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Public inquiry gives 350 homes in Kings Hill the green light

A contentious housing development in Kings Hill is set to go ahead, after an independent body overruled a planning committee.

It has been announced 350 houses will be built after the planning inspectorate upheld a developer's appeals against Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council.

Plans to build 70 homes of land north of Amber Lane in Kings Hill, have been turned down by a government agency
Plans to build 70 homes of land north of Amber Lane in Kings Hill, have been turned down by a government agency

The homes, which were put forward in three separate applications by Liberty Property Trust and were turned down last year, will be built on fields off Kings Hill Avenue, Abbey Wood Road, and Jubilee Way.

However, 70 dwellings on land north of Amber Lane, which technically fall under East Malling, will not be built after the inspectorate turned an appeal from the developer.

It challenged the ruling in December and most decisions should be issued within 24 weeks, which would have been on Friday, January 31.

Instead, due to the complicated nature of the inquiry, this was extended to 26 weeks.

A planning inspectorate spokesman said: "The inquiry into these four linked appeals sat for 12 days in December and was very complex."

Several residents made their views clear when the inquiry began.

Dozens attended the start of the planning inspector's public inquiry in December
Dozens attended the start of the planning inspector's public inquiry in December

Sarah Barker, chair of Kings Hill Parish Council, said: "Since 2004, areas allocated for commercial use have been slowly converted to residential.

"The increase in residential development has put a great pressure on the infrastructure, transport, schools and NHS services.

"None of these have kept pace with the increase in population and some infrastructure may never be fulfilled."

Siobhan Kirk, of Shoesmith Lane, echoed Mrs Barker's concerns, saying: "The doctor's surgery is struggling to offer an acceptable level of service.

"The only sure way to secure a same day appointment is to join a queue outside the surgery at 7.45am.

"Every day there's a queue of up to 20 people, this is a terrible situation if you're feeling very unwell."

Paul Cairnes, representing the developer, defended plans to build homes on land designated for offices, said: "The development of the appeal sites for employment services is simply not viable.

"There is no reasonable prospect of the sites coming forward for their allocated employment uses."

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