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Council agrees homes project at Preston Fields, Faversham

By Anna MacSwan

A major development of 250 houses at Preston Fields has been given the green light.

Swale Borough Councillors granted outline approval to build on the site in Salters Lane at the latest planning committee meeting by a margin of 15 to one.

The proposals were approved despite serious concerns over the pressure more houses will place on Faversham roads which are already significantly congested, particularly the A2 and the A251.

Plans for 250 homes have been approved despite fears of major disruption on local roads
Plans for 250 homes have been approved despite fears of major disruption on local roads

More than 65 objections to the plans, which would create two access points to the A2 and A251, were submitted.

Highways England also warned of the impact of increased traffic on junction 6 of the M2 and Brenley Corner, which is an accident blackspot.

They have recommended that developers provide £87,000 towards improving the A2/A251 junction and £53,200 towards Brenley Corner.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Mike Henderson (Ind), the only member to vote against the application, said: “I support this development.

“But I believe it’s not ready yet for approval at this stage.

“To contribute 250 houses, £53,000 to improve Brenley Corner will get you about two workmen with picks and shovels for a fortnight.

The site of the Preston Fields development
The site of the Preston Fields development

“The cost of redoing Brenley Corner is going to be very high and I think that’s insufficient contribution towards it.”

Cllr Nigel Kay (Con) said: “There’s been some absolutely horrendous accidents across that stretch of road and we are putting in another junction.”

Of the 250 houses due to be built, 88 will be affordable, with 79 being affordable rent and nine shared ownership.

Ward members will now work with council officers on conditions for planning permission.

Speaking after the meeting, Eve Martin, who lives in Canterbury Road said: “They have waved through a very dangerous application.

“When crossing the A2 at that point, the traffic is coming from six different directions.

"There's been some absolutely horrendous accidents across that stretch of road and we are putting in another junction" - Cllr Nigel Kay

“I don’t let my eldest daughter, who is 11, make that crossing on her own.

“We must now demand that our borough councillors make sure that the applicant actually puts in the safety measures that are required and not let them get away with the bare minimum to save money.”

Martin Chamberlain, 67, of Ashford Road, said: “The A251 is a life support system for Faversham.

"It’s being gradually strangled by Perry Court and is going to be choked even more by this.

“Each planning application is being viewed as a one off.

“No one has had enough sense to realise that actually it’s all part of a global issue that impacts the whole of Faversham.

“There needs to be a very careful plan of action for the road system.”

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