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Gladman Developments pulls out of plans for houses in Charing, Brabourne Lees and Biddenden

By Chris Britcher

A developer which wanted to build nearly 500 homes in three villages has withdrawn three appeals seeking planning permission.

Gladman Developments Ltd had wanted to build the house in villages surrounding Ashford.

It has submitted plans for 125 homes in Brabourne Lees, 245 in Charing and 110 in Biddenden - but all were rejected by Ashford Borough Council.

Plans for the controversial homes in Biddenden
Plans for the controversial homes in Biddenden

Gladman subsequently went to appeal on all three cases, challenging the council’s available land supply - all of which were defended by the local authority which was supported by the local parish councils and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

Earlier this year planning inspectors held detailed public inquiries into two of Gladman’s appeals - the third was scheduled for October - as well as hearings into the council’s new Local Plan.

Following the hearings into the new Local Plan, inspectors issued an advice note confirming that Ashford Borough Council does have an adequate five year housing land supply.

Protesters gather at ABC offices where the Gladman proposal was examined
Protesters gather at ABC offices where the Gladman proposal was examined

Now, having already withdrawn its appeal on the Biddenden site, the developer pulled the plug on both other schemes too.

Jill Leyland of Charing Parish Council said: "The site Gladman wanted to develop off Pluckley Road was completely unsuitable in many ways. In particular it would have added additional traffic to, and seen many additional pedestrians walking along, an already over used road where two wide vehicles cannot pass without one mounting the pavement and where pavements are so narrow that two pedestrians cannot pass without one stepping into the road.

“It is a real relief to know that the threat has been lifted. ABC, CPRE Kent and a number of individuals worked extremely hard on this case, as did Charing Parish Council, and we are truly grateful for all their efforts.

Aerial view of where the homes were planned for Biddenden
Aerial view of where the homes were planned for Biddenden

“We just hope that Gladman and other developers like them now realise how much opposition they will meet if they try to develop unsuitable sites in this part of the country.”

Cllr Paul Clokie, portfolio holder for planning at Ashford council said: “Understandably we are very pleased with the result.

“The council cannot prevent applications being made on sites that are not allocated for development in its Local Plan, and any applications that may, are considered on merit at that time.

“However the council will continue to take a Local Plan led approach, including consultation with local residents, to meet the development needs of the borough and we will strongly resist any inappropriate or unjustified development.”

Gladman Developments said it did not want to comment when approached.

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