This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 12/10/2018.
One of Britain’s tallest buildings could be built in the heart of Croydon town centre
It would be as tall as Canary Wharf – and some people have already said it would simply be too tall.
Plans are in place to build a giant 50-storey tower block, which would be one of Britain’s tallest buildings, in the heart of Croydon.
At a planning committee meeting last night (Thursday, October 11) initial proposals were unveiled to build 900 flats on a patch of land in the town centre, which is bordered by Katharine Street, St George’s Walk, High Street and Park Street.
If built the tower block would be the same height as Britain’s second tallest building, One Canada Square – which is more commonly known as Canary Wharf.
However, by the time it’s built it is unlikely to even be Croydon’s tallest building – as an even bigger 68-storey building has been approved for the corner of Wellesley Road and Lansdowne Road.
That building, though, is going to be a little way out from the town centre.
Is 50 storeys simply too tall?
The proposed town centre tower block would be slap bang in the middle of town, where the St George’s Walk shopping arcade currently sits.
And concerns were expressed at the Croydon Council planning meeting that a 50-storey building is simply too tall for the town centre.
If eventually approved, it would be part of the Queen’s Square development, which includes a radically revamped Nestlé building.
The demolition of all buildings on this large patch of land between Park Lane, Park Street, High Street and Katharine Street – other than Segas House, Katharine House and Park House – was approved in September.
A pre-application was put forward by R&F Property, a Chinese developer which owns the land, at last night’s meeting.
It already has permission to redevelop the Nestlé tower.
Here’s what else is planned
The committee heard that the developer also wants to pedestrianise Katharine Street outside the town hall.
As well as the new homes in the giant tower block, shops and restaurants would be included in the development.
Jonathan Carter, from architects Rolfe Judd, told the meeting: “It’s been designed to offer something different in Croydon, a new urban quarter.
“This development offers something that isn’t available in Croydon.”
He added that a town square setting for the town hall is an “extremely important” part of the plans.
But Councillor Clive Fraser, who used to be a planning officer, said he was disappointed by the presentation.
“I don’t share [the opinion] that the only way you can bring forward sites in central Croydon is to have taller buildings,” he said.
Some of the other huge tower blocks planned for Croydon
Barely a week seems to pass without permission being sought for another giant tower block to be built in the town centre.
Here are some of the developments that are in the pipeline …
A huge 44-storey block of more than 540 flats is going to be built opposite East Croydon station. The tower is set to be the world’s largest prefabricated building.
This features two new blocks on Dingwall Road – one reaching 24 storeys high – which would consist of nearly 200 homes.
The plan is to expand on ongoing work at the adjacent Leon House, on the High Street, in order to create a new residential area. The proposals include building 350 new homes, in two tower blocks of 21 and 19 storeys.
Developers Menta and Redrow have been given permission to create 445 new homes in twin 25-storey towers – known as Morello North and Morello South – on Cherry Orchard Road.
There are plans for a 26-storey tower block which would be built in the place of Cambridge Houseon Wellesley Road.
This development would be made up of 133 flats in a 36-storey tower and an attached nine-storey block at 4 to 20 Edridge Road. It would be home to 230 flats in total.
A truly enormous 68-storey skyscraper has been approved for 1 to 5 Lansdowne Road. An expected completion date of 2022 has been given.
Work has begun on a 35-storey building on the Taberner House site on Park Lane which used to house the council offices.
“I’ve got serious concerns about the approach to the scheme.”
He added that there would be “significant heritage impacts” of a 50-storey building.
‘It’s just too tall’
Cllr Fraser said: “I think there is a fundamental issue here about this building being too tall.
“I’m yet to be convinced this public realm works. I think it would be overshadowed by the tower.”
Councillor Niroshan Sirisena was impressed that an art gallery is included in the plans but was not happy with the amount of affordable housing propsed.
He said: “I think it is a very exciting offer for the town centre I think it seems in tune with providing what is needed to embellish our cultural offer.
“I think Croydon town centre is definitely in need of a town square.
“However, I think the offer of just 20% affordable housing falls well short of our local target.
“As we all know we’ve got a nationwide housing crisis and people of my generation and below are probably the first to approach old age being poorer than our parents and unable to get on the housing ladder.”
As it was a pre-application a decision will not be made on the plans yet.
The developer will take away the comments of the planning committee before submitting a full planning application in the coming month.