The Mill Meadows site lies behind the Old Mill in Bexley village, and runs between the River Cray and the south side of the railway line. It is within the boundary of the Cray river corridor Metropolitan Site of Importance for Nature Conservation, one of the most important sites for nature within the Borough, and within London as a whole.
The deadline for comments on the revised (second) application for conversion/extension of old livery stables to dwellings, and the creation of an all-weather hockey pitch, and a cricket pitch, was 26/12/2014.
Bexley Natural Environment Forum is supportive of keeping buildings within the footprint of the previously ‘developed area’, subject to stringent sustainability criteria and tight control over lighting since river corridors are important for Bats. We were pleased to see that previous plans for pathways close to the riverbank (with the danger of lighting, disturbance and ‘tidying’ of vegetation) have been jettisoned this time. Nevertheless, we have re-emphasised the need to retain a buffer of natural vegetation at least 5m wide along the riverbank because Water Voles are known to occur here. This amount of buffering has previously been stipulated by Bexley in respect of the Norman Rd planning application.
Both BNEF and London Wildlife Trust have submitted objections. We are concerned about the inadequacy of wildlife surveying, and the significant reduction in actual and potential (semi-)natural open space in what is a Metropolitan Site of Importance for Nature Conservation that will result from additional sports pitches and the inevitable sanitisation to the detriment of nature over a larger area around them. There are no adequate plans presented to ‘mitigate’ these negative effects.