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Stanhope versus Croydon war reignites with fresh blow for Foster

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Designs for the highly controversial Croydon Gateway by Foster and Partners and FaulknerBrowns - once heavily praised by CABE - have been slammed by Croydon Council.

The local authority has dealt the latest hammer blow in the ongoing saga to develop the south London site.

In doing so, the council has knocked back developer Stanhope's appeal against its failure to consider its planning application quickly enough. This clears the way for the council and developer to meet head-to-head at a public inquiry beginning in January 2006.

Stanhope submitted two identical planning applications towards the end of last year and lodged an appeal about one of them. This was soon after the council had failed to act during the required 16-week period.

But at a crucial council meeting on 21 July, the local authority hit back at Stanhope with ten reasons why its development was inappropriate.

The council cites that Stanhope has not proposed a 'comprehensive redevelopment of the Croydon Gateway site' and stated that the application 'fails to demonstrate that the proposed development would provide landmark buildings of high quality design and originality.'

Croydon Council's director of planning and transportation Phillip Goodwin said: 'Our problem wasn't with the detailed designs per se, but a lack of overall strategy for the site and a lack of guarantee that we would get any landmark buildings.'

Stanhope development director Charles Walford hit back. 'We have said that many of the council's issues would have been dealt with if we had had any dialogue with the council, but we have had none. They have now got their endorsement to go and fight us. Unless anything else happens we'll see them in January.'

In a letter to Foster and Partners dated 25 November, CABE senior design review advisor Ben van Bruggen expresses general support for the Foster scheme, welcoming, among other things, improvements to residential elements that had previously been designed by CZWG.

by Rob Sharp

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