Bromley’s Labour group will call-in a controversial council decision to sell Chislehurst Library, citing concerns over transparency and the value of the sale.

Party leader Angela Wilkins confirmed they had called-in the decision to sell the library to development firm Prime PLC, hours before the deadline for referral.

“I’m not convinced selling the property to developers Prime represents best value for the council,” the Crystal Palace ward member said following the move.

“The process council has undertaken isn’t transparent and questionable.

“There are some very serious questions to be answered which we’ll be asking.”

It comes following significant outcry from Chislehurst residents over the future of the historic building.

In their reasons for initiating a call-in, Labour cite “inadequate evidence” that the sale represents “the best possible return” for the council.

Labour also pointed to a lack of “scrutiny and transparency”, after only basic details of the proposal were revealed at meetings earlier this month and too late for the public to comment on them.

The council announced on September 16 it had sold the land with developers Prime appointed to oversee the construction of a new library and medical facilities at the site.

Prime said in a statement they would work with nearby medical practices the Chislehurst Medical Centre and The Woodlands Practice to revamp the historic building.

Details about the development were largely kept under wraps until a September 2 meeting, when it was suggested a mixed-use proposal – including a new library and potentially new homes – was being viewed for the site.

The plan for homes however ditched in favour of a third medical facility on the high street stretch.

Bromley Cllr Peter Morgan, the executive member for renewal, recreation and housing, said earlier this month the plan was “very positive news” for the future of the library.

“We did want to publicly share this welcome news as soon as we could, which will be subject to consultation as part of the planning process which the developer will need to bring forwards,” he said.

The call-in now means the issue will be discussed at an upcoming meeting of the council.


Following the move by Labour, Chislehurst ward member Suraj Sharma accused the party of playing "political football" and not scrutinising the plans previously. 

"It is unfortunate that the Labour group from the other side of the borough have sought to play political football with the redevelopment of the Library which is otherwise such a positive news story for Chislehurst and its residents," he said on Friday.

"Labour members were privy to all confidential bid information and were present at both the Renewal, Recreation & Housing and the Executive and Resources Committees where they were able to fully interrogate and scrutinise the details but sadly chose not to."