An established Beckenham garage faces possible closure, following an attempt by the landlord to secure change of use for the building through the planning process.
Church Motor Company (CMC), situated in buildings off Bromley Road, next to Beckenham Methodist Church, employs four staff and has served the town’s car-owners for eleven years. During that time it has built a reputation in Beckenham for high quality service, borne out by its broad base of local customers. CMC’s mechanics are specialists of German and Italian cars although the company repairs and services any make of car. It also has a sister site at Lewes Road in Bromley.
Beckenham Methodist Church, who own the building, made a planning application to change the use of the purpose-built garage workshop (use class B1[c]) to church use (use class D1) last year. The church have stated they intend to use the space for storage, equipment and letting for community use. Bromley Council refused the application, citing an unacceptable loss of a business unit as their principle reason. The Church has appealed to the Planning Inspectorate against that decision. CMC and the garage are currently locked in a dispute over the lease, which is the subject of an ongoing court case.
CCARAs view is that local businesses such as CMC are essential to the vitality of Beckenham and everything must be done to support and protect them, as policy EMP5 of the Council’s Unitary Development Plan sets out.
If you think the closure of Church Motor Company would be a loss of a valuable asset to Beckenham, or otherwise, you can write directly to the Planning Inspectorate at teamP7@pins.gsi.gov.uk for the attention of Chris Nash, stating Reference no. APP/G5180/W/15/3005164
Details of the Planning Application and subsequent Appeal can be found on Bromley Council’s website under Planning Reference no. 14/01814/FULL