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Formal complaint over Maidstone council's handling of Glebe Field application in Yalding

By Alan Smith

Villagers in Yalding are still fuming that Maidstone council agreed to grant permission for 65 new homes to be built on the Glebe Field off Vicarage Lane.

And they are not going to let sleeping dogs lie.

The Yalding for Sensible Development group feels the application was unfairly handled and has complained to the council’s chief executive, Alison Broom.

Angry Yalding villagers outside St Peter and St Paul's Church
Angry Yalding villagers outside St Peter and St Paul's Church

Among their complaints is the site was never assessed in respect of the adjacent listed buildings when it was assessed for inclusion within the Local Plan, and that Historic England was initially not consulted.

he application was put on the agenda of the planning committee meeting on November 9 – before the public consultation period had expired – and was only postponed after a barrage of protests from the public.

The planning report recommending approval was written long before the end of the consultation period and was available for public viewing at the end of October – at least 10 days before the end of the consultation stage.

It was also prepared before the receipt of responses from Historic England and other statutory consultees.

Two urgent update reports were presented to councillors on the day of the committee meeting, with no chance for them to properly study them.

Not all documents or letters of opposition were uploaded onto the planning portal, including a letter of objection from MP Helen Grant.

Kent Wildlife Trust requested a dormouse survey and that a mitigation scheme should be a condition on the application – no such condition was included within the recommendations from the planning officer.

The traffic survey and information was based on modelling for two-lane roads – even the village centre’s bridge is single track.

Lisa Brooks said: “The horse has already bolted on our case, but we want the council to put in processes ensuring this does not happen again to others.”

A spokesman for Maidstone council responded: "This site was specifically discussed at the Local Plan Examination hearing on 15 November 2016. Having heard and read all the points, the Local Plan Inspector concluded that the site should be included as an allocation for residential purposes in the Local Plan.

“We consider that all objections and material considerations were taken into account, alongside relevant Local Plan policies, when reporting the application to the planning committee in November 2017.”

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