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National Highways question Pedham Place housing plan over M25 junction 3 improvements which might not happen

Proposals for a new 2,500 home village have been based on improvements to the M25 that might never happen, according to National Highways.

In its local plan consultation, Sevenoaks District Council (SDC) is proposing a new settlement at Pedham Place right next to the M25.

The land earmarked for 2,500 homes
The land earmarked for 2,500 homes

The council recently closed the first consultation on its local plan - the policy which governs the location and scale of house building in the district from 2025 to 2040.

The district must triple its housebuilding to meet “acute” need for homes - with over 10,000 new properties needed over the 15-year plan period.

The local authority is proposing a 2,500 home new settlement at Pedham Place, currently home to a golf course, to meet this demand.

The proposal is backed by development firms Gladman and Ramac.

The land being looked at for the development is near Swanley, and sits within the parishes of Eynsford and Farningham which are close to junction three of the M25.

National Highways, the governing body which manages the road network, has now had its say on the plans and has raised some concerns.

A spokesperson for National Highways said: “The information used by Sevenoaks District Council referencing Road Improvement (Investment) Strategy 3 (RIS 3) is inaccurate.

“This information was included, in good faith, in a council presentation by a consultant working on the Pedham Place development proposal circa 2022.

“Currently there are no programmed improvement proposals at M25 junction three.”

National Highways said that the impact of a new settlement at Pedham Place on the roads was “untested”, but when more detailed plans come forward new evidence will be submitted for their assessment.

The two proposed development sites
The two proposed development sites

The spokesman also confirmed the body will be meeting with the council to discuss its submission at the end of this month.

They added: “This meeting will one of several as we work together to review the transport evidence base related to the planned growth currently anticipated for the emerging Sevenoaks District Council Local Plan.”

A Sevenoaks council spokesperson said: “We are currently considering all of the comments and representations made by local people and agencies.

“These will be taken into account before we publish the revised version of the Local Plan in the summer.

“We are also working with National Highways and KCC Kent Highways to share details of our plans as they develop.”

Campaigner Su Hewitt and Cllr Vince Robson, chairman of Eynsford Parish Council who are against plans for Pedham Place. Picture: Gabriel Morris
Campaigner Su Hewitt and Cllr Vince Robson, chairman of Eynsford Parish Council who are against plans for Pedham Place. Picture: Gabriel Morris

Cllr Vince Robson, chairman of Eynsford Parish Council, said that the proposals for the new village are “basically urban sprawl.”

He also expressed fears about the impact of the plans on the local road network.

He said: “Pedham place is probably two miles from any nearest train station so people will probably have to have a car because there's limited public transport here.

“We're thinking about quite a few thousand more cars in that area. That's why they've got an issue with it because there really is only one road in and out.”

He suggested it makes sense to “nibble at the greenbelt” with numerous smaller sites rather than a whole new village.

Farningham-based campaigner Su Hewitt is also opposed to the plans, telling the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS): “We always have problems up there, I’ve never seen it free flowing to be honest.

“I used to commute to London, it used to take me half an hour to get from Farningham to Swanley Station just to get the train, and sometimes the train would get into London quicker than me doing the two-and-a-half-mile drive to Swanley station.

“If it goes ahead I think it would be a disaster.

To see more planning applications and other public notices for your area, click here.

“It just seems impossible, and when you throw the stadium into that as well as the hotel – I don’t know how that could be possible.”

The proposed location for Pedham Place sits close to locations mooted as possible sites for a new rugby stadium for Wasps RFC, as well as a hotel and gym on the complex.

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