A council has backed plans for almost 100 homes on land the size of almost five football pitches despite its fears over infrastructure.
New Romney Town Council unanimously voted in favour of Pentland Homes’ bid for 99 houses on land west of Ashford Road.
But speaking after the decision, the town council leader voiced fears over a lack of public services and claimed the authority’s “hands are tied” over the decision.
“We know the infrastructure here is not good - the sewage, the water, and lack of doctors, dentists and schools,” Cllr John Rivers said.
“But there are only certain things - the material considerations - that we can object to.
“So in a way our hands are tied.
“We voted on the rise of the number of houses from 87 to 99 because we couldn’t think of a reason that it couldn’t happen.”
Last year, developer Gladman won Folkestone and Hythe District Council’s approval to roll out 87 homes on the site, with the town council’s backing.
But in October Pentland Homes launched a fresh bid to the district council to build 99 houses and associated infrastructure on the 3,4 hectare site.
Although the town council unanimously approved the scheme in October the proposals must be greenlit at the district council level before work begins.
If approved, the estate would be spread over an area equivalent to almost five football pitches and would include detached, semi-detached, and terraced homes, alongside large apartment blocks.
Pentland’s plans also include open space, landscaping car parking, associated infrastructure and a new footpath along Ashford Road.
It says the concentration of properties would vary across the scheme.
“A higher density development would be provided to the south and a medium density to north of the site, as it extends away from the town into the countryside.
“The proposal has attractive features, retained trees and planting.
“It will generate an integrated development that supports local services, contributes to local character, and provide new natural space and habitats.”
But some residents argue the developer’s bid does little to enhance surrounding infrastructure and amenities.
Objecting to the plans, neighbour Richard William Crooks said the project will exacerbate scarcities in services already impacting people living in the area.
“My objections relate to the over-housing development in New Romney without any improvement to its infrastructure - roads, sewerage disposal, medical services, schools etc,” he wrote
“This latest application will further add to the excessive recent housing developments in New Romney with resulting negative impact to the already inadequate infrastructure.”
The application comes amid a widespread shortage of housing both locally and nationally.
And with the last annual figure for new builds revealing just 6,820 were built during 2021/22 – according to the Office for National Statistics – the county is set to fall far short of expectation.
All of which will continue to put the squeeze on an already under-pressure housing market.
On the pressures first-time buyers face, Cllr Rivers said: “Both of my kids who are on the property ladder had both been working hard and saved up, I’m sure it was a challenge but they got houses.
“Buying my first house in 1979, we had help from our parents in order to afford the deposit and the mortgage was based on a joint salary.
“It was tough going because the interest rates went up to I think 11 or 12 per cent and that was so so hard.
“The house prices were lower back then but so were the salaries - maybe today’s generation has a tougher time, or maybe it’s quite similar to what I went through.”
A district council decision on Pentlands’ bid is expected to be made in the near future.