Help us stop this monster Council co-development which, if approved, will also set off a chain reaction of other tower blocks starting from the Churchill Theatre to the Railway and beyond, ruining this historic Town Centre forever.
The red line on this developer’s visual shows the latest modifications to the 2018 planning application by the Council’s development partner, Countryside Properties. This application was deferred since it attracted overwhelming opposition from the public, Historic England, Councillors and residents’ groups, as well as BCS. It has now returned virtually unchanged for new public consultation.
The vast and overwhelming scale of the development would still override the national and local environmental policies relating to the Town Centre Conservation Area which surrounds the site. Historic England, the government policymakers for the historic environment, slammed the development as harmful to the character and appearance of the Conservation Area but little has changed in this new revised proposal. Some built elements are smaller and others are bigger.
The CQ Proposed Development
Two rows of giant tower blocks are still being proposed which would loom over the High Street as well as Library Gardens and Church House Gardens. 7-storey to 11-storey tower blocks, rising to 13-storey and 15-storey tower blocks, are proposed for the boundary of Library Gardens and taller than the Theatre/Library tower. Sandwiched between and overshadowed by the parallel blocks is a so called ‘promenade’ amenity space for the residents to share with the public – little compensation for the harm being done to Library Gardens.
Harm to Library Gardens
This miraculous oasis of open sky and trees, still surviving in the heart of the busy Town Centre Conservation Area, will be overshadowed by a cliff face of buildings, robbed of sunlight even in
the height of summer. The Gardens will become an extension of the High Street with retail units along the ground floor frontage overlooked by balconies and windows. (Developer’s earlier visuals on the left).
What a sad end to the generous gift of land to the people of Bromley by Emily Dowling in 1900 which so well preserves the sense of being in the heart of a Country Market Town. Unwisely, left in the care of the local authority, look how it is to be treated in this Council co-development. Astonishingly, it is claimed this development is an ‘enhancement’ of Library Gardens!
Harm to Queens Mead and the Ravensbourne Valley Skyline
Like Library Gardens, Queens Mead is also part of the Town Centre Conservation Area which preserves the semi-rural vista essentially unchanged for more than 1,000 years of Bromley’s existence. It is designated for its historic character and appearance which the Council has a statutory duty to ‘preserve or enhance’. Does this development preserve or enhance? NO
The Tower Block Chain Reaction
Two further developments are already waiting in the wings:
(1) A new ‘Maplin’s Corner’ 16-storey twin tower application (current
planning ref: 21/03231/FULL1) has been lodged despite the previous 12-
storey single tower having been refused a few months ago. The Council received over 100 objections in the first 2 days ! (2) Alongside the Maplin site is a 20-storey proposal, still in pre-application consultation (pic on right).
Both developers are citing the Churchill Quarter as justifying the size of their own developments (developer visuals).
Plight of Residents on the CQ site
The residents and owners of the 40 homes in Ethelbert Close have been living under the threat of compulsory purchase by the Council for years but are no nearer knowing what’s going to happen to them. If the Development Control Committee approves the scheme, the Council will then serve Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) notices. If the CPO is approved the Council will become the site owner. As freeholder of the land, they will then grant a long lease to Countryside Properties for an undisclosed sum, at the expense of the resident community.
How can you take action?
Do please join us in objecting to this development and fighting to preserve our unique historic town. Make your views known at this stage and again when a planning application is lodged. Comments can be made as follows:
Countryside Properties have created a consultation website:
Here you can access a recent public Webinar presentation with some visuals and discussion using the 3-bar drop down menu top right on the homepage. There is also a page to comment. Do please copy any comments to the Town Centre Ward Councillors who are also opposing the development and, if possible, to Bromley Civic Society and The Friends of Bromley Parks & Gardens – email addresses below.
Face to Face Consulation
The Webinar visuals and information, will also be available to view and comment on at two face-to-face public presentation sessions on Thursday 23rd September 2021 from 2.00-6.00 p.m. and Saturday 25th September 2021 from 10.00 a.m.-2.00 p.m. in the vacant shop unit at 95 High Street beside H&M and opposite Robert Dyas. It is unclear what Covid precautions will be in place so those who do not wish to or cannot attend, or cannot access the website, are asked to ring Countryside Properties on 020 3929 0523 to obtain a ‘Consultation Pack’.
Bromley Civic Society and The Friends of Bromley Town Parks & Gardens will also publish information on our websites, circulating this to the wider public through social media as well. If you would like to receive further information, such as when the final planning application is lodged, please forward your name and email address to firstname.lastname@example.org.