 17-storey tower, it comprised an eight-storey tower. Together they would provide 220 flats, 18 per cent of which would be affordable. A community church facility also featured in plans for a new community.

The planning committee and Croydon Council approved the development in 2016, and the Greater London Authority (GLA) backed it. Previous housing secretary Sajid Javid called in the application in April 2017 after lobbying by local MP Chris Philip, and an inquiry led by inspector David Nicholson followed. Writing in his report, he said the proposed height of the buildings was in line with the council’s local plan and the design is “much better than satisfactory”.

Housing secretary James Brokenshire did not share Nicholson’s views on the height and design of the scheme, finding no evidence to justify the height and the proportions and materials unsympathetic. He went against the inspector’s decision.

The legal challenge was submitted to the High Court last week, and listed Croydon Council and the GLA as interested parties.

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 plans. 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.”

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Appeal: Brokenshire overrules inspector to block South London tower

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