Case Study: 60-bed care home, London Borough of Bromley

Background

Carebase sought planning permission for a 60-bed care home on the site of a disused bowls club on the outskirts of Hayes, in the London Borough of Bromley.

Challenge

Though previously-developed land, the site was designated Urban Open Land, with protected status similar to Green Belt.  The site was also immediately adjacent to an apartment block whose residents vigorously opposed the site’s development.

Solution

  • SP Broadway organised meetings for Carebase with the three Bromley Council members for Hayes ward, and with the Hayes Village Association. These meetings quickly established that key local stakeholders were opposed to the proposals.
  • We organised a public exhibition in the Village Hall, sending individual invitation letters to over 800 addresses in Hayes. Despite this, turnout at the exhibition was low – only 70 attendees – and feedback was mixed.
  • With limited engagement from the Hayes ward members, we opened up a useful channel of communication with the Cabinet Member for Planning on Bromley Council, who proved a helpful source of advice on further engagement.
  • At the urging of the Cabinet Member for Planning, Carebase entered into discussions with the Adult Social Care team on Bromley Council, and agreement was reached on council nomination rights for ten beds in the proposed facility.
  • In the run-up to determination, we undertook a door-knocking exercise in the hope of detecting wider public support within Hayes for the proposed facility. A total of 44 residents were happy to fill in a form indicating their support and post the form to Bromley Council Planning Department.
  • In the week before the Development Control Committee meeting, we sent a brochure and detailed covering letter to every member of the committee summarising the proposals and extolling their benefits. Follow-up calls indicated that was some support for the facility on the committee.

Result

Despite a recommendation for approval, Bromley Council Development Control Committee voted to refuse Carebase’s application in October 2019, despite support from some committee members.  Carebase appealed the decision, and in February 2021 the appeal was allowed.

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