Just days after trumpeting their success in refusing planning permission to the large block proposed for the site of Maplins in Bromley High Street, Conservative Councillors have quietly (in written answers to Lib Dem questions) confirmed that they will be proceeding with the ‘Churchill Quarter’ - two rows of giant tower blocks opposite the Churchill Theatre, far worse and far more damaging than the Maplins proposal.
This scheme is the brainchild of the Conservatives at Bromley Council. They plan to buy the land by compulsory purchase orders, and present the plans developed by their partners Countryside Properties "in the near future" - but presumably after the May election. The local Tories say they're opposed to the development - but if they are, why don't they just stop it now?
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The Churchill Quarter development comprises two rows of giant tower blocks up to 15 storeys high, bringing potentially over 1,200 new residents into the centre of Bromley without any increase in funding for local services. The blocks will cast a permanent shadow over both Church House Gardens and Library Gardens with retail units opening onto the gardens. It will change the look and feel of our town forever.
The Conservatives' plan is to use compulsory purchase orders to buy the residential properties in Ethelbert Close. They have paid the Development Company Countryside Properties to draw up the plans and undertake a consultation with local people. The detailed plans are due to be submitted to Bromley Council after the elections in May. Effectively Bromley Council are the developers of this project, and they will be considering whether to give their own scheme planning approval.
Historic England have warned " ... the proposed development would cause harm to the significance of the Bromley Town Centre Conservation Area as a result of its overly dominant scale and massing.”
If they wanted to the Conservatives could stop the project in its tracks. Right now. Without waiting until after the elections in May.
They could pause it to consider alternatives that are more in keeping with our town, that do not damage the conservation area, that protect our green spaces, and provide more affordable homes for Bromley families.
The Lib Dems want to see a limit on the height of new developments in Bromley. We want a focus on affordable homes for local families and a reinvigorated High Street with improved services for new and existing residents.