Published: 12:30, 10 September 2015
A decision on building more than 200 new homes in New Romney has been put back after concerns about flooding, traffic and scarce local healthcare.
Planning councillors on Tuesday agreed to defer decisions on the pair of applications to further question the developers.
Susie Govett, New Romney ward councillor, told Shepway District Council development control committee meeting: “There are still too many questions and it would be irresponsible to approve this without looking at issues such as flooding and health services.”
Gladman Developments, of Cheshire, is seeking outline planning permission for 117 homes on land adjoining the Hope All Saints Garden Centre at Ashford Road.
EA Strategic Land of London also wants outline consent for up to 110 homes on neighbouring land at Cockreed Lane.
The applications were discussed and voted on separately, but the views overlapped.
Cllr Govett had been among those speaking against the schemes, saying: “We want homes for New Romney, but we don’t need 300.
“It is not up to New Romney to bear the brunt of Shepway’s housing problems.
“The development needs to be smaller scale and more manageable.”
She said that research over flooding on the site had been done before the major incident that saw both ends of New Romney High Street engulfed on August 13.
She added: “New Romney has two doctor’s surgeries that are already struggling with a population of nearly 7,000.”
Committee vice-chairnan Cllr Roger Wilkins said: “I spoke to an ex-councillor and he told me he had to wait three weeks for an appointment at a doctor’s surgery in the town.”
Cllr Len Laws raised the problem of extra traffic resulting from the development .
He said: “New Romney High Street is a nightmare all day long from 7am to 7pm. This is a totally ill-conceived planning application.”
But Cllr Richard Pascoe said: “We have a dire need for housing. We have a duty to provide houses for residents. I can’t see any reason to refuse.”
The Cockreed Lane site is earmarked for 300 homes in the Shepway Core Strategy Local Plan.
Planning permission has already been given for 48 homes on the former Romney Marsh Potato Company site at Cockreed Lane.
The three applications, the others involving 117 and 110 units, would bring the total number of homes planned to 275.
"This is a totally ill-conceived planning application." Cllr Len Laws
New Romney Town Council is against the schemes by Gladman and EA because of traffic problems and risk of flooding.
Neighbours sent a total 44 letters of objection sharing these concerns but also fearing subsidence as an 8ft deep sink hole developed at nearby Rolfe Lane last November.
But organisations such as Kent County Council Highways and the Environment Agency, which would deal with traffic and flooding problems are not against these applications.
Neither has NHS Property Services, which is asking for total contributions of close to £200,000 from the developers to help cover the healthcare of the increased population for the development.
The deal would involved 20% of the 227 homes being made affordable.
Shepway officers also recommended approval saying that new homes were needed to help in the national shortage.
They added that proposed changes in road layouts would help with safety and the sites were reasonably safe from flooding.
More by this authorSam Lennon