Planning Inspector gives green light to another 28-storey tower

The NLA Tower, the Richard Seifert and Partners-designed “50p Building” that has come to symbolise central Croydon, is to be overlooked by a 28-storey block (another one), after the council lost yet another case at the Planning Inspectorate.

Tight fit: it is perhaps significant that this developers’ CGI of their proposed 28-storey tower of microflats does not manage to include the full height of the building

Wittington Investments want to demolish City Link House, the five-storey office block on Addiscombe Road, and replace it with a residential block of 498 micro-flats – the fourth such development of this kind within a quarter-mile-long stretch opposite East Croydon Station.

The scheme would also include 84 more spacious homes.

Under the developers’ proposals, the micro-flats will include en-suite bathrooms and a kitchenette, but residents share kitchens and communal spaces in the building.

Councillors on the planning committee rejected the plans because it would harm the view of No1 Croydon. Concerns were also expressed about another significant increase in the number of residents in a small area.

The developers took their case to the Inspectorate, where the council’s planning department made a less-than-compelling case for refusal.

“The height and massing would be substantially larger than the height and massing of the NLA Tower and given the proximity to the NLA Tower, it would not appear subservient to the building when viewed in both the immediate context and in views from the north and south of the site and would thus have a negative impact upon its setting,” Croydon’s planners said.

The developers claimed that their 28- and 14-storey towers would somehow “enhance” views of the NLA Tower, which has 24 floors.

Symbolic: built in 1970 by Richard Seifert, No1 Croydon has come to represent the town centre

They claimed that their proposals are “of exemplary design quality and incorporates high quality active frontage”. By that, they mean a cafe on the ground floor. Another one.

The scheme has been designed by Squire and Partners for developers Fifth State and Wittington Investments.

Typically, microflats in other tall developments near East Croydon Station have been built to rent, with nearly £2,000 per month being charged for homes that are barely larger than a modest hotel room.

Which suggests that once this project is completed, if ever fully occupied, it might generate £12million per year in rentals for Wittington Investments.

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16 Responses to Planning Inspector gives green light to another 28-storey tower

  1. Ian Kierans says:

    Was this an intentionally less than compelling case put forward and not based on regulation process and law – or because there was never a compelling case for refusal under regulation process and law?

    This Council planning departments decision making process is being continually held up as flawed at best.
    With the revolving door movement of personnel to commercial companies that make, or have made, or will make a future application – the appearance of ethical standards are seriously besmirched and would always lend to very poor perceived reputation if not outright allegations. That from my mind is very poor standards of practice and exposes employee’s to reputational damage that may not be deserved.

    Many of the responses received from this department begger belief and are totally obtuse. From ”be patient” to ”perfectly legal development”

    They also have no notes and are unable to substantiate a delegated decision to save their reputation let alone provide any concrete doucmentationsupporting any assertion made.

    I would be interested to know at what stage their actions cross the boundaries into areas that can require investigation both civil and criminal by external bodies.

    • Pason Jerry says:

      What’s the point of a council planning department if a bunch of bureaucrats a couple of hundred miles away in Bristol can overturn any giant monstrosity of a building that neither the council want nor anyone the borough wants other than an outside billionaire property development company.

  2. Laurence Fisher says:

    Have we not learned anything from the bad planning in places like Coventry?

  3. Francis (Frank) Glanz says:

    Absolutely ridiculous allowing such a further ‘blot on the landscape’ of Croydon.

    The proposals are more like people living in cramped student accommodation type conditions which usually only last for 3 years at the most.

    Such ‘green lights’ for these developments begs the question in my mind = There needs to be an investigation into links between Planning Inspectors and Developers !!!!

    Can anybody seriously argue this development will enhance the social and cultural life of Croydon to say nothing of the extra pressure put on Croydon’s infrastructure. I nearly forgot = Developers have in fact providing decent, spacious and affordable homes with good local infrastructure at the top of their agenda. Dare not anyone say they are chiefly concerned with massive profits alone !!!!!

  4. Peter Underwood says:

    We need family homes, not more tiny flats.

    The Government has taken all the power away from democratic institutions and given it to corporate boardrooms. Croydon Council has a dreadful record on planning but even when there is an objection to unsuitable applications like this, it is easily overturned by the developer.

    We need a Government that will restore democratic control over planning so we get the buildings and infrastructure we need, not just whatever dodgy scheme makes most profit for millionaire developers.

  5. Do these developers buy their plastic building materials from our Mayor’s shop?

  6. Paul Ainscough says:

    Shared kitchens and common areas. This and a CCTV on every corner reminds me of lectures from Tory MPs about the dangers of Communism.

    Do I laugh or cry?

  7. Paul Hammond says:

    This is no more than “Student Accommodation on steroids”. Who on earth is going to live in these properties? Where are they going to work? Is the current infrastructure (drains/sewerage, buses, trains, trams, Doctors’ Surgeries, etc.) going to be able to support another 1000 people?

    OK, the new home delivery service industries will supply food, home provisions, take-aways, etc. but what a way to live……..I cannot feel anything but pity for the “new Croydonites” of the 21st Century. Condemned to live in what are no more than rabbit hutches……

  8. Dan says:

    The planning officers had recommended approval so why would they put up a robust defence of the committee’s decision to refuse?

    Urban development done well can support growth and jobs – look at King’s Cross and Stratford. But Croydon’s Planning Department is compromised.

    Heather Cheesborough and Nicola Townsend would struggle to plan a pub quiz and have been a disaster for the Borough.

    Despite all the dodgy developments that were slipped through, we don’t have homes. Instead we have empty, unaffordable flats, a once thriving retail, nightlife and restaurant scene limping along, and Croydon’s reputation is through the floor.

  9. Ian Kierans says:

    Perhaps the planning reccomended the spike as it met the legal requirements. If that is the case then we really need to be looking at the laws again and tightening them up. One codicil that states if a majority of councillors vote against a development then it cannot be apporived until those objections are mitigated.

  10. Daniel Kelly says:

    They may be micro-flats, whatever they are, but the residents won’t be micro-humans. Will the infrastructure cope?
    We still have flooding on Mitchley Avenue and at Riddlesdown Station.
    There’s frequently a smell of sewage wafting around Purley cross.

  11. Ted Buccetti says:

    Really? Tell us, what is the occupancy rate of ALL the new buildings blighting Croydon landscape? Didnt see that many lights on the last time I visited my family.

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