The Porcupine pub at Mottingham will live to fight another day, after a decision on whether to knock it down and build a supermarket at the site was withdrawn at the last minute – the latest twist in the seven-year saga.

Lidl’s application to demolish the pub and build a new store was set to finally be decided at a meeting of Bromley’s development control committee on Thursday night.

However, the item was quietly withdrawn just hours before the committee’s 6.30pm kick-off.

Development control chair Alexa Michael said last-minute Government guidance meant a final decision on the plans would be delayed yet again.

“We apologise for the late notice of withdrawing this item, but the Government has very recently published statutory guidance in respect of highways and this has raised some considerable concerns about the proposal to reduce substantially the width of the public footway…opposite the site as part of the application,” she said.

She added the authority would appoint an independent traffic consultant to conduct a review of how the development would impact traffic on the Mottingham Road.

“The intention is also to use this time to seek a review of the highways aspect of the proposal by using an independent traffic consultant as I and others are aware of the continuing concerns about this application,” she said.

The Government’s guidance comes as local authorities across the UK are encouraged to improve pedestrian and cycling routes in preparation for a post-Covid world where social distancing is encouraged.

Rates of pedestrian and cycle traffic are also expected to sky-rocket as residents are asked to avoid public transport.

It’s the latest twist in the meandering, long-running push by Lidl to transform the disused boozer into a new supermarket, which began in 2013 when the pub first shut down.

Lidl’s first application for the site in 2014 was rejected over concerns that entrance and sightlines for drivers along Mottingham Road could be impacted by the development, with some councillors still not convinced enough has been done to rectify these issues.

A meeting in March this year – where a decision was once again deferred – saw Bromley and Chislehurst MP Sir Bob Neill accuse Lidl and former owner Enterprise Inns of deliberately allowing the site to deteriorate in recent years, adding he was “very suspicious” of failed attempts by Lidl to sell the pub.

Lidl have maintained the plans would provide a much-needed shopping facility at a site which is no longer viable as a public house.

The latest public consultation saw 248 of 307 respondents oppose the plans.