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Trenport plans to build 250 homes along Church Street, Cliffe turned down by Medway council

A controversial plan to build hundreds of homes in a rural village has been rejected.

Medway Council's planning officers had recommended approval for 250 homes on both sides of Church Street in Cliffe, near Rochester, but councillors unanimously went against them and refused the plans.

An illustration of what the Trenport development off Church Street could look like. Picture: Corstorphine and Wright Architects
An illustration of what the Trenport development off Church Street could look like. Picture: Corstorphine and Wright Architects

Trenport Investments Ltd also wanted to build on the APCM recreation ground along Church Street and replace it with a new sports field.

The proposals also included a community hub, and affordable homes.

Last month, the area's MP Kelly Tolhurst sent a letter to Simon Clarke, the Secretary of State for levelling up, housing, and communities, asking him to intervene over the plans.

Cliffe & Cliffe Woods Residents Development Group (CCWRDG) group also said they were unhappy about the way the proposals were consulted, and said they were prepared to take legal action against the council.

The group and residents in Cliffe were concerned the impact the development would have on the B2000 - the main route through the village - as well as the loss of the sports field and views across open fields.

The APCM recreation ground, Church Street, Cliffe
The APCM recreation ground, Church Street, Cliffe

The concerns were laid out during a planning committee meeting yesterday evening (Wednesday, October 19).

Ward representatives spoke at the meeting, which was rounded off with applause from those watching in the public gallery.

Cllr John Williams (Con) said: "If this development goes ahead, there will be a loss of a large area of Grade I protected agricultural farmland, and with food security at the top of everyone's agenda, we need to protect our prime agricultural land.

"We have already lost considerable farming land locally to development. It's time to draw a line under these unwanted, speculative developments ruining our rural landscapes."

Cllr Gary Etheridge (Con) added: "The Cliffe Woods community believes it would cause further unbearable strain in terms of a large increase in motorised traffic into the rural village of Cliffe Woods, introducing potential health and safety hazards, and a decline in the quality of life of the residents along the B2000 leading into Town Road.

Cllr Gary Etheridge (Con)
Cllr Gary Etheridge (Con)

"It is implausible that four years of excavation, construction, noise, and vibration from machinery will not have an effect not only on residents, but also the existing wildlife leading to a degradation of the environment and natural beauty.

"This development will only result in congestion, frustration, along with additional hazards affecting the health and wellbeing of both communities."

Councillors spoke about the need to provide houses in Medway balanced with keeping some areas of open countryside undeveloped.

Cabinet member Cllr Adrian Gulvin (Con), said: "As much as I am passionately in favour of providing houses for people, I will be voting against this application this evening.

"Let's be selective about where we do dig our heels in, because we have got to be able to put up a strong case when these things do go to appeal and the more we turn down, the less we are going to be able to defend."

The Cliffe and Cliffe Woods Residents Development Group said: "We are delighted with the outcome. The comments made by the planning committee in their summing up showed a true understanding of our village and the catastrophic impact this development would have had.

"We thank the planning committee, ward councillors, parish councillors and our wonderful community for their support."

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