Published: 06:00, 22 April 2021
| Updated: 07:20, 22 April 2021
A controversial 180-home development has been waved through by "straitjacketed" councillors despite claims it is a “dog’s breakfast”.
Kitewood Estates’ preliminary proposals to construct the properties on farmland in Hillborough, Herne Bay, received almost 300 objections after they were put forward last year.
Locals raised concerns about the suitability of nearby roads to deal with the expected influx of new cars, as well as the additional pressures the site would place on schools and GP surgeries.
But dejected councillors waved through the scheme at a meeting, while admitting they were “straitjacketed” by current planning policy.
Barton councillor Connie Nolan (Lab) said: “There are no valid grounds for turning down this planning application, but there is a lack infrastructure and this development has been cut in such a way that it’s contingent on a separate planning application going through.
“Our hands are tied. Anybody with common sense looks at this area and realises these roads are agricultural roads.
“We need a proper planning system. We need investment in proper infrastructure to make sure we are developing land in the best way possible.”
Kitewood first launched a bid to build the housing estate on the plot south of Beltinge two years ago.
After the council dragged its feet deciding the proposal, amid concerns over its density and proposals to create an access route for construction vehicles in Osborne Gardens, the company lodged an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.
The firm has agreed not to allow its trucks to use the road. Instead, it has opted to send them along Sweechbridge Road and through a neighbouring development, which is yet to be approved.
Conservative councillor Ashley Clark said: “There have been some changes in relation to construction traffic and the sewage issue appears to be resolved, and it’s all going in the sea.
“What we have remains a dog’s breakfast, but we are prisoners of history, prisoners of a defective Local Plan.
“There is nothing really we can do – we are in a straitjacket on this one. On the basis of what we have before us, there are no grounds to refuse.”
Kitewood’s scheme is one of three planned for the land at Hillborough, which is earmarked for more than 1,400 homes.
AE Estate Developers submitted its application for the site this year, while Taylor Wimpey’s 900-property proposals are due to be decided by the Secretary of State.