Victory for ‘Save the Porcupine’ campaign as LiDL plan rejected

Conservatives in Coldharbour, Mottingham & New Eltham ward are celebrating tonight after LiDL’s plans to demolish the Porcupine Pub were rejected unanimously by Bromley Council’s planning committee.  The victory for Save The Porcupine campaigners in the village follows more than a year of work against LiDL’s plan.

Cllr John Hills, Cllr Mandy Brinkhurst and council candidate Matt Hartley have been working hard to support Mottingham Residents Association, Conservative councillors in the ‘Bromley side’ of the village, neighbouring MP Bob Neill and other ‘Save The Porcupine’ campaigners in their efforts to stop the plans.  Bob Neill MP and Conservative councillor Charles Rideout tonight made impassioned speeches in defence of the Porcupine to a packed gallery of residents.  Cllr John Hills was invited to attend the meeting to sit alongside the Chislehurst MP and Cllr Rideout to show support from the ‘Greenwich’ side of the village.

The team formally objected to LiDL’s full application in January.  At the same time, it emerged in official papers that Labour-run Greenwich Council had decided to ‘raise no objection’ to the plans during Bromley Council’s planning consultation, despite widespread opposition from residents in Coldharbour & New Eltham ward.  Fortunately, as ward councillors Cllr Jon Hills and Cllr Mandy Brinkhurst were able to pressure the council into a last-minute u-turn on this stance in time for its eleventh-hour objection to be considered at the planning meeting.

Cllr John Hills, Chairman of Coldharbour, Mottingham & New Eltham Conservatives and President of Greenwich Conservative Federation, said: “We are delighted that LiDL’s plan has been rejected, despite our Labour-run council’s initial refusal to support the Save The Porcupine campaign.  By contrast, the community in Mottingham came together and made a strong case to save the pub. We’re proud to have played our part in the campaign.”

Fellow ward member Cllr Mandy Brinkhurst said: “These plans were never right for the village and the planning committee has made the right decision.  LiDL can of course still appeal and the future of the site is still uncertain.  We will continue to do all we can to protect the pub.”

Matt Hartley, who helped organise a letter-writing campaign from residents to send in objections to the plans, added: “John, Mandy and I will now be working with others in the community to try and find a way to safeguard the Porcupine’s future as the community pub we all want it to be.”