Category Archives: Hayes Common

Hayes Common Works – Update

We are well aware of the controversy over the filling in of the bike tracks and jumps on Hayes Common and removal of the dens that local children had made. We can well understand the disappointment of both parents and children at the move, especially in recent times when the common provided such respite from domestic lockdown.

It seems the works were carried out in response to reports of excessive damage to the Common – particularly trees – as well as being an enforcement of existing by-laws. While the Council has generally taken a pragmatic approach to enforcement of these by-laws it appears that some additional recent damage to the trees and surroundings had meant action had to be taken.

The full official explanation for the works is as follows:

On 17th March 2021 idverde received written concerns regarding the existence and extent of the area used for bike jumps. The concern was based primarily around the safety risk posed to both the users of the jumps and other site users. Upon further inspection we found jumps of significant size which we deemed to be dangerous. In addition to this, trees in the immediate vicinity had been vandalised and one had its root base excavated which resulted in that particular tree unfortunately having to be felled due to the risk it presented.

Hayes Common is a Local Nature Reserve and part of a Site of Scientific Interest, as well as Common Land. The presence of such a feature as well as the activity itself contravenes a number of the bye laws for common land.

As a Local Nature Reserve the significant level of ground disturbance from digging and the repeated use by bicycles has resulted in a large area of bare ground where flora is unable to grow. Combined with the damage to trees in the vicinity this represents a real ecological concern. A similar issue exists with the construction of dens which result in large volumes of timber dangerously stacked against trees, often for long periods of time. These structures are unstable and dangerous and could arguably represent an increased fire risk during periods of dry weather. The removal of dead wood from the woodland floor negatively impacts the wider woodland ecology by reducing the surface are of deadwood in contact with the soil which again in a Local Nature Reserve is an important consideration.

It is standard working practice for us to take such action when informal structures are built within our parks as it is considered anti-social behaviour/vandalism and also create serious health and safety issues for other users. We sincerely appreciate the impact of Covid and the strain it has on many young people. We’ve seen a significant increase in numbers of visitors to our parks and open spaces over the last year, and this is forcing us to observe our duty of care more sensibly. While a minority of users may enjoy using such a feature we have a duty of care to all site users, particularly when the act contravenes the bye laws in place. This was the second bike track which we had been made aware of in Hayes Common, the first in February which was also filled in.

As your local councillors, we were disappointed at the breakdown in communication between the contractors, Council, councillors and other interested groups which led to the current position; this is currently being looked into to ensure a repeat situation does not occur.

Clearly it would be preferable to see solutions that respect the wishes of all users of our Common and open spaces, including generations both present and future. Each of us councillors have been users of the common either in our own youth, with our children or, in one case, now grandchild.

Furthermore the continued attractiveness of the Common is due in no small part to the tireless efforts of the Friends of Hayes Common and we greatly appreciate all that they do.

New Care Home Gets Green Light

A new care home off West Common Road has been approved by the planning inspector after a successful appeal by the operators.

The plans are for a 60 bed facility on the old Hayes Common Bowls Club site behind Burton Pynsent House. The proposals were originally refused by the council who were concerned about the loss of Urban Open Space and highways issues among other factors. However the inspector last week overruled the decision.

The plans also include a new base for CASPA, a local charity working with autistic children, young people and their families.

It is not clear what impact the decision may have on separate plans, by another operator, for a care home on the old ‘Stevensons Heating’ site also in West Common Road. though in their submissions the operators of the appealed scheme cited a significant shortfall in care home beds over the next ten years.

Have They Done Enough At Hayes Court?

Revised proposals have been submitted for the former trade union headquarters at Hayes Court in West Common Road.

London Square hope to restore the old mansion at Hayes Court and build new houses on the site. They have now removed one of the four contentious houses on the west of the site (and rearranged the layout), close to the boundary with Hayes Common, as well as making changes to the hard and soft landscaping features. The increase in ‘built footprint’ has now reduced from 48% to 28%, and the developers have sought to address the concerns expresses by the planning committee last time, when the original plans were refused because of the effects on the openness of the site and on the common itself.

The proposed restoration of the listed house are of a high quality and the later additions to the site probably won’t be missed, but any form of new build here will be a sensitive issue.

The full plans can be found here and the public consultation period ends on 23rd July. Please also let us know what you think, as we will be making representations to the committee on your behalf.

The current Hayes Court site
The current Hayes Court site

The new proposals submitted this month
The new proposals submitted this month

Hayes Court Plans – Committee Date Set

The proposals for new housing and the refurbishment of the house at Hayes Court have been listed for a hearing at the Development Control Committee on Thursday 8th April.

Council officer have recommended refusal of the application on grounds mainly relating to the impact on the open spaces both within the site, the adjoining common and wider conservation area, for example:

Hayes Court Proposals Apr14– ‘overdevelopment of this semi-rural site’ leading to ‘inappropriate suburbanisation of the site and harmful impact on … the Urban Open Space’

– the new detached dwellings would have a ‘detrimental impact on the character and setting of the Statutory Listed Building’ (the original house) and would ‘erode the open nature of the site’.

The committee report (pdf 743Kb) and full application papers are available on the Council website.

Hayes Court Development – Committee Date Awaited

The planning application for the old trade union offices at Hayes Court was submitted at the end of last year.

The proposals are to convert the old house into eight apartments and to build sixteen houses – seven detached and nine ‘mews’ style – in the surrounding grounds. This is a change to the plans seen at the public exhibition where the plans encompassed four detached houses, a terrace of four townhouses and eight mews houses. Another change is that a fourth large detached house is proposed alongside those already planned to the west of the main house, next to the boundary with the common.

The application, because of its size will automatically go before a planning committee, though a date is yet to be set. It can be seen at https://searchapplications.bromley.gov.uk/onlineapplications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=MX9S6ZBTJX000

Another Development Planned: Hayes Court

Developers are about to unveil proposals for new homes at the old trade union headquarters at Hayes Court in West Common Road, which were sold this summer to developer London Square in a £20m deal.

The plans include conversion of the main house into eight apartments and the construction of 16 four- and five-bedroomed townhouses in the grounds.

No planning application has been submitted yet, but a public consultation event is being held by the developers on Thursday 24th October at Hayes Court, between 3 and 8pm.

hayes_court_aerial

 

Hayes and Keston Get Back to Nature

Parks_hayescomm_448x336A swathe of commons and green space from Hayes to Keston Ponds are set to become designated a Local Nature Reserve.

The classification, which will cover Hayes and Keston Commons, Padmall Wood and Ravensbourne Open Space, will give additional legal protection from development and other unwelcome activities.

The new reserve will be known as “Ravensbourne Local Nature Reserve” and is due to come before the Renewal and Recreation PDS Committee and Portfolio Holder (Cllr. Julian Benington) on 13th October.

(Full committee papers here (MS Word 84Kb)).