Our popular town is being ruined by newbuilds – they're a 'monster' and won't fit in | The Sun

RESIDENTS of a popular town have said it will be ruined by newbuilds which are a "monster" and won't fit in.

Bromley Council received plans for four new apartment blocks up to 18 storeys high in January on Penge High Street.

Hadley Property Group and Clarion Housing Group intend to build 250 new flats and the ground floor will include space for shops.

But businesses and locals fear it will kill the high street if Blenheim Shopping Centre is knocked down to make way for the development.

Michael Payne has lived in Penge for 17 years and organised the Stop the Blenheim Centre Redevelopment campaign which now has 2,480 signatures.

The 61-year-old told MyLondon: "I looked at this and I was just utterly appalled. I mean, it just looked so completely wrong from the very inception.

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"Something that appeals to a lot of people, particularly with families, is that we don't have massive tower blocks."

Ian Barrington, 64, has owned Designer Drapes on the high street for more than 35 years.

He said: "I look at this [road] as being a shopper's high street. They're not really considering what shops are wanted, or whether the high street survives.

"It's just going to be a monster that's going to kill it. There will be four years of development going on and this high street won't survive that."

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Rebecca Williams, 46, said she moved to the Bromley borough to live in a house near parks, not a block of flats.

However, Robert Carney, 59, supports the redevelopment and said "Penge needs it" because the area is "very rundown".

He has owned Carney’s shoes and repairs in the Blenheim Shopping Centre for almost 40 years.

A spokesperson for Clarion and Hadley said: "We have been working closely with Bromley Council, local residents and neighbouring businesses for over two years as part of our plans for Penge, and this will remain the case.

"While proposed new development can often bring some resistance, our plans have been met with wide-ranging support among those who recognise the clear need to regenerate a tired shopping centre and provide vital affordable housing.

"We have used valuable public feedback to amend the design of the project throughout the planning process, including to the height of the buildings.

"Any further compromise on height will reduce the number of affordable homes delivered, something we are firmly committed to maximising at this site – especially with close to 3,000 on the borough’s housing waiting list.

"It has always been our intention to invigorate and complement Penge’s much-loved high street with a range of new uses and the reprovision of local favourites, such as Iceland.

"Our proposed new public realm is much more inviting, inclusive and a lot safer than what is currently on the site – and transforming the unused rundown car park rooftop into a public street art gallery has been very popular with both local residents and art lovers from further afield.

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"We are committed to playing our part in the ongoing transformation of SE20 and believe that our proposals reflect that."

The Sun has also contacted Bromley Council for comment.

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