Hayes Farm Development Plans Refused

The plans to develop the farmyard at Hayes Street Farm have been turned down by the Council.

The refusal, made as a ‘delegated decision’ by planning officers, follows a flood of objections by local residents and us as your local councillors. In accordance with our request, the early refusal means the plans won’t need to go before a planning committee as they would have if officers had recommended approval.

The grounds for refusal are fairly comprehensive and include inappropriate development in, and loss of openness of, the Green Belt, loss of employment and commercial use, harm to the Hayes Village conservation area and setting of the Listed building.

It now remains to be seen whether Rookery Estates will appeal the decision, submit amended plans, or both. They have up to six months to lodge an appeal with Planning Inspectorate, but for now many residents will breathe a sigh of relief.

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Another Month, Another Stuck HGV

Yesterday a large articulated lorry became stuck in Gates Green Road, and for most of the day, outside Wickham Common School. The driver seems to have realised too late that he was never going to fit down a country lane.

This isn’t the first time this has happened in the Wickham Common area. Previously a street tree was severely damaged by a lorry leading to the Council’s legal team pursuing the company responsible. Also, Layhams Road and North Pole Lane have  suffered from errant HGVs; a problem that appears to have been on the increase, partly because some haulage firms try to cut costs by using satellite navigation maps designed only for smaller vehicles.

The Council has previously worked with mapmakers to ensure that roads unsuitable for HGVs are marked as such in satnav data, but clearly more needs to be done. We are now taking the issue up with the Council’s highways officers, including improving the signage at vulnerable junctions such as Gates Green Road/Croydon Road, Kingsway and others.

Articulated lorry stuck in Gates Green Road 22/3/18 (Credit: Sam Wheatcroft, WCRA)

How You Can Help Fight The Potholes

Bromley Council has been given an extra £225,000 to tackle potholes after the recent – and this weekend, current – freezing conditions, and they want residents to let them know where the money needs spending.

The Council has already been dealing with hundreds of potholes after last month’s cold blast, and is in the middle of a longer term investment programme to catch up on the general resurfacing backlog. The extra cash from central government will help to top up the emergency repairs budget and get our roads back in shape for the spring.

Of course the Council’s own highway inspectors can’t be everywhere, so if you know of any damage that hasn’t yet been identified (it will normally have been marked out with spray paint) then let the council know – either using FixMyStreet or via the Council website, or just let us know in the comments.

Biggin Hill Airport To Cut Light Aircraft Activity

Biggin Hill Airport has informed its landlord Bromley Council that they are actively looking to reduce the overall volume of light aviation at the Airport.

They anticipate that light aviation movements will decline from approximately 35,000 movements annually to around 12,000.  In order to achieve this reduction, we understand that the Airport have now served notices to terminate the leases of the resident flying schools, with informal discussions going on for some time now, and with the Airport already having the agreement of nearby light aviation aerodromes, Redhill, Surrey and Damyns Hall Farm, Essex, to accept these businesses should they choose to relocate.

The Airport also said that this was a difficult decision for them to take given the longstanding nature of some of the training schools, but that they are no longer able to mix a high volume of light aviation with growing business aviation whilst maintaining high levels of customer service and all importantly, flight safety.

Credit: FreeImages.com/paul campbell

For the avoidance of doubt and for clarity, the Council has stressed that the Lease and the controls within it, including the Noise Action Plan, remain in place and are not affected by the Airport’s decision.

Residents living under existing light aircraft flight tracks, particularly in and around Keston, should notice the reduced volume of aircraft fairly quickly as the changes come into effect over the next 6 months or so with related training flights stopping.

In terms of overall movement numbers, the Airport envisage that in this time period aircraft movements will decline from around 50,000 movements per annum to somewhere around 30,000 movements per annum.

Green Light for Hayes Lane Flats

In a disappointing decision, the planning inspector has overruled Bromley Council and given approval to a block of eight flats to be built at 145 Hayes Lane.

The Council had refused permission for the plans last summer, but in allowing the developer’s appeal, the inspector reckoned that “… in an area with a mixed street scene where relatively substantial buildings are far from uncommon, the proposal would appear as sitting comfortably in its context and be of an appropriate scale. The proposal would not harm the character and appearance of the area.”

The proposals are in ‘outline’ form with most matters, such as design and scale, to be decided by way of a further application.

Road Resurfacing List Confirmed For 2018-19

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Hilldown Road, set for resurfacing this coming year – and not a moment too soon!

The road resurfacing schedule for 2018/19 has been confirmed.

Roads for resurfacing are listed based on information such as technical inspections, input from residents (including the FixMyStreet website) and requests by us as your local councillors.

The roads on the list this year are:

Abbotsbury Road
Bourne Vale (part)
Cheriton Avenue
Courtlands Avenue
East Way
Five Elms Road
Hawthorndene Road
Hayes Gardens
Hayes Lane (part)
Hayesford Park Drive
Hilldown Road
Holland Close
Northbourne
Oakmead Avenue
Ridgeway
South Way
Westland Drive

Other roads outside but close to the ward:

Church Road (Bromley Common & Keston)
Jackass Lane (part) (Bromley Common & Keston)
Hayes Road (part) (Bromley Town)
Westmoreland Road (part) (Shortlands)

The full report, as presented to the Environment scrutiny committee is under item 6b here.

We don’t yet know precisely when each road will be done and there is always the chance of some slippage in the schedule if, for instance, we experience a hard winter when resources have to be diverted into emergency repairs elsewhere.

Occasionally some rescheduling may also take place as a result of the need to coordinate with utility companies if they have some planned (non-emergency) works of their own, to avoid a newly resurfaced road being dug up just months after it’s been laid. Similarly, non-emergency works requested by utilities shortly after a relaying will also usually be denied.

Action on Hayes Street Congestion

After a number of requests from your councillors and the Hayes Village Association, the Council is set to tackle the long running issue of traffic congestion on Hayes Street.

A scheme that will widen the road, as well as controlling parking, especially at the key bottleneck points, should ensure that traffic including buses will be able to pass more freely through the street without encouraging speeding.

The road will be widened by up to a metre from a point near the war memorial down towards the rectory on the church side, while parking will be restricted on the same side from near George Lane, again down to the rectory. The plans, which the Council will be consulting residents on shortly, will be combined with a scheduled resurfacing in the early Spring.

 

Baston House School Unveils Expansion Plans

Baston House School has applied for planning permission to build ten new classrooms, replacing redundant structures already on site.

The school in Baston Road, which specialises in children with autism, wants to expand to take in 30 additional pupils to bring the total capacity to 115.

To accommodate the additional parking the school proposes an extra 11 parking spaces on site, and an improved entrance and internal driveway is intended to eliminate congestion on the road outside the school.

Proposed new classrooms at Baston House School

However, the site is classified as Green Belt, so the school must show ‘very special circumstances’ to justify the development, which will see the built footprint increase by some 90%.

On this key point the school cites, among other factors, the increasing demand for this specialist educational provision and that the openness overall will not be materially affected with 60% of the site still open grounds. They also point out that the nature of the education means the ten classrooms would equate to 5 or 6 classrooms in a mainstream school.

As it lies in a conservation area, any proposals must also preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the area.

Few will deny the need for quality education provision for autistic children, and we are pleased that such a provision exists in the borough when the council is looking to reduce the number of SEN children travelling far outside the area for their education. However, the council and residents will want to be satisfied that not only are there sufficient arguments to allow such building in the green belt but also that the additional traffic generation will indeed be sufficiently mitigated and that the aesthetic design is appropriate.

As your local councillors we are generally supportive of the school and its work. However, we will be studying the plans carefully and would welcome the views – for, against or neutral – of residents.

The full plans can be seen on the council website here.

Hayes Farmyard Development – The Latest from Rookery

Following the submission of the plans for redeveloping the farmyard at Hayes Street Farm, your local councillors have been in pressing owners Rookery Estates for clarity on the future of the rest of the land.

The open farmland is not part of the development plans, and as ‘virgin’ green belt is heavily protected against future development regardless of whether the farmyard plans are approved or not. Understandably though, many residents are still worried about what may happen once the farm is no longer operating in its current form.

Rookery tell us that they “envisage having horses on the farm for the foreseeable future although these will be live out horses. No new livery buildings are anticipated. The fishing lake has been let for 10 years so [we] expect this to continue into the future”.

On the future of the boot fairs, George Hoeltschi “has been given permission to hold boot fairs for the next 2 seasons only but Rookery would probably need to curtail this after this year if planning permission is approved for the development”.

Questions remain though about how the future of the rest of the farm can be further secured. Local opinion is split on the boot fairs, but will the land still be viable with just the trout fishery and only live-out provision for horses, for example?

As regards the development proposals themselves, the application for the farmyard plans is open for comment until 24th January. As your local councillors we will be formulating our own detailed response to the plans soon and have already asked that the application is put before a committee for a public hearing, should the recommendation from planning officers be for approval.

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Big Changes for Hayes Trains

Rail services from Hayes to Cannon Street are set to end under plans set out by the Department for Transport (DfT) late last year. However,  new services are set to replace them.

The DfT is inviting train operators to bid for the South Eastern rail franchise from April 2019 with the major changes coming in December 2022. For the Hayes line the bid specification (pdf 93kb) demands the Hayes to Charing Cross service should run non-stop from Ladywell to London Bridge with, optionally, stops at Lewisham only in rush hour. However, a new service to Victoria will also commence which will include Lewisham stops and open up a wider range of South London stations such as Denmark Hill (for Kings College Hospital). There appear to be no plans for a Cannon Street service.

It was over three years ago that Transport for London controversially suggested an extension of the Bakerloo underground line to Hayes, which would have seen an end to any direct services to either London Bridge or the City. Those plans now appear to have been subsequently shelved.

These new plans, although coming from central government this time, will still see the more direct City link severed, though a London Bridge connection remains allowing changes for Cannon Street as well as Blackfriars and beyond with the completion of the new London Bridge station. The technical justification for the changes is to reduce train congestion around Lewisham and so make for more reliable services.

We would be keen to hear what Hayes train users think.

Serving Hayes, Coney Hall, West Wickham Common and Hayesford Park