REPORTS FROM THE RECORDER & ADVERTISING RATES
PLANNING ADVICE ON
USEFUL LOCAL INFORMATION & LINKS
(Things to do, join and help with)
AND ITS COMMON
To confirm the status of a “SUBMITTED” application, click on the planning application number below which will take you to Croydon Council’s Planning website. Any written representations on a planning application, either objecting, neutral, or objecting, can be made on line, by clicking on the “Comments” tab on the Council’s website. Or you can e-
PUBLIC INQUIRY took place from 9 January 2018
CALLED IN BY SECRETARY OF STATE 12/4/17 -
Purley Baptist Church Sites and 17 storey Tower
The seven RAs are aware that Croydon Council on 12 March issued a press release on the Purley tower and associated development, and the Council have said the Secretary of State’s decision to refuse planning permission for the Purley Baptist Church site is to be quashed (allegedly).
However, from the information the seven RAs have received on 13 March, we understand this Council press statement is not strictly correct. Chris Philp MP has posted this update below on his website;.
“The Purley Skyscraper review process is set to begin all over again due to Judicial Review. Although I have not been informed of the reasons for the decision, Judicial Review is based entirely on whether correct process is followed, and not whether the right decision has been reached. This means that the entire process of reviewing the planning decision needs to be repeated. This does not mean that the skyscraper now has planning consent. There will now be a new Public Inquiry into the decision, likely by a different planning inspector. I will fight the skyscraper again through a new Inquiry and I hope that everyone who fought so hard against it before will continue to do so. I remain deeply disappointed and shocked by the council’s decision to contemptuously ignore the wishes of residents when it comes to the skyscraper.”
The seven RAs (as the Rule 6 party) have received nothing formal from the Secretary of State’s Department, so we must wait for ongoing legal proceedings to be concluded. Further updates will be published when we receive them.
The seven RAs have now received further information about this legal challenge.
The Secretary of State’s decision to refuse planning permission has been challenged by the Developer (Thornsett), against the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Govt, the London Borough of Croydon and the Greater London Authority.
The grounds of the legal challenge are;
1) Failure to provide adequate reasons for concluding that the tower proposed for the Island site would not be a high standard of design.
2) Applying the wrong policy test when assessing the quality of the design of the South site, by wrongly applying the tall buildings policies in Local Plan Policy DM15c and London Plan Policy 7.7C(e) to the lower height building on the South site.
3) Irrationally concluding that there would be harm to the significance of the listed Purley library at the “upper end of less than substantial”. This was based on a flawed misunderstanding of the IR which concluded there would be no harm, and without consideration of the positive heritage effects of the development.
4) Failure to provide adequate reasons for his conclusion that there would be harm to non-
There is no date yet as to when this will be heard by the High Court. However, the first stage will be a “permission hearing” when the Court will decide whether or not to allow the challenge to proceed. On the basis of current performance, it is likely to be some time before that hearing takes place.
The seven southern RAs have learnt today that the developer Thornsett has made a legal challenge contesting the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire’s decision on the 3rd December 2018 to refuse planning permission for the 17 storey Purley tower.
The interested parties had six weeks from 3 December to lodge a legal challenge.
Thornsett's press release: https://www.thornsett.co.uk/press-
It is going to be interesting to see how the developer constructs their case.
To quote from the Planning Inspectorate Procedural Guidance;
"A decision cannot be challenged merely because some one disagrees with the Secretary of State’s decision. For a challenge to be successful the challenger would have to satisfy the High Court that the Inspector in their recommendation or the Secretary of State in their decision made an error in law, e.g. misinterpreting or misapplying a policy or failing to take account of an important consideration. If following a challenge the Secretary of State’s decision on a called – in planning application or related costs decision is quashed, he will decide on the most appropriate method to re-
The seven RAs would like to be involved and work with the Purley Baptist Church and the PWRA for the future of the two sites and we fully support the work the Church do for all the community in Purley. However, as a legal challenge has now been lodged, this has been put on hold for the time being.
A Joint Statement by Riddlesdown, Hartley & District, Sanderstead, East Coulsdon, Coulsdon West, Old Coulsdon and Kenley & District Residents’ Associations
The seven RAs in the south of the Borough learnt with great surprise on Monday 3 December that the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government (James Brokenshire) had overturned Croydon Council's planning decision on the 17 storey Purley tower (19 storeys in total) and other associated proposals for the two sites fronting Banstead Road, Purley.
Following the Public Inquiry in January 2018, the Planning Inspector (David Nicholson; a Chartered Architect) had recommended approving the scheme but this recommendation and Croydon Council's decision has been overturned by the Secretary of State. This decision is subject to any appeal to the High Court by an involved party, which must be made by 15 January 2019.
Following Croydon Council’s decision to approve the scheme in December 2016, the seven RAs received many comments and objections from our members (as well as the thousands of local objections sent to the Council and our MP) and the Riddlesdown RA wrote to Chris Philp in December 2016 suggesting the options available to him on a possible ‘Call In’ on the planning decision to the Secretary of State. The RAs went along this route, via our MP, as the advice we received was that our MP would have more influence with the Secretary of State, rather than the seven RAs going direct to the Secretary of State.
Following the ‘Call In’ being granted, the RAs were then given a Rule 6 status so we could cross examine witnesses at the Inquiry. The RRA were the lead RA on the Rule 6 Status. The RAs had available in their group, two Chartered Surveyors, an Architect, a Chartered Town Planner and a key member of the East Surrey Transport Committee. We also received further advice from professionally qualified residents, including a commercial property lawyer and two Town Planners. Many hundreds of voluntary hours have been spent by the group in putting together their case and this culminated in a Public Inquiry in January where five members of the RAs team faced stiff opposition from two eminent and highly qualified planning barristers, for both the applicant and the Council.
It is interesting to note that Secretary of State overturned the Inspector’s recommendation on a number of key points, some of which the seven RAs had raised at the outset of the Inquiry process, in our Statement of Case submitted to the Planning Inspector in December 2017.
i) the standard of design was not of high enough quality;
ii) the height of the tower exceeded the description in the Croydon Local Plan and that no specific justification had been given in either the Local Plan, or in the application, to support the height of this site as proposed, having regard to its relationship with the existing built urban form and that some parts of the scheme were not of exceptional quality;
iii) that there would be a clear negative impact on the former bank building at 960 Brighton Road (now Pizza Express) and the rest of the Brighton Road Local Heritage Areas.
The seven RAs are not gloating about this decision, as we realise this will have a huge impact on the Purley Baptist Church.
We also do not support the political points scoring exercise that has taken place since the decision by both the main political parties in Croydon, in the media and on social networks. The seven RAs are not opposed to new development, as we understand that growth will be key to the future vitality and viability of suburban District Centres like Purley. The RAs recognise the acute housing needs in the area and we wish to see more new homes that are genuinely affordable provided for local people. We support new development that has a positive impact on the area’s urban environment, public realm and provides social and economic benefits to the wider community.
We accept this decision is not going to please all residents in Purley and also the Purley & Woodcote RA (PWRA) who supported the scheme, but the seven RAs and many of our members believe that it will be in the best interests of Purley, in the long term.
The full text of the Secretary of State’s decision is on this link;
This is not the first time the seven southern RAs have joined together as one group to make joint representations about local matters to Purley. The seven RAs formed a group in 2014, following the decision by the Croydon CCG to scale down the Urgent Care provision at Purley Hospital. We were instrumental in meeting with the Croydon CCG and persuading them to change their minds regarding the downgrading of the opening times for the Urgent Care Centre at Purley Hospital. With persistence on our part and numerous meetings with the CCG they agreed to provide three GP hubs in the Borough of Croydon from April 2017, which included the GP hub at Purley Hospital. All these hubs which now have a GP based at them, are open for 12 hours a day for urgent care health services, rather than 6 hours previously. We will continue to work together for the benefit of all residents in Purley, Sanderstead, Kenley, Coulsdon and other surrounding areas.
The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government -
The Planning Inspector's report and recommendation is with the Secretary of State’s Office and the Secretary of State has given all three parties until 13 August to comment further, as to whether they think the new NPPF includes new information which may be material to the application before him. There is then a further 7 day consultation period after the submissions have been sent to the Secretary of State. A further response has been submitted on 17 August by the seven RAs to the Secretary of State’s Office, following the submission of the other two parties comments on the NPPF 2018.
Following the announcement in April 2017, by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government; Sajid Javid (now replaced by James Brokenshire) that he had "Called In" Croydon Council’s decision to grant planning permission for this large development in Purely District Centre (PDC), the Public Inquiry into the decision by Croydon Council’s Planning Committee took place from 9 January 2018. The Inquiry lasted 6 days and completed on 17 January. It was held in the Purley Baptist Church. The ‘Call In’ was requested to the Secretary of State, by our MP; Chris Philp.
The development was opposed by seven local Residents Associations (RAs). These seven Associations were; Riddlesdown, Hartley & District, Sanderstead, East Coulsdon, Coulsdon West, Old Coulsdon and Kenley & District. The RAs applied to the Planning Inspector and Riddlesdown RA was granted ‘Rule 6’ status (as the lead RA) and we presented our case to the Inquiry. Because we had ‘Rule 6’ status we were allowed to cross examine witnesses.
The Planning Inspector leading the Inquiry was David Nicholson. At the Inquiry, the RAs were represented by Charles King (East Coulsdon), Dennis King (Sanderstead), Diane Hearne & Lee Cooper (Hartley) and Phil Thomas (Riddlesdown). The Planning Barrister for the applicant (Thornsett & Purley Baptist Church) was Christopher Katkowski QC, and the barrister acting for Croydon Council was Stephen Morgan.
Although seven RAs objected to the scheme, the Purley & Woodcote RA (PWRA), in whose area the site is located, supported the proposal. However, the feedback the seven RAs received from PWRA members, was that this view is not shared by many of their residents.
The seven RAs are not opposed to new development on these sites, as we understand that growth will be key to the future vitality and viability of suburban District Centres like Purley. We recognise the acute housing needs in the area and wish to see more new homes that are genuinely affordable provided for local people and our group are not anti-
At the Inquiry, we put forward the issues which we believed were not considered sufficiently by the Council when granting planning permission. Our main issue with this development is the height of the 17 storey tall building. The RAs believe it will have an unacceptably harmful impact on the PDC and the surrounding townscape by virtue of it being at least 5 times higher than the immediate and surrounding buildings in the district centre. The 17 storey tower will be at least twice as high as the proposed development in Brighton Rd/Banstead Road. We believe the tower will not enhance the skyline, rather it will fragment the townscape through its bulky and dominant appearance. The tall building will sit very closely behind the pavement on the Brighton Rd frontage. The main entrance would be inappropriately located on the corner of Russell Hill Road and the Brighton Road, given the constant heavy and noisy traffic on the A23.
We believe the density at 817 habitable rooms per hectare (hr/ha) is well beyond the density range in the London Plan density matrix which identifies “urban” areas with a Public Transport Accessibility Level (PTAL) score of 4-
The sites are on the edge of the Environment Agency’s Flood Risk Zone’s 2 and 3. The proposals have the potential to significantly increase surface run off in an area which already experiences severe flash flooding and drainage issues. The sites are also within 100 metres of the Caterham Bourne, which is prone to periodic extensive flooding, the last significant occasion being in February 2014. Purley, Kenley and Whyteleafe have all experienced extensive flooding in recent years which has resulted in the A22 (Godstone Rd) being closed to all traffic for several weeks. Purley Cross, on the Brighton Rd frontage, immediately outside the tower site has flooded many times in the past.
For the Island site, the scheme only makes provision for 50 parking spaces for the Church and community use, whereas the planned auditorium will accommodate 500 people. There will be 28 car parking spaces for the 114 residential units (11 of which will be for blue badge holders). For the south side, there will be 9 accessible car parking spaces for 106 residential units. The 500 seat auditorium is likely to be used on all days of the week, as well as Sunday. When fully utilised this will put considerable pressure on local public carparks which are already at capacity, as well as nearby residential on street parking.
To exit the car park for the island site (church & flats), vehicles will be exiting the site into Russell Hill Rd and will have to turn right into three lanes of traffic already stacking for the traffic lights on Brighton Rd. If site traffic wishes to go along the A22 (southbound) then it will have to cross at least one lane, if not two lanes, in order to be able to proceed straight on at the second and third set of traffic lights. There is very little option for drivers to ensure they get into the correct lane before the traffic lights on Russell Hill Rd. We believe this is not safe and will it increase risks of accidents at this location. Traffic entering into the island site will also access at this location on Russell Hill Rd, to add to the congestion. For better road safety, we believe an entrance/exit should be in Banstead Rd.
The proposed development will be a phased construction and is expected to take at least 47 months (minimum) to complete. The RAs have major concerns about the effect that the development will have on the existing A23/A22 Purley Gyratory System during construction and after construction. Traffic lanes will be closed off during the day. We also believe the recently approved Westfield development in Croydon town centre (which has also been approved by the London Mayor) will also add to traffic congestion on Purley Cross both during construction and more so when it is completed.
These are just some of the issues the seven RAs raised at the Inquiry. The Inspector has said his report will go to the Secretary of State, on or before 8 May. So it is now just a question of waiting for the Secretary of State’s decision and whether he accepts the Inspector’s recommendation. The Secretary of State can overrule his decision if he wants to.
In our opinion, the seven RA’s presented a very valid argument and the legal teams for the applicant and Council did congratulate the RAs for the way we put forward our presentation at the end of the Inquiry, although of course they didn’t agree with our views! It was a long hard slog by a number of members in the seven RAs and we did it without any legal representation!
REFUSED Former Good Companions Public House and 247 -
Lidl's controversial planning application for a store, car park and flats on the former Good Companions Public House site in Tithepitshaw Lane, Warlingham has been refused by Planning Officers without the need to go the Planning Committee.
The full grounds for refusal were:
Reason(s) for refusal :-
1. The development would be out of keeping with the character of the surrounding area and detrimental to the visual amenity of the street scene by reason of poor design, prominent siting and scale of the buildings and would not respect the existing pattern of buildings, nor maximise the opportunities for creating an attractive and interesting environment and would thereby conflict with the objectives of the NPPF, Policies 7.1, 7.4, 7.5 and 7.6 of the London Plan (2015), Policies UD2, UD3, UD12, UD13, UD14 and H2 of the Croydon Plan (2006) Saved Policies 2013 and Policies SP1.1, SP4.1 and SP4.2 of the Croydon Local Plan: Strategic Policies (2013).
2. The development would adversely affect pedestrian and highway safety on the adjoining transport network by reason of the siting of the access and egress points and the associated traffic and would thereby conflict with the objectives of the NPPF, Policy 6.3 of the London Plan, Saved Policies T2, UD12 and UD13 of the Croydon Replacement Plan (2006) Saved Policies 2013 and Policies SP8.6, SP8.17 and SP8.18 of the Croydon Local Plan: Strategic Policies (2013).
Croydon Council recently gave notification of a consultation on two important planning issues in the Borough. All comments had to be submitted to Croydon Council by 15 October 2018. The proposals are to update their suburban design guidance SPD (Supplementary Planning Document) and also designing for community safety SPD.
This SPD will be the 'vehicle' that the Council intend to use to significantly intensify suburban areas and the public have the chance to comment on key issues to the Planners regarding. inappropriate scale of development, on-
There is also a Statement of Community Involvement and this is probably slightly less important. It's supposed to set out how the Council will engage with the local community in terms of preparing the local plan, SPD etc.
This is the RRA’s SPD submission to Croydon Council on 11 October.
These are the two Council links for further information;
The RRA know from all of the correspondence and comments received from our residents that many of the recent planning decisions in Riddlesdown are now a big issue and causing immense concern locally. The recent applications by developers for the demolition of decent family homes and replacing them with flats -
Please take time to read and act on these suggestions below from our MP Chris Philp.
For some time, Croydon’s Labour-
One way to make planning decisions more accountable would be to have local “Area Planning Committees” where you divide Croydon up into three areas (say, north, central and south) and only councillors that area sit on its planning committee and decide for smaller applications – say less than 50 units – in that area. At the moment, councillors from distant parts of Croydon who do not understand our area decide applications in our neighbourhood – often imposing very bad schemes. Many other councils including the London Boroughs of Kingston and Barnet, and Wiltshire and Durham amongst others have Area Planning Committees. Croydon should have Area Planning Committees too.
It is time for us to stand up to the council on behalf of residents across the Borough and demand change. Please join me as our local MP by taking the following steps:
1. Sign a petition here calling for the council to stop destroying family homes (instead pursuing a “Brownfield First” policy) and calling for Area Planning Committees: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CroydonPlanning
2. There is currently a review of Croydon Council’s Governance run by Dame Moira Gibb. Please email her directly explaining your views about how the council currently handles planning applications (i.e. often ignores residents etc) and asking Dame Moira to recommend Area Planning Committees in Croydon. Her email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org Please do cc me. email@example.com
3. Tell the people responsible for planning in Croydon how angry we are about what they are doing. Email them directly at:
Leader of the Council, Cllr Tony Newman (Labour): firstname.lastname@example.org
Chair of the Planning Committee, Cllr Toni Letts (Labour): email@example.com
Do cc me as well. firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Attend a demonstration at the Full council meeting on the steps of the Town Hall on Monday 1st April from 6pm-
5. Forward this email to all your friends and neighbours
What the council is doing is totally unacceptable. Please join this campaign to stop them.
Member of Parliament for Croydon South"
P.S. You can keep up with what I've been doing from day to day at www.chrisphilp.com