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Bell Green gasworks site

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Joined 07-06-2006
Posted on Wednesday, 07 June, 2006 - 11:47 pm:   

just wondering if anyone here has any strong feelings for/against bell green plans.
"public" planning meeting next tues seems to have been kept somewhat hush-hush.
your thoughts please
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Thursday, 08 June, 2006 - 08:08 am:   

Any idea on the latest proposals? The last I heard was for a drive through foody place that got turned down in favour of a non-drive through restuarant. Anything else?
Joined 04-05-2005
Posted on Thursday, 08 June, 2006 - 10:44 am:   

Bell Green Gasworks Site

The Public Inquiry into the future of the derelict gasworks site at Bell Green starts on Tuesday next week. The Sydenham Society will be representing its membership at the inquiry and objecting to the plans for a huge Homebase and garden centre, other large warehouse retailing and a burger style restaurant, together with an additional 600 extra car parking spaces.

The Sydenham Society will also be representing the concerns expressed by the local community who sent in objections during the consultation period (95% of those commenting objected). Concerns expressed were on the grounds of increased traffic – 11% on Sydenham Road and 13% on Perry Rise during peak periods, and of damage to trade in Catford, Forest Hill and Sydenham. Bromley Council have also objected to the plans because of increased traffic on local residential roads and anticipated trade draw from its high streets and town centres.

The inquiry starts on Tuesday 13 June at Lewisham Town Hall at 10.00 am. The inquiry will continue throughout the rest of the week at the Town Hall starting at 10.00 each day. It will reconvene on Tuesday 20 June (at 9.30) and continue at 10.00 on Thursday 22 and Friday 23. There is a possibility it may reconvene the following week on 27 and 28 June if there is still business to be finished.

Anyone wishing to speak at the inquiry should attend on the first morning to register. It would be very helpful to have a good local community turn out on this first morning.

The Society has hired a barrister and would welcome any donations towards our considerable legal costs. Cheques should be made payable to the Sydenham Society and sent c/o 97 Longton Grove, Sydenham, SE26 6QQ.
Joined 16-07-2004
Posted on Thursday, 08 June, 2006 - 01:54 pm:   

Out of interest, Pat - what barrister is acting for you, if you can disclose?
Joined 30-03-2005
Posted on Thursday, 08 June, 2006 - 11:12 pm:   

What will happen to the Homebase off Bromley Road if a new Homebase is opened at Bell Green?
Will it close?
Joined 04-05-2005
Posted on Monday, 12 June, 2006 - 07:58 pm:   

Barrister's name is Juan Lopez.

Developer says that Homebase at Penge and Bromley Road will remain although the "new" development will draw trade from these and from Wickes and from the local d-i-y shops and garden centres.
Joined 28-03-2006
Posted on Tuesday, 13 June, 2006 - 10:14 am:   

Thanks for the update Pat, The Friends will contribute towards the legal costs.
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 13 June, 2006 - 10:32 am:   

A point of information, B&Q are to develop a large garden centre in Lewisham Town Centre, Thurston Road.
Joined 04-05-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 13 June, 2006 - 06:25 pm:   

Thanks for the offer, Old Campaigner, all contributions very gratefully accepted!

By the way, apart from trade draw from other Homebases, the associated garden centre will also be looking to take trade from Shannons and Phoebes Garden Centres. Equally serious is the developers estimate of an annual £0.5m loss of trade from Forest Hill Town Centre with a similar loss from Sydenham and £2m from Catford.

Day one of the Inquiry is over - it reconvenes tomorrow morning at the Town Hall at 10.00am and is open to the public. If you have a couple of hours to spare do call in and show community support.
Joined 04-05-2005
Posted on Thursday, 15 June, 2006 - 08:10 am:   

Bell Green Public Inquiry is about to enter its third day. The applicant's representative has spent the past one and a half days justifying the developer's proposals. He has been cross-examined for one day by Sydenham Society's barrister and the Inspector, Christina Downes, is halfway through further examination. Other witnesses for the developers will be examined later to day.

Tomorrow, Friday morning, two of the Society's witnesses should be giving evidence on alternative development proposals and on the environment and they will be cross-examined on these subjects. Tomorrow afternoon, Nick Bertrand, an ecologist, will be giving a powerpoint presentation about the undeveloped sites which promises to be interesting and a local resident will be making a statement about the effect of current traffic impact on Perry Rise and her opinion of what an increase of 13% at peak periods will mean to local residents.

It is anticipated the inquiry will last through next week - reconvening on Tuesday at 9.30 at the Town Hall. On Wednesday it will be held in the Livesey Hall and during the afternoon local residents will attend to give further individual statements about the proposals at Bell Green and their anticipated effects locally.

It is a PUBLIC inquiry and the Sydenham Society hopes the local community will fnd time to call in and watch the proceedings
Joined 04-05-2005
Posted on Saturday, 17 June, 2006 - 10:04 am:   

The Public Inquiry continues next week - on Tuesday at Lewisham Town Hall (10-5), Wednesday at the Livesey Hall (10-5), and back at the town hall on Friday. Tuesday's evidence will include the Council making its case for the development, while on Wednesday morning a number of local residents will be voicing their objections. Although the proceedings are slow going, everything is being examined in great detail - the Inspector is going through the case with a fine toothcomb. One of the highlights of Friday was an impassioned plea from naturalist Nick Bertrand for the site not to be developed, as it is one of the most important undisturbed habitats for wildflowers and birds in inner London. If you have time to attend for a few hours, Wednesday morning should be an interesting morning to choose
Joined 04-05-2005
Posted on Thursday, 22 June, 2006 - 09:08 am:   

Bell Green Public Inquiry - latest update

The sixth day of the inquiry ended with an inspection of the Phase 2 site (the large one behind the gas holders) so that the Planning Inspector could familiarize herself with the site.

Flat architect's drawings cannot compare with an on-site visit as was clear to the very few of us lucky enough to accompany her. The Phase 2 site is a beautiful, huge wild meadow, thigh high with wild flowers which have claimed the habitat as home since the area was fenced off probably over two decades ago. The "mound" of contaminated land at the back of the site and covered with wild flora, which we climbed, afforded some splendid views over the surrounding area - even the car park of Sainsbury's Savacentre appeared to lose its dominance of the area. The area, being covered with wild flowers and grasses, is deceptive as it is very uneven and there are hidden piles of rubble everywhere.

What is certain from this site visit is that the Phase 2 site is very large and retail warehousing on this site alongside that proposed on Phase 3, together with the existing Sainsbury's could have a massive effect on the shopping habits of residents in the wider surrounding area, providing they are prepared to battle with the traffic in the feeder roads approaching the proposed Bell Green Retail Park.

Additional traffic to Bell Green and how it would affect residents in the local area is what the Society's barrister will be cross-examining the Council's Highways Officer on when the inquiry resumes tomorrow. Also scheduled to speak on Friday are Pat Trembath on Retail and other Local Matters, James Dickens on Employment (both presenting the Society's evidence to the Inquiry), Hilary Graver and John Jarrett (local residents) and all three Bellingham councillors.

The inquiry returns to the Town Hall at Catford and re-opens at 10.00am, Friday 23 June. Members of the local community would be most welcome!
Joined 04-05-2005
Posted on Monday, 26 June, 2006 - 07:45 pm:   

Bell Green Public Inquiry - final week.

The Inquiry continues tomorrow, Tuesday, at Lewisham Town Hall, Catford at 10.00 am. Geraldine Cox (Kirkdale Bookshop) and Chair of Sydenham Traders Association will make a statement to the Inspector on how she sees the impact of a Retail Park at Bell Green on the retailers of Sydenham Road and the Planning Officer in overall charge of the applications will be giving evidence and will be cross- examined by the Society's barrister.

On Wednesday the Inspector will be visiting a large number of sites in Lewisham,Bromley and Croydon to familiarise herself with the patterns of trading throughout the area.

On Thursday the Inquiry will begin at 11.00 am at the Town Hall when the Counsel for all parties - Sydenham Society, British Gas and Lewisham Council will be making their Closing Statements.

After this the Inspector will collate all the evidence presented into a Report to the Secretary of State and will recommend approval or refusal of the British Gas proposals. A final decision will be handed down from the Secretay of State, presently Ruth Kelly, sometime early next year.
Joined 30-03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 27 June, 2006 - 10:47 am:   

Many of my local shopkeepers and residents opposed the building of the new Tesco Express on Perry Hill because it would generate increased traffic and the competition would put local shops out of business. But it was allowed. My impression is that competition is encouraged even though it will force many shops to close.
Joined 04-05-2005
Posted on Monday, 10 July, 2006 - 08:31 am:   

Information just received states that the decision about the future of Bell Green Gasworks site will be made on or before 19 October 2006 - somewhat earlier than expected
Joined 04-05-2005
Posted on Sunday, 06 August, 2006 - 09:43 am:   

For information only - and especially for Planning Anoraks and Legal Beagles!

The Closing Submissions made by Sydenham Society’s barrister, Juan Lopez, on 29 June at the Bell Green Public Inquiry are now posted on our website

For anyone wanting to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee whilst reading it, a hardcopy is also available in the Gallery of Kirkdale Bookshop.
Joined 04-05-2005
Posted on Sunday, 06 August, 2006 - 04:04 pm:   

Many apologies to all those legal beagles and planning anoraks who may have tried to access Sydenham Society's web-site to read the Closing Submissions by our barrister. The link quoted was incorrect.

The address should have been given as
Joined 04-05-2005
Posted on Friday, 20 October, 2006 - 02:03 pm:   

News has reached the Sydenham Society this morning that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Ruth Kelly, has recommended that the planning applications for Bell Green Gasworks site be granted.

The reports are still being read and analysed.

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