Published: 14:45, 12 June 2018
Plans for 120 new homes in Woodnesborough Road in Sandwich are a step closer.
Objectors used photographs of crashes to convince Dover District Council’s planning committee, in March, that Abbey New Homes’ application would add to traffic problems, with officers deferring a decision on the scheme until an independent traffic survey had been carried out.
But Abbey New Homes, who have included 36 affordable houses in their application, have filed an appeal for ‘non-determination’, meaning the decision will now be taken out of DDC’s hands.
Instead, the Planning Inspectorate which is a higher authority will have the final say with a result expected by the end of July.
Residents can still submit their representations to DDC who have one last chance to discuss the application at a planning meeting on Thursday, June 22, prior to being considered at a higher level.
But with no new traffic survey to bring to the table in addition to the land already being listed on the Land Allocations Local Plan - meaning its designated for development - chances of being able to turn the application down are slim.
Cllr Bernard Butcher, who is both a ward member and planning vice-chairman, says he will still press for an amendment to the access. He said: “We were only concerned with the infrastructure. I think we need the extra houses but let’s be sensible about it and make the site accessible.
“We haven’t been able to do our own survey. It’s been quashed because of the time aspect, so we’re no more advanced than we were when we first discussed it.
“For 120 homes, that’s 240 cars in a narrow road where there’s already been an awful lot of accidents.”
Kent Highways estimated that the scheme is likely to generate about 65 two-way vehicle trips in peak hours, figures which councillors disputed.
Sandwich, Worth, Woodnesborough and Ash councils were all against the application until there was better access.
A suggestion was made by Sandwich Town Council that a slip road onto the Sandwich Bypass could be a solution.
Cllr Marjorie Ovenden, whose car overturned when she was involved in a crash on the road, said: “I’m still against this. I know my crash was a long time ago but the road hasn’t changed. No improvements have been made and the road now carries a much greater volume of traffic.
“If people are still concerned about this, I suggest they go to their council and continue to voice their concerns.”