GLA objections -a quick guide

The following are valid reasons to object to the plans and to call for the Mayor to take over as the planning authority for the Hadley’s planning application.

Please email the Mayor, Peter Fortune, the Penge GLA Assembly Member and Zeb McInnes – planning officer- with your concerns.. The addresses you need are, and . If 1000 people do this, the GLA will have to listen to our concerns, unlike Bromley’s planning committee who clearly don’t care.

The first point regarding housing provision is the most critical here: The Mayor wants housing built, and if we can show that these poor quality homes will be worthless in that regard, they are likely to listen!

  1. The provision of social housing is totally inadequate, and this development will do very little to alleviate the housing shortage in London for the following reasons:
    a) Only 36 social rented homes will be provided, out of a total of 230. The ‘affordable’ homes being provided with shared ownership will result in residents paying more than if they purchased outright.
    b) The residents will be forced to pay for the upkeep of all green spaces around the site, in addition to general maintenance costs. Experience at other sites, such as Elephant and Castle, indicate that service charges can easily escalate out of control.
    c) The flats are extremely small, as they have been forced to reduce the size to the minimum required by statute, in order to comply with fire safety requirements. These will not be homes anyone will want to live in and are more likely to be rented out as holiday rentals and short term lets.
    d)With building and demolition costs likely to exceed £100 million, according to Hadley’s own figures, the cost per unit could easily be in excess of £500 000. As it is still possible to buy a flat for half that locally, the complex is unlikely to attract buyers and hence could easily end up empty – as has happened in Croydon.

  2. Significant and vital information regarding fire safety was withheld from Bromley’s Planning Committee until a few hours before the meeting started, despite the documents having arrived the previous week. The document in question contained the London Fire Brigade response to Hadley’s Fire Safety Plan, and stated, in effect, that the building was unsafe and the plans should be amended. The actions of Bromley’s Planning Department may well amount to malfeasance if it can be shown that vital evidence was deliberately withheld so that it could not be properly considered. It is possible that there has been a flagrant and possibly dangerous breach of GLA Planning Policies D5 and D12.

  3. It was acknowledged that the plans involve a significant contravention of London Plan 2021, Policy D9 and other planning guidelines – as significant damage will be caused to the neighbouring Conservation Area and several listed buildings, including the historic The Royal Watermen’s and Lightermen’s Asylum Almshouses, the Alexandra Estate, and the Royal Naval Asylum. In addition, St John’s Church will now be dwarfed by the proposed tower. Despite this, the plans were approved which seems to be completely irrational.

  4. There were significant procedural irregularities in the way the planning meeting held by Bromley Council was conducted: The developer, Hadley, was permitted to bring an entire team of people to speak, whereas the representative of Penge Forum who opposed the plans, was not. This could have made a difference to the final decision. This was a breach of the Council’s own code of conduct for planning meetings.

    Furthermore, Hadley’s representative, Alex Portlock, stated on several occasions that he had been told that he could bring a team to address the meeting, whereas no such dispensation was granted to Penge Forum, which indicates that the breach of protocol was committed before the meeting began, which indicates that there could be evidence of systemic bias in the proceedings.

    Sections 6.5 of the Planning Code of Conduct states as follows: ” Normally one person is permitted to speak for an application and one person
    permitted to speak against it. If there are more than two requests to speak for or against, people with similar views should get together and agree spokespersons. , If there is no agreement, the first person to notify Democratic Services of their intention to speak will be called. Among supporters, the applicant (or if the applicant wishes the agent) takes precedence, and if the applicant or agent do not wish to speak, the first supporters will be called”

    Section 9.4 states that the committee Chairman “should lead and manage the committee and in particular ensure that the public speaking procedure is followed

    Section 9.5 states that councillors should “Not allow anyone (except officers, other committee Members and public speakers when they are addressing the committee) to communicate with them during the meeting (orally or in writing) as this may give the appearance of bias.”

    I would assert that all three sections of the code of conduct have been breached.

  5. The committee stated that their main reason for approving the plans was the possible cost to the Borough if the applicant were to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. This is bizarre in the extreme, and sets a precedent which may be of national importance: Is the Borough now unable to deny any planning application on the spurious grounds that it might be approved on appeal? Why on earth do we have a planning system at all? If this is permitted as a ground for approval, it will cause serious harm to the integrity of the entire planning system. In this case there were clear multiple breaches of planning guidelines which could have been easily justified at any appeal.

  6. The Council also stated that, although the planned building was a gross violation of multiple policies and planning guidelines, the need for housing negated all of these concerns. This is a a fallacious argument for a the following reasons:

    a) The developers state that they are providing 35% of affordable homes. Their figures are based on the number of bedrooms, not the number of units. In addition, only a proportion of these will be truly affordable – ie social rent. The rest will be on a shared ownership basis which will actually cost the ‘purchaser’ much more than the cost of buying outright in the long run.

    b) The rest of the homes on offer will probably be low quality matchbox homes which nobody will want to buy – especially as they are located at the back of a high street and will be subject to extreme levels of noise from the neighbouring main roads. Most could end up being purchased by overseas investors and being left empty. In effect, this could become a high-rise slum, and in no way alleviate either London’s, or the local housing need.
  7. In addition, the plans breach almost all other established planning guidelines: Height and massing, overbearing, overdevelopment, too tall, etc. The planning issues outlined on this page still apply:
  8. Part of this application consists of Bromley Council handing over a substantial piece of land at no cost to the developer. This has been done without public consultation and in circumstances which could be considered to be a breach of the Council’s obligation to obtain fair value. From a public perspective, it is hard to understand why this should have taken place, and the circumstances surrounding this should be investigated.

A more comprehensive list of reasons to object can be viewed here..