Published: 08:01, 09 July 2015 |
Updated: 12:19, 09 July 2015
Gladman Developments submitted plans to build 580 homes on farmland off Swanstree Avenue last December.
According to official guidelines, the council planning committee has eight weeks from when an application is accepted to decide whether to approve it or not.
Gladman has since appealed on the grounds of ‘non-determination’ after the time period lapsed without a decision.
The application has now been taken out of the council’s hands and may be approved as the planning inspectorate will take into account the borough’s housing shortage when deciding.
“We are disappointed that Swale council has failed to make a decision on this and hope it now makes a robust case as to why it shouldn’t be allowed when it goes before a planning inspector” - Brian Lloyd, a former planning policy manager for Swale council
Jacqueline Nelson, who lives yards from the site on Swanstree Avenue, has called the council “incompetent” for failing to make a decision on the proposal sooner.
She said councillors were put into their positions to control such matters, adding: “I think it’s disgusting. If they can’t do the job properly, why on earth are they in that position?
“They can just mess up people’s lives through incompetence.
“I moved here from a large town – Basildon, Essex – to give my daughter and dogs a greener lifestyle; you don’t expect it to be paved over.”
The Campaign to Protect Rural England earlier pledged to try to block the Swanstree proposal.
Brian Lloyd, a former planning policy manager for Swale council, said the impact on the environment would be huge and it would create traffic problems.
He said: “This should be a straightforward decision – it is a greenfield site in a designated special landscape area and is high quality agricultural land so wholly unsuitable for a housing development.
“Nor has it been identified for development in the emerging local plan.
“We are disappointed that Swale council has failed to make a decision on this and hope it now makes a robust case as to why it shouldn’t be allowed when it goes before a planning inspector.”
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