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Labour leader makes claim of ‘north south divide’ in Bromley

PUBLISHED: 17:16 14 November 2017 | UPDATED: 11:26 15 November 2017

Bromley Civic Centre

Bromley Civic Centre

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Angela Wilkins has called housing to be built on “less developed” areas

Calls of “nimbyism” have been made by Bromley’s Labour leader, as she warned of “overdevelopment” in the north of the borough compared to the “leafy” south.

But Bromley council’s leader has hit back, pointing out the south of the borough is protected from development as it is Green Belt land, something he says the council is “totally committed to defending”.

The war of words comes as new figures estimated 38 per cent of Bromley was developed, with the lion’s share being built in the north of London’s biggest borough.

In the south, the largest area of development was around Biggin Hill, with green space growing denser towards Downe, Knocholt and Hazelwood.

Crystal Palace councillor and Labour leader, Angela Wilkins, said: “What we have is our own very clear north-south divide.

“There is a huge demand for housing and in Crystal Palace we are becoming overdeveloped, I have had one resident call me to say three sides of his house are now surrounded by larger buildings.

“There is a sense of nimbyism, we all want as much green space as possible, but unless more homes are built across the less developed areas we will end up with more cramped overdevelopment in the north whilst the south stays green and leafy.

“That simply isn’t fair - we shouldn’t be a borough of haves and have-nots when it comes to green space.”

But the council’s leader, Colin Smith has defended current developments, as BBC figures revealed last week stated 22 per cent of the borough’s land was used for parks, gardens, open spaces and sporting facilities.

The remaining 40 per cent is farmland and natural woodland or heathland.

Cllr Smith, who represents Bickley ward, said: “In one sense, Cllr Wilkins is correct, the council certainly does have a different mind-set to development in the north and centre of the borough as opposed to in the south and east, given that the latter is largely protected Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land which can’t be developed.

“Bromley council remains totally committed to defending our local open green spaces throughout the borough, and we have been grateful to the mayor for London thus far, for his indicative support on the subject as well.

“If Cllr Wilkins suggestion is that we are only building in the north of the borough and nowhere else, that is demonstrably not the case as extensive housing developments in Beckenham, Bromley, Orpington and West Wickham rown centres over recent years clearly demonstrate for all to see.”

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