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 The Sanderstead Blog
Cllr  Lynne  Hale
Cllr  Yvette  Hopley
Cllr  Tim  Pollard

Purley Skyscraper
16/01/2018 12:30:00......Posted by Lynne Hale

Today I attended the Purley Skyscraper Inquiry and had the opportunity of explaining to the Planning Inspector why I objected to such a tall building on this site. The site is desperate for re-development and we need more housing but I do think that 17 storeys is just too tall.
Below are the notes I spoke from:
“I am here to tell you why I think the plan for a 17 storey skyscraper here in Purley is completely inappropriate.

At 4 to 5 times the height of any other building for miles around, the skyscraper would stick out like a sore thumb, be significantly out of character with the area and would obliterate the current suburban feel.

Whilst the main focus of my concern is with the height of the proposed building, I also have serious concerns about the impact on local parking, the flood risk, the density of the development and the detrimental impact which such a tall building will have on local views such as those from Farthing Downs.

I have a close connection with Purley and the people who live here. My parents had a shop next to Purley Station and I have always lived in the area, representing Sanderstead Ward as a councillor – just a few miles up the road from here - for nearly 20 years. I also worked as a health professional in Purley Hospital for many years.

This site really does need developing. It has been sitting here abandoned and derelict for years creating a dreadful eyesore on this important Town Centre site. I have seen quite a few proposals for the site in the past, some of which have truly celebrated the site which should sit proudly on the junction between the A22 and the A23.

- Well-designed buildings of character – one of which I recall looked like the bow of a cruise ship facing you as you drove under the A22 railway bridge towards it – its tiered storeys reflecting beautifully the topography of the site. Imagine that!

It is therefore perfectly possible to have a beautiful landmark design which will put Purley on the map in terms of innovative design, not just in the community development world, but in the wider world of regeneration. Importantly though, of all the previous iterations I have seen, none has been more than 7 or 8 storeys.

And I would at this point like to commend the vision and energy of Purley Baptist Church in trying to bring sustainable life to this derelict site.

I don’t think this 17 storey building is where they wished to end up, but I would like to place on record my recognition of the huge amount of time, money and prayer which Purley Baptist Church has invested into the creation of a scheme, which they wished to bring to this site and which would enhance the lives of Purley residents.

I am saddened that the sheer size of what we have had to end up with means we are in the position of opposing what started off as such a wonderful worthwhile positive proposal for Purley.

What started as a project built on faith not finance has now become one driven by finance and a political interpretation of planning policies based on ideology rather than what is best for the local community and character here in Purley.

Unfortunately, this proposal will put Purley on the map for all the wrong reasons. This looming eyesore is a tragic waste of a site with real potential to deliver a community centre and housing which we could embrace and celebrate. This skyscraper would cause a shadow over central Purley and have a detrimental impact not just on the character of the suburban neighbourhood but would completely dominate it.
The proposal for 17 floors is inappropriate for the following planning reasons:

• It does not respect and enhance the local area – as required by Croydon’s own Local Plan and it cannot possibly be considered to be of exceptional quality with sensitivity applied to articulation and composition which is proportionate in scale. CLP2 (2017) DM 16.

• Referencing London Plan (2016) Policy 7.7 –
o  It will have an unacceptably harmful impact on its surroundings because of its being so much higher than any other building nearby
o It certainly won’t relate well with the surrounding buildings being completely at odds with and utterly dominating the prevailing street-scene and public realm
o And it certainly doesn’t form part of a cohesive building group – as defined by the Policy – because it is a complete one-off

In addition to breaching the London Plan and the Croydon Plan as illustrated by my previous points, the scheme also flies in the face of the National Planning Policy Framework (2012) para 58, sub point 4, which says that planning policies and decisions should aim to ensure that developments: “respond to local character and history and reflect the identity of local surroundings and materials.”

The reason for this breach is that the towering height of this proposal is completely out of character with any other building for miles around.

This design in its entirety would however, be perfectly at home in Croydon Town Centre, just up the road, where tall buildings and density of this scale are perfectly apt.

Turning now briefly to density and parking.

This development exceeds the upper end of the density reference range set out in the London Plan 2016 Policy 3.4 and Table 3.2.

The island site on its own, which in many ways it is, as it is completely physically separated from the rest of the development by a busy dual carriage way, is 50% higher than the top end of the density range.

The density range is there for a reason – to protect the living conditions of the residents who will live there – so it is unacceptable just to ignore it. Indeed density alone would be sufficient grounds to have refused the application.

We know we need more housing in Croydon Borough but it is unacceptable to squeeze families into developments that are just not suitable in terms of density – especially when there are plenty of brownfield sites which are sitting undeveloped in Croydon, crying out for regeneration. Placing hundreds of families on a roundabout in the middle of a busy gyratory system is just not fair on any of them.

Parking is already at a premium in Purley and with just 37 parking spaces for the 220 flats, this will inevitably put a huge burden on local street parking which is already stressed.

Residents should be given a real choice about how they travel (NPPF 2012 para 29) but this scheme would deny that and seriously adversely affect the current parking conditions.

My final point is around flooding in this high flood risk area. We all know that the centre of Purley floods on a fairly regular basis – the Bourne rises in the Caterham/Kenley section of the valley every 7 years or so and even a particularly heavy downfall can bring Purley Cross to a complete standstill as the roads flood.
So it is surprising that the scheme does not have more substantial flood mitigation measures in place.

As I have said, I know Purley Baptist Church has worked so hard for many years on trying to bring a scheme which will enhance the local area and support local residents.

But with regret I think this skyscraper proposal would fundamentally and detrimentally change the nature of Purley. The goal posts have significantly moved during the scheme’s development and what we have now ended up with is just too tall.

Mr Nicholson, in the circumstances, I hope that you will reject it.”

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 Other Blog Posts

Update on Fiveways
14/03/2018 12:36:00.......Posted by Lynne Hale

Residents who use Fiveways in Waddon may be interested in knowing that Transport for London has updated us with regard to the consultation which took place last year about improving traffic flow through this notoriously congested junction and improving provision for pedestrians and cyclists.

TfL has now advised the following:

“Working in partnership with your borough, we consulted on our proposed major changes to the road layout on the A23 and A232 at Fiveways in Waddon between 10 July and 18 September last year.
I am writing to let you know that the factual consultation report is now available.
We received 431 direct responses, of which 63 per cent supported or supported most elements of our proposals, 19 per cent opposed all or most elements of our proposals, and 18 per cent did not give an opinion or were not sure.
To view the consultation report, please go to
Following careful consideration of consultation responses, we have identified some areas in the design which could be amended. We are currently exploring the options available and testing their feasibility. Together with Croydon Council, we will continue to work through the issues raised and will consider how best to respond to them in line with the Mayor’s Transport Strategy. We plan to publish a detailed response to issues raised indicating how we propose to move forward with the project in summer 2018.”




Cherry Blossom Tree Dies in Purley Oaks Road
13/03/2018 16:25:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley


Very sadly a Cherry Blossom Tree has died in Purley Oaks Road.  It must be @100 years old and has added to the street value over many years. Its a terrible shame as it was just about to blossom.  I am informed by the new tree officer that it wasn't at all well and the roots were diseased.  Fortunately the family had gone out for the day as the very large tree fell across their drive blocking the pavement.  Officers at the council were quick to respond and the tree has now been cut up and removed.  A temporary tarmac patch will cover the area until a new tree is planted in the winter time.



Application for 48 Mitchley Hill withdrawn
03/03/2018 07:21:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard

We have recently learnt that the planning application for 9 x two bedroom flats and parking at 48 Mitchley Hill has been withdrawn by the applicant. 

We don't know the reasons for this withdrawal. I had referred the application so that it could only be determined by committee. I imagine there may well be another application for the site at some point.

Interestingly Cllr Paul Scott (Labour chair of the planning Committee) had also referred the application to committee. History suggests that he normally does that only when an application might be earmarked for refusal by officers or the site could be more intensively developed.



Temporary stay of execution on 105-7 Purley Downs Road
02/03/2018 10:57:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard

I heard today the the application to demolish two beautiful detached houses on Purley Downs Road and replace them with two blocks of flats has been refused by Croydon Council. Whilst on one level that's good news, it is not as good as it sounds due to the reasons for refusal, which are:

A legal agreement has not been provided to mitigate the impacts of the development in relation to:

    -     Provision of affordable housing (up to the Policy requirement of 50%) 

    -     Car club - 2 years membership for residents 

    -     Carbon offsetting (financial)

    -     To address air quality (either financial or Low Emission Strategy).

In other words the council is happy with the principle and the design, but they have not been assured about the proportion of affordable housing they will get in the development!

I am sure we can lok forward, in short order, to another application which is substantively the same but with the technical issues addressed (unless the appplicant chooses to appeal this decision instead).



Noisy drain cover at Waitrose traffic lights fixed
19/02/2018 08:57:00.......Posted by Lynne Hale

If you have been anywhere near the Waitrose traffic lights since Christmas, you may well have heard a particularly noisy drain cover rattling around when vehicles drove it.
I reported this and some repairs were attempted with tarmac. However, although it quietened the noise a bit, it was clear that this drain cover was in fact broken and needed replacing.
It must then have come as a considerable relief for residents living nearby when Thames Water replaced the defective cover in early February.



Wentworth Way closure
12/02/2018 12:38:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard

SGN are continuing with their gas mains replacement scheme this week in Wentworth Way. These works will take place during the half term break. Wentworth Way will be closed at its junction with Limpsfield Road to Ellesmere Drive, with two-way signals at the junction with Ellesmere Drive. Displaced traffic will be directed via Hilton Way.



Spineless council backs developers again
09/02/2018 11:20:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard


Last night I represented residents in Gainsborough Drive before the planning committee - and as is normal these days the Labour-run committee backed the developers rather than the residents.

The site is a back garden development which was refused by the council when under Conservative control in 2013, but the developer then got permission on appeal. When they came to build it, they built in the wrong place, to the wrong height, the wrong width, on a raised plinth instead of at ground level and with a sloping ramp to get access to the front door. Once it became clear that they were building much more than they had permission for, local residents contacted myself and the council enforcement team, who told the builder to stop and seek permission for what he was actually building. They repeatedly ignored this and the council did not compel them to, so in the end they completed the building at their own risk.

They then applied for permission for what they had built, which was refused by the council. They went to appeal and lost. 

In his refusal of the appeal the Inspector particularly commented that removing the ramp “would still leave it sitting on what is in effect a raised plinth, with a door threshold level that would be incompatible with those of No1 to 7. I am not persuaded that the imposition of a planning condition requiring the ramp's removal would provide an acceptable alternative."

So the developer made a few changes, namely moving the front door so as to be able to delete the ramp and create a 1m space in front of the pavement in which they propose some planting to try to disguise the odd proportions of the raised building they are left with.

Council officers decided that was fine, saying ‘The proposed removal of the existing raised ramp, balustrade and the alteration to the location of the front door will help alleviate the inspector’s concerns.’

I don’t think so. With the door moved, and the ramp removed, we have an oddly proportioned building with its windows at the wrong height. The developer has not very successfully tried to disguise that with planting, but the reality is that the plants will struggle to survive in the few inches of space they have between the wall and the pavement. It will look horrible.

In his conclusion the 2016 Inspector said “I have found that the appeal development has an unacceptable appearance. The nature of the harm is such that I consider it could not be addressed by my imposition of reasonable planning conditions. The appeal is therefore dismissed.” 

The Inspector was effectively saying that he does not believe there is anything the developer can do to make the building acceptable.

Clause 7.9 of the council report says ‘The inspector and officers are minded that reverting to the 2012 consent would involve the demolition of the house.’

And that’s exactly what should have happened to prevent the council becoming laughing stock amongst developers. 

But no, the Labour controlled committee decided by 3 votes to two (breaking along party lines) that although the resulting building is wrong on virtually every level, it can stay, and they granted it permission. The message this sends to developers is quite clear. Build what you like in Croydon, our spineless council won't stop you.



Westfield Avenue road name plate being replaced
09/02/2018 09:02:00.......Posted by Lynne Hale


A resident recently let me know about the very sad state of the Westfield Avenue road name plate – at the west end. Seemingly he has in the past painted it to keep it in good condition but it is now rotten and collapsing with heavily rusted supports.
I am pleased to say that the Council has agreed to replace this sign so we can look forward to seeing a new one there shortly.



Seat at 403 bus stop Sanderstead Recreation Ground
06/02/2018 12:38:00.......Posted by Lynne Hale

Following the loss of the bus shelter, with the toilets, and the opening of the wonderful Priscilla’s café a while ago, a number of residents have been in touch about having a seat installed. Clearly for some people if there is a bit of a wait for a 403 bus it can get a bit wearying standing at this stop.
I am pleased to say that a suitable spot has now been identified and he job is now being costed. I will update with further news…



20mph Zones in South of the Borough
16/01/2018 19:20:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley


As residents will be well aware signs are appearing in the south of the borough for the introduction of the 20mph zone.  We realise that this may well be confusing for some residents with Sanderstead Road and a number of others remaining at 30mph whilst others such as Purley Downs Road are 20mph.  

Residents may also find it particularly confusing when faced with a choice.  What do you mean you might say?  Well in some roads, Farmfields for instance, just by Sanderstead library the signs on the entry to the road show 30 on one side and 20 on the other.

I have asked officers if they can explain the signage which residents have brought to my attention saying they are quite confused.



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 Older Blog Posts
Purley Skyscraper
43 Downsway - appalling planning decision
Mitchley View road safety
Last Floating Shelter before Christmas
98 Hyde Road - increase from 7 to 8 flats
Xmas Lights - Sanderstead and Hamsey Green
Garden grabbing encouraged in Mayor Khan's London Plan
Onslow Gardens closure: Tardis required
Friends of Purley Beeches AGM
Litter picking in Riddlesdown
Sanderstead Floating Shelter
Trees Outside Priscillas and The Gruffy -- Xmas Lights
Traffic Sensors - Purley Oaks Road
Footpath 138 Between Shaw Crescent and Rectory Park/Road Cleansing/Garden Waste Dumping
Bus Diversion
Fly tipping in Hamsey Green
Objection to local plan
A Busy Day in Croydon
Rec traveller update
Eid prayers in the Rec
Graffiti removed
Sanderstead Rec travellers
Eid Celebrations at sanderstead Rec
Local Plan: good news for Sanderstead, not so good elsewhere
SGN road works in Hamsey Green
Borough Grange garden furniture
Change to Riddlesdown road works
More roadworks in Sanderstead
Update on Addington Road Gas Main replacement
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