Bexley’s Planning Committee considered their own application to
build houses on the green spaces in Wilde Road yesterday evening. The only thing going for
the plan is that six homes will be so called affordable. A drop in the ocean while 7,000 Bexley
families wait for social housing. When the Committee has considered
might have made a real difference to the numbers they approved none.
It is of course unusual for Bexley Council to be asking permission of itself to go ahead with a plan of which no member of the public approves and apparently has no more than lukewarm support even from the Conservative Councillors one expects to obediently toe the party line. Maybe there is an election around the corner.
The 90 minutes of debate deserves a proper report but there will not be one here just yet as I have to be away all day, the second funeral this week. However the News Shopper’s reporter Tom Bull was at the meeting scribbling away furiously in his shorthand book so presumably he will have something on their website later today.
What struck me most was that the residents who spoke against the plan did so eloquently and effectively while the Council officers showed themselves to be less than competent. Presumably they are OK at analysing other people’s proposals but when it comes to proper planning work they may be politely described as hopeless.
The major issue according to Tory Councillors was not the loss of the green space or the fact that the two new blocks are out of keeping with their neighbours but the fact that there will be only six parking spaces (one disabled) for 24 bedrooms of accommodation. Wilde Road is as far removed from public transport as it is possible to get within London but the planning officers repeatedly trotted out the nonsense that car ownership would be low.
Of the 15 Councillors in attendance only five voted to reject the plan but they were unanimous in a decision to kick the decision into the long grass - if they can find any unsold.
The Labour Group has promised to abandon the Tory plans to build over parks if they become the majority party next May.