A developer is set to challenge James Brokenshire in the High Court over his decision to reject a Proctor & Matthews-designed scheme in Purley, south London
The housing secretary blocked plans in December for the 220-home project including a 17-storey tower, which includes detailed plans by Capital Architecture, citing the ‘poor design’ of some of its elements.
Croydon Council’s planning committee approved developer Thornsett’s application for the three buildings either side of Banstead Road in 2016 despite opposition from local residents over the project’s scale.
But a petition organised by the Conservative MP for Croydon South, Chris Philp, attracted thousands of signatures and in April 2017 Sajid Javid called the scheme in during his stint as communities secretary.
Following a public inquiry, planning inspector David Nicholson recommended approval of the development, arguing the principle of a building of roughly 17-storeys had been part of Croydon’s emerging local plan for several years.
In his recommendation in May 2018, Nicholson said the application should be ‘approved without delay’.
However Brokenshire decided to deny the scheme planning permission citing the ‘quality’ of its design, in particular, the South Site proposals, which he said failed to ‘meet the high standards required of a scheme on the site’.
He said: ‘The built form, proportions, composition and use of materials of the frontage facing on Banstead Road is unsympathetic to the existing adjoining buildings, and the north-west elevation is a featureless elevation that impacts on adjoining owners.’
Announcing the decision to challenge Brokenshire’s ruling, Thornsett’s executive chairman Gerard Cunningham 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.’
Proctor & Matthews co-founder Andrew Matthews said the firm ‘fully supported’ Thornsett’s decision to appeal, adding he hoped Brokenshire would ‘revisit his decision’.