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Planning permission given for 40 flats at Coombe Valley Road, Dover


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New flats have been given the green light despite concerns about their closeness to a danger junction.

Protesters had stressed that one woman was killed in the area four years ago.

The planned flats as they would be seen from Coombe Valley Road. Picture from Livingstone Homes
The planned flats as they would be seen from Coombe Valley Road. Picture from Livingstone Homes

A total 40 flats are expected to be built in a three to four-storey block in Coombe Valley Road, Dover, next to the derelict Graham’s Plumbing and close to Buckland Hospital.

The former plumbing unit will remain but the empty buildings next to it will be demolished.

A total of 28 apartments will be two-bedroomed and the rest will be one-bedroomed. There will be 28 parking spaces.

In all, 36 objections were sent to the council, one point being that moving the access closer to the traffic light junction with London Road would cause accidents.

Mother-of-two Heather Couchman, 32, died after being struck by a car nearby on December 4, 2017.

The junction of London Road and Coombe Valley Road.
The junction of London Road and Coombe Valley Road.

Other objections concerned lack of parking, loss of sunlight to nearby properties and concerns its design would not be in keeping with the surrounding area.

The scheme was unanimously voted through by Dover District Council's planning committee last night (Thursday) following an officers' recommendation for approval.

Cllr Trevor Bond told the meeting: “There’s currently been no mention of the loss of sunlight to nearby properties.

“This is quite a tall building. It’s almost an overdevelopment. There won’t be too much sunlight on any of the gardens in Victoria Street or Coombe Valley Road."

Planning officer Neil Hewett said the council had conducted a “thorough” shadow plan and that there would be some overshadowing into Victoria Street but that it would be limited.

The flats are planned for this land at Coombe Valley Road.
The flats are planned for this land at Coombe Valley Road.

Kent County Council's highways department had decided not to object.

It said in a written submission to the district council: "The proposed access arrangements are acceptable and have been subject to an independent safety audit.

"They offer an improvement over the existing situation with the provision of dropped kerbs and tactile paving for pedestrians."

The application had been highlighted by Kent Online in January.

One objector speaking out then was neighbour Mandy Abbott who was allowed to convey her concerns to the meeting.

She afterwards told Kent Online: "It was a joke and a complete waste of time. They had already decided and the councillors who could have opposed it did not question important issues such as parking and making Coombe Valley Road even more dangerous."

Neighbour and former Dover town councillor Lesley Burke told us: "It is totally unbelievable that this was nodded through, with only the smallest discussion. Highways issues are still a worry at that junction. Dover dumped on again."

An inquest in 2018 concluded that Mrs Couchman's death was the result of a road traffic collision.

But giving evidence Det Con Mark Robinson, of Kent Police's Serious Collision Investigation Unit, had said the junction was "quite complex" and had "quite a confusing lights sequence."

The application is by Livingstone Homes of Grace Hill, Folkestone, and the flats are designed by Guy Hollaway Architects, which has a base in Hythe.

Livingstone director Leo Griggs told Kent Online in January: "We consulted expert transport planners and Kent Highways to ensure the site access is safe for pedestrians and vehicles."

Read more: All the latest news from Dover

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