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Swale councillor speaks out on Sittingbourne homes plan

By Rachel O’Donoghue

The development would see 580 dwellings of various sizes built on a field off Swanstree Avenue.

The plan provoked anger among locals when public consultation letters were sent out in late October, with many complaining about the possible impact on traffic, schools and amenities.

The area of land off Swanstree Avenue where the proposed homes would be built

The area of land off Swanstree Avenue where the proposed homes would be built

The Campaign to Protect Rural England also said it would try and block the proposal – its senior officer and former planning policy manager at Swale council, Brian Lloyd, argued the impact on the environment and landscape would be huge.

The company behind the proposal, Gladman Developments, submitted a statement alongside its application which states the council has not demonstrated it can meet the demand for housing in the borough.

In November,the authority gave people the opportunity to comment on the revised local document setting out the development strategy and planning policies for the next 20 years.

Cllr Monique Bonney has spoken about the controversial application

Cllr Monique Bonney has spoken about the controversial application

The local plan shows how many houses, jobs, schools, shops, transport will have to be built and created across the borough.

In the latest version of it, the council has planned for 540 new homes to be built per annum, despite government guidelines stating there should be 740.

If councils fail to earmark sufficient land for housing, they are required to adopt a position that is in favour of new development applications.

CPRE senior planner Brian Lloyd was among those to criticise the plans

CPRE senior planner Brian Lloyd was among those to criticise the plans

Cllr Monique Bonney (Ind), whose ward covers the Swanstree site, said the reason the authority had under-allocated for housing requirements was because of the difficulty it would have meeting the target.

She added: “Local residents have had to deal with developments and not enough infrastructure – we have doctors’ surgeries overloaded and schools that are oversubscribed.

“I will be supporting my local residents on this.”

Gladman Developments was unavailable for comment.

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