Black Horse is historically important to Sidcup as it was a staging post in the
days of horse drawn carriages. Its reputation as an important destination for
coaches made the name Sidcup well known and persuaded the railway company to retain
the name of Sidcup when it built its station in Lamorbey. Now the listed Black Horse Inn
is no more.
Planning permission had been granted for an 84 bedroom Travelodge and a Waitrose supermarket with the retention of the historic facade. Hillingdon Developments started work, hitching their scaffold to the facade without seeing any need to secure it at ground level as the photograph reveals. Then they asked Bexley council to vary the planning permission to revert to the original idea. The total destruction of the building.
In typical Bexley style the council did not bother to publicise the new proposal widely. The revised plan limped on to its website just a few hours before the Planning Committee met to consider it on 3rd November. Even now only the old plan is available in Sidcup Library. The new planning application was supported only by the developer’s claim that the facade was unstable. Not so unstable that they felt unable to use it as the support for their scaffold but too unstable for it to be incorporated into a new building.
Bexley council decided against getting a second opinion from an independent consultant and further consultation with the conservationists who had been so strongly against the loss of the facade in the first place. Bexley council promptly keeled over before the developers 11th hour request. David Bryce-Smith, Bexley’s Deputy Director (Development, Housing and Community Safety) has admitted in a letter that the public were effectively excluded from the decision due to the lack of notice, which he blames on the developer.
An extract from the plan - the Waitrose store to be built on the site of the Black Horse - is available here. The Travelodge is to be built between Waitrose and St. Johns Road to the east.
No one knows what the new facade will look like which is of great concern to the Sidcup Community Group and others who have watched Bexley council’s maneuverings over this issue. A member has said “I am truly very concerned about the conduct of the planning officers in both this application and others. 15 Market Parade, (the old Job Centre) Sidcup High Street, has been redeveloped. There have been failures, particularly by the planning department, to ensure that the redevelopment complies with the submitted plans.
At the September meeting of the Planning Committee Mr. Ron Gee pointed out to councillors that the Sidcup Morrisons’ delivery yard was conditioned to close at 10:30 pm and not 11:30 pm as shown in the revised planning conditions. Bexley’s Head of Development Control told councillors that Mr. Gee was wrong. Subsequently the Planning Department had to apologise both to him and all the Planning Councillors and amend that condition. This is reported in the Minutes of the 3 November planning meeting.”
Morrisons shareholder on Bexley’s Planning Committee.