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Tyson Road planning inquiry starts 23 February 2010

Posted by Philip Peake in Planning.
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The Planning Inspector began her Inquiry into Loromah’s proposed development of the land between the Christian Fellowship Centre on Honor Oak Road and the derelict buildings on Tyson Road today. This follows yet another refusal of an application by a Lewisham planning committee. One developer or another has been trying to build on the site – part of which used to be garages, and part of it garden – for 20 years. No planning committee has ever felt able to support an application, although an refusal was once overturned in a previous Inquiry.

It’s a very difficult site get right, steep and ‘backland’, with lots of protected biodiversity. But the developers have seen the opportunity afforded by the fact that planning policy specifies a mechanical formula for calculating how many residences could fit into an area in order to come up with a scheme which would likely to be overdevelopment and un-neighbourly even if one of the three difficulties I mentioned wasn’t true. Unsuprisingly, their legal advocate today was making much play of Lewisham Council’s failure to come up with a robust specific outline (such as a planning brief) for the site. This is an obvious failure, and one I have raised in different forums, including Full Council, where the Deputy Mayor (who’s responsible for planning) refused to address it and ask officers to work on a brief.

Representatives from the Forest Hill Society and the local residents’ campaign group were there today, as well as my colleague John Russell who will be giving evidence tomorrow on behalf of your three ward councillors. The inquiry is at the Civic Suite in Catford and is open to the public, so feel free to come along to lend moral support — if you can’t, keep your fingers crossed.

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