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Churchill Quarter: Bromley Council could use compulsory purchase order powers to buy land

PUBLISHED: 11:13 19 February 2019

The plans for Bromley town centre. Photo: Countryside

The plans for Bromley town centre. Photo: Countryside

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Councillors have signed off on using compulsory purchase order powers to get the Churchill Quarter redevelopment scheme in Bromley town centre off the ground.

The scheme was submitted by Countryside last year.

The huge plans would see land near Library Gardens regenerated, with towers as tall as 14 storeys built – bringing 410 homes.

The proposals include the demolition of maisonettes in Ethelbert Close, Bromley Town Church and three shops in Bromley High Street.

The church would move into a new community space, with room for shops, restaurants and bars also included in the plans.

For the scheme to move forward, the council’s executive committee approved the use of CPOs – mainly for land in Ethelbert Close.

So far the council has negotiated with six units, but councillors signed off on using the powers “in principle” in the future, subject to planning permission and detailed proposals being put forward.

Council leader Colin Smith said: “This is perhaps not the most popular subject but a long-standing item that we are all fairly clear needs to be pursued if we are going to develop a town centre in the future that we need to fulfil our promises around housing and our commitment to regenerate.”

Cllr Peter Morgan, portfolio holder for renewal, recreation and housing, said: “This has been on the cards for a number of years.

“It’s a very important part of our supply of housing and the CPO is an important part of that.”

The council has already spent or committed £1.4m to getting properties in Ethelbert Close, part of a £24m budget to deal with the project’s CPOs – which would be reimbursed by the developer.

Officers say the decision would “facilitate negotiations” as landowners would know the council “genuinely means to progress the scheme”.

“If terms to acquire all land interests and new rights by agreement could not be achieved in a reasonable timescale, compulsory purchase powers will be used.

“This would encourage landowners to negotiate in a meaningful way,” previous reports explain.

Will Evans, Countryside’s planning consultant, gave a project update to councillors last month.

“This site has been earmarked for 10 years now, reinforced by Bromley’s new local plan,” Mr Evans said.

“In terms of the scheme 407 new homes with a 35 per cent mix affordable, and that’s a genuine mix of affordable housing, split between shared ownership and social rent. There are not many schemes with that quantum.”

If approved later this year, Countryside would give Bromley Council little over £3m as part of a planning agreement called section 106 – meaning the authority gets cash for road improvements, health and education budgets.

“We want to make a start in September 2020 with final completion by 2025,” Mr Evans said.

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