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Sevenoaks District Council forced to reconisder plans to build new homes on greenfield site

By Annabel Rusbridge-Thomas

Local residents have won a battle against plans to build new homes on acres of green space.

Sevenoaks District Council has lost a court battle against campaign group Forge Field Society surrounding its plans to build six new homes in Penshurst.

The village inspired works of one of the Elizabethan era's greatest poets, Sir Philip Sydney.

Penshurst Place, near Tonbridge

Viscount De L’Isle, a descendant of the poet, put the two acres of green space up for sale with the intention of allowing West Kent Housing Association to build the homes.

There has been on on-going dispute between Sevenoaks District Council and Forge Field society about the plans.

The council granted planning permission for the development in 2009.

Locals said the development would have entirely altered the flavour of the village, which is home to more than 30 listed buildings.

The society fought against the planning permission and won a judicial review of the decision at High Court.

Robert Rees, from Forge Field Society said: "We are absolutely delighted that we have been proved right, however, not so delighted that it has taken four years and a lot of public money to get to this point.

"We are overjoyed that they have gained some common sense and hope they will be thinking deeply about their next move.

"In the meantime we are working to find other places more suitable in the parish that the Council seemed un-willing to consider in the first place. We are not against the development of this housing, it was just an ill-thought out location.

"It will be interesting to see how closely the Council pays attention to the views of the public now."

A spokesperson for Sevenoaks District Council said: "We will consider the judgement and will liaise with the applicant and the landowner, before taking all necessary steps to bring the applications back to our Development Control Committee to be decided."

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