Plans for a housing development on an orchard have been recommended for refusal amid fears a town is already “bursting at the seams”.
Developers want to build up to 290 homes at Tunstall, on the outskirts of Sittingbourne, but almost 200 comments have been sent opposing the plans.
Urban Wilderness first submitted outline plans in November 2022.
The site, being dubbed Ufton Green, is the size of almost 40 standard 11-a-side football pitches and consists of some of the “best and most versatile agricultural land,” according to Swale council planning officers.
Urban Wilderness insists in planning documents that the development, which would border Woodside Gardens and Sterling Road, will be “a sensitive extension to Sittingbourne”.
The new estate would include an access road via a roundabout at the junction of Minterne Avenue and College Road.
“Our vision is to create a sustainable, vibrant and well-connected new neighbourhood, embedded within generous green Infrastructure,” it adds.
The firm stresses that every home would be within 100m of open space.
“Ufton Green will deliver a sustainable new neighbourhood that will provide a framework for social inclusivity, environmental stewardship and the continued economic prosperity of the region now and for future generations,” it said.
“The development will deliver up to 290 new homes of different types and sizes.”
The developers also tell of how “an appropriate level of affordable homes will be provided,” after discussion with the council’s planning department.
As an outline planning application, the exact design, size of the homes and layout of the estate will be dealt with through later planning applications.
However, 190 residents have commented on the council’ planning portal to criticise the plans, fearing strain on infrastructure from an increased population.
“This orchard is one of the last areas of green belt here to the south of the town,” wrote Denise Petro.
“Schools, doctors and roads cannot take any more people.
“The outskirts of this town has expanded to the extent that it is at bursting point,” she added.
The local authority recently called on central government for help amid a GP shortage crisis in the borough.
Mrs R Cuthbertson wrote to the planning department: “Sittingbourne is losing all sense of identity due to over development, overpopulation and poor planning.
“Sittingbourne is being destroyed.”
“This town cannot cope with the houses already here and being built,” wrote Mrs K Howe.
“Doctors surgeries are overrun, schools are overrun etc, to build yet more houses is ludicrous.”
Hannah Raistrick wrote: “Sittingbourne traffic is already at breaking point with far too many cars on the road for our town.
“Our secondary schools and GP surgeries are bursting at the seams.”
Jane Cantor wrote: “Minterne Avenue itself is a twice daily nightmare of parked vehicles, children and parents picking up and dropping off at Minterne school.
“The potential for 500 extra cars in this area is positively frightening.”
James Spragge added: “This is a very quiet and desirable area, if more houses are built it would devalue our homes.”
Planning officers are recommending councillors reject the scheme.
They point out the site is on agricultural land, is not allocated for housing in the council’s previous local plan, and “would result in the encroachment of housing into the countryside”.
Officers also slate the “insufficient information” on affordable housing to be provided at the estate.
Swale’s planning committee will meet to make the final call on the proposals on Thursday, November 9.