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.