The seven-year saga surrounding Mottingham’s Porcupine pub is set to finally be resolved next week – with controversial plans to demolish the old boozer likely to get the go-ahead, despite a report reiterating concerns delivery lorries could hold up traffic in the area.
Council officers will recommend councillors approve Lidl’s scheme to knock-down the once-loved pub for a new supermarket, in a special meeting of the development control committee on Tuesday.
The divisive plans were initially set to be finally decided on in May – however, it was quietly hooked from the agenda just hours before a meeting to decide its fate, after the Government published new rules around highways and adjacent footpaths.
The proposal had outlined plans to reduce the width of the footpath opposite the site – something the Government wasn’t keen on during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a document outlining the reasons why the council is now supporting the proposal, council officers state that the pavement on the Lidl-side of the road would be widened in the project, while a new pedestrian island would also be installed.
“Assessed overall, the proposal would provide an overall improvement to the highway environment in the area and is thus not considered be in conflict with the new guidance,” the report states.
“It is on balance considered that the realignment and adjustment work on both sides of Mottingham Road would be acceptable.”
Concerns do remain, however, over the accessibility of the site for delivery lorries, while the potential of traffic delays being caused was also raised.
A report by engineering consultants Glanville commissioned by the council states issues could still arise with lorries turning into the site, as well as fears that parked cars at the supermarket could be “clipped” by delivery trucks.
While their report states delivery vehicles could navigate turning into the car park despite it being “relatively tight in places”, large parked cars “may increase the potential for the vehicles being clipped by the delivery vehicle”.
The report also found when accessing the site, a car and a delivery vehicle are unable to pass each other within the store entry.
“This may cause delays on Mottingham Road whilst delivery
vehicles wait for any queueing vehicles to depart the site,” the report states.
However, the council says an updated path of entry for delivery vehicles provided by Lidl satisfied their concerns.
If approved, it means the saga to demolish the old boozer would draw to a close for the first time since its closure in 2013.
Lidl’s first application for the site in 2014 was rejected over concerns that entrance and sightlines for drivers along Mottingham Road could be impacted by the development.
Some councillors remain unconvinced enough has been done to rectify these issues.
A meeting in March this year – where a decision was once again deferred – saw Bromley and Chislehurst MP Sir Bob Neill accuse Lidl and former owner Enterprise Inns of deliberately allowing the site to deteriorate in recent years, adding he was “very suspicious” of failed attempts by Lidl to sell the pub.
Lidl have maintained the plans would provide a much-needed shopping facility at a site which is no longer viable as a public house.
The latest public consultation saw 248 of 307 respondents oppose the plans.
The special meeting will also see councillors vote on approving a plan for 133 new residential apartments and four houses at the junction of South Eden Park Road and Bucknall Way at Beckenham – despite their being no affordable housing included.
Council is set to approve the plans now, as long as it can add a stipulation the project could be reviewed and affordable housing added during construction and sale.