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Plans revealed for Forty Acre Field in East Malling

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A field once set for protection from development could get 250 homes instead.

Bovis Homes has submitted plans for Forty Acre Field in East Malling.

The proposed layout of the site at Forty Acre Field, East Malling
The proposed layout of the site at Forty Acre Field, East Malling

The estate would be a joint venture partnership, Vistry Wates, built under the Bovis brand.

The company has already secured the green light for the principle of development after winning outline planning permission on appeal to the Government Planning Inspectorate in March last year.

Known locally as Forty Acre Field, the plot actually measures 44.48 acres. Vistry Wates is planning 150 market homes in a mix of sizes, including 17 five-bedroom homes, plus 100 affordable units, some designed for disabled access.

In addition they plan a new community building, to include a hall and two meeting rooms, a country park, other areas of public open space, and an extensive footpath network.

Access is already agreed and will be via a new road onto London Road.

All the houses will have an electric car charging point and there will be 519 parking spaces overall.

Tonbridge and Malling council leader Matt Boughton
Tonbridge and Malling council leader Matt Boughton

Cllr Matt Boughton (Con), the leader of Tonbridge and Malling council, said: “The decision by the Planning Inspectorate to overrule Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council’s refusal of planning permission was a real blow.

“The borough council, alongside hundreds of local residents, had fought hard for the scheme to be rejected.

“Development here takes away one of the key green corridors between Leybourne, West Malling, East Malling and Larkfield.”

But said Cllr Boughton: “Anyone is welcome to comment on the proposals but, very sadly, nothing that we say or do at this stage can overcome the principle of development being established on Forty Acre Field. That ship has sailed following the ruling by the Planning Inspectorate.”

The site was not allocated in the council’s emerging Local Plan; in fact it was due to receive beefed up protection measures by placing it in the Greenbelt.

Forty Acre Field
Forty Acre Field

Unfortunately, the borough cannot at present indicate that it has a five-year housing supply, a government requirement, which was the key element in the inspector’s decision.

There had been 621 letters of objection and two petitions, each of almost 1,000 signatures, opposing the scheme.

Details of the application can be found on the borough council's website, under reference 22/00617.

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