Add your voice! keep the Civic Centre blocks of flats at 4 floors

And, there are FIVE applications, which we’d like you to object to (you could copy-and-paste the same wording):

  • 22/02984/CDETND – Joseph Lancaster one floor extension with existing window style
  • 22/02986/CDETND – Joseph Lancaster with new window style to that floor only
  • 22/03004/CDETND – Ann Springman one floor extension with existing window style
  • 22/02988/CDETND – Ann Springman with new window style to that floor only
  • 22/02990/FULL1 – both buildings with new style windows to all floors

The new owners of the “Y-buildings” in the grounds of the Civic Centre, want to increase their height by an extra storey – this means it will be above the height of the trees, and visible all around. The extra height will overlook the local (2-storey) houses down Rafford Way, and put even more pressure on local amenities like parking, in a quiet area. They will be right next to the lovely, Grade II listed, Old Bishops Palace.

The consultation ends on Friday (though you will be able to object for a time after this date).

A rough sketch of how the buildings would appear with the extra storeys added. It is worth noting that most blocks of flats in Bromley end up a storey higher than their permission.

Some points you might consider in objecting to these proposals:

  • *These buildings are not attractive (and do not incorporate any features or materials of the adjacent – beautiful – listed Bishops Palace or conservation area) – adding an extra storey only increases the unpleasant sight.
  • *Increasing the height of these buildings means they will be overbearing, both within the park, from the Old Bishops Palace, and from neighbouring roads for quite a distance (as they will be higher than the trees currently concealing them)
  • *The buildings will now overlook the houses on Rafford Way and The Chase
  • *Even more pressure on Neighbouring Residential Amenities, especially parking, in a quiet and peaceful roads.
  • *This form of Prior Approval is being mis-used as it is intended for “detached buildings in commercial and mixed used” and these buildings have just been designated residential (from office).

These blocks were sold off by the Council in 2020, despite our opposition – and sold Freehold instead of Leasehold.

In Depth... how has this happened?

The Palace Park (that these buildings are on) was protected from just this kind of development by (1) a covenant and (2) because the site is part of the grounds of the historic GradeII listed Bishops Palace – “the curtilage of a historic building”. This was never going to stop all development, but should mean that a full planning application would be made, not the easier “permitted development”.
The first of these was ignored, and the 2nd went back-and-forth in planning, until the councillors on the Development Control Committee ignored all precedent and advise, and granted ‘permitted development’

“The Sub-Committee’s Legal Advisor informed Members that the issue of whether a building was within a curtilage was a matter of fact and degree for the decision-maker, subject to the normal principles of public law……he advised that three counsel’s opinions had been sought, all of which advised that the Y blocks were within the curtilage of the old Palace. The decision was one for Councillors to make, but they had to take a decision which was reasonable (as defined in the Wednesbury case.)
Surprisingly, or perhaps not, despite the advice of three different Legal Counsels that the Y was within the curtilage and that Permitted Development rights do not apply and therefore full planning permission is required, it was approved by the committee Members. As we predicted, if Permitted Development rights were given then a Permitted Development right for this additional storey would follow.

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