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Bellway appeals plan for 65 West Malling homes next to St Mary's Abbey on Lavender Road

Plans to build dozens of homes in the shadow of a West Malling nunnery will go to a planning inquiry.

Bellway has appealed for government intervention after Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council turned down plans to build 85 homes off Lavender Road and Swan Street.

Revised plans from Bellway show the developer wants to build 65 homes in the shadow of St Mary's Abbey.

West Malling residents are up in arms over Bellway's plans to build homes off Lavender Road. Picture: Phil Lee (7226794)
West Malling residents are up in arms over Bellway's plans to build homes off Lavender Road. Picture: Phil Lee (7226794)

Mother Mary David is one of a group of Anglican Benedictine nuns who have lived in the abbey since 1916.

She said: "Silence and stillness are precious and healing in our world.

"It is wonderful and needful to be praying the morning prayers in our church and to see the sunrise, not see yet another housing estate. It is awesome to see the night sky without light pollution on our east side.

"All these things matter to the residents around as well as to us and our guests."

A Bellway spokeswoman said: “The proposed development is in an appropriate, accessible and sustainable location within easy walking distance of both West Malling station and the town centre.

Locals are concerned the development will cause traffic problems in Swan Street and destroy the area by the Abbey and The Cascade. Picture: Phil Lee (7226801)
Locals are concerned the development will cause traffic problems in Swan Street and destroy the area by the Abbey and The Cascade. Picture: Phil Lee (7226801)

"Revised plans were submitted to respond to comments received following the consultation process. The revised plans see the reduction in the total number of dwellings from 85 to 65 and includes a range of different housing types to include 40 per cent much needed affordable housing for West Malling."

The NHS has said any development would need to be mitigated with a £67,392 payment to local services.

A Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council spokeswoman said: "The council is continuing to make preparations in support of its case."

A six day inquiry is expected to start on August 20.

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