A controversial new tower block has divided opinion in a close-knit community.

Mosaic Place has been ‘called in’ by the government after 9000 residents opposed the height of the plot in December.

In a divisive move, Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Local Government, has motioned for site to be revised after four years of planning.

The 17 storey sky-scraper in Purley, will have 220 homes, a new church and community facilities, if granted.

In particular, Mr Javid is questioning the consistency of the development with the London Plan and the policies in the National Planning Policy Framework on ‘requiring good design of the built environment’

The proposed building will exist on land neighbouring Purley Baptist Church.

Chris Phillip, MP for Croydon South said: “Local residents are overwhelmingly opposed to this scheme, and so am I. It was shocking that the council gave it planning permission I am delighted that it has been called in and that a Planning Inspector will now look at it. The site does need developing, but 6-8 floors would be much more appropriate.”

 The developers of the site, Thornsett have said that they are ‘disappointed’ to have been stopped at the final legal stages of development.

Gerard Cunningham, Executive Chairman of Thornsett said:  “Thornsett, a family business, has been working with Croydon Council and Purley Baptist Church over the last 4 years and has invested, to date, in excess of £2 million to support the regeneration of Purley Town Centre.  The development will provide a massive further investment into Purley with construction jobs, long term jobs and badly needed homes of all tenure.

He added: “We were very disappointed to be at the final stage of the planning legal agreement, after having incurred all the cost that this entails, to find it called in by the Secretary of State at the last minute. We are confident that when the Secretary of State is supplied with the detailed facts surrounding the application, he will be minded to approve it.”

Others though held a different view:

Simon Cripps, Chairman of Purley Business Improvement District said: It has been derelict for 30 years. It has been built into a political battle, both parties have approved it and now it has caused a big problem, it has been done in the most tasteful way not to affect Russell Hill skyline. A commercial development needs to have a lot of flats to pay for the development. It has been derelict for a long time, we have got the best solution that we are going to get out of this.

Tarsem Flora said: “Gradually it has been increasing in height but the council decided to have a landmarked building on the site, that’s why the height keeps increasing. I know it has a lot of objections, but the site has been vacant for 12 years, it is an eyesore. Something has to happen on the site. They are other tall sites in London. For it to not be approved by the secretary of state then what happens to the site? It stays as an eyesore for the next ten years?

Rev Dr James Collins, Senior minister of Purley Baptist church said: “We were surprised and disappointed to be informed that our building project has been ‘called in’ by the Government.  Nevertheless, we remain committed to the development and excited by the opportunity it presents for us to provide the residents of Purley with fantastic community facilities.  We look forward to cooperating with the forthcoming local enquiry and trust that the many benefits of the scheme will prove persuasive.”

How do you feel about the development? Get in touch at samantha.mordi@london.newsquest.co.uk