Published: 12:29, 13 September 2021
| Updated: 12:32, 13 September 2021
A plan to convert a huge office block into more than 100 apartments has been turned down – because it had too many parking spaces.
The proposal to turn 160 London Road, Sevenoaks, near the town's railway station, into 116 flats had initially been recommended for approval by planning officers.
However Highways England made a last-minute objection saying the applicant, R20 Advisory Limited, would be “vastly over providing” parking spaces, resulting in officers changing the recommendation to refusal.
The building – known as One 60 London Road – currently has an underground car park with 532 spaces, with the applicant intending to keep use of 516.
Kent County Council says the standard for any town or city centre is one car parking space per home.
In a statement delivered to Sevenoaks council on the day its development control committee met to consider the application, Highways England said that 400 of these spaces would “not be required for residential use”.
It recommended the proposal be refused as it had "insufficient information to accurately assess the impact of the over provision of 400 car parking spaces" on the "safety, reliability and/or operational efficiency" of the strategic road network.
Cllr Peter Fleming, who represents Sevenoaks Town and St John's, had called for the plans to be considered by the committee due to concerns about the natural lighting in the flats.
He said: “I remember the construction of this building and it was built specifically for British Telecom.
“I’ve been inside the interior of the building and this was built for BT. You will notice in the drawings that some of the rooms have been allocated with no windows or natural light.
“The one qualification I do have is as a light designer and I can assure you that there are a number of flats within this plan that bring me significant concern”.
Members of Sevenoaks District Council’s development control committee, which met on Thursday, September 9, voted to reject the application.