In a disappointing decision, the planning inspector has overruled Bromley Council and given approval to a block of eight flats to be built at 145 Hayes Lane.
The Council had refused permission for the plans last summer, but in allowing the developer’s appeal, the inspector reckoned that “… in an area with a mixed street scene where relatively substantial buildings are far from uncommon, the proposal would appear as sitting comfortably in its context and be of an appropriate scale. The proposal would not harm the character and appearance of the area.”
The proposals are in ‘outline’ form with most matters, such as design and scale, to be decided by way of a further application.
The school in Baston Road, which specialises in children with autism, wants to expand to take in 30 additional pupils to bring the total capacity to 115.
To accommodate the additional parking the school proposes an extra 11 parking spaces on site, and an improved entrance and internal driveway is intended to eliminate congestion on the road outside the school.
However, the site is classified as Green Belt, so the school must show ‘very special circumstances’ to justify the development, which will see the built footprint increase by some 90%.
On this key point the school cites, among other factors, the increasing demand for this specialist educational provision and that the openness overall will not be materially affected with 60% of the site still open grounds. They also point out that the nature of the education means the ten classrooms would equate to 5 or 6 classrooms in a mainstream school.
As it lies in a conservation area, any proposals must also preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the area.
Few will deny the need for quality education provision for autistic children, and we are pleased that such a provision exists in the borough when the council is looking to reduce the number of SEN children travelling far outside the area for their education. However, the council and residents will want to be satisfied that not only are there sufficient arguments to allow such building in the green belt but also that the additional traffic generation will indeed be sufficiently mitigated and that the aesthetic design is appropriate.
As your local councillors we are generally supportive of the school and its work. However, we will be studying the plans carefully and would welcome the views – for, against or neutral – of residents.
The full plans can be seen on the council website here.
Following the submission of the plans for redeveloping the farmyard at Hayes Street Farm, your local councillors have been in pressing owners Rookery Estates for clarity on the future of the rest of the land.
The open farmland is not part of the development plans, and as ‘virgin’ green belt is heavily protected against future development regardless of whether the farmyard plans are approved or not. Understandably though, many residents are still worried about what may happen once the farm is no longer operating in its current form.
Rookery tell us that they “envisage having horses on the farm for the foreseeable future although these will be live out horses. No new livery buildings are anticipated. The fishing lake has been let for 10 years so [we] expect this to continue into the future”.
On the future of the boot fairs, George Hoeltschi “has been given permission to hold boot fairs for the next 2 seasons only but Rookery would probably need to curtail this after this year if planning permission is approved for the development”.
Questions remain though about how the future of the rest of the farm can be further secured. Local opinion is split on the boot fairs, but will the land still be viable with just the trout fishery and only live-out provision for horses, for example?
As regards the development proposals themselves, the application for the farmyard plans is open for comment until 24th January. As your local councillors we will be formulating our own detailed response to the plans soon and have already asked that the application is put before a committee for a public hearing, should the recommendation from planning officers be for approval.
Plans for housing on part of Hayes Farm have naturally caused a lot of concern, and the detailed proposals have just been submitted to Bromley Council.
Hayes Farm is already due to close following the retirement of the farmer, the farm having been a part of Hayes life for centuries. The new plans are to build nine homes only on the area currently occupied by the existing buildings, many of which are dilapidated. The farmhouse, a listed building, is unaffected and there are no plans to build on the open farmland.
Many objections already made centre on the future of the wider site, which is not part of the application and is green belt which the council is committed to protecting. The proposals for the farmyard area won’t affect the status of that surrounding land.
As your local councillors we are taking a keen interest in the plans, and will be looking in detail at the proposals, with an eye to protect the green belt and openness of this part of Hayes.
Two significant new developments planned for West Common Road are to be unveiled in public exhibitions this month.
The proposals for retirement housing on the old Stevenson’s Heating site, and an unconnected plan for a care home on the old Hayes Common Bowls Club are both expected to be submitted to the Council within the next few months.
Carebase’s proposals for the former bowls club behind Burton Pynsent House (next to Hayes School) will be on display the following week at Hayes Village Hall on Wednesday 15th November between 3 and 8pm.
Residents near the old Stevensons’ Heating premises will shortly be seeing draft plans for a new sheltered housing scheme for older people on the site. The developers, Renaissance Retirement , will be contacting those living within a few hundred yards of the site to discuss their ideas before submitting a planning application, which they expect to do before Christmas.
Graham and Neil saw the plans yesterday with the developer and during discussions took the opportunity to stress the need for adequate off-site parking (though such schemes tend to generate lower traffic levels than ‘normal’ housing). They also noted that the architects involved appear keen to complement the building styles of the surrounding roads and to preserve as many of the trees along the edge of the site as possible.
We will watch the progress of the plans with interest and as always will welcome the views of residents.
Rumours have been circulating about the future of the Stevenson Heating premises in West Common Road.
There have been significant changes to the business including a management buy-out, though happily Stevenson Heating will continue to trade, as they have for nearly 90 years. However, we understand that an interest has been shown in the current site for use as a residential care home or ‘assisted living’ scheme.
Clearly such a proposal will need to go through the planning process, but your Conservative councillors will be keeping a close watch for further news.
The mobile ‘phone mast proposed for the green at the junction of Birch Tree Avenue and Queensway was turned down by a council planning committee last night.
The committee heard representations from both residents’ associations and Cllr. Graham Arthur, who cited the quality of consultation, lack of explanation as to why alternative sites had been ruled out, and the potential harm to the openness of the green caused by the equipment cabinet. The committee then agreed unanimously to reject the bid by Vodafone and Telefonica (O2).
Pre-empting accusations of ‘Nimbyism’, Cllr. Arthur had pointed out that an application for another, more appropriate, site in the ward had recently been approved without opposition from local councillors.
The refusal comes after last year’s plans to erect a taller mast on another green, at the junction of Kingsway and Gates Green Road, were turned down on similar grounds.
Bromley Football Club, following their successful promotion to the Vanarama Conference Premier League, have unveiled plans for a new South stand, together with additional facilites.
We understand an upgrade of the stand is necessary under league rules, but the plans also include “a multi purpose facility with badminton, volleyball and indoor cricket facilities, a café and viewing boxes”. The proposals will undoubtedly garner a lot of interest, particularly among the club’s neighbours.
Plans have been put forward to erect a mobile phone base station at the junction of Gates Green Road and Kingsway. The site – the small triangle of green where the two roads meet – has been selected by contractors working for Vodafone, and seeks to upgrade coverage in the area to the modern 4G standard.
However, consultation has been poorly carried out so far, and test drilling has taken place in front of bemused residents – confusion added to by false claims the work was being done by the council.
Now a ‘planning application‘ (though technically a formal consultation) has been submitted and residents have until 18th June to make representations. We are certainly not opposed to an improvement in infrastructure in the ward; however, although the mast itself is in the style of a tall lamppost, the four accompanying equipment cabinets may well prove the unsightliest aspect. Apart from the significant ‘footprint’, the boxes will take up a prominent place in the street scene, with little in the proposals to address this.
UPDATE 24/6: The application has been refused by the council.
Serving Hayes, Coney Hall, West Wickham Common and Hayesford Park