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Published: 10:00, 05 August 2019
| Updated: 11:50, 05 August 2019
A government planning inspector will have the final say on plans for hundreds of new homes after a developer put in an appeal.
The firm’s agent, Montagu Evans, has lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate after Swale council failed to make a decision within the set time limit, known as non-determination.
The plans were originally submitted in October 2017 and faced widespread opposition, particularly from campaign group Borden Residents Against Development (BRAD).
Commenting on the appeal, Cabinet member for planning, Cllr Mike Baldock (Swale Ind), said: “I’m not really surprised at all because they had an agreement to determine it by Wednesday, July 10, and it hasn’t been determined.
“This gives them the ability to put in an appeal but it doesn’t change very much.
“We’ll continue to operate as a council and determine the planning application in the normal way to give an indication to the inspector of what we would’ve done anyway. Let’s face it, if Swale had already rejected it or went on to reject the application the developer would’ve put an appeal in so nothing changes.
“I’m fully confident that we stand every chance of winning the appeal.”
The plans were all but approved at a meeting in January. But in an unexpected twist, councillors last month rejected the terms of a section 106 agreement setting out financial contributions a developer would have to pay.
The plans are still due to be reconsidered, in full, by the Planning Committee.
A council spokesman said: “We will be looking to take this back to committee as soon as is reasonably possible so members can establish whether, if they had been in a position to determine the application, they would have refused permission and for what reasons.
“This will then form the basis of the council’s defence against the appeal.
KMTV reported on a meeting in January about the plans
“However, we do not yet have a fixed date for the committee meeting where this will be discussed.”
One of the considerations for the government inspector will be if Swale has a five-year Housing Land Supply – the land available to build the necessary homes to meet its target.
As it stands, the council does not have the required number of plots available, meaning other sites already set aside for development need to be brought forward sooner.
If that fails, developers could put in applications to build on land not earmarked for housing.