There are so many planning applications affecting the High Street it is difficult to keep track. Recently we've seen the council reject an application to build a 12 storey development on top of the old Maplins shop (although only by one vote), revised plans approved to build a 9 storey block at 25-27 Elmfield Road (the old Conservative club), building a 10 storey office block at 19 Elmfield Road (Prospect House), and we're expecting an update from the developers about Site G ("Churchill Quarter") imminently where 40 houses in Ethelbert Close will be demolished and replaced with 410 flats towering over the High Street and Library and Church House Gardens. And of course there are more developments in the pipeline.
And in the middle of this plethora of developments, with the background of vital services being seriously pared back, we hear about the Council's plan to spend £1.2m on a greenhouse style structure and two controversial statues with virtually no consultation.
With people spending more time locally, this is an opportunity to breathe new life into our high streets. The Lib Dems would like to see our town centres reimagined to provide space for the services that local people want. Such as innovative co-working and business hubs; accessible health, childcare and adult learning centres; creative retail spaces for start-ups and independent shops; and more flexible community and leisure spaces.
However, here in Bromley the Conservative Council is pressing ahead with these high rise residential developments with virtually no affordable housing. There has been little consideration about the pressure that will be put on already overstretched local services. Nor how to transform our town centre to support the needs of the community better. Developments like this will change Bromley beyond recognition - but not for the better unless Conservative Bromley Council listens to local people. And undertakes proper and careful consultation before spending our money on statues and walkways.