Last week the appeal inspector allowed the planning application to build nine houses on the site of the farmyard and stables at Hayes Street Farm. The application had been refused by the council last year after a campaign by local residents backed by the Hayes Village Association and your local councillors, but following a public inquiry – held at our suggestion – the inspector allowed the plans, noting that the site has been previously developed and that it he felt it was not detrimental to either the conservation areas or the openness of the Green Belt.
We know that many (though certainly not all) residents will be disappointed in the outcome, but there is little scope for the council to appeal this decision. The only available route would be a judicial review which can only be brought if the inspector has erred in law or the process was materially flawed. From our discussion so far with council officers, there appear to be no such grounds.
During the hearing the applicants had, wrongly, suggested that the Council had misled the inspector over Housing Land Supply – a point which the inspector later ruled was irrelevant. However, he still ultimately found in their favour.
We will now be watching closely should the applicants attempt to modify their plans, as well as being vigilant for any further deterioration of the remaining open farmland.
We have received messages from residents, and seen the conversations on social media about the state of the tennis courts in Coney Hall Recreation Ground. We thought it would be useful to set out the current state of play on the issue.
The last manager pulled out of running the tennis courts some years ago after repeated vandalism and thefts. The council left the nets up anyway but eventually a local child became tangled up in the nets and so the Council’s insurers advised their removal.
We have been making enquiries into possible solutions, possibly including using more robust equipment, but of course such ideas will have to work financially. In any case we will need to work closely with the Friends of Coney Hall Park, who do sterling work looking after the park and who would want to be closely involved in any plans.
We will of course keep residents updated if and when things develop.
Travellers have turned up in Coney Hall Recreation Ground. They appeared last night and seem to have gained access via Layhams Road, where some wooden posts along the edge of the park had been mysteriously removed prior to their arrival. It now appears unlikely that these were the same travellers that had been evicted from the car park at West Wickham station.
A notice has been served for the travellers to leave by 8:30 pm tonight. Police and council security personnel will, as usual, be in attendance.
UPDATE 30/9/14 11:45am: All the travellers have been moved on. Council officers report that although there has been some minor ‘littering’, there is no fly-tipping to deal with and therefore the site will return to normal use very quickly. The Ward Security team and colleagues are in the process of monitoring the travellers as they leave the Borough and are also at other local parks etc to deter any further incursions locally.
Revised proposals have been submitted for the former trade union headquarters at Hayes Court in West Common Road.
London Square hope to restore the old mansion at Hayes Court and build new houses on the site. They have now removed one of the four contentious houses on the west of the site (and rearranged the layout), close to the boundary with Hayes Common, as well as making changes to the hard and soft landscaping features. The increase in ‘built footprint’ has now reduced from 48% to 28%, and the developers have sought to address the concerns expresses by the planning committee last time, when the original plans were refused because of the effects on the openness of the site and on the common itself.
The proposed restoration of the listed house are of a high quality and the later additions to the site probably won’t be missed, but any form of new build here will be a sensitive issue.
The full plans can be found here and the public consultation period ends on 23rd July. Please also let us know what you think, as we will be making representations to the committee on your behalf.
Congratulations are due to the Friends of Well Wood in Coney Hall who, last week, picked up a London RE:LEAF Tree and Woodland Award.
The Council’s Community Forest Development Officer writes:
“The ward was The Tree Council’s Trees and Learning Award for involving under 16 year olds in the transformation of Well Wood through sustainable tree-related educational and planting programmes; increasing knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the environment by the children and young people who have participated; and showing evidence of sustainable environmental improvements.
With 7 year olds designing a woodland trail for families, scouts planting hundreds of trees, and teachers empowered to use the woodland habitat in their teaching, “Transforming Well Wood” is a project inspired, driven and delivered by the local community. Local school children have attended interactive woodland workshops to learn about their local woodland. The creation of a new walking trail with a bright, colourful trail logo designed by the children gives families a starting point to explore the woodland using the improved paths, signage and entrances for easier buggy and pedestrian access. The thinned and coppiced woodland has increased the structural diversity and improved the ground flora for wildlife to thrive.”
As your councillors we would add that it’s a feather in the cap for the wider scheme of ‘friends’ groups in our parks, woodlands and other open spaces – an initiative that Bromley has pioneered over many years.
The proposals for new housing and the refurbishment of the house at Hayes Court have been listed for a hearing at the Development Control Committee on Thursday 8th April.
Council officer have recommended refusal of the application on grounds mainly relating to the impact on the open spaces both within the site, the adjoining common and wider conservation area, for example:
– ‘overdevelopment of this semi-rural site’ leading to ‘inappropriate suburbanisation of the site and harmful impact on … the Urban Open Space’
– the new detached dwellings would have a ‘detrimental impact on the character and setting of the Statutory Listed Building’ (the original house) and would ‘erode the open nature of the site’.
The planning application for the old trade union offices at Hayes Court was submitted at the end of last year.
The proposals are to convert the old house into eight apartments and to build sixteen houses – seven detached and nine ‘mews’ style – in the surrounding grounds. This is a change to the plans seen at the public exhibition where the plans encompassed four detached houses, a terrace of four townhouses and eight mews houses. Another change is that a fourth large detached house is proposed alongside those already planned to the west of the main house, next to the boundary with the common.
After many months of negotiation with Transport for London (TfL), the sad decision has been taken to fell a tree near the northern end of Hayes Street, just before the telephone exchange, because bus operators felt it was a hazard to the larger modern double decker buses that now ply the routes through the village. The action has been reluctantly taken in response to an ultimatum from the bus companies that services would be withdrawn from the village unless the tree was removed. Alternatives, including a kerb build-out, were considered but would have led to a dangerous traffic ‘pinch-point’. We have insisted that the tree is replaced with a mature sapling at TfL’s cost.
On a more positive note, new funding from TfL is being allocated to Bromley to enable a number of schemes including improvements to footpaths in Well Wood – mainly to enable better access for less mobile residents. Also proposed are improvements to cycle routes in and around Norman Park, as well as installation of anti-skid surfaces and de-cluttering of the street scene across the ward and borough. Outside the ward but of interest to Hayes and Coney Hall residents will be plans to improve congestion at the notorious junction of Heathfield and Westerham Roads in Keston.
Serving Hayes, Coney Hall, West Wickham Common and Hayesford Park