SE23.com
The community website for Forest Hill and Honor Oak, London SE23
Events | Features | Forum | Local Books | Contact
 

Forum Archive
Bell Green

Author Message
Pattrembath
Joined 04-05-2005
Posted on Sunday, 22 May, 2005 - 09:11 am:   

How many people in Forest Hill know that there is a planning application for a massive new Homebase and garden centre (as big as the Sainsburys Savacentre)a drive-thru restaurant and other big retail sheds on the large undeveloped site behind the gasworks at Bell Green? The application also includes a further 600 FREE car parking spaces.

British Gas predict that there will be an increase in traffic on Perry Rise of 13% at peak periods and 10%in Sydenham Road.

An estimated loss of trade from Forest Hill, Catford and Sydenham Town Centres is estimated by BG to be around 3m annually.

The Sydenham Society understands this application is likely to go before Lewisham's Strategic Planning Committee on 16 June.

Comments and objections should be made to Planning Service, Laurence House, Catford SE6 4RU by 31 May
Dommy
Joined 27-05-2004
Posted on Monday, 23 May, 2005 - 12:11 pm:   

Hmmmm. I didn't read 600 new parking spaces but I did read insufficient parking spaces for the new housing units also planned for phase three...
Orfork
Joined 18-05-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 24 May, 2005 - 01:09 pm:   

But we are being surveyed (the local residents) as to 'what would you like to happen in your area?' and 'how can we improve parking' etc...

I can't imagine the local authorities doing this and not telling us clearly that such a project is in the pipeline!

Are you sure?
Nate
Joined 14-01-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 24 May, 2005 - 09:10 pm:   

I don't see a major problem here - why would a large homebase ruin forest hill town centre? A cinema would be nice there actually...
Pattrembath
Joined 04-05-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 25 May, 2005 - 09:11 am:   

Yes, I am sure there is a planning application in from British Gas for the redevelopment of the large Phase 2 site as a Retail Park. There is also an application to develop the smaller Phase 3 site for residential use

For further information have a look at the report posted on www.foresthill.org.uk.
Pattrembath
Joined 04-05-2005
Posted on Thursday, 16 June, 2005 - 09:14 am:   

Bell Green decision day, today.

At Catford Town Hall tonight the Council's Strategic Planning Committee will decide the future of this out-of town site.

British Gas wants to develop the Phase 2 site for a large Homebase and Garden Centre, 3 additional warehouse sheds, some light indusrty and business units and a dri-thru restaurant. Plans for the Phase 3 site provide 156 housing units, one retail unit and a restaurant/cafe.

The plans also include free parking at Bell Green (including the Sainsbury's/Savacentre car park) for 1600 cars.

The Committee will be meeting in Committee Rooms 1 & 2 at the Civic Suite tonight at 7.30 pm and members of the public can attend to observe the deliberations
Stuart
Joined 03-06-2005
Posted on Friday, 17 June, 2005 - 08:42 am:   

I've put a short report of the lively meeting at which Councilor Dave Whiting was quite prominent here:

http://www.foresthill.org.uk/bell_green_plan.html

I'm sure others present will want to say a word...
Mrsmills
Joined 09-06-2005
Posted on Friday, 17 June, 2005 - 09:04 am:   

Many thanks to Stuart for his swift report on last night's planning meeting on further developments at Bell Green. Councillors who voted for the proposal (chair Terry Scott and our local Forest Hill councillor Councillor Dave Whiting) are both part of the ruling Labour Group. Those who voted against were either Liberal Democrats or Greens. Other local Labour councillors speaking from the floor (including Sydenham's Chris Best) were in favour of the proposal.

The lesson we should take from this is that you simply cannot trust the ruling Labour Group (who represent 5 out of 6 of our local councillors) when they tell you that their prime interest is to preserve our local communities and high streets. On the one hand they tell you that they are in favour of local shops and want to prevent the rise of car journeys in local streets and then they vote in favour of a proposal that will take 3m of turnover out of our local shopping areas and pour up to 15% more traffic into local roads.

When the next local elections come, let's make an issue out of this hypocrisy and vote for local councillors who really represent our views!

I speak as a lifetime Labour voter.
Mrsmills
Joined 09-06-2005
Posted on Friday, 17 June, 2005 - 09:21 am:   

Many thanks to our ever-efficient webmaster for his swift report on last night's planning meeting on further developments at Bell Green. Councillors who voted for the proposal (chair Terry Scott and our local Forest Hill councillor Councillor Dave Whiting) are both part of the ruling Labour Group. Those who voted against were either Liberal Democrats or Greens. Other local Labour councillors speaking from the floor (including Sydenham's Chris Best) were in favour of the proposal.

The lesson we should take from this is that you simply cannot trust the ruling Labour Group (who represent 5 out of 6 of our local councillors) when they tell you that their prime interest is to preserve our local communities and high streets. On the one hand they tell you that they are in favour of local shops and want to prevent the rise of car journeys in local streets and then they vote in favour of a proposal that will take 3m of turnover out of our local shopping areas and pour up to 15% more traffic into local roads.

When the next local elections come, let's make an issue out of this hypocrisy and vote for local councillors who really represent our views!

I speak as a lifetime Labour voter.
Pattrembath
Joined 04-05-2005
Posted on Friday, 17 June, 2005 - 11:33 am:   

Stuart, I think your report is a very accurate one.

It was a breath of fresh air to hear one councillor, Mark Morris, say he could not vote to approve the Phase 2 application as it was like looking back to 1985 when out-of-town Retail Parks were the flavour of the times.

This indeed was about the time that original discussions first began between Lewisham and British Gas as to how to redevelop this site.

The original outline permission was finally agreed in February 1993 and this has bound us to retail as the main source of regeneration ever since, despite well documented studies that these out-of town Retail Parks have done enormous damage to local high streets throughout the length of this country. The phrase "Ghost Town Britain" comes directly from one of these studies.

It is now no longer government policy to approve out-of town retail parks like the one proposed for Bell Green

It was a shame to see 3 local councillors all saying that the annual Trade Draw of 0.5m from Forest Hill, 0.5m from Sydenham and 2m from Catford (from Castlemore's own figures, and likely to be the most favourable to them) would probably have little effect on the local town centres. The Sydenham Society cannot agree with their complacency.

The end of the meeting was indeed very shambolic and not a great spectacle for seeing democracy at work! The Chair had a duty to explain to those members of the public present why matters had happened and what would happen next. This, to his discredit, he failed to do.

Sydenham Society is obviously going to have a long think about last night's meeting and will, be making further comments in due course.
Roz
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Friday, 17 June, 2005 - 01:22 pm:   

Frankly, this is diabolical. Also a lifetime Laboru voter, I doubt whether I will voting for them again. This is not good news for our town centres. Forest Hill will go the way of Thornton Heath- a run down area on the way to Croydon and Purley Way. Theres the evidence for you.
Pattrembath
Joined 04-05-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 13 July, 2005 - 05:47 pm:   

Tomorrow, Thursday 14 July at 7.30 pm at Lewisham Town Hall, the Bell Green Gasworks applications for a Homebase and garden centre together with further retail warehousing are back before the Strategic Planning Committee for further deliberation. The meeting is open to the public.

Not too late to make comments/objections to planning@lewisham.gov.uk
Bryan
Joined 01-08-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 03 August, 2005 - 08:03 pm:   

A lot of people will know by now that Lewisham Council has approved the applications to develop the Bell Green site as a major retail park. The result will be greatly increased traffic in the area and significant damage to the Forest Hill and Sydenham town centres.

I believe that all of our local councillors - those representing the Forest Hill, Perry Vale, and Sydenham wards - have failed us in this matter.

Councillor Whiting, sitting on the Committee that approved the application, voted in favour. Councillor Best and Councillor Colin Hastie also spoke in favour.

The remainder of our local councillors - Councillor Wise, Councillor Till, Councillor Jane Hastie, Councillor Carlisle, and Councillor Nibet - have also failed local residents. Not one of our local councillors has spoken up on behalf of those local residents who fear the impact of the Bell Green development.

There is insufficient space on this site to detail my full views. But if anyone is interested then I suggest that they look up the Sydenham Town website, where I have posted a full criticism of our local councillors on that website's Forum (under the topic of Bell Green).

If any councillor considers that my remarks are unfair or unreasonable then I do hope that they will post a response.

Bryan Leslie


Local forums in nearby areas: SE13.com | SE14.com | SE20.com | SE22.com | SE24.com | SE25.com | SE27.com