London mayor Sadiq Khan has blocked plans for a new football stadium and housing in London’s green belt
The new home for Cray Wanderers Football Club was rejected for risking ‘significant harm’ to nearby green spaces and for lacking affordable housing.
Designed by Brouard Architects – the project to redevelop the Flamingo Park Sports and Leisure Centre (pictured) near Chislehurst was approved by Bromley Council earlier this year but required mayoral consent to proceed.
Commenting on the refusal, Khan said: ‘I am determined to oppose building on the green belt, which is now even more important than when it was created.
‘Working with my planning team, I will continue to use my full range of planning powers to further strengthen protections for open and green spaces in the London Plan and ensure we are making the most of brownfield sites across the city, including the vast swathes of public land which are ripe for building homes for Londoners.’
In a statement, the practice said: ’Cray Wanderers and the community are very disappointed by the mayor’s current opinion of their proposal.
’Pending the conclusion of the secretary of state referral and official determination of the planning application the club will not be making any further official comment to the press at this time.’
The proposed scheme replaced existing disused buildings on the site with a three-storey football stadium alongside several new sports and football pitches.
A pair of four-storey residential towers featuring 28, two-bedroom apartments was also planned alongside a 393-capacity car park.
In his letter to Bromley Council refusing the application, Khan argued the scheme fell short of the ‘very special circumstances’ required for development on green belt land.
He also acknowledged community benefits of the new stadium and sports facilities but warned these failed to outweigh the ‘significant harm that would be caused to the openness and character of the green belt.’
Flamingo Park has deteriorated in past years and the facilities have recently been used for car boot sales, a night club and various other commercial activities.
A viability assessment for the scheme – summarised in the mayor’s planning report – argued private housing was needed to fund the football stadium but a deficit of between £6.2 million and £10.8 million was still likely.
On these grounds it was argued affordable housing would only be possible with additional private housing risking a greater overall impact on surrounding green spaces.
The new London mayor has pledged to deliver an additional 50,000 homes in the capital each year and boost the supply of new genuinely affordable housing.
Khan said: ‘I want to work with developers to build the homes London so desperately needs and I will be the first mayor to use my planning powers to much greater effect, supporting boroughs rather than hindering them, and getting a firm grip on the housing crisis.’
Plans for a new mayoral housing arm – dubbed Homes for Londoners – which will deliver affordable housing using mayoral powers, publically-owned land and private investment are currently in the pipeline.
Mayor of London
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