Plans to build dozens of homes in a Bromley car park in a scheme which would “provide much needed housing for homeless people” have been approved.

Members of Bromley’s planning panel gave the thumbs up for ZEDpods’ application to install 25 factory-built modular homes in Burnt Ash Lane public car park at Brindley Way, despite a late influx of 30 objections to the proposal.

Opposition to the scheme was also voiced by a public speaker at Tuesday’s development control meeting, with concerns including it would reduce the amount of car parking in the area to an unacceptable level, negatively impacting local shops and businesses.

Issues were also raised that the plans didn’t take into account a new driving testing centre opened near the site which wasn’t operating at the time of the application,  as well as fears the “ugly, highly visible, wood effect cladding is not in keeping with the surrounding area”.

A representative of ZEDpods, however, argued “this is not a standard developer’s housing proposal” and would provide high-quality, sustainable and affordable homes, which would address the borough’s housing shortage.

He added the project would take about 34 weeks to complete, with the closure of the carpark surrounding it to be phased throughout the development.

Despite community concerns, councillors were supportive of the scheme, with Cllr Vanessa Allen saying she hoped officers would “do their utmost to get this moving quickly”.

Plaistow and Sundridge ward member Michael Turner, who turned up half an hour late to the meeting after getting mixed up with the 6.30pm kick-off, also spoke in support of the move, saying he had only ever seen the car park fully used on two occasions.

It led to planning chair Alexa Michael stating there was “no reasons to turn it down, (as) there is adequate parking for both residents and members of the public, and as been said it’s much needed housing for homeless people”.

Councillors unanimously approved the move.

The meeting also saw members agree to object to a cross-border proposal with the Sevenoaks District, regarding an application for 800 homes on former Kent golf course by Quinn Estate.

Councillors also agreed to undertake a 10-week proposal running until the end of September, in which residents can give their feedback on plans to make Shortlands Village a conservation area.

Following the meeting, both Cllr Michael and Cllr Peter Morgan, executive for renewal, recreation and housing, both praised the project. 

"We were pleased to approve this application unanimously.  The application complies with the various required planning policies, including affordable housing and also helps meet the need for more housing.  I understand the concerns, including the loss of some parking but the car park is being retained, with adequate space remaining," Cllr Michael said. 

"We absolutely need more housing across the Borough, particularly for families who through no fault of their own find themselves homeless. This will obviate the present necessity of putting these families up in nightly paid accommodation, which is both expensive and unsatisfactory," Cllr Morgan said.

"Planning permission is a welcome step forwards and now we need to work to ensure that this development comes forward as quickly as possible, with the construction process supporting this, as well as helping minimise noise disturbance on site during the shortened construction process. I am pleased that the proposal includes CCTV and a good standard of lighting which will assist in deterring anti-social behaviour which has occurred in this car park in the past. The plan also includes some landscaping in the car park which is rather bare at the moment."