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Developer asks for opinions on plan to build 435 homes on last green space between Allington and Aylesford

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The last remaining green space in Allington is shortly to become the subject of a planning application for 435 homes from developer Barratt David Wilson.

The area known as Bunyards, which covers 15 hectares of agricultural land north of Beaver Road is all that is left of the so-called strategic gap between Allington and Aylesford.

Bunyards - marked up for 435 homes
Bunyards - marked up for 435 homes

Immediately to the east of the Bunyards site, also accessed from Beaver Road, lie fields on which Clarendon Homes has already gained planning permission for 106 homes.

Opposite the entrance to Beaver Road, on the other side of the A20 London Road, is the newly built Barrett Orchards Estate, comprising of 143 homes, though perhaps the Former Orchards Estate would have been a more appropriate name.

To the west of the Bunyards site and south of Barming Station, lies residents' only hope of retaining some open space.

Croudace recently had its application for 330 homes rejected by Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, (TMBC) but the developer is expected to appeal the decision, and since the borough has no Local Plan in place and cannot show that it has a five-year land supply, the odds are in favour of the developer.

Croudace sees the site as an extension to its newly built Hermitage Park estate, immediately to the south, where it has just completed 500 homes.

The chart of development sites
The chart of development sites

To the north of Barming station, on a site that stretches from Hermitage Lane right across to the A20 London Road is an area that already has outline permission for 840 homes.

This was previously known as the Gladmans site, but in fact, Barrett David Wilson has recently acquired the land from Gladmans, bringing to a total of 1,406 homes in the immediate area that this company is now responsible for.

Angela Polletti of the New Allington Action Group (NAAG) said: "This latest scheme from Barretts leaves no part of the strategic gap unthreatened.

"Most of these development falls within the Tonbridge and Malling borough, but they are right on the border with Maidstone, and their traffic will spill out into Maidstone.

"There is one tiny area of woodland at the bottom of the Bunyards site, which NAAG managed to get a Tree Preservation Order on, that remains safe."

The red outline shows the proposed development site adjacent to the rail-line
The red outline shows the proposed development site adjacent to the rail-line

She said: "There is one other small area of woodland behind the DHL Depot, but that too has been shown as an area for development in TMBC's draft Local Plan."

Mrs Polletti said residents had been delighted when TMBC councillors had voted unanimously to refuse permission for the Hermitage Park extension in October.

She said: "There are some new councillors at Tonbridge and Malling who do now seem to be waking up to what's going on. But it is rather late in the day."

Meanwhile developer Barratt David Wilson said its Bunyard plan would include the provision of play areas, other open spaces and access and would provide 40% affordable homes.

The company said the site's location close to Barming Railway Station and the Maidstone Park and Ride made it a sustainable spot for building.

Barrett's outline map of the Bunyard site
Barrett's outline map of the Bunyard site

Spokesman Kate Rowe said: "This site offers Tonbridge and Malling the opportunity to deliver much needed new homes, including affordable homes, for the area in a non-Green Belt location.

"We look forward to engaging with the community and receiving their feedback on the proposals.”

In December 2020, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council had its Local Plan rejected by the Planning Inspectorate, leaving the council without a plan to meet its housing need.

It has recently decided to scrap the old plan and start again.

Like all councils, Tonbridge and Malling is required to demonstrate it has a minimum five-housing land supply, but currently can only account for 2.93years.

The Beaver Road junction with London Road in Allington
The Beaver Road junction with London Road in Allington

The area around Aylesford was identified in the rejected Local Plan as a key area for growth.

The developer is now seeking residents’ views on its Bunyard proposals through an online consultation, before it submits a formal outline planning application before Christmas.

The deadline to respond to the Barrett consultation is December 5.

You can visit the consultation here. https://www.landatbunyards.com/

Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes merged in 2007.

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