We have today received notification from the Secretary of State that the planning application for the redevelopment of Purley Baptist Church (aka “Purley Tower”) has received approval to go ahead.
The six Residents’ Associations who opposed this development have always maintained our full support the work that the Purley Baptist Church does for our local community and we had no problem in principle with the expansion of their proposed church and associated facilities.
Indeed, we wished to see these two sites redeveloped, as part of one of these sites has been an eye sore and a detriment to Purley for over 35 years now. However, where we differed is on the point that we did not believe an oversized and a tall building development at that location in the centre of Purley is appropriate and we contended that the proposed development would generate a number of problems for our area, due largely to its inappropriate scale.
Unfortunately, the Secretary of State did not agree with these views shared by many, many local residents and a number of Resident Associations within our community.
You can read the full letter from the Secretary of State HERE.
We naturally extend good wishes and congratulations to the congregation and management of Purley Baptist Church and hope we have the opportunity to work closely with them in the future.
A Brief History
“Purley Tower” goes by many names – “Purley Baptist Church”, “Mosaic Place”, or “Purley Skyscraper”. Whatever you decide to call it, thousands of local residents have objected to the scheme based largely on its proposed size and the traffic problems it will add to in an already congested area of the borough.
The scheme by Thornsett Group and Purley Baptist Church seeks the “demolition of existing buildings on two sites; erection of a 3 to 17 storey development on the ‘Island Site’ (Purley Baptist Church, 1 Russell Hill Road, 1-4 Russell Hill Parade, 2-12 Brighton Road, Purley Hall), comprising 114 residential units, community and church space and a retail unit; and a 3 to 8 storey development on the ‘South Site’ (1-9 Banstead Road) comprising 106 residential units, and associated landscaping and works.”
The scheme was originally approved by Croydon Council on 15 December 2016, but due to a large amount of local objections, plus pressure from 7 Residents’ Associations and our MP Chris Philp, the decision was “called in” (Referred to the Secretary of State) on 12 April 2017.
A two-week Public Inquiry then took place on 9 January 2018, then, many Secretary’s of State later, Croydon Council’s decision was overturned on 3 December 2018. Planning permission had therefore been refused.
On 14 January 2019, this decision was taken to the High Court and on 1 April 2019, the decision by the Secretary of State to deny planning permission was overturned. On 30 May 2019, we learnt that there would be a new Public Inquiry later in the year.
The second Public Inquiry opened on Tuesday 3 December 2019 and concluded on Friday 6 December 2019 at which point the future of the proposed tower was placed back into the hands of the Secretary of State.
Seven local Residents’ Associations, including HADRA, whilst continuing to support the work Purley Baptist Church carries out in our community have to represent the overwhelming number of our members who continue to object to this unsightly and oversized development.