Opening Comments

No publicity about the Consultation Event in Slade Green, which the Council added late to the existing Consultation Events, appears to have been put out by the Council. By the time the event took place our volunteers had only managed to publicise the Event to about 40% of the residences in Northend ward.

We do note that the Council officers at the Consultation Event in Slade Green confirmed that at least some of the housing near the Bridge Road bridge was likely to be the subject of compulsory purchase orders. Although the draft Growth Strategy would appear to us to require this, we feel that it is unreasonable that this was not explicitly stated in the draft Growth Strategy.

Council Officers stated at the Community Event in Slade Green that the plan was needed as without it Orbit would try for something we’d hate even more. Surely then the Council would turn Orbit down.


We disagree with the proposed vision for Slade Green, and with the plans set out for the part of Northend ward covered by the Erith ‘Vision’. The proposed solution to housing shortages seems to be to pick on a few communities and concentrate the pain, rather than spread the response to the need more evenly across Bexley. The proposals to change a large part of the centre of Slade Green and the areas around Crescent Road Erith from suburban low density to urban high density will rip the heart out of our community, irrevocably changing its character. Moreover, the proposed vision appears unlikely to be workable, for reasons we set out below.

Your draft Growth Strategy states that the vision for Slade Green will include the renewal of ‘areas of low quality housing’. We note that none of the areas of housing in Slade Green, and in particular in the areas of the map shown as H3c or H3d, could in any meaningful sense be considered to be ‘low quality’. We note that despite repeated questioning of Council Officers at Consultation Events by various residents, they were unable to name one area of Slade Green that actually has low quality housing. This either means that Bexley Council are simply pretending that the housing is ‘low quality’ in an attempt to convince people (perhaps including the Mayor of London), that you have successfully identified an area that needs renewal and that could sustain high density housing, when actually you haven’t and are simply intent on renewing any housing area that is low density; or it means that your plan is unworkable, as a Growth Strategy dependent on renewing areas of low quality housing where there is no low quality housing to renew will not achieve anything.

Road Infrastructure Issues

The draft Growth Strategy would substantially increase the population of Slade Green and the eastern part of Erith, an area where at peak times roads are already substantially congested. The current road infrastructure cannot accommodate the increases in road traffic likely to be caused by the ‘Vision’ in the draft Growth Strategy, and there is no viable solution to that. Slade Green and the eastern part of Erith are surrounded by either the River Thames and marshland or by the A206. The road routes into and out of the community are limited – Manor Road into Erith and Bridge Road onto the A206 Northend Road being the main route through, plus two more routes only accessed by passing through relatively narrow residential streets – the exit of Howbury Lane onto Thames Road, and the Peareswood Road and Boundary street exits onto the A206 Northend Road. The draft Growth Strategy appears heavily reliant on a massive reduction in car usage by residents as a result of improved public transport schemes. These not only appear ridiculously optimistic, but also do not take into account the large amount of local traffic that is there for business and other purposes and is not generated by the residents themselves. The draft Growth Strategy appears to suggest that a bypass road that could be built across Crayford Marshes would alleviate these traffic problems, but this simply would not work. The route in the draft Growth Strategy would essentially create a route from Manor Road, onto Ray Lamb Way, around or through the SRFI to the junction of Bob Dunn Way and Thames Road, and onwards along Bob Dunn Way to Junction 1a of the M25. We have concerns that this proposed road would damage the natural environment and reduce the potential flood protection the marshes provide for our community, but even on the traffic front, this proposed new road also creates a new ‘shortest route’ from the M25 to Erith and beyond, and we do not see how this would do anything other than divert a quantity of cars and vans down Manor Road that would cause traffic problems both for residents there and for anyone from Slade Green trying to get into Erith.

Rail and other transport

At the Consultation Event Council Officers emphasised the need for new housing in Slade Green being driven by Crossrail. However, the new Thameslink service between the Medway Towns and Luton provides a good interchange with Crossrail itself and with Thameslink services to Stevenage, Cambridge and Peterborough, and we question both whether there is now any actual need for the extension to Crossrail. We note the plan for some form of Rapid Transit System. This appears to provide a link from Crayford to Slade Green to Erith to Belvedere. We have concerns about how this would pass through our community and its impact on existing housing. However, in principle we believe that this could have a positive impact.

Wider infrastructure issues

We recognise that the draft Growth Strategy identifies a need for improved infrastructure for health, leisure facilities, schooling etc. to enable any growth in housing to work. We hope far more work will be dome on these requirements before any final Growth Strategy is put in place, what is in the draft Strategy is wholly inadequate.

Specific Housing Issues and Concerns

We note that once the plans move beyond the draft stage, they are likely to be picked up by ‘searches’ relating to house purchases. Residents who own their properties may as a result find that the value of their property falls (or rises less than it might otherwise have done), and if needing to move for family or work reasons, they may find themselves unable to move. A similar problem may be experienced by Housing Association tenants who wish to swap properties if needing to move for family or work reasons. There is a great deal of concern in the community about this issue. Although none of this is a detailed proposal, we note that it leaves everyone in these roads more than a little uncertain as to the future of their home.

Although the draft Growth Strategy states that towers of 15 storeys are not considered appropriate for Slade Green, there is some concern that this view might change given that the description of H3c in the draft Strategy includes that possibility. We ask that any future Growth Strategy documents use a different code for each, so they are clearly differentiated. The document makes no mention of compulsory purchases, but what is contained within it would appear to require this at least to some extent (as Council Officers admitted at the Consultation Events). We believe that this should have been included in the document, accompanied by details of what that would entail, instead of allowing people to guess or be mis-informed. In particular, residents of Bridge Road, Forest Road and the end of Craydene Road closest to the Bridge Road bridge, plus any residents of nearby roads that might also be affected should be given support in understanding this as soon as possible, given the confirmation by Council Officers that compulsory purchases were likely sometime within the next ten years.

Open Spaces

The draft Growth Strategy describes the open spaces which will be turned into ‘Urban High Density’ housing as being of ‘low quality’. We note in particular the community usage of the field on Howbury Lane, and that this area was landscaped and re-designed following consultations with residents by Groundwork. Whilst we would be delighted to see improvements to it, we fail to see how it can be viewed as ‘low quality’. We believe it is a much-needed community resource and should not be built on.

Your ‘Vision’ for Slade Green (2.40) alludes to ‘outstanding recreational spaces’ for Slade Green, and yet nothing in the draft Growth Strategy seems to give any credence to this, just a substantial reduction in recreational space alongside a large population increase.

School & Community Centre

We note that the school shown on the map on page 81 of Slade Green in 20-30 years time, shown in the area of Rainbow Road, appears to include the Slade Green & Howbury Community Centre. One of your officers confirmed at the Consultation Event in Slade Green that the Community Centre would be handed to the Haberdashers School as they expand in response to the increased population. We strongly oppose this removal of a community resource, which will surely be needed if the population of Slade Green is massively increased through the execution of your Strategy, and are concerned that this was not mentioned anywhere in the text of the draft Growth Strategy. We are also very concerned that this expanded school footprint shows the school boundary running all the way to the Amenity Area between Rainbow Road and Slade Green Road, implying the removal of the residences and retail unit that have just been built there. We hope that you will explicitly confirm that this is unintentional and that this will be rectified in any final document.


We think that it is shameful that Bexley Council appears to be disregarding the interests of its residents in Slade Green, the eastern part of Erith and indeed elsewhere. To create a Growth Strategy that essentially forces people from their homes and dislocates existing communities is morally questionable; to do so whilst ignoring rather substantial barriers to actually successfully executing a plan even more so. The result could be people moved to create a new community in Slade Green that not only has no continuity from the past, but, because of the nature of its location, simply is not viable.