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You are here: London Borough of Bromley > Interactive Unitary Development Plan > Written Statement - 13. COMMUNITY SERVICE




  1. To work in conjunction/partnership with the relevant agencies to secure the provision of accessible, good quality facilities to meet the health, educational, faith, social service and other essential needs of the community.
  2. To support providers in maintaining and enhancing the availability and accessibility of the wide range of community facilities which contribute to the quality of life of the Borough's population.


13.1 PPG12 advises local planning authorities, in preparing development plans, to consider the relationship of planning policies and proposals to social needs and problems, including their likely impact on different groups in the population. Development plans should promote development that creates socially inclusive communities, including suitable mixes of housing and should ensure that development plans promote outcomes in which environmental, economic and social objectives are achieved together over time (PPS1).

13.2 RPG9 states that development plans should facilitate the reconfiguration and modernisation of local health services, enable the varied provision of facilities for education and training, and facilitate provision of other facilities required by local communities. Wherever possible, the potential of existing community buildings should be maximised.

13.3 Educational, health and other support services are provided not only by the Council, but also by other public, charitable and private bodies. The proposed extent and direction of these services are developed in partnership with a variety of government agencies, NHS trusts and other organisations. Voluntary organisations provide many community facilities, services and activities in a variety of settings. Schools and colleges, places of worship, village halls, youth clubs and sports pavilions, have varied roles in supporting the social and community infrastructure and the local economy. Their contributions are essential to community vitality and improving the quality of life locally. The availability of a wide range of social and community activities can also assist in engaging the community and developing the confidence of individuals to participate in local decision making (capacity building).

13.4 The guidance on Community Strategies (DETR 2000) indicates that there should be a clear and direct relationship between the UDP, regeneration strategies and initiatives. There are also close links with the National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal, which sets out the Government's latest proposals for regeneration at a local level, and other health initiatives such as the healthy neighbourhoods programme.

13.5 Requirements for educational land and buildings vary with changes in school-age population. It is also influenced by central government education policy, such as regulations governing school premises and classroom sizes, the increase in nursery school provision, and the expansion of lifelong learning. Additionally, Bromley schools are very popular and there is a particularly high demand for secondary school places in relation to current availability.

13.6 The Government’s White Papers "Our Healthier Nation" and “Choosing Health” recognise that health is affected by a range of factors, including: the provision of a safe, secure and sustainable environment; reducing pollution; adequate housing provision; access to leisure and recreation; reducing social exclusion; and increasing employment opportunities. Health service providers are beginning to broaden their focus beyond addressing the major fatal diseases, to the development of such models as "healthy neighbourhoods".

13.7 The Government’s plan to modernise health and social services is expected to deliver major structural changes over the next ten years, including increasing concentration of hospital specialities in fewer, more specialised centres, and increasing the scope of primary care.


13.8 The UDP has a significant role to play in supporting the provision of local community services, which reinforce a sense of place, strengthen communities and reduce the need to travel. It recognises that such services are increasingly delivered through a range of premises/locations and in more diverse ways. In such circumstances, the policies in this section of the UDP are sufficiently flexible to respond to changing organisational and delivery structures, while seeking to protect amenity and the local environment.



A proposal for development or change of use that meets an identified health, education, social, faith or other needs of particular communities or areas of the Borough will normally be permitted provided that it is accessible by modes of transport other than the car and accessible to the members of the community it is intended to serve.

Planning permission will not be granted for proposals that would lead to the loss of community facilities unless it can be demonstrated that there is no longer a need for them or alternative provision is to be made in an equally accessible location.

13.9 This policy is intended to protect existing community facilities and the loss of such facilities will be permitted only under the circumstances stated in the policy. This policy also seeks to promote the provision of developments that would meet the current and future health, education, faith, social or other needs of particular communities or areas of the Borough. This policy seeks to ensure that appropriate provision is made of land and buildings to meet the current and future needs of the community generally and of specific community groups. It is recognised that community facilities contribute to the Council's quality of life objectives. Through their diverse roles, including meeting the needs of young people, and ethnic, religious and other groups, community facilities support social inclusion.

13.10 Land and buildings used by the community vary widely in nature and ownership. They include places of worship, health and educational facilities, scout buildings and church & community halls. Few are within the Council’s control, and many are under increasing pressure from other uses. While facilities can become run down or poorly maintained, this does not necessarily demonstrate a lack of need. Local need for community facilities will be considered in the light of community facilities data, voluntary and community sector information and the Community Strategy. The Council recognises the financial realities faced by voluntary organisations in relation to their buildings and will consider sympathetically proposals designed to support the maintenance and continued community use of such facilities. Proposals for the redevelopment of a facility, currently used by a wide range of groups and organisations, to provide a single community use, such as a day nursery, will normally be resisted. There may be situations where community facilities have been located within residential properties; in such circumstances, a return to residential use may be acceptable should the community use cease or relocate.

See also: Policies T1, T3 and BE1




The Council will seek to ensure that development proposals take appropriate account of community needs, and will seek appropriate facilities to meet those needs in all developments. On development involving surplus land held by public bodies, community facilities appropriate to the development will also be sought.

13.11 The Council wishes to ensure the most efficient and beneficial use of land in the Borough in line with the key principles of Planning Policy Statement 1. Reuse of the Council’s own surplus land for education, health and social services, affordable housing or other community facilities may contribute directly to the Council’s wider quality of life objectives. Such development will be considered within the context of policies of this Plan, having regard to the needs for community services and facilities in the locality, and any restraint policies, which apply.

See also: Policy IMP1


13.12 The Council considers it important that large developments to which the public has access are designed to be easily used by all sectors of society, regardless of age, gender, mobility etc. They should incorporate an appropriate range of facilities (e.g. ramps, lifts, seating areas, baby-care rooms available to both men and women, play areas, pram and buggy parks, crèches, etc).



The Council will require development involving buildings open to the public, buildings used for employment or education purposes, and special needs residential accommodation to provide, where reasonably practicable, suitable access and facilities for people with disabilities.

13.13 The Disability Discrimination Act gives disabled people new rights in the areas of access to education, employment, goods and services, public transport and property. At the same time, Part M of the Building Regulations has been extended to apply to all new dwellings.

13.14 Whilst the DDA relates to access to employment and services in general rather than simply access to buildings, this policy seeks to support these national requirements by encouraging provision of appropriate access to and facilities in public buildings, those designed for educational or employment use and residential accommodation for people with restricted mobility. Such improvements will also benefit other groups, particularly the elderly and those with children.

13.15 Developments will be required to have regard to the advice in the Supplementary Planning Guidance on access for people with disabilities.

See also: Policies C5 and H5, and Supplementary Planning Guidance




Applications for new or improved health care facilities will be permitted, provided that they are accessible by public transport or are located within town centres, district centres, local centres or local neighbourhood centres and parades.

13.16 The Council recognises the benefits of providing a range of health care services close to the communities they serve, including doctors & dental surgeries, chiropractors, osteopaths, mental health and other health services, conventional or complementary. Practices can sometimes be accommodated within residential properties without having a significant impact on the amenity of the surrounding residential area.

13.17 However, changes to the NHS are encouraging the formation of General Practices supporting a wider range of services, including dentists and opticians, as set out in the Government’s recent NHS Plan. Many existing premises, often in converted residential properties, are unsuitable for this expanded function. Town centres and local shopping parades are likely to provide the most sustainable opportunities for new facilities, where the impact on residential amenity is minimised and there is good access by public transport.

13.18 Hospitals and other health facilities within the Borough may also require modernisation, reorganisation or expansion during the plan period in order to meet the Government’s requirements. The Council will liaise with the relevant health organisations to support and enable development and improvement of appropriate health care provision.

See also: Policies S1, S2, S4, S5 and C1




The Council will permit proposals meeting the requirements of vulnerable groups, except where it can be demonstrated that such development would have a significant adverse effect on residential amenity.

Parking requirements and the desirability of easy access to public transport will be dependent upon the precise nature of the facility.

13.19 In line with Government guidance, the Council recognises the need to cater for the specific needs of particular groups (including facilities for people with mental ill health, mental or learning disability). It will support proposals for facilities to meet those needs. The Health Improvement Plan highlights the need for more residential accommodation for people with learning disabilities, and to provide services for young people with particular medical needs.

13.20 The Policy does not seek to restrict proposals for any particular vulnerable group. Proposals will be expected to provide details regarding the operational arrangements for the facility.



The Council will expect residential proposals designed for people with particular accommodation needs to:

(i) provide suitably landscaped amenity space; and
(ii) be conveniently located for a range of local shops and services, including public transport, appropriate to the mobility of the residents.

13.21 The Council wishes to encourage the provision of a high quality living environment for those living in residential/nursing homes or sheltered and other supported accommodation. Easy access to local shops, facilities and public transport will also afford a degree of independence for the residents of such facilities.

See also: Policies C3 and H4




Applications for new or extensions to existing educational establishments or pre-school facilities will be permitted provided that they are located so as to maximise access by means of transport other than the car.

Proposals relating to primary or secondary schools, which involve an increase in the school roll or the provision of facilities that are likely to be used by the wider community, will be required to produce and adopt a School Transport Plan.

13.22 The policy seeks to give appropriate support to the Council’s wider objectives for education, including its early year's strategy, the integration of education and other youth services, and the growing emphasis on lifelong learning. It is recognised that educational facilities will be accommodated in a variety of buildings & settings.

13.23 In considering future schools provision, the issue of accessibility will be crucial. Primary schools generally serve a local catchment, while secondary schools should be located on sites, which are easily accessible by public transport. New or expanded school facilities will be expected to address such issues through the submission and adoption of a School Transport Plan, which, following a thorough transport assessment of both existing and proposed development, should identify measures which will assist in reductions in car usage; increased walking, cycling and use of public transport; reduced traffic speeds and improved safety particularly for pedestrians and cyclists.

13.24 Many schools across the Borough lie within the Green Belt or MOL. Educational facilities are not appropriate uses in the Green Belt and proposals for new buildings or extensions associated with educational uses will therefore have to show that very special circumstances exist.

13.25 Pre-school facilities cover a range of provision, both public and private, that provides education and childcare services. The policy provides support for the Council’s commitment to supporting improved services and opportunities for children, as set out in its Early Years' Development and Childcare Plan, and to its duty to provide nursery education for 4 year olds.

13.26 Pre-school facilities need to be located within the communities they serve, particularly in the Borough’s regeneration areas where a larger proportion of local people do not have access to private transport. Facilities will often be provided in residential properties, and the policy seeks appropriate safeguarding of amenities. Proposals for new facilities will also be required to meet the internal and external space standards required for appropriate registration.

See also: Policies C1, G1 and G2




The Council will permit proposals which bring about the beneficial and efficient use of educational land and buildings for and by the community, provided that:

(i) the privacy and amenities of any adjoining properties are adequately safeguarded; and
(ii) the proposal does not have an unsatisfactory impact on on-street parking or highway safety.

13.27 Educational buildings have considerable potential to contribute to the provision of community facilities. Many schools already allow outside organisations to make use of their sports facilities and grounds. The Council wishes to encourage schools and other educational establishments to maximise the contribution their buildings and grounds can make to the local community.

See also: Policies L6 and L8


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