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Seven-storey apartment block with 500 homes proposed for old Bexley Civic Centre site

PUBLISHED: 12:23 06 September 2017 | UPDATED: 12:53 06 September 2017

The former civic centre site was demolished soon after Bexley council moved out in 2014

The former civic centre site was demolished soon after Bexley council moved out in 2014

Archant

Bellway hoardings currently line the abandoned patch of land

An abandoned piece of land left empty since Bexley council moved out in 2014 could be the site of a seven-storey apartment block with 500 homes.

Under proposals put forward by Bellway Homes, the now demolished, 3.7-acre, old civic centre site in Bexleyheath, could see building work start as soon as March next year.

Sports Direct bought the land next to Highland Road from Tesco in 2015, after the supermarket chain failed to deliver its own store despite achieving planning approval.

The sporting retailer promised “hundreds of jobs” at the site, but after failing to put in a planning application of its own, the company sold the land on to Bellway in August.

After striking a deal for an undisclosed fee, Sports Direct is still expected to have its own store on site.

Now the housing developer aims to build up to 500 one, two and three-bedroom flats across the apartment block, with ground floor space saved for commercial use and car parking.

As well as housing, the development hopes to bring 29,000sq ft of commercial space.

Ian Gorst, managing director of Bellway Homes’ Thames Gateway division, said: “Bexleyheath is an area ripe for development and where there is a demand for new homes. Bellway is keen to invest in the area, and this particular site is a great opportunity to contribute to the improvements to the town centre.

“Working with Sports Direct, we will deliver a scheme that reflects the council’s ambitions for its current and new communities, new commercial opportunities and high-quality public realm.”

Proposals for the development, dubbed Eastside Quarter, will go to consultation in the next two weeks, with developers expecting a planning application to be sent in during October.

A public exhibition displaying proposals will be put up outside the neighbouring Sainsbury’s site throughout the consultation.

If approved, the first homes could go on sale by late 2018.

“After a number of years of sitting empty, a planning application for this key site in out town centre will now be coming forward,” said Linda Bailey, cabinet member for regeneration and growth.

“We have already been very clear with Bellway about our expectations for a high quality scheme and are encouraged that they share our aspirations and commitment both for this site and the town more widely.”

A spokesperson from Bellway confirmed the development would provide affordable housing, but said it was too early to confirm a figure.

Daniel Francis, leader of Bexley’s Labour group: “It remains a great disappointment that the council did not take a tougher line on clauses within the legal agreement when they sold the site to Tesco.

“If they had, then the council may have been in a stronger position to ensure the type of housing including affordable homes and retail to be provided on the site, and that tax payers benefited from any gain made on the sale of the site from Tesco to Sports Direct and now to Bellway.”

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