An appeal against our decision to refuse an application to redevelop Swanley Centre will take place in June.
The owners of Swanley Centre, U+I, lodged a planning application in 2017 to demolish the existing centre and replace it with seven tower blocks ranging from three to 11 stories high providing 303 new homes and 4,318 square metres of commercial and retail space.
Our Development Control Committee had concerns about car parking arrangements, the height, scale and bulk of the proposals, believing they were out-of-keeping with the area, and that no affordable housing was proposed. The Committee refused the application on 16 November 2017. The following April, U+I appealed against the decision to the Government’s Planning Inspector.
The appeal will take the form of a public inquiry at the Alexandra Suite, St Mary’s Road, Swanley BR8 7BU from 10am on Tuesday 4 June until Friday 7 June 2019. The inquiry will include an evening session on Wednesday 5 June 2019 from 6.30pm. Proceedings are open to the public.
The appeal decision will be published on the Planning Inspectorate's website.
We reluctantly decided not to contest the appeal after the Government changed national planning policy in July 2018. The revised national planning policy puts a greater emphasis on the delivery of homes, making the best use of land, increasing densities and a flexible approach to planning policies that would otherwise hinder the efficient use of a site, such as the impact of the loss of daylight.
Our external legal advice told us after the change in legislation, it would no longer be advisable to contest the appeal and if we did so, we could have acted unreasonably. If this was the case, we could be liable for significant costs that would be payable to the landowner.