Published: 16:00, 02 July 2020
| Updated: 16:06, 02 July 2020
A housing development of up to 250 homes could be built on farmland if councillors give the go-ahead.
The proposed scheme would see the new properties, along with a community centre and play areas, erected on the site in East Malling south of the A20 London Road.
Currently the 45-acre site is made up of two large fields used for arable farming, with the A228 dual carriageway to the west, Lucks Hill to the south and Winterfield Lane to the east.
The application for outline planning permission, which will be considered by Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council (TMBC) next Thursday, states that 40% of the homes build will be classed as affordable housing.
Opposition to the plans has come from both the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the East Malling Conservation Group, who argue the land is due to be designated as green belt in the proposed local plan.
However the report from officers to be considered by the planning committee next week recommends that outline approval be granted, stating that "the proposal to include the land as part of the green belt extension cannot at this time represent a reasonable or justifiable ground of refusal".
Outlining the need for the development to go ahead, the report also points out that TMBC cannot currently demonstrate an up-to-date five year supply of housing, increasing the demand for such projects to go ahead.
If the plans are approved it is likely a number of conditions will be put in place, including the need to conclude what are know as Section 106 agreements with the developers. These allow for payments to be made to help mitigate the impact of the plans on the existing community.
Health bosses say the proposed scheme will require around 585 new patient registrations, which they believe will impact GP services at Thornhills Medical Practice, West Malling Group Practice and Wateringbury Surgery. It is advised the developer should pay £210,600 towards managing this increase in demand.
The report also says the developer of the site will make a contribution of £1547.62 per home towards highway improvements, and pay £910 per property towards bus service improvements between the development and Maidstone town centre and West Malling railway station.
Kent County Council envisages the need for 70 additional primary school places and 50 additional secondary school places if the houses are built, with a financial contribution from the developers also sought.
More by this authorRhys Griffiths
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