Have your say – Plan for development in Beckenham and the borough – consultation ends 31 October 2015

Bromley Council are asking residents to comment on the Local Plan for the borough which sets out development for the next 15 years, including proposed development sites for future school, employment and housing use across the borough.

Comments are invited on the development sites identified as Draft Site Allocations. It also includes a limited number of new and revised policies, and designations which provide the context for the draft site allocations, and the requirement of the Local Plan to be in general conformity with the London Plan. For Beckenham the main points are in regard to schooling.

Local people have until October 31 to respond . See link below for more information

You may recall that in March 2014 the Council asked for comments to develop the Local Plan.  The Copers Cope Area Residents’ Association responded with the following suggestions.

  • A policy on all Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs). There has been an increase of planning applications to convert properties into HMOs in Beckenham and stronger planning policies are required to ensure HMOs are of a decent standard. Other boroughs have such policies.
  • A stronger policy of control over the conversion of office buildings to flats to ensure that Beckenham retains office workers who boost the High Street economy.
  • A policy that requires planning applications for shop fronts to ensure that the cables and water pipes on the party walls are maintained. Beckenham High Street has a number of poorly maintained party walls between shop fronts.
  • More robust policies on locally listed buildings, tall buildings and the skyline to ensure that the character of Beckenham is retained.
  • A policy on protecting natural heritage (the plan refers only to built heritage) such as Beckenham’s heritage tree stock.
  • Securing additional commuter rail services in London (more services from Beckenham to Blackfriars and beyond, plus Beckenham to Clapham Junction)

As none of these suggestions has been incorporated into the plan, we will be responding to this consultation and requesting them again.

Office space in Beckenham Town Centre is now a critical issue.

There have been over 20 applications involving small scale conversions over shops while 7 large office block conversions (from office to residential) have either been approved, are pending, or have been refused but likely to be subject to appeal.

On 13 October 2015 Planning Minister Brandon Lewis announced that the temporary permitted development rights that have enabled offices to be converted to new homes without having to apply for planning permission will be made permanent. We have asked the Council to implement an  Article 4 Permitted Development Class J for Beckenham Town Centre, which will remove these permitted development rights and require developers to seek planning permission to change office space to residential. Bromley Council have implemented an Article 4 in Bromley Town Centre. We encourage residents to respond to the consultation requesting an ‘Article 4 Permitted Development Class J for Beckenham Town Centre’. Without office workers our town centre will become a dormitory town with little day time economy, affecting the occupancy of shops and the number of independent retailers.

Local Plan for Beckenham

The Draft Local Plan does not focus much on Beckenham, but the notable points are:

  • Beckenham Town Centre has been proposed as a ‘Key Office Cluster’ which the Council would like to safeguard.  Beckenham Office Cluster is very small, only Burrell Row.  Respond to the consultation if you agree or do not agree with the boundary. While we agree with the proposed boundary, we also suggest that an Article 4 Permitted Development Class J for the whole Town Centre must be a cornerstone of any policy to safeguard office space.
  • 2 x new free primary schools have already been approved in Beckenham (Harris Academy and Langley Park)
  • 1 x new free secondary school,  The Beckenham Academy had approval from the Secretary of State for Education, although no site currently has planning permission.
  • Harris Beckenham, Manor Road and the former Co-op sports ground in Balmoral Avenue have been identified as potential sites either for an expansion of the existing school or for a new Harris secondary school. Respond to the consultation if you agree or do not agree to the former Co-op Sports Ground, Balmoral Avenue being used for the secondary school.
  • The new Langley Primary School will require re-designation of the existing two schools (Langley Boys and Langley Girls) complex from Metropolitan Open Land to Urban Open Space to allocate land for an additional primary school (Langley Park Free School). Respond to the consultation if you agree or do not agree to this re-designation.
  • The Council will safeguard the land and route alignment for  investment to extend the Tramlink from Beckenham Junction to Crystal Palace.
  • One of four areas in the borough suggested for Areas of Special Residential Character (ASRC) status is  Central Beckenham (including The Drive, Church Avenue, The Crescent, top of Rectory Road). Note the High Street has recently been designated a conservation area. ASRC status will offer residential areas which are able to demonstrate special character with some planning protection in addition to that conferred by other policies in Bromley’s Unitary Development Plan.

How to respond

The consultation document is available with the opportunity to make your comments up until 31 October 2015.

You can view, download and comment on the consultation document on the Local Plan Consultation Portal.  In order to make online representations, you will need to register or have already registered on the Local Plan Consultation Portal.  We have produced a guide to registering on the portal which you may find useful. Once registered, you will automatically be informed of future Local Plan consultations.

The easiest and most convenient way to give feedback is online through the Local Plan Consultation Portal. However, if you do need to send your comments by post please address them to Chief Planner, Planning Division, Directorate of Regeneration and Transformation, Civic Centre, Stockwell Close, Bromley BR1 3UH.

Please let us know your views too by emailing chairman@coperscope.org.uk

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