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Planning committee throws out controversial tower block proposals

PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 September 2018

An artist's impression of what the proposals would have looked like.Photo: Bromley Council

An artist's impression of what the proposals would have looked like.Photo: Bromley Council

Archant

Plans for hundreds of homes towering over Bromley town centre have been thrown out by councillors.

A pair of controversial developments near Bromley North station in Sherman Road were rejected at a meeting on Tuesday.

The larger of the proposals, submitted by Be Living Ltd, would have buildings at 6 to 10 Sherman Road bulldozed and replaced with more than 200 build-to-rent apartments, with room for offices, a gym and shops below.

Be Living has proposed a wedge-shaped building, which would step down from 23-storeys to 18 then to four.

The contentious proposals had caused a stir ahead of the meeting, with ward councillors calling it the “wrong application” for the area.

Cllr Will Harmer said after the meeting: “We were appalled by the arrogance of the developers, who ignored the results of their own public consultation to propose a 23-storey tower.

“We spoke on behalf of residents who are rightly concerned about the impact of this scheme on their quality of life.”

According to council planning experts, the development lacked justification for “its excessive density which contributes to its overly dominant scale” and also that it “visually competes with the modest market town character”.

The site is part of the Bromley town centre action plan, identified as needing socially rented and family homes.

The high-rise would have held 219 homes, predominantly one and two-bedroom, with just 20 three-bedroom flats included.

Objections were made ahead of the planning meeting over height, appearance and bulk – with Bromley Town Residents Association calling it an eyesore.

Bromley Town Cllr Michael Rutherford said: “While the area around Bromley North station would benefit from redevelopment, proposals need to improve the area and come with improved transport.

“That’s why the area needs to be redeveloped as a whole, rather than a series of piecemeal developments that do nothing to improve the area for local residents”.

The developers said previously the scheme would bring much-needed houses in an area “suitable” for tall buildings, and would be of the “highest architectural quality.”

The smaller of the applications, also in Sherman Road, was for a 10-storey tower.

Developer South East Living Group proposed a nine-unit block of flats with three storeys of shops underneath.

More than 50 objections were made by neighbours ahead of the meeting, with one neighbour stating: “This proposal is completely inappropriate for the area which consists of mainly Victorian and Edwardian properties. It has no architectural merit and will blight the area.”

Both proposals were unanimously rejected at the council’s development control committee.

Cllr Alexa Michael, chairwoman of the committee, said: “We had a number of concerns about each of these proposed developments, with both of the proposals harming the setting of the Conservation Area.

“The outline 10-storey proposal would have a detrimental impact on residents living in the neighbouring 10-storey Northpoint apartment block.

“We were also highly concerned about the overly dominant 23 storey application and the wider impact this would have.”

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