Norman Rd, Belvedere. Planning application 13/00918/FULM

KEY LINKS

Details of the planning application:

http://pa.bexley.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=dates&keyVal=MO63ODBEDR000

Bexley Natural Environment Forum submission:

https://app.box.com/shared/static/zy4aw3kvpkhx1icg5pxv.doc

Bexley Council’s ‘Enhancement/mitigation priorities for biodiversity’ document

http://www.bexley.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=9517&p=0

Planning Committee papers pack, including Council Officer’s case for approval of this application, being  presented for decision on 15/5/2015:

http://democracy.bexley.gov.uk/documents/g27399/Public%20reports%20pack%2015th-May-2014%2019.30%20Planning%20Committee.pdf?T=10

WHY IS THIS APPLICATION IMPORTANT?

The proposed (re-)development site is adjacent to Erith Marshes/Crossness Nature Reserve, which comprise a Metropolitan Site of Interest for Nature Conservation.

There is little left of the former marshes, and development consents have continued to chip away at what is left, despite all the documentation from Bexley Council and others highlighting the importance of this area and this type of habitat for nature conservation.

WHAT DEVELOPMENT IS PROPOSED?

Erection of a  building comprising 3 industrial units for mixed-use within Class B1 (business), Class B2 (general industrial) and B8 (storage/distribution), with associated ancillary works.

THE ISSUES

Bexley Natural Environment Forum and a number of objectors are against any more building on existing or former marshland in the vicinity. Indeed we see the Council’s Local Development Framework view that the demand for industrial land will fall, and that such land can be consolidated, as an opportunity for a strategic approach that allows for the enlargement and restoration of key wildlife sites back onto adjoining brownfield areas. As highlighted by Buglife, brownfield itself is a very valuable habitat, especially in the Thames Gateway, and high-value sites are being lost at an alarming rate.

If development goes ahead there is potential disturbance from noise and lighting to species of conservation concern, such as Water Voles, Barn Owls and Bats.

The planning application is a poor one, taking little note of the surrounding environment, which it ignorantly and insultingly described as ‘bleak’ (something we believe is down to the proliferation of grey metal sheds and incinerators,  not the vital and beautiful wildlife habitat) , or sustainability issues, contrary to policy in the London Plan.

Bexley Council’s own ‘Enhancement/mitigation priorities for biodiversity’ document calls for brown roofs on new ‘Industrial buildings anywhere, but especially close to the River Thames’. We have therefore called for a brown roof to be required if permission is granted, so as to replace such habitat that will be lost at ground level. In our opinion this is a test case of the Council’s commitment to this policy. If they do not insist on it here, it is difficult to see where they would, at which point it just becomes yet more green-wash.

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