FAQs: Hadley’s answers

We emailed Alex Portlock, Hadley’s development manager, with questions regarding the project and received the following reply: Of particular interest is the actual proposed heights of the buildings, (Question 5) and also the fact that anyone who requires a vehicle for work – builders, etc, won’t be able to live there. (Question 2)

Clearly, Hadley have answers for every question, excepting the actual visual impact of monolithic blocks, up to 18 stories in height, and the effect of increased population in an area which is already struggling to cope. In the interests of fairness, their answers have been reproduced in full, with no editing or comment. We were also able to ask questions at the Hadley Open Evening – details below.

  1. What is the commercial sqm currently versus the proposed plans? It’s likely we may lose the three largest, and arguably the most popular, shops on the high street (Wilco, Iceland, Peacocks) while demolition and build are taking place and they may not return if the size of the retail outlets are not large enough. These three shops are not in Beckenham or Crystal Palace. The closest Iceland will be Downham, Wilco Bromley high street, Peacocks Streatham. These three large stores are big draws for other smaller businesses on the high street who benefit from trade while people visit these larger stores.

At present, there are 5 retail units in the Blenheim Centre, and our proposals will re-provide 5 commercial units. There will be a minimal reduction (c. 30 sqm) in the net retail floorspace between the existing and proposed.

The current centre was designed and constructed in the early 80’s, the design is badly configured and there is a lot of wasted circulation/back of house/plant space that is no longer required. The new retail space will be of a much higher quality, and all of the commercial spaces will have direct frontage on to the new square/street.

We have engaged consistently with the existing tenants throughout the design process. Hopefully, it will give you some comfort that we are close to agreeing terms for Iceland to come back into the completed scheme. We continue to engage with all other tenants in this regard. I am sure that you will appreciate that they are private businesses who will make their business decisions independently of us as their Landlord.

2) There is no provision visible on the plans for residents’ parking of work vehicles, where do Hadley suggest these vehicles are parked? Builders, trades people, delivery drivers, etc, all require vehicles for work – they will have to park somewhere, even if they don’t have personal vehicles.

This is a car-free scheme, in accordance with London Plan 2021 policy and will be marketed as such from the outset.

We do not anticipate that potential purchasers who require parking spaces for work vehicles will purchase a unit in a car-free development, as there is no certainty that their vehicle can be accommodated close to their home on a day-to-day basis.

3) How many disabled spaces are being made available to residents?

The on-site provision of accessible parking bays for residents of the development will be 3% (8 spaces) in line with Policy T6.1 in the London Plan (2021).

4) How environmentally sustainable are the flats: how many solar panels per accommodation? A one bedroom house requires around 6, where will these be placed. Will all the properties be heated without gas-fired central heating, for example heat pumps?

Environmental sustainability has been integral to our design process and our energy strategy sets out that we will exceed the carbon reduction levels set out in London Plan policy. All units are forecast to achieve EPC (Energy Performance Certificates) ratings of B as a minimum, a highly positive rating.

If you are interested in the detail, the methodology used to assess the CO2 emissions is in accordance with The London Plan (2021) energy hierarchy (Policy SI 2) is set out below:

Be lean: reduction in energy use, through the adoption of sustainable design and construction measures – the proposed development will incorporate a range of passive and active energy efficient measures, exceeding current Building Regulations 2010, Part L (2021 edition) requirements for the levels of air tightness, the installation of high-performance glazing, heat recovery ventilation and energy efficient lighting. 

Be clean: exploit local energy resources (such as secondary heat) and supply energy efficiently and cleanly – theproposed development will have a site-wide Communal Heating Network for the residential and non-residential units supplied from a Communal Air Source Heat Pump Heating Network. The Air Source Heat Pumps provide renewable heating and hot water generation for all the apartments and commercial units.

Be green: maximise opportunities for renewable energy by producing, storing, and using renewable energy on site – renewable technologies in theform of photovoltaics (PV) have been identified as the most suitable technology for this development. All roofs will be installed with PV panels. The developments PV arrays provide renewable electricity to the landlord’s areas, including the communal heating plant. This means that the renewable air source heat pump heating system uses renewable electricity to provide heating and hot water efficiently. This will reduce the cost of heat to the end user, who are already benefiting from the reduced heat demand from the Be Lean stage of the energy hierarchy. 

A BREEAM New Construction 2018 assessment for the commercial spaces and a Home Quality Mark (HQM) assessment for the dwellings has been prepared to demonstrate how the principles of Sustainable Design and Construction have been considered within the design of the proposed development. Although not stipulated by policy, the design team has set high targets for both assessments with a BREEAM New Construction 2018 assessment target of ‘Excellent’ and a HQM assessment target of ‘Level 5’, the highest rating achievable. Similarly, according to BRE, a BREEAM excellent rating represents the top 10% of assessed buildings in the UK. 

As well as implementing principles such as the energy hierarchy to reduce operational energy and carbon, we are looking at carbon emissions across the building’s whole lifetime. We are predicting and measuring the total lifecycle carbon emissions of the development throughout the design process. This information is used to influence the design decisions and reduce carbon across the development lifetime.

5) On the 4 residential buildings as shown on the masterplan, how many storeys are each, it is very unclear on the plans?

Please see table below which sets out the associated heights plus an accompanying diagram which was included in the consultation material:

BlockStorey Heights
BLOCK E2, 4, 6

6) They feature heavily on the community square which we already have. What sets the new square apart?

Our intention is not to replace the existing square but to enhance and expand on what is already there. The newly proposed Blenheim Square is significantly larger than the existing public realm (an increase of 1,100sqm). The square will be framed by retail uses and open up pedestrian routes and connections through the site which currently do not exist.

Our aspiration is to create a destination for the residents of Penge with this new public square. The square will provide a new and dynamic space activated by retail/commercial uses, supporting everyday activities such as shopping, outdoor eating, play, sitting/resting and socialising. We envisage the space as being one of great value to the community, offering opportunities for pop up food trucks and community events, public street art and other cultural uses, such as live music. This view has been echoed through residents’ feedback.

The square will also be well landscaped, providing circa 25 new trees/shrubs which will ensure a vast improvement to the current hard landscaping of the existing square.

7) Will the ‘pocket park’ will be enough outdoor space for this many residents, there does not appear to be any form of provision for young children to play. Are schools locally really that undersubscribed that they can accommodate this sudden influx?

For clarity, we are providing an amount of play and amenity space for residents of the site which is entirely in line with Bromley and GLA planning policy. The pocket park is not the only designated play/amenity space for residents, and this area of the site will be accessible to the public also. We are also providing private amenity and play for the development on 2 large podium gardens contained within the site. This will not be publicly accessible.

The spaces are designed to facilitate opportunities for young children to explore plants and nature and play equipment for older children and families. 

We have been in regular contact with a number of local schools; offering additional engagement and sporting support, as well as discussing the impact our development will have on their school placements. As you will be aware, there has been an increase in the number of local primary schools in recent years, which has led to a significant reduction in the number of pupils enrolled at each of the schools – so much so that some schools have reduced from three form entry to single form entries. 

Plans for a secondary school in Penge were discussed at Bromley’s Children, Families and Education Scrutiny Committee in November 2021. Should the school be delivered, this will not only respond to existing need but also any additional spaces that may be needed from our development being brought forward. 

8) With the closure of Penge Police ‘office’ on Maple Road how do Hadley see a sudden rise of residents to the area will affect crime? More people means more policing is required – if there were no people in Penge, there would be no need for any police at all. The Metropolitan Police are unlikely to provide more policing resources in the area, and as a result the local community will experience a rise in crime and antisocial behaviour.

There is no direct correlation between population increase and crime. In fact, we are aware that the design of the current centre attracts and facilitates a significant amount of anti-social behaviour, and our design seeks to alleviate these issues. As part of the consultation process, the designs have been shared and developed with input from the Metropolitan Police Designing Out Crime Officers (DOCO). The DOCO noted the site and local area has particularly high levels of crime (specifically gang crime) and antisocial behaviour. They have confirmed that they are happy with, and firmly believe that development of the site will contribute to a significant fall in crime here for the following factors:

  • More people on site equates to greater levels of activity (both at day and night), and more passive observation which becomes a deterrent for crime. In the instance of regeneration more people typically leads to a reduction in crime. The mix of commercial and residential uses means the site will be in use 24/7, which is seen as a further advantage. 
  • The inclusion of site wide CCTV will also act as both a deterrent and means of identifying individuals in the event of a crime.
  • The existing site provides lots of enclosed external spaces for loitering and anti-social behaviour. The new layout significantly reduces this as well as providing more passive observation/overlooking and increased lighting across the site, which will further deter anti-social behaviour. 
  • The arrangement of the buildings and external spaces also creates a large amount of permeability through the site which provides more opportunistic escape routes if/when being pursued. The new arrangement of the buildings and public realm, as well as the secure gated areas significantly reduces this,  

More answers:

Hadley ran an open evening on 19/10/22. We were able to ask questions directly from the architects, project managers and planners who are responsible for the project. Here are some of the answers we received: Comments in italics:

  • The GLA has already consented to the 18-storey building under their housing scheme
  • Hadley will provide a CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) to Bromley council to administer the infrastructure to support the new residents joining the area. Bromley do not have to consult on where or how this money is spent, I understand. That means that NONE of it will be spent in Penge. (Probably!)
  • Wilco apparently do not wish to have a retail unit in Penge any longer True – this store is not hugely profitable, unfortunately.
  • SE20 Cycles will keep their current shop and take over responsibility for the transport hub. What happens if they decide not to do so? No guarantees?
  • Hadley had not considered trades vehicles as being necessary for residents, they have only allowed for vehicles to facilitate deliveries to the retail outlets. They said they will raise this internally. (And then totally ignore it?)
  • None of the 11 town houses, or more accurately maisonettes, have gardens. They are called private amenities which looks like an unsecured outdoor area looking onto the pocket park
  • Residents will have access to two green podium (or large balcony) areas which are not open to the public
  • Iceland will take one of the larger retail spaces (possibly, but might be forced out by increasing rent later?)
  • The online feedback form pushed tonight is very limiting, you can only tick one box. I’d suggest emailing concerns or feedback.
  • 2+ years of phased building works
  • They were unable to say who would be responsible for making sure that bin stores and cycle stores don’t become fly tipping areas
  • They were ready to trumpet there is an undersubscription primary school places and the fact there is a new secondary school being built but as soon as it came to worries about general infrastructure they referred back to the CIL.