Councillor Catch-Up: Development Control Committee June 2022


Councillor Chloe-Jane Ross attended her first Development Control Committee meeting on Tuesday 7th June. The meeting considered interim funding for the restoration of the heritage assets in Crystal Palace Park, a borough-wide Supplementary Planning Guidance document, and the work of the Trees Team in protecting and inspecting trees in the borough.

Here is Chloe's report.

The Councils Regeneration Team (LBB Regeneration) are the applicant for the Crystal Palace Park regeneration project and they must seek planning permission from the Council as a planning authority. At DC last night they presented the phasing plans for the regeneration which require the Council to start work on repairing heritage assets in the park (Italian Terraces, Paxton Statue, Lakes and Dinosaurs) before any housing development can be started.

Last year the Council approved plans for two sites in the park that currently have housing on to be sold off for development and all the money raised from the sale (£24m) to be invested pack into the park. Initially LBB Regeneration thought they could do all the restoration work before selling off the land, but this will not be possible due to the specialist nature of the heritage sites and the long timescales involved in restoring them, nor desirable as it would mean the Council would have to foot the bill for the repairs before raising the required funds from the sale of the land. The new phasing plan will see the Council invest £4-5m in the park to start the restoration works, and they can complete the remaining work within 6-7 years with the monies from the land sale. The Committee approved the LBB Regeneration unanimously.

Of note was that many of park's heritage assets were on the English Heritages at risk list, and that English Heritage had put out a nationwide call out looking for specialists to help with their restoration - it is great to hear that English Heritage is supporting the restoration and that we will be able to harness the best expertise in the country. The regeneration and housing plan still has a long was to go in terms of approvals, including approval from the Mayor of London. LBBs Regeneration team continue to look for external funding schemes to support the restoration works, including a BID into Gove's Levelling Up Fund.

The borough-wide Supplementary Planning Guidance Document was presented to the Committee for adoption. This document sits alongside the Local Plan (where the meat of the planning policies are) and articulates guidance on the polices in the Local Plan. The Committee noted the hard work of the Officers in preparing the document, but decided to defer the adoption to allow time for additional elements raised by Councillors to be included, it is now due back to Committee in September.

The Trees Team presented on their work, protecting and inspecting trees in the borough, both on Council owned land and those on private land with TPOs (Tree Protection Orders). There were significant challengers for team, as Bromley is the largest London borough with the most trees and they have limited resources. I spoke to commend the work of the Tree Team and noted how important it is for Bromley Council to have a strong but fair position on protecting trees. Insurers and developers are often all too keen to fell trees. We have witnessed this in my ward of Beckenham Town & Copers Cope, where residents have been dismayed and saddened to see healthy mature trees cut down. Beautiful and mature trees add great value to amenity of our communities. The Council is currently planting hundreds of trees to improve our environment, but as we all know it is the mature trees that are the most beneficial to our health and so it is right that the Council do what they can to protect them. I am supportive of the Trees Team being given an additional Officer to help protect our trees.

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