Venue: Rooms 1 & 2, Civic Suite, Lewisham Town Hall, Catford, SE6 4RU/Also remotely via Microsoft Teams
RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Meeting of the Strategic Planning Committee held on 6 October 2022 be confirmed and signed as an accurate record.
No interests were declared.
To GRANT planning permission for prior approval to construct a new footbridge with lifts and staircases, new entrances to Fernbrook Road, and Springbank Road, SE13, together with the removal of existing footbridges and canopy infill at Hither Green Station, SE13, subject to conditions and informatives outlined in the report.
3.1 The Committee received an illustrative presentation of the report by the Planning Officer, with a suggestion that it should agree the recommendation therein.
3.2 In considering the report, the Committee understood that the application was brought for consideration following the Council’s consent to quash the earlier decision granted on 22 April 2022 relating to the proposals.
3.3 Councillor Suzannah Clarke, Chair of the Committee, invited the agent for the applicant to address the meeting, who introduced herself as the Business Development and Sponsorship Director of Network Rail for the Southern Region.
3.3.1 The agent for the applicant asked the Committee to approve the officer’s recommendation in the report, and she outlined the rationale for, and benefits of the proposals as follows:
· That Network Rail was managing an on-going programme of railway station accessibility enhancements as part of the Government’s wider transport improvement strategy.
· That in 2018, Hither Green Railway Station was prioritised as one of the 73 stations for accessibility and improvement funding, hence the application for planning permission to undertake the construction works.
· That Southeastern Railway, the operator of Hither Green Railway station had been involved in the process throughout the process, and that feedback from consultations with residents had been useful in the formulation of the proposals.
· That the bespoke design to be implemented, in consultation with landscape consultants and the local community, would be sympathetic to the environment.
· That the improvements would be implemented in ways to benefit existing and potential users of the station.
· That the proposals aimed to deliver an obstacle-free accessible route from the station entrance to the platforms, lifts, and ramps. The associated works would include a new foot bridge, nature reserves, and clear sign-postings to make connections and interconnections at platform levels easier for all passengers.
3.3.2 In response to questions raised, the agent for the applicant and her colleagues reiterated to the Committee that the aim of the project remained that the step-free improvement should be delivered in ways to benefit all users of the station, including those interchanging across platforms.
3.3.3 The Committee noted further responses by the agent to the applicant as follows:
· That observations had highlighted that about 20% to 25% of current users were experiencing some form of disability. Thus, it was likely that those users, and parents with small children would benefit substantially from the improvements.
· That the design allowed for the existing footbridge to be retained during construction works.
· The platform levels would remain as existing.
· That the proposed footbridge would provide access to all the train lines, and onto the platforms.
· That steps had been taken for a decision to plant saplings in specific areas on the proposed site in ways that would prevent leaves from clogging the rail lines.
· That the project plan included a decision to replace the foliage to make space for the construction to take place. However, as part of the improvements, saplings would be spread across the site, with greenery on both sides of the embankment to enhance ... view the full minutes text for item 3.