Supermarket chain’s Porcupine appeal rejected

An appeal by supermarket chain LiDL against Bromley Council’s decision not to approve its plans to demolish Mottingham’s Porcupine Pub has been rejected by the Planning Inspectorate.  The move follows more than 20 months of campaigning by Mottingham Residents Association and local residents, backed by Bromley and Chislehurst MP Bob Neill and local councillors.


Conservative councillors in Coldharbour, Mottingham & New Eltham ward formally objected to LiDL’s full application for a supermarket on the site – that has been home to a public house since at least 1650 – 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 – leading to an eleventh-hour u-turn after pressure from Cllr John Hills and Cllr Mandy Brinkhurst.


Bromley Council’s planning committee rejected the plans in February at a packed meeting that saw impassioned speeches from Bob Neill MP and Conservative councillor for the ‘Bromley side’ of the village, Cllr Charles Rideout.  Cllr John Hills was invited to the meeting to represent Greenwich residents.  


This week’s ruling by the Planning Inspectorate decisively rejected LiDL’s arguments that Bromley Council’s decision should be overturned, highlighting in particular highway safety concerns (read the full ruling here).


Cllr John Hills, Chairman of Coldharbour, Mottingham & New Eltham Conservatives and President of Greenwich Conservative Federation, said: “After nearly two years of campaigning by local residents and despite all the money that LiDL spent in trying to get their way, we are delighted that the Planning Inspectorate has rejected their appeal.  I would like to pay tribute, in particular, to Mottingham Residents Association, which has led this fight from the beginning.”


Fellow ward member Cllr Mandy Brinkhurst said: “As we have said all along, these plans were never right for the village and the planning committee has made the right decision.  The Porcupine is a prized community asset and the priority now has to be finding a long-term solution that sees a family-friendly pub at the heart of the village.”


Cllr Matt Hartley, who helped organise a letter-writing campaign from residents to send in objections to the plans, added: “The Save the Porcupine campaign shows what can be achieved when the community comes together and speaks with one voice.  We will continue to work with Mottingham Residents Association, our colleagues on the Bromley side and local residents to protect the village from inappropriate development.”


Eltham’s Parliamentary candidate and Leader of Greenwich Conservatives said “The attitude of Conservatives in Bromley and Greenwich is the complete opposite to the Labour Party in Eltham, where a local community pub on Council owned land at the Rochester Way has been closed down.  As usual, Labour talk a good game, but when it comes to actions they let down local residents.”