sale of the council offices at Hill View to Bellway Homes was a vital component
of funding the flash new council offices in Watling Street. There was never any
doubt that Bellway would
get planning permission.
Councillor James Hunt put on a show of backing the residents’ objections. He said the over close proximity of new and old property was a “serious issue” and flooding was a big problem. Former councillor Mike Slaughter was concerned about a number of things; drainage, the fact that supposed two story houses had rooms in the roof and that the council was turning a blind eye to numerous breaches of its own planning rules.
Councillor Brian Bishop was similarly critical and former councillors Allon and O’Neill (Labour) were far from enthusiastic yet come the vote and there was not a single dissenter. Never mind the blatant disregard for rules such as the minimum separation distance which should be 22 metres being under 16, Teresa Neill’s plan for funding Watling Street were paramount. If this was not a planning fiddle I’m not sure what is. Local residents had every right to feel aggrieved.
In one case this translated into a Judicial Review at the High Court but from what I could gather lawyers on both sides came to the conclusion that success would only delay proceedings. Bexley council would merely move the goalposts slightly and give permission again.
So six months after the dubious planning permission was given the site has finally been sold and we have yet another example of Bexley council bending the rules for its own ends and to hell with ‘Listening to you’.
A request to set up a Neighbourhood Planning Area to benefit local residents has been ignored by Bexley council. I wonder why.