Published: 12:11, 12 March 2021
| Updated: 14:49, 12 March 2021
Swale councillors have given the green light to 1,200 new homes on the outskirts of Sittingbourne.
They passed three plans by Persimmon Homes to develop 64 hectares of farmland along the railway line between Quinton Road at Kemsley and Grovehurst Road.
Phase 1 North will feature 91 homes at Pheasant Farm, north of Bramblefield Lane and accessed from Grovehurst Road by a new roundabout, with a country park, children's play area and acoustic barrier to reduce traffic noise from the A249.
Grovehurst interchange with the A249 and Swale Way must also be upgraded. Developers are contributing £3.5m towards the work - £3,000 per home.
Full planning permission was also given to Phase 1 South which will feature 257 homes, including 35 affordable homes and five three-storey blocks of apartments accessed from Quinton Road.
It will include a public open space, landscaping, access roads, footpaths and cycleways.
Outline planning permission was also given for up to 852 homes (10% affordable housing) between the two sites.
It includes an area set aside for a secondary and primary school near Bramblefield Lane, a mixed-use community centre and land for a convenience store, public open space with children's play areas and landscaping with a sound barrier to the A249.
Councillors heard that work to enlarge the Grovehurst interchange between the A249, Iwade and Swale Way is part of the condition of the development along with improvements to the Bobbing roundabout with the A249 and an upgrade to the M2 junction 5 at Stockbury.
The whole area is allocated at least 1,500 homes in Swale council's latest Local Plan Bearing Fruits which was adopted in 2017.
Councillors were told it will make a "major contribution" to housing in Swale and in particular Sittingbourne."
Occupiers will be given £350 vouchers per household to spend on bus, train or cycles.
Tom Ashley of Persimmon told the planning meeting on Thursday the site was "critical" for Sittingbourne and added: "We have spent a lot of time to get the scheme right."
Cllr James Hunt (Con, The Meads) said the finished design was the "best outcome" after three years of discussions.
He added: "This is one of the biggest developments in Swale. Persimmon listened and made a lot of changes."
Cllr Mike Dendor (Con, Kemsley) agreed and said: "I can't see any reason to turn this down."
The development also includes funding for a new footbridge over the railway line and enhanced work at Kemsley Halt. Cllr Tony Winckless (Lab, Milton Regis) added: "Overall , this is a very good development."
Cllr Steve Davey (Lab, Milton Regis) said he was concerned about noise from train whistles and the safety of a rail crossing.
The developers have agreed to pay £60,000 towards improving Kemsley Halt and £1m so Network Rail can install another footbridge over the railway line.
Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group has asked for £1m towards upgrading medical centres at Grovehurst, Iwade, Lakeside of The Meads.
KCC Archaeology has asked for the remains of First World War trenches on the site to be preserved.
The application was passed with 13 votes for, two against and one abstention.