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Controversial plan to build homes on Old Farm Park in Sidcup approved by Bexley Council

PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 June 2019

The Old Farm Avenue entrance to Old Farm Park. Picture: Google

The Old Farm Avenue entrance to Old Farm Park. Picture: Google

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Controversial plans to concrete over a Sidcup park have taken a step forward, after Bexley Council approved its own planning application.

Save Old Farm Park campaigners have been protesting the council's desire to build homes and flats at the much-loved Sidcup open space for several years.

The principle of development has already been approved by councillors, who have now signed off on detailed plans as the scheme progresses more.

The council scaled back the scheme slightly, from 60 homes to 58, as it approved its own application on May 30.

Councillors agreed to pass the plans unanimously, despite some concern over officers' claims the area would get "ecological gains".

Labour councillor Dave Putson said: "You're building roads, houses, and car parks, yet you're asserting that will be "as well as bio diversity gains".

"I'm not clear how you get gains from building houses on what was open space."

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Planning officer Chris Westwood said the area was not considered to be of "significant ecological value" when plans first emerged years ago.

"What is being proposed is the retention of the trees within the site and significant tree planting into the enhanced open space", Mr Westwood said.

"There's a wild flower areas, those represent themselves as ecological increases compared to what the site offered previously."

Councillors also pressed for parking conditions to be extended into the new estate to stop it being targeted by commuters wanting to use Sidcup station.

Members previously against concreting over the park offered their support for the scheme, with every councillor on the committee voting it through.

Cllr John Davey told the chamber: "I was never in favour of building on this in the first place but we are where we are, the thing to do know is to produce the best possible development. I think this is a good development generally."

According to the plans, 36 per cent of the new homes will be "affordable" housing, just above the council's target on new developments, but split between affordable rent and shared ownership.

Residents say new houses will lead to overcrowding and over-development, with one neighbour commenting ahead of the meeting: "It is outrageous that the London Borough of Bexley is granting itself planning permission to build on a park."

A petition of more than 2,000 signatures was handed into the council urging them to refrain from building on the park four years ago.

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