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Home   Sheerness   News   Article

Delight after controversial housing plans for Barton Hill Drive, Minster, and Belgrave Road, Halfway, are rejected by Swale council

27 February 2014
by Andy Gray

Members of Swale council’s Local Development Framework (LDF) committee voted against including the controversial greenfield development off Barton Hill Drive in its Bearing Fruits 2031 draft Local Plan, which outlines the borough’s future housing allocation.

Plans to build 140 properties in Belgrave Road, Halfway, were also vetoed.

Alan Bengall, who presented a petition to Swale council over plans to build 500 new homes off Barton Hill Drive, Minster

Alan Bengall, who presented a petition to Swale council over plans to build 500 new homes off Barton Hill Drive, Minster

Cllr Andy Booth (Con), Minster Cliffs ward, who proposed a motion that members turn down both schemes, said: “It’s an absolutely stunning result and an uplifting moment for the Island.

“We’ve preserved a greenfield site and tried to mitigate the problems thousands of Islanders sustain every single day travelling to the east side of the Island.”

Cllr Booth said it would been a “travesty” if the 61-acre Barton Hill development, which included plans for five pitches for gypsies and travellers, had been agreed.

He cited ongoing traffic problems on Lower Road, just off the proposed site, as a major reason for recommending its refusal.

Minster resident Alan Bengall led a “Bearing Fruits Gone Rotten” campaign to have the scheme rejected. The 67-year-old, of Parsonage Chase, handed a petition containing 1,012 signatures to Swale council in September last year.

Mr Bengall, who vowed to organise a protest march along Lower Road if the plan was approved, said: “I’m speechless, I was convinced it was going to go ahead.

“But we can’t be complacent, I still think this plan is going to rear its ugly head at some stage in the future.”

In the Local Plan, 11,761 new homes were earmarked for various sites across Swale.

This number has decreased to 11,066 following the decision not to include the two Sheppey developments.

The figure also includes a revised total of 1,180 new homes for Queenborough and Rushenden, rather than 2,000 dwellings initially proposed, which was thought to be “undeliverable and optimistic”.

In total, 1,844 new homes remain allocated for Sheppey in the plan.

The LDF committee also voted to oppose a proposal for 80 homes in Cryalls Lane, Sittingbourne.

A total of 3,998 new properties remain allocated to Sittingbourne in the draft proposal and 942 in Faversham.

The finalised plan will go to public consultation before it is put before the government later this year.

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