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Green belt homes in Bickley an 'affront'
EIGHT acres of green belt land could become the foundations for 120 family homes, amid claims the development is an “attack” on the countryside.
The former MoD site in Bickley's leafy Blackbrook Lane has been earmarked for a cluster of two to five bedroom houses to help Bromley Council meet government housing targets.
But the blueprints for the new estate, which backs onto Jubilee Country Park, have drawn criticism from environmental groups and residents who claim the green belt land should be saved from development.
Secretary of Bromley Friends of the Earth, Ray Watson, says that green belt land has already been swallowed up by housing at the Blue Circle Sports Ground at Bromley Common.
He said: “The developer has the affront to attack an area of green belt that is in a densely populated space.
“Indeed the site is bounded on every side by residential and other development.
“New homes are necessary of course but not at the price of such a huge development.
“The residents will suffer from an increase in traffic noise and a loss of amenity.
“The borough recently lost a huge green belt area on the Blue Circle site and we call on Bromley’s planning department and councillors to oppose this application rigorously.”
The new complex could accommodate 49 ‘affordable’ houses - designated for housing associations, key workers and shared ownership schemes.
Developers say the homes will help to meet an “acute shortfall of affordable housing” in the borough.
Frank Reynolds, lead architect on the scheme from BPM Architects, said: “Understanding local issues from local people is vital to the design development process.
“It also helps to ensure that the development has minimum impact on, and maximum benefit to, local people."
And planning bosses at Bromley Council now demand that at least 35 per cent of any new developments must be affordable housing.
Joan Kemp, 83, of nearby Brooks Mead Avenue, has lived in her home since 1933.
She said: “I don’t think these houses are really needed. It is still a part of the countryside there and I can’t imagine many people will be too happy about it.
“The main problem is that the people living in Blackbrook Lane have not been given any information from the developers about this.
“I had to make half a dozen copies of some information myself and give it out to residents.”
If the plans are approved, the development will be tightly flanked by Bromley High School and the Bickley Manor Hotel.
Hicky Mourat, 43, owns the hotel on Thornet Wood Road and says that the new plans echo a previous application for the nearby Aquila estate.
He said: “We had the same thing with the Aquila site on the other side of us and it looks like it is all happening again.
“At the end of the day the council has targets to meet in terms of affordable housing and they are simply meeting those targets.
He added: “The hotel may be getting boxed in but we have our own land and these new houses could bring in extra custom for us.”
Developers are expected to put forward a formal planning application to Bromley Council before the end of the year.
What do you think about the mooted development? Leave your comments below or call the newsroom on 01689 885 703.