Councillors have this evening (Thursday) unanimously approved plans to build Britain’s second tallest building in Croydon town centre.
The decision to give the thumbs-up to the 68-storey tower block proved to be “one of the hardest decisions ever made” by Croydon Council’s planning committee. Buildings at 1-5 Lansdowne Road and Voyager House at 30-32 Wellesley Road are now set to be demolished and replaced with 68 and 41-storey towers. Those two towers would be connected by an 11-storey block, the committee meeting was told. A total of 794 homes, office space, a health club with a swimming pool and retail shops would all be built as part of the scheme. Visitors would be able to enjoy views across Croydon and London from a bar, a restaurant and a free public viewing gallery on the 64th to 66th floors. When built, the 68-storey block will stand at 236 metres tall and will tower over the 50-storey Canary Wharf. Only The Shard, which stands at 95 floors and 310 metres, would be a taller building in the whole of Britain. The skyscraper would also easily overtake the 43-storey Saffron Square as the tallest building in Croydon.
Speaking at the planning meeting, Councillor Paul Scott talked about previous failed attempts to build on the land near East Croydon train station. Cllr Scott told the committee that eight previous reasons for refusing the scheme had been overcome according to the council’s officers. He said: “This is one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make on this planning committee. It will be one of the highest restaurants in the country, one of the highest in the world. The free public access is notable and it will bring more people to Croydon. I must admit, I am not a fan of the design but it is not about an individual’s opinion, it is about an overall quality. It will be striking, dramatic and it will be another thing which puts us on the map. The Shard is b****y tall. So to be three-quarters the height of The Shard it is still very tall.”
Plans to build an even taller 69-storey tower were put forward for the site in January 2016 by developers Guildhouse and Rosepride but the council’s planning committee rejected the proposal due to concerns about the application, including what was seen as insufficient provision of affordable housing. The developers instead planned on moving ahead with a 55-storey development on the site which they received permission for in 2011. Work was due to start on the development of the shorter option in February, but the site remained untouched and developers instead went back to the drawing board.
Councillor Jamie Audsley added: “Previously it was a bad deal for Croydon, this is a good deal for Croydon. We should bank it. We have to embrace bold and radical as we move forward.”
Conservative councillor Jason Perry also commented on the scheme, before giving his backing to the new building. He said: “This is a large, complicated, running scheme we have seen become a soap opera in its own right. I like the building, I think it is exciting and will have a dramatic impact on Croydon’s skyline. It will transform the look of Wellesley Road. Let’s give the applicants the ability to crack on with this scheme.”
The planning committee then voted unanimously to approve the plans.
Source: Croydon Advertiser