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12 January 2016

Planning Application: Bird in Hand Public House

A planning application has been submitted to build a pergola to the side of Bird in Hand pub on Dartmouth Road. The Forest Hill Society has written to the council opposing the details of the application.
You can view the application at on the Lewisham Planning website: DC/15/094390

Text of objection:

The Forest Hill Society’s objection is in relation to five aspects of the proposed development which are described in detail below:
1. Access to the area covered by the proposed pergola and potential for antisocial behaviour;
2. Effects on the amenity of nearby residences, particularly at night;
3.  Design quality and effects on the Forest Hill Conservation Area;

4. Concerns about inherently unsafe design; and
5. Effects on the highway, specifically pedestrian access along Bird In Hand Passage.

1. Access to the area covered by the proposed pergola and potential for antisocial behaviour
The Forest Hill Society is concerned about the potential to access the pergola area directly from Dartmouth Road. There would be a lack of control over this access by the pub staff and the provision of a covered area directly adjacent to Dartmouth Road may attract antisocial behaviour both during daytime and night time.

2. Effects on the amenity of nearby residences, particularly at night
Use of the pergola area (including legitimate use) may have an adverse effect on the amenity of nearby residences, particularly those on Bird In Hand Passage and opposite the site on Dartmouth Road. This would be an issue especially at night. If the Council is minded to grant planning permission for the proposed development, it is suggested that restrictions on its hours of use are imposed.

3. Design quality and effects on the Forest Hill Conservation Area
The Forest Hill Society believes that the design of the proposed development is of insufficient quality with respect to its prominent location on the high street and especially with regard to its location in the Forest Hill Conservation Area. The proposed pergola would be very prominent when viewed from Dartmouth Road and the materials, which are not commonly visible in the conservation area, would be obviously out of keeping with the conservation area. Furthermore, the applicant’s Heritage Statement discusses only direct impacts on the fabric of the public house building and does not discuss impacts on the setting of the broader conservation area.

4. Concerns about inherently unsafe design The design includes a gate that opens outwards over the steps on Bird In Hand Passage. This would appear to be inherently unsafe both for people exiting the pergola area and anyone happening to be on the steps when the gate is opened.

5. Effects on the highway, specifically pedestrian access along Bird In Hand PassageThe Forest Hill Society notes that pedestrian access on the north side of Bird In Hand Passage currently uses the raised platform area and the steps leading downward along Bird In Hand Passage. The proposed development would prevent use of this route. The Forest Hill Society requests that the Council takes a view as to whether this route legally forms part of the highway (even if in private ownership), and whether the safe use of the route by the public should remain a priority. If this route is well used, the Forest Hill Society would like to see access along it retained. However, if it is not well used and does not form part of the highway, the Forest Hill Society would not object on this basis.

The Forest Hill Society would like it noted that this is not an objection in principle to a pergola at the Bird In Hand, and believes that all of the above concerns (with the potential exception of the highway issue) could be overcome through design and management measures. If a future planning application was to be lodged proposing a high-quality design with management measures sufficient to protect the amenity of nearby residences, the Forest Hill Society may support such an application.

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