Agenda and minutes

Development Control Committee - Tuesday 26 July 2022 7.30 pm

Venue: Bromley Civic Centre

Contact: Joanne Partridge  020 8461 7694

No. Item




Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Mark Brock and Councillor Keith Onslow, and Councillor Kira Gabbert and Councillor Mike Botting attended as their respective substitutes.




In relation to minute 16 (21/05503/FULL1) – Sports Club, Worsley Bridge Road, Beckenham, BR3 1RL, Councillor Christine Harris declared that she was a member of the Park Langley Tennis Club which would gain additional courts if the application was approved.



In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, questions that are not specific to reports on the agenda must have been received in writing 10 working days before the date of the meeting.


Questions specifically relating to reports on the agenda should be received within two working days of the normal publication date of the agenda.  Please ensure that questions specifically relating to reports on the agenda are received by the Democratic Services Team by 5 pm on Wednesday 20 July 2022.


Six questions for written response were received from members of the public and are attached at Appendix A.



Additional documents:


RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on the 7th June 2022 be agreed and signed as a correct record.



Beckenham Town and Copers Cope Ward.

Additional documents:


Description of application – Demolition of all existing buildings on site and redevelopment to provide residential development comprising a mix of dwelling houses and apartment blocks (part 3 and part 5 storeys in height), including provision of affordable housing, alongside the provision of public open space fronting Worsley Bridge Road, onsite play space and areas for public sports facilities, associated landscaping, car parking and ancillary works.


The Principal Planner – Major Developments gave a brief presentation, providing an overview of the application. An update was provided in relation to the planning obligations listed in paragraphs 6.12.3 and 6.12.4 (page 78) of the report. Members were informed that the Council’s Legal Department had advised that if the application was to be approved, matters relating to the ‘delivery and ongoing management of public open space, land for sports uses and play space’ and ‘delivery of a new puffin crossing on Worsley Bridge Road’ should be dealt with by conditions, rather than a S106 legal agreement. It was noted that the affordable wheelchair units would also be included in the affordable housing Heads of Term, rather than being separate, and the following revised Heads of Term had been circulated to Members:


Financial Contribution

Heads of Term


Agreed in Principle

Affordable housing (including wheelchair accessible units for social rent)



Carbon offsetting payment



Provision of one car club space



Early stage affordable housing viability review



Late stage Affordable housing viability review




The Principal Planner – Major Developments advised that the applicant had not agreed the principle of the proposed early and late stage affordable housing viability review Heads of Term, nor had a draft legal agreement been submitted. It was therefore proposed that an additional recommendation for refusal be added as follows:


8.  An acceptable planning obligation for provision of the affordable housing (including wheelchair accessible units for social rent), payment of carbon offsetting contribution, provision and operation of car club (including car club space), early and late stage affordable housing viability reviews and payment of monitoring fee and legal costs has not been entered into. The application is thereby contrary to Policies DF1 of the London Plan (2021) and 125 of the Bromley Local Plan (2019).


It was also suggested that the first reason for refusal be amended, changing the word ‘substantially’ to ‘substantial’, and removing the word ‘greater’ to read as follows:


1.  The proposal would constitute inappropriate development on Metropolitan Open Land, and would result in substantial harm to its openness, both visually and spatially, undermining one of the essential characteristics of Metropolitan Open Land, which is permanence. The Very Special Circumstances proposed by the applicant do not justify this harm and as such the application is contrary to Chapter 13 of the National Planning Policy Framework (2021), Policy G3 of the London Plan (2021) and Policy 50 of the Bromley Local Plan (2019).


The Principal Planner – Major Developments informed Members that since the publication of the report, 126 late representations of support  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.



Additional documents:


Report HPR2022/034


The Committee considered a report recommending that the draft Bromley Town Centre Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) be published for 12 weeks public consultation. The SPD provided guidance to assist with the determination of planning applications in the Bromley Town Centre area, including guidance on design requirements.


The Head of Planning Policy and Strategy advised that the report provided the rationale for the SPD. It was highlighted that this was a consultation draft which would go out to public consultation for 12 weeks – following this the responses received would be assessed and the Council’s Executive would make a decision in terms of adoption.


Members queried whether the SPD should be ‘endorsed’ or ‘noted’ by the Committee. The Chairman considered that the draft document needed to be endorsed by the Committee. It would then go to the Renewal, Recreation and Housing Policy Development and Scrutiny Committee before being presented to the Council’s Executive, which would be followed by a call-in period. If no objections were received, it would be signed-off and put to public consultation. Another Member considered that if the Committee ‘endorsed’ the document for consultation it implied that it was not the finalised document and would be subject to amendments. [Note: the Chairman held a vote on the wording and it was agreed to stick to the suggested wording.]


A Member said that the document was extremely comprehensive and highlighted that the Ward Councillors had been consulted and their contributions noted. Several points were noted:

-  Where there were a number of empty offices, owners could be encouraged to subdivide the floor space to create more rooms for smaller businesses (page 118/6, paragraph 2.5, item 1);

-  While endorsing the car-free element it was considered that provision should be considered for new developments to provide parking for people with disabilities (page 119/7, paragraph 2.14);

-  What, when and how could walking and cycling be encouraged (page 129/17, paragraph 4.14);

-  Rooftop gardens and viewing terraces on the tops of high-rise buildings should be encouraged (page 132/29, SPD guidance note 7);

-  Buildings could be designed and built over the area of the railway track at Bromley South Station (page 135/23, Character Areas and Sub Character Areas); and,

-  The Old Palace, being a listed building, must be retained and preserved. If at any point the Council scaled down the number of employees on site, the buildings could be restored and the side wings removed to create an executive office building. Within the Queen’s Gardens, a bandstand could be built which could encourage the public to appreciate the leisure space and make use of the nearby restaurants (page 137/25, paragraphs 5.7-5.8).


A Member advised that the newly-elected Bromley Town Ward Councillors had made initial comments on the document. They expected to make some further comments in due course and intended to share the SPD consultation with their residents.


A Member asked for further information as to how the consultation process worked. The Head of Planning Policy and Strategy  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.



Additional documents:


Report HPR2022/035


The Committee considered a report seeking the endorsement of the Housing Delivery Test (HDT) Action Plan 2021. The Government’s HDT results for 2021 showed that Bromley’s housing delivery for the three-year period 2018-2021 fell below 95% of the Borough housing target for this period. As a result, national planning policy stated that the Local Planning Authority (LPA) should publish an action plan to: identify the reasons for under-delivery; explore ways to reduce the risk of further under-delivery; and set out measures the authority intended to take to improve levels of delivery.


A Member asked for further information relating to the responses received following the ‘call for sites’ consultation exercise that had been undertaken. The Head of Planning Policy and Strategy advised that around 95 responses had been received, which was a good rate. This had been the initial consultation on the Local Plan and work was ongoing to assess the sites, with a view to initiate the next stage of the Local Plan towards the end of 2022. It was noted that the ‘call for sites’ responses would also help inform strategies on housing supply and possibly land for economic use.


A Member highlighted paragraph 2.7 of the report, which related to data collection changes and stated that ‘these issues will hopefully be rectified by summer 2022 and missing housing schemes uploaded into the new system’. The Head of Planning Policy and Strategy advised that this related to the new monitoring system that the GLA had moved to, and the teething issues that had been experienced. Over the last year, there had been manual validation of data, and there may be permissions that the team were unaware of, that could potentially increase the delivery rate. However, it was highlighted that this was unlikely as a detailed validation exercise had been undertaken. Another Member questioned whether all builds were picked up and fed into the database – due to the implications of this, there was a need to ensure that the numbers were correct. The Head of Planning Policy and Strategy considered that the methods used by the GLA were fairly robust but there was the potential for schemes to “fall through the gap”. If there were specific premises that were a concern, he would be happy to feed this back to the GLA to check that they had been captured.


A Member enquired as to how the builds were reported and how long they took to appear on the system. The Head of Planning Policy and Strategy advised that the system was continually updated by the GLA using various sources of data, such as Council Tax, and once a year a comprehensive ‘starts and completions survey’ was undertaken. This involved officers looking at the list of schemes to check if they had been started or reached practical completion and were at a level where they could be occupied. In response to a further question, the Head of Planning Policy and Strategy said that the figures for 2022  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.




Report HPR2022/036


The Committee considered a report providing an update on various Article 4 Directions recently made or confirmed by the Council. The Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) wrote to the Council in May 2022 to note that they had reviewed Bromley’s Class MA and Class ZA Article 4 Directions in accordance with new national policy and that they were not convinced that they complied with this new policy. As a result, DLUHC had invited the Council to reconsider the Directions, to ensure that the Article 4 Directions were proposed only where they would have wholly unacceptable adverse impacts and apply to the smallest geographic areas possible.


Officers had considered this request and prepared an updated methodology to reduce the areas, while ensuring that the rationale behind the Directions – to protect vitally important commercial space – still applied. The report presented sought endorsement of this methodology, which officers would then implement to determine the modified areas, and subsequently request that the Secretary of State (SoS) for DLUHC formally modifies the Article 4 Directions on this basis.


The Chairman advised that an Article 4 Direction did not stop development, however the Permitted Development (PD) rights were forfeited, and a formal planning application would need to be made, which added an extra layer of protection. The Head of Planning Policy and Strategy noted that the Council could only make or cancel Article 4 Directions, whereas the Secretary of State could modify them.


In response to questions, the Head of Planning Policy and Strategy advised that a specific meeting had been held with the officers from DLUHC who had sent the correspondence – they had been unable to clarify the concerns, which had not been elaborated on. Members’ frustrations were shared, as they would have liked the issues to be stated but unfortunately they had been left to speculate. With relation to PD rights that changed an office to residential accommodation, it was confirmed that these units would count towards the housing target. It was noted that in the reports recommending Article 4 Directions, the commentary had highlighted that removing PD rights may impact the housing supply. However, on balance, it had been considered that the protections Article 4 Directions provided outweighed this. A Member questioned what the next steps would be if the DLUHC did not accept the proposed methodology. The Head of Planning Policy and Strategy said that, in conjunction with the Director of Housing, Planning, Property and Regeneration and Portfolio Holder for Recreation, Renewal and Housing, a finalised set of areas to be modified, in line with the methodology, would be submitted. If the DLUHC responded and provided some clarification of the issues, this could be reported back to the Committee.


With regards to paragraph 3.16 of the report, the Head of Planning Policy and Strategy said that a housing scheme had been put forward for The Walnuts site. However, PD rights had different limitations and it was unlikely that the shop units would be changed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.




Report HPR2022/037


The Committee considered a report advising Members of the proposed Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, the likely impacts on planning and related matters and the timelines for the proposed changes.


The ‘Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill’ was given its first reading in Parliament in May 2022 and aimed to create a robust framework for levelling-up. The Bill included a number of proposals to improve the planning system which were previously published in the Planning for the Future consultation in 2020, as well as a previous LBB officer report. The new Bill aimed to improve the planning process to give local communities more control over new development and included powers to:

-  deliver high quality design and beautiful places, and protect local heritage;

-  enable the right infrastructure to come forward where it was needed;

-  enhance local democracy and engagement;

-  foster better environmental outcomes; and,

-  allow neighbourhoods to shape their surroundings, as this was where the impact of planning was most immediately felt.


A Member queried if the proposal to extend the period for taking enforcement action to ten years could be retrospective and considered that increasing fines associated with certain planning breaches was welcomed. Rather than noting the Bill, it was suggested that a positive contribution could be made. However, there were concerns regarding arbitrary housing targets – they needed to be stronger in making representations and consider how they would like the borough to look in 2050.


In response to a question from the Chairman, the Assistant Director for Planning advised that the formal response to the Planning White Paper had been brought to the Committee and had contained some strong views. The Assistant Director for Planning said he sympathised with the points raised – as a Planning Authority, they were obliged to operate within the system set, but they should try to influence this. It was highlighted that paragraph 3.29 of the report advised of further opportunities for consultation on various aspects of the Bill and it was suggested that any draft responses be brought to the Committee for agreement.


RESOLVED that the potential impacts of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill be noted by Members.




Report HPR2022/038


The Committee considered a report proposing minor amendments to the scheme of delegation following recent revisions.


The scheme of delegation had recently been significantly revised (at General Purposes and Licensing Committee in April 2022) to make it more effective and concise. Following this update, several minor amendments were required to the powers delegated to the Director of Housing, Planning and Regeneration to ensure that the scheme was as effective as possible and to restore powers that were mistakenly removed in the recent revisions. The requested changes were to restore powers as follows:


-  power to refuse any application:

the previous scheme of delegation included the power to refuse any application (unless subject to call-in).


-  power to determine amendments to major applications for new commercial development and for the provision of twenty-one or more dwellings:

the previous scheme of delegation included the power to determine applications which fall within the definition of major development as above but comprised “other associated buildings, conversions, extensions and change of use, reserved matters, details pursuant, revised plans or amended proposals”.


These elements were included in the previous scheme of delegation and removed accidentally from the revisions and thus did not represent a change from long standing powers held in respect of planning applications.


The Assistant Director for Planning advised that an issue had recently been highlighted in relation to delegated powers which did not apply to applications on a site that was subject to a current enforcement notice. In these circumstances, it was suggested that officers be able to refuse an application. However, if they were minded to permit the application, it would be brought to Committee. A further amendment was therefore proposed:


-  Applications where the property is subject to an enforcement notice or breach of condition notice except where the application is refused.


In response to comments, the Assistant Director for Planning noted that when applications were refused under delegated powers, officers and Ward Councillors sometimes considered differing grounds for refusal. The process allowed for conditional call-in and the proposed changes did not look to undermine Councillors’ ability to call-in or determine applications. However, it would allow unacceptable applications to be refused without needing to be brought to Committee. It was noted that Councillors received a weekly list of applications and the onus was on them to contact officers if they wished to discuss any of concern. In response to a question, the Assistant Director for Planning said it was not a common occurrence for an application to be called-in and then determined by delegated authority, and this had led to the online form for call-ins being devised. It was emphasised that if a Councillor called-in an application, it would flag with officers that there were concerns – dialogues could then take place, and if satisfied, the call-in could be withdrawn. A Member noted that if there were any applications that were particularly sensitive, case officers would contact Ward Councillors. It was highlighted that in Petts Wood Ward there  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.



RESOLVED that the Press and public be excluded during consideration of the items of business referred to below as it is likely in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings that if members of the Press and public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information.


The following summaries

refer to matters involving exempt information





RESOLVED: That the Part 2 (Exempt) minutes of the meeting held on 7th June 2022 be agreed and signed as a correct record.


Appendix A - Public Questions to the Development Control Committee pdf icon PDF 335 KB