Wilde Road future not clear as BexleyCo prepares business plan

The future of Wilde Road in Erith remains up in the air after a councillor refused to rule out future developments there.

Bexley Council failed to get planning permission to build a dozen flats on open spaces earlier this year.

A resident-led campaign over parking pressures and the loss of “vital” grassland was backed by hundreds of neighbours, leading to the council’s planning committee throwing out the controversial scheme.

Despite changes from a previous attempt to have the scheme approved, the planning committee unanimously voted against the flats.

At a meeting last night, November 8, the opposition quizzed councillors on the future of the site, which is listed in the business plan for the council’s arms-length development company BexleyCo.

“Can the cabinet member provide an update on the business plan for BexleyCo”, Labour cllr Joe Ferrira asked, “and can the cabinet member confirm whether it is still the council’s intention to build on Wilde Road East and Wilde Road West and when can we expect proposals to come forward?”

Cabinet member for growth Cllr Louie French said: “A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes since the company was set up with the objective of delivering new homes and income along with the council’s growth strategy with the appointment of the new CEO.

“There is a requirement for a business plan to be shared annually and we are due to receive an update at cabinet committee on November 26 which will be presented at public cabinet in January.”

The cabinet member said “all sites” will be involved in discussions, including Wilde Road.

“Bexley’s housing requirement has been set at 446 homes a year,” Cllr French added.

“The council’s growth strategy outlines a 30-year ambition for 30,000 homes and we are clear we want Bexley homes for Bexley people. BexleyCo obviously has a delivery role to play alongside the strategy.”

There are currently 3,600 homes under construction or with planning approval in Bexley.

At a previous planning meeting it was suggested a smaller development would be more appropriate for Wilde Road.

A council spokesman said following the application’s rejection: “Given the express intention to secure new homes on the site at some point and the fact that the sites have been registered as Assets of Community Value (ACV), the formal ACV process has been activated and notices were published on Thursday, August 8.

“This process takes six months for any bids to be received – if qualifying parties record an interest –  at which point, the future of the Wilde Road sites will be reviewed by the council, alongside the planning position.”

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