There was an approved application for a development of about eight storeys on the Island site about ten years ago, but it fell through when the developer went bust.
The most recent iteration of this long-running saga started in 2016 when the church applied for permission to build a seventeen storey tower block in the island site next to the library, plus several blocks of up to 8 storeys on the south side of Banstead Road. The application was approved by the Council, then "called in" by the Secretary of State (SoS) at the behest of Chris Philp MP for a fresh public review which was attended by hundreds of local residents and representatives of several local Residents' Associations . The SoS eventually turned it down, but a fresh legal challenge then resulted in the decision to turn it down being voided, ie it was as if the decision had not been made. The SoS then took a fresh look at the whole application and finally decided yesterday to approve the original plans, subject to compliance with various conditions.
The vast majority of local residents and nearly all the local RAs were and are passionately against this scheme, though it does have some supporters such as, for example the Baptist Church's many local members. Quite apart from the height of the tower, many people are appalled that the whole development of 220 flats only has 27 parking spaces of which 20 are reserved for the disabled. I find it very hard to believe that 200 residents will only own 7 cars between them, and the inevitable consequence is that there will be far more overspill parking in the local streets; these are already threatened by excess parking from the many other local developments that have already been approved, such as the huge development on the Foxley Lane side of the library, and the large number of flats being built in Russell Hill and Woodcote Valley Road.