“More substance, less spin” say Bromley Liberal Democrats in their formal response to Bromley Council’s Draft Air Quality Action Plan.
“We applaud the council’s ambition to improve air quality across the borough,” said Lib Dem Campaigner David Marshall, “and stand ready to support them in this ambition. But the plan they have produced is more like a travel brochure than a serious document planning the strategy in the borough for the next 5 years.”
The full text of the Lib Dems’ response to the draft action plan can be viewed here. Their key message is that while they welcome the Council’s desire to improve air quality across the borough, they have concerns that some claims made are unsubstantiated, that there is inadequate monitoring to measure progress, and that the planned actions are lacking in detail and ambition.
Figures secured by the Bromley Lib Dems shows that over the past 3 months, there was a 40% rise in fly-tipping, with almost 1000 fly-tips removed across the borough whilst access to recycling centres remain very limited. Despite an increase in the number of slots being made available residents and businesses currently have to wait over a month to secure a slot to recycle their waste.
Beckenham Conservative MP Bob Stewart has published another rather bizarre blog post, which raises more questions than it answers. Mainly, what is going on in Bob's brain?
Bromley Council have ignored local opposition and approved their own application for the building of 25 flats in “zed-pods” in the Burnt Ash lane public car park on Brindley Way. The flats are rental units, and will all count as "affordable".
The zed-pods are pre-fabricated three and four storey flats with the ground floor mostly open, allowing car parking underneath. The site is the Brindley Way car park behind the Burnt Ash Lane shops. All 25 units (10 x 1 bedroom, 15 x 2 bedroom) will be “affordable”. The car parking capacity would be reduced from 104 spaces to 84, of which 15 would be for residents – so only 69 for the public including occupants of the existing flats over the shops, workers in the shops and customers, including overflow from the supermarket’s much smaller car park (currently closed but presumably to be re-opened when Lidl opens the former Waitrose). The original proposal included charging for the currently free car park, but this was changed and the car park is to remain free.
84 responses to the council's consultation had been received at the time the planning meeting documents were finished, but I gather a further 60 or more had been submitted by the time of the meeting. Nearly all of these were objecting to the proposal on various grounds – mostly that the squeeze on the car park would be detrimental to the shops.
At the meeting, two members of the public spoke. Pam Hicks spoke to oppose the proposal. She was extremely clear and concise, covering and summarising the objections. None of the councillors on the committee took the opportunity to respond or ask questions of her. The second speaker was Rehab Khodabuccus, from ZEDpods Ltd, who is on the planning application as the Agent for the proposal. Of the 3 local councillors who represent this ward, Peter Morgan sent in a statement supporting the development, Michael Turner dismissed the opposition of residents and Gareth Allatt was silent.
This was my first time attending or listening to a virtual planning meeting. It was rather surprising how much trouble the councillors had with the meeting technology, given that they have been using it for some months now – frequent calls for everyone to mute when not wanting to speak, etc.
Whilst the Covid-19 crisis is dominating headlines, the climate crisis has not gone away. We can, and should, seize this opportunity to recover from the pandemic in a way that helps prevent future catastrophes.