Council proposes new planning guidance for Orpington


Bromley Council has issued a “Supplemental Planning Document”, specifically for Orpington,  for public consultation until 1 June 2022. The SPD will introduce specific guidelines for planning decisions in Orpington, and therefore once adopted will become an important document for the future of the town. Sadly the consultation period regarding the SPD has not been highlighted by the current Orpington ward councillors (it was not mentioned in their recent newsletter, InTouch, posted to all residents) nor are we aware of their having expressed any views upon it.  Since the purpose of the consultation is to obtain residents’ views, we think that Councillors for the ward of Orpington should be doing more to bring it to residents’ attention.

This is a link to the Orpington Town Centre SPD.

You can comment on it by email to [email protected] or by completing a survey on the Bromley council website (question 6 relates to the Walnuts Centre) or by writing to the Head of Planning, at Bromley Council, Civic Centre, Stockwell Close, Bromley BR1 3UH.

It is a long document and some of the language is not particularly clear – much is aspirational and unobjectionable. Nonetheless it is revealing about where development is likely to take place and worth residents reading the parts that relate specifically to the areas where they live.

People who have objected to the recent planning proposal from Areli on the basis of the proposed height may wish to note, and object to the inclusion of a paragraph 6.4 (page 35) which would permit the construction of a single taller element up to 15 storeys in height.  The preliminary responses to the SPD (carried out between July and October 2020) suggested, according the Consultation Statement dated December 2021, that support for proposal to increase the housing density within the town centre envelope, specifically the Walnuts.  It seems difficult to accept as a true reflection of public sentiment in the light of many objections made in relation to the Areli proposal, but perhaps this needs to be reiterated.

We also note the inclusion of the comment “the college site offers a development opportunity to enhance college provision, deliver green infrastructure and potentially additional mixed use development including housing and commercial use”. This suggests that someone may have in mind the scaling back the College in the Town – which would be a loss.

A further comment is that high density developments should only be permitted, the Council having taken into account the impact on key public services and infrastructure.

In answer to a written question at 28 February Council meeting, the Council stated that they would not consider the 3000 or so comments made in relation to the Areli development in connection with the SPD, as they are not “directly relevant”. However, in the minutes from that same meeting, the Portfolio holder reportedly responded to an oral question stating “I can see no reason, other than sheer bureaucracy, why [those comments should not be used to inform the SPD] and I will encourage the Planning Department to do exactly that”. So it is not clear which is the correct position and whether people need to repeat their comments made in relation to the Areli development in connection with the SPD or not.

 


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