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Swale council to look at new Local Plan strategy

Councillors are set to discuss a strategy for where to build 10,000 extra homes in the borough.

It comes as Swale council reviews its Local Plan - the authority’s blueprint for where development should go.

Swale council is asking councillors for their views on a new local plan
Swale council is asking councillors for their views on a new local plan

But a report, to be discussed at the Local Plan Panel today, says room for 9,880 new homes needs to be found in the 16-year period. That is on top of 13,981 already allocated in the current Local Plan - 3,013 of which have already been built.

A 5% buffer has to be applied, as directed by the government, because the council has not earmarked enough land to meet its five-year housing target.

More than 100 acres of manufacturing land and 37 acres of office space is also needed.

The draft plan is to be sent out for consultation early next year.

If approved, it will cover 2022 to 2038.

Space for another 10,000 homes needs to be found
Space for another 10,000 homes needs to be found

According to the document, the housing needs should be on brownfield sites in “sustainable locations”, in areas at a low risk of flooding and on land with the least environmental value.

Challenges in delivering the plan include 60% of land in Swale being exempt from development, either because of it being a wildlife habitat, a Site of Special Scientific Interest or at risk of flooding.

There are five options being considered by the council for where to put the extra 10,000 homes.

The first is carrying on with the current strategy where 40% of housing allocations are in and around Sittingbourne.

Alternatively, the council could look at distributing developments more evenly around the borough.

Two approaches look to focus housing in the east of the borough, in and around Faversham - the market town taking 35% of new builds in one option and 46% in another.

The final proposal is to focus on garden communities to meet housing needs - meaning more than half of all new homes would be built in rural areas.

Read more: All the latest news from Sheppey

Read more: All the latest news from Sittingbourne

Read more: All the latest news from Faversham


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