Closure of Isard House

Care for older people in the borough is undergoing major changes as more people seek to stay in their own homes for longer, including in ‘extra care’ housing, and the standard of remaining care homes is raised significantly. As part of this process, Isard House has now closed, all residents having been moved to alternative accommodation.  The Council’s Property Department will ensure the site is made secure, pending a decision on its future.

The Council’s intention is to place Isard House on the open market and, at that stage, to indicate a preference either for a new care home or extra-care housing. Much will depend, of course, on someone making an appropriate bid and that, in turn, will depend upon the availability of funding.

We are keeping nearby residents informed as matters progress.

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Action on Gas Works Disruption

Recent works to the gas mains in Baston Road and Hayes Street have caused increasing concern as the former have overrun by some months, reaching a peak when works outside the shops in Hayes Street began at the start of the busy Christmas shopping period.

The Council has limited powers over such works by “statutory undertakers”. However, following approaches from your local councillors and council officers (and no doubt with minds concentrated by the fines that were by then being imposed by the Council) Southern Gas Networks (SGN) moved to complete the works at both sites before Christmas.

SGN are due to return to complete some aspects of the works in the New Year in Hayes Street, West Common Road and at the junction with Pickhurst Lane. We will once again be keeping close watch on the works.

Hayes Place Flats Update

Your Ward Councillors attended a meeting recently with Affinity Sutton [formerly Broomleigh] and received some details that will interest and, it is hoped, reassure residents.

A large proportion of the elderly residents had moved out of the flats into various other properties at the time of the meeting in late November. A number of those remaining are also likely to have moved out by the time you read this article. Some residents, however, have decided to stay put, so the Estate will not become empty for a while yet. In the meantime, the Estate will remain staffed, maintenance of the site, including the grounds, will continue, and lighting in the blocks will remain.

As for any redevelopment of the site, this cannot happen until planning permission is granted. No application has been submitted but it is likely that Affinity Sutton will meet Council Planning Officers in the near future for pre-application discussions. Once a formal scheme is prepared, Affinity Sutton will call a public meeting to enable anyone to raise particular concerns. The meeting is likely to be held in the Village Hall, probably some time in the Spring.

Hayes School’s Next Chapter

Hayes School's new M blockHayes School has opened phase one of its new classroom and library block, which was part-funded by Bromley Council.

Last year, when the school was seeking planning permission for the building, your local Conservative councillors were heavily involved in ensuring that the block’s design and siting was such that residents concerns were balanced with the needs of the school.

The building, which includes specialist provision for pupils with speech or language difficulties, puts into place a part of the school’s longer term masterplan. A permitted second phase of the build, including a new sports hall, will be built on the western flank of the block when funding becomes available; this will also enable the demolition of temporary wooden hut classrooms elsewhere on the school site.

Backland Developments Refused (For Now)

Two controversial ‘garden-grabbing’ developments in the ward have been refused by Bromley planners.

The application to build houses on gardens and scouts land behind Pickhurst Lane and Mounthurst Road was refused last week, but the developer has now lodged an appeal.

The proposals at 2-6 Chestnut Avenue in Coney Hall were turned down yesterday. The developer has six months to appeal.

The government recently changed the planning rules (known as PPS3) to remove the classification of back gardens as developed land, making it harder for such areas to be built on.  However, such proposals can still succeed in certain circumstances, and some appeals against such refusals elsewhere have been successful.

Chestnut Avenue Backland Development Latest

Objectors to the proposed backland development in Chestnut Avenue, Coney Hall
Objectors to the proposed backland development in Chestnut Avenue, Coney Hall

Residents of Coney Hall objecting to the backland development proposals for 2-6 Chestnut Avenue gathered this morning to show their concerns.

They were joined by John Stone, Chairman of West Wickham South Residents’ Association and Cllr. Neil Reddin as local councillor. Neil promised that they would keep residents informed of progress. The application is expected to be determined in early July.

(Credit to Christine Riches for organising the gathering.)

‘Garden Grabbing’ in Coney Hall

A planning application has recently been received by the Council which resurrects the spectre of ‘backland’ or ‘garden grabbing’ development at the rear of 2-6 Chestnut Avenue.

Your local councillors have received many enquiries and objections to the plans from local residents, particularly in the light of the change in the law, announced by the new government a few days ago, which removes the automatic designation of back gardens as ‘brownfield’ sites. It is now harder (though certainly not impossible) for developers to get planning permission for so-called “backland development”,

Cllrs. Graham Arthur and Neil Reddin are opposing the plans. (Cllr. Anne Manning, as a member of two of the plans committees that might hear the application, must remain publicly neutral at this stage.)

Wickham Common Parking News

Typical school zig-zag markingsAfter nearly a year of work by your local councillors, public consultation is expected to begin shortly on proposed new parking restrictions in the vicinity of Wickham Common Primary School, including the junction of Gates Green Road and Hartfield Crescent.

The proposals will include ‘zig-zag’ markings around the corners of the junction and part-time parking restrictions along sections of Gates Green Road to allow traffic to pass, hopefully tackling the ‘gridlock’ that currently occurs during school opening an closing times.

Draft plans were made available by your local councillors at the Wickham Common Residents Association AGM where initial comments were made and will be passed to the highway engineers.

If the consultation results are favourable then work is planned to be completed in time for the start of the Autumn term.

Thank You

Graham, Anne and Neil were honoured to be re-elected at the local elections on 6th May to represent Hayes & Coney Hall for another four years. Though our share of the vote was just over 60%, we remain committed to serving all our residents regardless of their political affiliation.

We will continue to defend the clean and green environment and quality of life that our residents hold dear and to ensure that the voice of Hayes and Coney Hall is heard at the Council.

Council Takes Swift Action On Potholes

Conservative-led Bromley Council was the best prepared London Borough for the recent severe winter with its salt and grit reserves.

Despite this, we are aware that the recent harsh winter has taken its toll on the ward’s roads, and that potholes have appeared in many places.

The Council’s road inspectors spent several weekend in March identifying potholes for repair, including a number in Hayes and Coney Hall. As the road surface was still brittle because of cold temperatures, we have continued to see new potholes appearing at a faster rate than in previous years. Cllr Colin Smith, the Councillor responsible for road maintenance, has instructed the contractor to provide extra road maintenance teams to identify where the problems are and clear the backlog of potholes.

In their recent budget, the Council allowed for an additional £250,000 to repair potholes, in addition to extra funds for general environmental improvements.

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