A proposal for 30 flats to be built on green space in Erith has been submitted to Bexley Council from the council’s development company off-shoot named BexleyCo.
The block would be built on West Street and see mature trees felled and park space built on.
Part of the felled trees and greenery would become a car park. Despite claiming they cannot even include one affordable home in the development, they state it’s too expensive to build undercroft parking and so parking must be located on what is currently park space and trees removed.
EDIT: It appears that the Conservative candidate for Eltham in the upcoming general election, Louie French, was part of Bexley Council’s cabinet that agreed to transfer the park to BexleyCo in February this year.
The move is controversial in the extreme – and with good reason. As regular readers know I support a big increase in new homes given the torrid condition many live in – and which many others seem completely unaware of – yet this appears far from a suitable site in Erith.
As someone who has had to move multiple times as a private renter, paying high rents with no certainty of where I will be in a year, the need for secure homes is obvious yet plans in this area epitomise numerous mistakes from Bexley Council when it comes to housing locations.
Green space is being built upon in densely populated areas while nearby brownfield sites – such as one near Erith station – see plans for a large retail shed and car park. Some spots would be perfect as mixed-use, such as the proposed Lidl site, and yet are wasted:
Other authorities have blocked retail sheds in sites where housing is suitable alongside retail. Bexley could, and should, designate this land as suitable for mixed-use and push for that.
Doing so would alleviate the pressure to build on green sites. We’ve also seen it elsewhere such as Old Farm Road park. Bexley Council may try to blame others such as the Mayor for housing targets – though Bexley themselves are pushing for many thousands of homes through their Growth Strategy, and they have power over where homes are located.
And finally, as a final kick in the teeth, a council park site would be built over by a council off-shoot and yet is planning no affordable housing whatsoever claiming it isn’t viable. Ludicrous. There’s no land to purchase here nor buildings to demolish.
Like other authorities, the council are spending ever higher amounts of taxpayer money housing people in expensive, often poor quality private lettings while failing to build their own affordable housing.
This is one of the worst planning applications I’ve seen in a long, long time.
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