The Government’s decision to refuse planning permission for a skyscraper in Purley is set to be quashed.

In December, Secretary of State for Housing, James Brokenshire, intervened to reject plans to build a 17-story tower block on the derelict site of Purley Baptist Church, following an inquiry into Croydon Council’s decision to grant planning permission.

Property developer Thornsett Group legally challenged the Government’s intervention, with the Secretary of State conceding he failed to provide adequate reasons and accepting his decision should be nulled.

It is expected a draft order to overturn the decision will be confirmed by the High Court in the next few days and the original application referred back to the Secretary of State for reconsideration.

Councillor Paul Scott, cabinet lead for regeneration and planning said: “It’s pleasing the Secretary of State has accepted errors were made in justifying his refusal of planning permission for this important brownfield development, which was fully endorsed, not only by the council’s planning committee, but also the Mayor of London.

“The proposed development was also supported by the Secretary of State’s planning inspector – and it would provide much-needed homes in the borough, with a replacement church and community facilities while incorporating the highest standards of architecture and materials.

“Earlier this year at the Building London Summit, the Secretary of State was praising Croydon for going the extra mile to build more homes.

“All planning applications we receive are subject to a stringent planning process – and this development was deemed to be both sustainable and appropriate on a site allocated in the Croydon Local Plan.

“Development on the site remains long overdue and I hope the Secretary of State fully recognises the full regenerative potential of these proposals.”

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An artist's rendering of the 17-storey tower

In addition to the 17-story, 220-flat tower, the development will bring two other buildings of three and eight storeys.

Purley Baptist Church will also be given a new home, including a sports hall, 450-set auditorium, classroom and exhibition spaces.

The decision is a blow to local campaigners, who claim the “skyscraper” will be out of keeping with the neighbourhood, ruining its character.

Chris Philp, MP for Croydon South, launched a petition opposing the development, which was signed by more than 9,000 people.

“The Purley Skyscraper review process is set to begin all over again,” he said.

“Although I have not been informed of the reasons for the decision, Judicial Review is based entirely on whether correct process is followed, and not whether the right decision has been reached. This means that the entire process of reviewing the planning decision needs to be repeated.

“This does not mean that the skyscraper now has planning consent. There will now be a new public enquiry into the decision, likely by a different planning inspector.

“I will fight skyscraper again through a new enquiry and I hope that everyone who fought so hard against it before will continue to do so.

“I remain deeply disappointed and shocked by the council’s decision to contemptuously ignore the wishes of residents when it comes to the skyscraper.

“Around 12,000 residents signed the last petition to stop the skyscraper, and I encourage everyone to sign my new petition to the council to reform the borough’s planning system. We need a planning system that works for residents rather than constantly letting them down.”