The 24-storey building was occupied by Nestlé until September last year. L&G plans to convert the building into 288 new flats, of which 23 will be affordable homes, as well as shops and community facilities at ground floor level. It will also add up to five storeys to the existing tower and build a roof garden at the top.
The Council's planning officers noted in their report (15-page / 55KB PDF) to the committee that the Draft Croydon Opportunity Area Planning Framework encourages the conversion of surplus office buildings to other uses.
The officers further said that, although the Croydon Plan requires developments of more than 30 flats to provide a 50% affordable housing provision, a viability assessment had shown that the proposed 23 affordable homes is the maximum level which it is viable to provide.
"The current proposal is that 11.8% of the habitable rooms provided by the development would be of an affordable tenure. As this is below the 50% desired provision indicated in Croydon Plan policy H13, a viability assessment has been submitted to demonstrate that more affordable accommodation cannot be achieved," said the report.
"This has been reviewed by an independent expert on the Council’s behalf, who agrees with the conclusion that the proposal represents the maximum level of affordable housing which it is viable to provide," it said.
“Last night’s decision marks an important step forward for Croydon and is a strong testament to the hard work we have put in over the past year to ensuring that our proposals not only complement the existing qualities of the borough, but contribute to its wider regeneration, enhancing its position as a desirable residential location," said L&G Property director Charlie Walker.
"We believe that not only will this scheme deliver much needed high quality residential accommodation to the very centre of town, but should bring a new lease of life to the area by significantly improving the public realm, creating a more accessible and attractive civic space for residents and visitors to enjoy,” Walker said.
“This exciting plan matches the council’s vision for transforming the town centre into a place to live as well to work, shop and socialise," said the Council's cabinet member for planning, regeneration and transport, Jason Perry.
"It is a significant leap forward in the council’s strategy for regenerating the town centre, refreshing its 1960s streetscape and boosting the economic growth of the borough."
“Legal and General and our planners have worked extremely hard and efficiently to bring this from proposal to approval in just a few months. It’s proof that Croydon is a place to do business,” Perry said.