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.
The council has confirmed its highway resurfacing schedule for 2017-19.
In our ward Birch Tree Avenue, Chilham Way, Constance Crescent, Farleigh Avenue, Hurstfield, Larkfield Close and Trevor Close are due to be resurfaced, as well as the section of Chestnut Avenue between Queensway and Sylvan Way. Nearby, Layhams Road south of the police dog training centre is also included in the plans.
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.
The mobile ‘phone mast proposed for the green at the junction of Birch Tree Avenue and Queensway was turned down by a council planning committee last night.
The committee heard representations from both residents’ associations and Cllr. Graham Arthur, who cited the quality of consultation, lack of explanation as to why alternative sites had been ruled out, and the potential harm to the openness of the green caused by the equipment cabinet. The committee then agreed unanimously to reject the bid by Vodafone and Telefonica (O2).
Pre-empting accusations of ‘Nimbyism’, Cllr. Arthur had pointed out that an application for another, more appropriate, site in the ward had recently been approved without opposition from local councillors.
The refusal comes after last year’s plans to erect a taller mast on another green, at the junction of Kingsway and Gates Green Road, were turned down on similar grounds.
Plans have been put forward to erect a mobile phone base station at the junction of Gates Green Road and Kingsway. The site – the small triangle of green where the two roads meet – has been selected by contractors working for Vodafone, and seeks to upgrade coverage in the area to the modern 4G standard.
However, consultation has been poorly carried out so far, and test drilling has taken place in front of bemused residents – confusion added to by false claims the work was being done by the council.
Now a ‘planning application‘ (though technically a formal consultation) has been submitted and residents have until 18th June to make representations. We are certainly not opposed to an improvement in infrastructure in the ward; however, although the mast itself is in the style of a tall lamppost, the four accompanying equipment cabinets may well prove the unsightliest aspect. Apart from the significant ‘footprint’, the boxes will take up a prominent place in the street scene, with little in the proposals to address this.
UPDATE 24/6: The application has been refused by the council.
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.
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.
Over the spring we have been working to see suitable alternatives to the current public toilets in Coney Hall. The loos are currently earmarked for closure as the council fills the £33m funding gap as part of the government’s measures to reduce the national deficit.
We have already been successful in getting the closure deferred while participants in the replacement “Community Toilets” scheme for the area are signed up.
The Coney is already on board to provide free public access to their facilities, and the Council is keen to find another location as well, particularly to cover the earlier hours before The Coney opens as we know this is of concern to some residents.
Update (Nov. ’11): The Sini BBQ Grill has now agreed to take part, The Coney is no longer due to participate.
Late last summer, after a concerted campaign by residents, supported by your councillors, the backland development proposals in Chestnut Avenue were rejected by the council. Recently, however, the applicant lodged an appeal just days before the six month deadline. It is now understood that the Planning Inspectorate will deal with the appeal by the ‘written representations’ method without a public hearing.
Serving Hayes, Coney Hall, West Wickham Common and Hayesford Park