Councillors in Bromley have rejected plans to knock down the Porcupine pub in Mottingham and build a Lidl supermarket on the site.
It is the second time the retail giant has tried to build a store on Mottingham Road, on the border with Greenwich borough, but it failed to convince councillors that enough had been done to address traffic issues. Bromley’s own officers had recommended the scheme be approved. The pub has been closed since 2013, a year before the last application was rejected.
Local Tory councillor David Cartwright said Lidl’s plans presented an “an unacceptable level of risk to members of the public”.
“More importance has been given to Lidl’s deliveries than pedestrians’ safety”, the Mottingham and Chislehurst North councillor told Bromley’s development control committee, its equivalent of Greenwich’s planning board.
Delivery lorries would block off the busy road and require both lanes to access the supermarket’s car park, while a chunk of pavement across the road would have to be thinned to allow trucks to turn into the site.
“40-tonne juggernauts would have to use both sides of the roads every time they want to enter the site,” Cartwright told the meeting, saying the move presented a “significant reduction of safety standards”.
“Bromley planners must be unique across London and indeed the country in recommending at this time significantly reducing pavement widths alongside a very busy high street and shopping parade,” he added.
Fellow Tory councillor Simon Fawthrop acknowledged “there has been some improvements” on Lidl’s plans, but said the development would still present “such an over-intensification” that it would breach Bromley’s own planning guidance. The Petts Wood councillor suggested a small local shop with homes “on top” would be “far more acceptable on this plot”.
The chair of the committee, Bromley Common and Keston councillor Alexa Michael, said in a statement after the meeting that councillors “simply could not grant this application”.
“Our concerns about the physical road environment and busy traffic conditions with the consequent road safety problems have not been overcome,” she said. “While it is accepted that the applicant has revised their proposal from the original application, the size of the store is significant when compared with the site itself. This intensification, combined with highway concerns, led to the application being rejected.”
More than 330 responses objecting to the latest plans were received by Bromley. Councillors on the Greenwich side of the border also objected, as well as local Tory MP Sir Bob Neill, who earlier this year accused Lidl of purposely letting the site become run down in order to improve its prospects of approval.
An earlier application was dismissed on appeal after a public inquiry in December 2014. Lidl tried to sell the site in 2016 but with no luck.
Representatives for the supermarket had previously said the proposal would create 40 new jobs, as well as bringing a vacant brownfield site back into use.
Lachlan Leeming is the Local Democracy Reporter for Greenwich, Bexley and Bromley. The Local Democracy Reporter Service is a BBC-funded initiative to ensure councils are covered properly in local media.
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