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Apartment block on Whiffens Avenue car park in Chatham approved

A block of flats brought forward by a council’s own house building company has been granted planning permission.

Plans for 151 apartments at the Whiffens Avenue car park in Chatham were given the go-ahead by councillors last night as the authority continues its bid to attract more people to live within the town centre.

The scheme had to be redesigned following objections from Heritage England regarding the impact on nearby Fort Amherst, but it is now felt the level of harm has been “reduced” by a “package of heritage gains”.

Plans for 151 apartments at the Whiffens Avenue car park have been approved
Plans for 151 apartments at the Whiffens Avenue car park have been approved

Cllr Gary Etheridge (Con) said: “I think it’s rather unfortunate the original design isn’t the one that’s come before us now because that was absolutely fantastic. Even saying that, this one is still quite good.”

The eight-storey building, which stands at 24 metres high, includes 35 one-bedroom and 80 two-bedroom properties, nine of which are shared ownership.

The rest of the affordable homes will be located at the White Road Community Centre scheme also approved at the meeting (see separate story).

Just 90 parking spaces will be provided for residents in the basement, with the proximity of the bus and railway stations deemed to be sufficient in attracting those who do not have a car.

Some concerns had been raised from locals about the loss of further car parking spaces in Chatham town centre, while The Brook Theatre suggested the development could worsen the build-up of traffic on Whiffens Avenue.

But council officers concluded there is still enough parking provision in the area to meet demand, while the increase in vehicle movements in the area will not have a “severe impact” on the road network.

Cllr Martin Potter (Con) added: “I think this is a very exciting scheme. It’s a really important project that is part of the wider regeneration of the Chatham area.

“I think it actually looks good, and a lot of very good work has gone into the scheme to address some of the concerns members had.”

Back in March, Medway Council’s planning committee approved the Chatham Waterfront scheme - also brought forward by Medway Development Company.

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