Published: 06:00, 07 April 2020
Villagers are celebrating the rejection of plans for a "millionaires' enclave" they claim would have devastated the character of their small community.
Developers had hoped to build seven luxury homes in Wickhambreaux near Canterbury costing between £700,000 and £1.25 million.
The proposal sparked fears about traffic on the access road to Pear Orchard, a potential flood risk and the impact on the conservation area the site sits within.
And now Canterbury City Council has refused the application - but on different grounds complained of by opponents.
The authority's officers instead say Rogate - the city-based development firm behind the plan - has failed to secure enough money to offset the lack of affordable housing in the scheme and the impact on local infrastructure and wildlife.
Members of the Wickhambreaux Action Group - which was set up to fight the plans - are delighted with the result.
Founder Ana Thomson said: "We are hugely grateful to the planning team at Canterbury City Council for having made the right decision.
"The Pear Orchard proposal was so deeply flawed that it was opposed at every level - by the local community, by the parish council, by the Four Villages Conservation Society, and by our city and county councillors.
"There is no local need or desire in the village for this enclave that would have been totally out of character with the rest of the village."
Rogate director John Showler has branded it “preposterous” to suggest the new homes would have "over-burdened" local services, as residents claimed.
He says the scheme had been adjusted with the involvement of KCC Highways to address the traffic concerns, and two of the seven homes were actually replacing existing properties.
He also accuses the "old guard" of the village of pulling up the drawbridge and being against change, adding that he intends to appeal against the decision.
On the reasons for refusal, he says Rogate had been asked to cough up almost half-a-million pounds.
"On affordable housing, 18 weeks after we submitted the application, the council required a financial contribution in lieu of over £400,000, which we had not expected and had certainly not budgeted for."
More by this authorGerry Warren
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