Tennis courts

Anger over the flat plane of the old tennis courts on Dartford ‘rat-run’ at Old Manor Way, Barnehurst

Plans to build apartments on a ‘failed’ accident-prone street near a children’s playground have been described as ‘extremely dangerous’.

New proposals for the Old Tennis Courts site at Old Manor Way, Barnehurst have been submitted to Bexley Council.

Emergency services were called to Old Manor Way, Barnehurst earlier this month following an accident. Photo: Clare Lodge

Planning permission is sought for two three-storey buildings consisting of 12 apartments on the road linking the town to Dartford.

An accompanying statement said: “The proposed creation of 12 new apartments would meet a demand for small and affordable accommodation in the area.

“The character of the area and nearby amenities would not be affected and landscaping can improve the setting on the street.”

Plans also include 16 ramped vehicle parking spaces north of the site.

However, the proposed entrance has angered neighbors who say its proximity to a narrow railway bridge opposite a children’s playground is an “imminent accident”.

The site on Old Manor Way, on the right, where two blocks of flats are planned.  Photo: Google
The site on Old Manor Way, on the right, where two blocks of flats are planned. Photo: Google
Elevations for flats on derelict land on Old Manor Way, Barnehurst.  Photo: Bexley Town Hall
Elevations for flats on derelict land on Old Manor Way, Barnehurst. Photo: Bexley Town Hall

Parkside Avenue resident Clare Lodge, whose garden backs onto the site, said access was already “extremely dangerous”.

“The tight Merewood bend under the bridge is notorious for incidents,” the 46-year-old said. “The road around the bend is so narrow that the cars literally cut their mirrors.

“I have a KA car and even when I go under it I drive very slowly.”

She explained that the road she is on is often used as a ‘rat-run’ for motorists bypassing the A2 and heading towards Dartford.

There is a history of accidents off site, including an incident earlier this month on October 16 between a van and a car.

Clare had just returned from a trip when she witnessed the aftermath, adding: ‘I came back from vacation and said to my husband ‘what’s going on there?

Emergency services were called to Old Manor Way, Barnehurst earlier this month following an accident.  Photo: Clare Lodge
Emergency services were called to Old Manor Way, Barnehurst earlier this month following an accident. Photo: Clare Lodge
A car was badly damaged following an accident on Old Manor Way, Barnehurst.  Photo: Clare Lodge
A car was badly damaged following an accident on Old Manor Way, Barnehurst. Photo: Clare Lodge

“That’s when I walked in and checked the mail and saw the planning application notice.”

Neighbor Lisa Smidmore says the entrance to the development is “ridiculously busy already” and she has witnessed a series of near misses.

“There are already so many accidents on this road where people are speeding under the bridge and the road is very narrow,” she said.

“It’s a scary road to walk with the fear of cars going over the curb or crashing into each other.”

There are also concerns for the safety of children with a play park opposite the development.

Lisa added: “It’s already dangerous to cross the road to go to the park.

Resident Clare Lodge again voiced her opposition to the plans.  Photo: Clare Lodge
Resident Clare Lodge again voiced her opposition to the plans. Photo: Clare Lodge

“We also walk under the bridge every day to visit family and friends or to local shops as many residents do and hold our breath to do so hoping that nothing goes under the bridge as we pass. .”

Other residents’ concerns relate to increased traffic, privacy and the design of the development.

There are also concerns about the impact on local wildlife with ponds harboring newts and nesting tawny owls nearby.

Plans had previously been submitted for townhouses and buildings on the same site, but were withdrawn in the face of strong opposition.

At the time of writing, 16 objections have been filed against the new proposals.

The land the plans are for was recently sold by the council for £656,000 as part of its offload of more than £25million of public assets.

Like many others, Bexley Council is under pressure to build more homes, particularly two-bed houses, and has a 10-year target of 6,850.

An accident in 2006. Residents say little has changed to improve road safety since then.  Photo: Clare Lodge
An accident in 2006. Residents say little has changed to improve road safety since then. Photo: Clare Lodge
Another accident in 2015. Photo: Clare Lodge
Another accident in 2015. Photo: Clare Lodge

A design and access statement reads: “Council housing policies aim to maximize the re-use of previously developed land and buildings.

“The proposed development would create additional housing on an exceptional site which would help the borough meet its housing targets as set out in the London Plan (2021) and the Local Plan.

“The site is therefore a site on which densification and the increase in the supply of housing in accordance with the policy must be encouraged.”

The council says it will seek the maximum reasonable amount of affordable housing with a minimum of 35% designated as such.

Of these, 70% will be social rental housing and 30% will be intermediate housing, unless otherwise agreed.


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