News Shopper1 15/2/06

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 NewsShopper logo         Wednesday 15 February 2006

‘Arrogant’ effort by home builder

By Linda Piper

A DEVELOPER trying to build homes on a sports field has been accused of "breathtaking arrogance" by the chairman of Bexley Council's planning committee.

Councillor Tonya Kelsey was speaking as her committee unanimously opposed another attempt by developer Novalong to build homes on the Gaelic Athletic football ground in Avery Hill Road, New Eltham.

There have been eight previous unsuccessful applications dating back to 1968.

The ground was partly in Bexley until boundary changes moved it wholly into Greenwich, WHEN? although about 80 Bexley homes still back onto the site.

Because so many Bexley residents are affected by the issue, the council is being consulted on proposals to build 261 homes on the 12.8-acre site in two, three and four storeys, together with a community hall and a medical centre.

Most of the centre of the site would remain as public open space with footpaths and cycleways. Bexley Council has received more than 100 objections to the plans.

The outline application is the same one which Bexley Council opposed in June 2004 but which was never decided by Greenwich Council.

A packed public gallery at last week's Bexley planning committee meeting heard the site had been zoned in Greenwich's Unitary Development Plan (UDP) as community open space.

But during a periodic review of the UDP last year, an objection to the designation had been accepted by the planning inspector, who recommended it be re-zoned for mixed uses, along the lines of Novalong's application.

Public consultation on his recommendation does not end until today and still has to be considered by Greenwich Council.

Cllr Kelsey said Novalong was guilty of breathtaking arrogance in trying to slip in its application before changes to Greenwich's UDP were decided.

Cllr Brian Beckwith, whose ward ends at the football ground's boundary, said the developer had dropped in the UDP issue as a red herring.

He added: "We have got to assess the application on what the site is zoned for now, and it is a green field site."

Sidcup councillor June Slaughter said residents living next to the ground had every reason to feel let down by Greenwich Council.

She said the site acted as a "green lung" for a densely populated area.

She urged Bexley Council to resist any attempt by Greenwich to re-zone the ground.

11:41am Tuesday 14th February 2006

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