A public inquiry has started after a relentless campaign in favour of building an "urgently needed" boys' secondary school in Chislehurst.

Proposals for Bullers Wood School for Boys at St Hughes’ playing field in Bickley Road were approved in 2017, before a controversial U-turn in January after traffic concerns were raised.

This decision was appealed with the government’s planning inspectorate, resulting in a four-day public inquiry which started today (November 6).

Bromley Civic Centre was packed with parents who listened to the the arguments between Bromley Council and the developer Kier Construction.

Planning inspector Christina Downes said: “The main dispute, the thing that most people have talked about, is highway and pedestrian safety.

“That is something from the evidence we will be focusing on at this inquiry.”

She welcomed supporters to talk about the “need for a school” and for objectors to mention “loss of trees or open space”.

However, she made clear that her decision will come down to road and pedestrian safety.


Students of Bullers Wood School for Boys are currently in temporary accommodation in Westmoreland Road after planning permission was granted in August.

This was given the green light after a huge campaign by parents, councillors and MP Bob Neill.

READ MORE - 800 people march in Bromley in favour of Bullers Wood School for Boys

Speaking on behalf of the developer, Lisa Bush argued that Bullers Wood School for Girls in St Nicolas Lane in Chislehurst experiences no highway safety issues.

“The girls' school has 1,450 students, which is larger than our appeal scheme,” she said. “It is entirely safe in its operation and pick-up or drop-off incidents have not caused problems.

“This school can operate without highway risks, which the girls’ school currently does.”

She also claimed the school should be built based on evidence gathered from a travel survey where boys from Bullers Wood were asked how they would travel to St Hughes.

The survey concluded 49 per cent of students would travel by bus, 14 per cent would walk, 11 per cent would take the train and two per cent would be driven.

However, solicitor Craig Williams, who spoke on behalf of Bromley Council, said: “There is an urgent need for school places in Bromley.

“But not withstanding the need, the implications of the proposed access arrangements in regards to safety are unacceptable and as such the planning application should be refused.”

He added Bromley Council has no objections to the site, but suggested it was the safety issues in the surrounding areas which were problematic.

More evidence will be heard in the coming days with supporters and objectors from the public having the chance to speak.