Draft local plan for Swale focuses on jobs, homes, schools, open space and transport
A document outlining the future of Swale borough for the next 20 years includes the need for thousands of new homes.
The 414-page document sets out the borough’s development strategy and planning policies for the next two decades.
It looks at jobs, homes, schools, shops, open space, transport and other services as well as how much and where development might take place.
Key sites are identified for development, along with an up-to-date range of policies to help the council determine planning applications.
The borough will face more house building as the council aims to meet government targets
Last year, the authority consulted on its draft core strategy entitled Bearing Fruits.
But major changes in the government’s National Planning Policy Framework meant its development targets had to be reviewed and updated or risk being declared unsound.
As a result, the jobs target now stands at 7,053 across the borough (353 per annum) for the period 2011-2031 as opposed to 8,500.
For housing, research identified a need for between 600-900 new homes a year but the council has decided to keep it at 540 as previously consulted on.
The decision was based on concerns raised about the levels being too high and a lack of adequate transport and other community services.
Most of the sites allocated for new developments in the 2008 local plan have been retained such as the town centre, Milton Creek, Stones Farm, East Hall Farm and Ridham and Kemsley.
But a few new areas have also been identified. They include north west Sittingbourne – the area between the A249 and Grovehurst Road.
Proposals include a new primary and secondary school and a minimum of 1,276 homes on three sites – including 10 pitches for gypsies and travellers.
The plans include new schools. Thickstock image.
In north east Sittingbourne, a minimum of 120 homes could be built, including one site for gypsies and travellers along with 43,000 sq m for business use, plus open space.
There are also plans for employment allocation south of Kemsley Mill and mixed use development at Frognal Lane, Teynham.
Alternative ideas will be considered for all of them. A previous proposed housing site east of Station Road, Teynham, has been scrapped.
New smaller sites have been identified in the town as being suitable to provide additional residential development at the edge of existing settlements.
The plan also talks about supporting the expansion of Kent Science Park and developing the Sittingbourne Southern Relief Road between the A2 east of Sittingbourne and a new junction (5A) on the M2.
Cllr Gerry Lewin (Con), cabinet member for planning, said: “We believe the right approach is to stay with a moderate development target given current economic condition and prospects for deliverability and therefore we are not proposing higher levels of housing at this stage.
“We believe the right approach is to stay with a moderate development target given current economic conditions" Cllr Gerry Lewin
“However, an up-to-date plan will help ensure we are well placed to make the best of opportunities for investment in the borough and maintain and enhance our environment.
“It will also form the context for any neighbourhood plans which communities may wish to propose.”
Swale Labour leader Cllr Mike Haywood said: “We’re being hit by a double whammy.
“On the one hand the Tories are under tremendous pressure from their own government to increase house numbers by quite ridiculous levels.
“But on the other hand they are simply unwilling to share the pain around the borough. That’s why so many houses are being proposed to the north of Sittingbourne.
“And their insistence that a Northern Relief Road should not proceed without a southern link road to the M2 has effectively consigned any hope of easing congestion in the town to the dustbin."
Exhibitions about the Local Plan will be at these locations:
- Teynham Library, 131 London Road, Teynham - Tuesday, September 3, to Saturday, September 7, from 9.30am;
- Friday, September 20, to Monday, September 23, from 9.30am - Sittingbourne Library, Central Avenue, Sittingbourne;
- Friday, September 27, to Monday, September 30, from 2pm - Sainsbury’s, Avenue Of Remembrance, Sittingbourne.
To see the local plan or make comments, visit http://swale-consult.limehouse.co.uk/portal Alternatively, there are reference copies at Swale council offices and all libraries.
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