Local Conservatives secure last minute Council u-turn over the Porcupine

Local Conservatives have secured a last-minute u-turn from Labour-run Greenwich Council after its “ridiculous” decision to raise no objection to LiDL’s plans to demolish Mottingham’s Porcupine pub.  The move comes as a decision on the deeply unpopular planning application is due from Bromley Council’s planning committee this Thursday (20th February).  

Cllr John Hills, Cllr Mandy Brinkhurst and council candidate Matt Hartley have been working for nearly a year to support Mottingham Residents Association and other Save the Porcupine campaigners.  Last year, Conservative MP for Chislehurst Bob Neill was able to secure a delay in LiDL’s plans for the site, which lies in the ‘Bromley’ side of Mottingham village.  However, the supermarket chain submitted its full planning application for a two-storey store 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 huge opposition from residents on the Greenwich side of the village.  By contrast, the Conservative team strongly objected to the plans during the consultation period, and pro-actively wrote to residents to urge them to do the same.  

Fortunately, as ward councillors Cllr John Hills and Cllr Mandy Brinkhurst have been able to secure a last minute u-turn from the council on this decision.  The u-turn means that Greenwich will now be submitting an objection to Bromley Council’s planning department on the grounds that the Royal Borough’s emerging core strategy includes provisions for the protection of local pubs.

Cllr John Hills, Chairman of Coldharbour, Mottingham & New Eltham Conservatives and President of the Greenwich Conservative Federation, said: “We are pleased to have been able to secure a u-turn from Greenwich Council over their deeply disappointing initial decision not to raise an objection to LiDl’s plan.  Local feeling is overwhelmingly against this application - a fact that the council should have taken into consideration in the first place.”  

Cllr Mandy Brinkhurst said: “We hope that this last-minute u-turn will make a difference as Bromley considers these plans.  John, Matt and I have been working to support Mottingham Residents Association and our Conservative colleagues in the Bromley side of the village over this campaign for nearly a year – and we believe we have made a strong case.”  

Council candidate Matt Hartley, who has helped organised a letter-writing campaign from residents in the Greenwich side of the village to object to the plans, added: “It is deeply frustrating that the Save the Porcupine campaign has not had Greenwich Council’s full support from the outset, as this is an issue that affects thousands of residents in our side of the village. After nearly a year of campaigning to save the Porcupine, we have everything crossed for the right outcome on Thursday.”  A decision on LiDL’s planning application is expected at this Thursday's (20th February) meeting of Bromley Council's planning committee.  

Cllr John Hills will be attending the meeting as an observer to represent residents on the Greenwich side of the village, and the team will update residents as soon as there is a decision.  

For updates on the Porcupine this week follow Coldharbour, Mottingham & New Eltham Conservatives on Twitter @CHNEwardTeam