Environment planning & conservation

The Chislehurst Society fought long battles 30 years ago to have so much of Chislehurst designated as a Conservation Area. This status has meant that all buildings within the Conservation Area, whether listed or not, may not be altered or demolished without specific consent. Our planning sub-committee continues to review all planning applications affecting Chislehurst, whether in the conservation area or not.

Conservation of buildings and environments is only of value if people are aware of their surroundings, and to this end we arrange for some of our public buildings to be open to visitors during heritage days or other regular events. Look out for news of forthcoming events.

Planning applications

Each month the Society receives details of all planning applications submitted to the Planning Department at London Borough of Bromley in the Chislehurst area. We also receive information of decisions, appeals and other actions in respect of previous applications.

Members of the planning sub-committee, who have a great deal of knowledge and experience in planning rules and Bromley’s Unitary Development Plan, review all the information. It also considers comments or objections made by members of the Society and, where appropriate, will have informal discussions with planning officers.

The sub-committee reviews its conclusions with the Board, and then writes formally to the Planning Department setting out objections to proposals, or observations, where it believes that conformity with planning policies needs to be checked, or that any approval should have conditions attached.

Assisting members

It is most important that members of the Society advise the planning sub-committee, either direct, or through Road Stewards, where they believe an objection to any planning proposal is needed.

Chislehurst Society members receive a monthly breakdown of planning applications in Chislehurst via email. We also communicate details of any objections or observations we make that are of public interest via our newsletter

Conservation area

Chislehurst is a conservation area which has the setting and amenities to become one of London’s most outstanding  High Street destinations. Essential to that aim is the need for well designed, high quality and visually attractive shop fronts that are sympathetic to the surrounding architectural structures. Chislehurst Town Team and Bromley Council have produced a Shop Front Design Guide which provides the framework for delivering a sensitive approach to shop front design and signage and protecting buildings from insensitive change over time.

LBB planning portal

The London Borough of Bromley’s planning portal website is continually updated so, if you are looking for information about a particular location or area this is the place to go. http://planning.bromley.gov.uk/online-applications/

If you are likely to be a regular user of the site you can register, and the system will then keep the enquiries you make, to save you time in the future.
If you are not registered, and wish to use the site only once, you then have a number of choices:

  • Make a simple enquiry, if you know the details of the application
  • Go into advanced mode, to interrogate the system in terms of the application or the dates
  • Ask for the weekly or monthly lists
  • Provide details of the property you are interested in
  • Pick a location on a map

Trees – TPOs 

Bromley Council are responsible for protecting trees under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. They do this by making Tree Preservation Orders (TPO). To warrant a TPO, a tree should make a significant impact on its local surroundings. An order can protect any type of tree.
There are currently over 2000 TPOs in Bromley. The Council maintains records of protected trees. Special provisions also apply to trees in conservation areas.
All types of trees can be covered by TPOs including hedgerow trees, but not hedges, bushes or shrubs. A TPO can cover anything from single trees to woodlands.

For more information click here

FAQ

My neighbour intends to convert their existing detached garage into a music studio. With this require planning permission?

Frequently when residents wish to convert their garage into habitable space, they will make changes to the external appearance of the garage. If the garage is attached to the house such changes may affect the appearance of the dwelling itself.  This, as much as the change in use, may require planning permission.

If the ‘garage’ will be used as a ‘music studio’ a distinction needs to be made between an activity that is a hobby and one that is a commercial activity.  The former would be regarded as ancillary to the principal use as residential and would not require planning permission.  A commercial activity, however, is likely to require planning permission for a change in use from residential to business use.  It is often difficult to clearly determine this until the new activity is underway.

Indicators of non-residential activity may include: the periods of the day when the ‘studio’ is in use, the loudness of the music, numbers of visitors to the ‘studio’ (rather than to the dwelling itself) during the day/evening. In addition, the number of vehicle movements/parking to the address may suggest the use is really a commercial activity. Once the ‘scale’ of the ‘music studio’ starts to impact on the amenities of the locality and local neighbours then planning permission may be required.

Keep a diary of the activities and contact the Council’s Planning Enforcement Officer

I want to use a spare room in my house as an office in connection with my business. Can I do this without applying for planning permission?

Many self-employed people run their businesses from home: surveyors, architects, accountants, etc. without needing to seek planning permission.  The common characteristic of such organisations is that they are service providers and clients/customers rarely visit the ‘office’. Such ‘businesses’ are rarely obvious from the outside and do not harm the appearance or character of the locality.  They rarely have business nameplates (these may be controlled through the advertisement regulations).

If the space used by employees working in the house increases, the activity may change to such an extent that planning permission may be required.  Adverse impacts on the locality may occur from increases in visitors to the premises, increase in car parking within the street and surrounding areas, and perhaps increases in deliveries to and collections from the premises.

The last point, deliveries to/from the premises, is an important indicator of a shift from a prime use, say residential, to a mixed-use (residential/commercial), or even to a prime use as commercial.  It will be increasingly important to distinguish such ‘commercial traffic’ to/from ‘dwellings’ from the significant increase in deliveries in connection with internet shopping.

If in doubt, contact the Council’s Planning team. If reassurance is required about the planning status of the intended use, it might be appropriate to apply to the Council for a Lawful Development Certificate.

Listed buildings in Chislehurst

Chislehurst has many listed buildings and monuments.
The statutory list is of buildings compiled by English Heritage and are categorised under three headings

  • Grade I,
  • Grade II*, or
  • Grade II.

Strict rules are applied to any proposals to modify such houses, with Grade I houses having the strictest rules.
The local list is of buildings regarded by the London Borough of Bromley planning department as being of special architectural or historical importance. The planning department will pay particular attention to any proposals to develop or modify these buildings.
Bromley planning department reviews the lists from time to time, and this may result in additional buildings being placed on one or other of the lists.

Buildings in Chislehurst on the STATUTORY list here…

Buildings in Chislehurst on the LOCAL list here…