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Anger over bid to change development access route in Beechenlea Lane, Swanley

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People have been venting their anger over a development which could change a leafy lane into a ‘dangerous’ and misery route for drivers.

It is now the subject of a public inquiry being heard this week by a government planning inspector at Swanley Town Council.

On one side are residents of Beechenlea Lane, just off the London Road, and Sevenoaks council.

Residents of Beechenlea Lane, Swanley, are unhappy about a proposed development off the road.
Residents of Beechenlea Lane, Swanley, are unhappy about a proposed development off the road.

On the other is a Winchester-based company that already has planning permission to build 61 properties on a site next to the lane despite the council having turned down the company several times.

Applicants Pro Vision Planning and Design, however, were successful at a previous inspector hearing, granting them permission to build.

At issue now is Pro Vision’s plan to change the access route – for both construction traffic and for the site’s new residents when the project is completed – using only the narrow lane, instead of via the London Road.

Terence Bull, 65, one of the lane’s residents and organiser of the protest, said: “If the developers are allowed to make our lane the access point it will be highly dangerous and an accident waiting to happen. Anyone can see the lane is much too narrow.

“It will also result in massive traffic disruption and blocking by construction vehicles.

“The developers have already been given permission to build the properties.

“Why is it now necessary to alter the plans in direct contravention of the previous planning inspector’s conditions?

“I believe it’s a money-driven move as it will be cheaper to use our lane instead of making the access at London Road.”

Sevenoaks council has refused every application, including the most recent one lodged from 2014 which is again the subject of appeal this week.

A council spokesman said: “We have refused five applications on this site for various new housing schemes, and on every occasion the developer has appealed our decision.

“The government’s planning inspector has overturned our decisions at four appeals and has granted planning consent. The fifth and most recent application is going to appeal, which is being heard at a public inquiry in Swanley from this week.”

Pro Vision was contacted for a comment but had not responded by the time the Messenger went to press.

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