Bexley Council have formerly adopted a plan guiding development across the borough for years to come including at Bexleyheath cinema.
Approval was given last week for the Local Plan containing a whopping 210 pages which covers future transport, housing and more.
Now, it must be made clear that of the many land uses and ideas contained within, that this does not mean they will happen.
It’s guidance of what is possible in a given area. It does though assist in making land use change easier.
It states: “Whilst these uses make a significant contribution to the town centre’s leisure offer, the building itself is dated and relates awkwardly to the street with blank façades”.
A little harsh on the building which does have a number of units at street level offering aside from the sizable cinema entrance. In terms of upper floors, blank facades are often a given at cinemas.
The report continues: “Bexleyheath’s bus hub is within walking distance and provides excellent public transport access to the rest of the borough and beyond.
Residential development backs onto the site’s northern boundary, with a police station located adjacent to the site to the north-west”.
A car park adjacent to the cinema is pretty efficient in terms of land use compared to many others where large expanses of tarmac dominate, including next door. Bexley Council approved a big box Lidl and car park there in recent years.
It’s easier to build homes above a shop rather than above a cinema containing cavernous screening rooms.
There are other odd omissions nearby. If large blank facades in town centres are an issue (and they are, with less excuses away from a cinema) then what about big blocks the other side of the cinema in the town centre?
This block, if rebuilt, could see no loss of commercial space and ample new homes to meet housing targets – a core aim of the Local Plan.
Given sites like this aren’t included, there appears little consistency in the Plan.
Other single level car parks in the plan such as at the junction of Albion Way and the Broadway are absent.
Elsewhere in Bexleyheath, the plan mentions the former EDF office block on the Broadway.
This office block could be replaced, with the document stating 200 homes would be possible.