Published: 06:00, 03 November 2020
Farmers behind fiercely-contested plans for 700 homes now want to double the size of the estate - and make it carbon neutral.
Having won their appeal against Swale council’s refusal for the Lower Road, Minster, scheme, Stephen Attwood and his son James from SW Attwood and Partners have returned with revised proposals, which they are dubbing Sheppey ZeroC.
They want to build up to 1,500 homes which will be highly insulated, warmed by a heat pump and powered by solar panels, meaning the estate would have no carbon footprint.
The pair say it could lead to a new primary school and recreational centre, a dedicated road through the estate for buses and electric vehicles and a mobility hub for hiring out bikes and e-scooters and with electric vehicle charging points.
There could be a café, shops and community office spaces so residents could work close to their homes and fast-fibre broadband to every building.
They say the scheme would be a solution to Swale council’s need to find a further 1,400 homes on Sheppey for its next Local Plan, and mean sites, such as a scheme for 850 homes on the flood-prone Rushenden Marshes could be shelved.
In a joint statement, the father and son told KentOnline: “We have introduced an opportunity to officers and councillors which extends our allocated site to the west of Barton Hill Drive to accommodate a further 700-800 homes making a total of 1,400 to 1,500.
“A development of this scale will provide the critical mass to offer additional social infrastructure including a new primary school, neighbourhood centre, sport and recreational facilities and affordable housing.”
They added: “It also provides scope to deliver renewable energy infrastructure to meet the demands of the new housing with an additional lane to address capacity issues on the Lower Road.
“This lane lane could be for buses, car sharing and electric vehicles through the development and therefore avoid the Lower Road completely.”
They say their proposals could help deliver the council’s target of the borough becoming zero net carbon by 2030.
Swale Cllr Cameron Beart (Con, Queenborough and Halfway) said: “As the only council member who sat through every day of the Barton Hill Drive appeal and gave evidence against it, I think proposing to double it in size before a single brick has been laid is deeply concerning.
“As a long-standing member of the planning committee I obviously can’t pre-determine a potential future planning application but policy-wise I think Sheppey has taken more than it’s fair share of housing allocations and is already being asked to take far too many more under the current coalition’s proposals.”