We published our own response to the Bromley Masterplan in August, we've now heard from the MP for Bromley & Chislehurst (Bob Neill) and it's good to hear that there's a general consensus across parties on the response to this plan. You can see his letter here.
His response is about the Masterplan for Bromley Town centre but there are planning applications about several important developments, links shown at the bottom of this article.
The Liberal Democrat View
These plans will change Bromley beyond recognition over the next 15-20 years. We are not opposed to development - every town centre must change over time if it is thrive and stay current - but we are opposed to several elements of these plans and the approach being taken.
The town centre needs an all round plan, offering a long term holistic approach that plans for housing, transport, health, education, our environment, as well as commercial and retail opportunities. Many of these services are already at breaking point, the focus on building first and providing services second is not workable.
For residential developments the emphasis must be on the provision of affordable housing, both for sale and for rent. Bromley Liberal Democrats have a clear housing policy including ensuring 35% of all new homes built are affordable, and that new homes must include some social housing. Bromley is fast becoming an area that is unaffordable to many of our friends and family, for key public workers and for lots of the people we rely on to run our vital services. We need a mix of people of all ages and income brackets to build a Bromley for the future.
The plans should incorporate strategies that encourage walking and cycling and use of public transport, building and redesigning roads and junctions that are safe for everyone as well as improving health and air quality, and which improves the neighbourhood by creating green spaces and community hubs.
And we want to make sure that Bromley is still Bromley - it should still feel and looks like the town we all love, so that it retains its heritage and the facilities we appreciate are preserved - Library Gardens (next to the Churchill Theatre) is under threat from the Churchilll Quarter plan for example. The high rise buildings that form part of this development will dwarf the High Street and neighbouring street, dominating the skyline for residents living up to a mile away.
It is vital that there is full consultation with the local population, and that the people who express a view feel they are listened to - we would like the council to set targets for how many replies to the consultation should be received, and if it is not enough to go further, perhaps employing 3rd parties to reach out and hear the people's views.
Consideration for residents must be paramount. The residents around Bromley South have already suffered years of disruption during the building of St Marks Square, the Masterplan promises them more misery, and the residents of Ethelbert Close have been under planning blight for 6+ years - threatened compulsory purchase orders means they've been unable to sell their homes, and they face uncertainty about whether any compensation offered will be enough for them to purchase a comparable home nearby.
Tell the Council what you think - before it's too late
On each of the pages listed above we provide links for you to take part in consultation about the different developments, and where there are none you can register your views on our own survey so that your views can be communicated to the council.
Our detailed response to current planning proposals