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New Chattenden housing estate approved despite opposition

By Chris Hunter

Plans for a 131 new homes on green field land near Chattenden have been approved despite stiff opposition.

Council officers recommended approving the plans for the new estate north of Peninsula Way, saying the land was of limited value in terms of landscape and agricultural quality.

But several councillors resisted the scheme at Wednesday night's planning committee meeting, taking the decision to a vote.

Aerial view of Chattenden and the Hoo Peninsula
Aerial view of Chattenden and the Hoo Peninsula

Cllr David Carr said the housing estate was not a "sustainable" development, as it lacked facilities and was outside the "village envelope" of Chattenden.

He said it would add to the mass of housing being built in the area, which was leading to villages losing their identity.

Councillor Roy Freshwater, raised concerns over road safety, saying: "This is one of the most dangerous roads in the area and it will be difficult to find a safe way of crossing it."

Furthermore he believed the sewage system in the area was already under pressure and further problems could result from a new housing estate.

Peninsula ward councillor Mick Pendergast echoed concerns over road safety, saying there had been two deaths on the road last year and numerous car crashes, and that those crossing the road to the new estate would be in danger.

Councillor Mick Pendergast (UKIP)
Councillor Mick Pendergast (UKIP)

"I drive on it every day and as far as I'm concerned it's the worst spot on the A228," he added.

The question of the land's agricultural value was raised by Cllr Martin Potter, who asked how agricultural value was determined, and whether poor quality land might improve in the future.

Planning officers were unable to answer the question, and Cllr Potter suggested some land owners in other situations might potentially lower the quality of their own land in order to improve chances of planning permission.

This inconclusive debate was overridden by the central factor that Medway needs to meet its quota of new homes; and the committee chair Diane Chambers said it might be necessary to grant permission to such developments - which are likely to be won on appeal if refused.

The committee voted in favour of granting permission, 10-5.

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