Homes battle victory hailed

PUBLISHED: 17:09 22 April 2009 | UPDATED: 10:50 12 August 2010

CAMPAIGNERS are thrilled at the rejection of plans to build ridiculous six-storey homes development next to a historic listed building.

CAMPAIGNERS are thrilled at the rejection of plans to build "ridiculous" six-storey homes development next to a historic listed building.

Broomleigh Housing's proposals for an £18 million 'Foyer' structure at the junction of London Road and Tweedy Road, Bromley, were thrown out by a planning inspector this month.

Bromley Civic Society had strongly opposed plans for the building, which would have consisted of 98 units of social and private housing for disadvantaged young people aged 16 to 25.

The society warned that it would be too close to Bromley and Sheppard's Colleges, which provide accommodation for widows and daughters of clergy. The London Road building is the oldest surviving in the borough, dating from 1666.

Society chairman Tony Banfield said: "The inspector's decision is a triumph of common sense and responsible planning in this most environmentally sensitive location.

"The council's development brief for 70 to 100 dwellings on this site in its ownership was clearly ridiculous and irresponsible."

The scheme came close to being approved last year by the council's development control committee and was only rejected on a 10-5 vote.

Mr Banfield said: "Those members of the committee led by councillor Alexa Michael who valiantly fought for our historic environment are not only to be congratulated but also now have their decision fully endorsed by the appeal inspector.

"The residents of Bromley College have been through 18 months of anxiety and uncertainty, as have all of us who have fought this wretched development resulting from the council's yet-to-be-approved Town Centre Area Action Plan.

Scores of residents opposed the plans, and The Bill actor Graham Cole, who played Tony Stamp, also threw his weight behind the campaign.

Bromley Civic Society founder Roisin Robertson has written to Bickley councillors calling for the development plans to be opposed.

She condemned the "massive" proposals outlined in the area action plan.

"It would appear that most councillors are not aware of their residents' feelings on the matter," she wrote. "As residents, we elect representatives to reflect our opinions on local matters. This avenue seems to be sorely missing, especially in the context of this massive spend, sell and build scheme for Bromley town centre."

Graham Arthur, Executive Councillor for Adult and Community Services, said: "The council remains fully committed to finding an appropriate site in the borough where a foyer housing scheme can be developed. The aim of such a scheme is to provide a valuable stepping stone towards independent living for younger people who are homeless or leaving care or in need of support in setting out on their own.

"This helps them fulfil their potential and play a positive role in society. There are more than 130 accredited foyers in the UK that help young people get a good start in life."

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