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Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council approve 840 homes on Hermitage Lane

Plans to build 840 homes at traffic blackspot were given the seal of approval by a council last night.

Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council's planning committee made the decision to approve the application which will also see a primary school built and road improvements carried out.

The site near Hermitage Lane where 840 homes will be built
The site near Hermitage Lane where 840 homes will be built

The proposal by Gladman Developments will see properties built on a large triangle of land, bigger than 50 football pitches, which borders Hermitage Lane and the A20 London Road.

The land stretches as far as near Barming Station at one corner and the Poppy Fields roundabout in Allington.

The development will be made up of two to five bedroom homes with 40% of them allocated to be affordable housing as well as a play area, open space. Gladman will help fund a better link road to the M20.

A link road will also be added which will cut through the estate from Hermitage Lane, emerging at Poppy Fields roundabout

Despite a number of objections put forward before the meeting, the decision was made to grant outline planning permission.

Traffic along Hermitage Lane while the latest homes are built.
Traffic along Hermitage Lane while the latest homes are built.

Despite the land being under the control of Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council,neighbouring Maidstone council objected to the plans saying roads will be stretched beyond capacity, leading to insufferable delays for the County Town.

It explained the junctions serving Hermitage Lane and St Andrews Road, plus the Fountain Lane and Tonbridge Road intersection will not be able to cope.

The objection, published before the meeting, added: "The proposed development does not provide sufficient open space, or prevent the merging of the Maidstone and Malling urban areas."

In Maidstone's borough area 899 residential bases along Hermitage Lane have been approved or are being built. These include 500 in Bluebell Wood, a scheme which Maidstone rejected, but was approved after a Government planning inquiry.

Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Chatham and Aylesford, Tracey Crouch was unable to attend the meeting due to a family bereavement but said she was 'furious' with the outcome.

Tracey Crouch
Tracey Crouch

She said: "I am furious the outline application was passed at a meeting held at a time when I am unable to speak because of the election.

"The council deliberately chose not to defer the application until the next meeting, knowing how strongly I oppose it, and effectively robbing residents of the opportunity for their MP to voice their concerns.

"This application will effectively bulldoze over the last remaining field between Aylesford and Maidstone, irrevocably tearing up much needed green space in our fight against climate change and replacing it with housing that will further overburden our creaking infrastructure.

"Where this was proposed in Capstone Valley, Medway Council showed real strength in leadership and opposed it at every stage, recognising that any short term cost to the Council was far outweighed by not putting any more housing in an area of Medway whose infrastructure cannot cope now alongside a benefit of protecting the environment.

"This part of the borough is disproportionately earmarked for development, despite it being unsustainable. It is shameful decision and I will do all I can to try and stop it".

A spokesman for Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council said: "We recognise the concerns that have been expressed over this development, both in terms of the length of time it has been in train and its potential impact on local services.

"While this site has been identified in our emerging Local Plan as suitable for development, we only recommend proposals we consider to be deliverable and sustainable. To achieve this, we are working closely with KCC and other statutory bodies to make sure that additional or improved infrastructure such as new link roads, schools and doctor’s surgeries are provided along with the new homes."
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