Published: 06:00, 02 May 2021
A 53-apartment retirement home will be built after planning permission was granted unanimously.
Four existing houses next to the entrance to Tesco on Smallhythe Road, Tenterden will be replaced with the new structure.
The approved plan is an amendment to a 2019 submission which the council never made a formal decision on.
To speed up the process, and to address contribution and massing issues, developer Churchill Retirement Living Ltd submitted a separate but very similar scheme earlier this year.
Ward representative Cllr Callum Knowles (Con) praised the work of planning officers, who helped the application be "leaps and bounds" better than the initial proposition.
He noted the town council supported the application, but asked that affordable housing contributions could be spent in Tenterden.
He said the new residents will "benefit the high street and employment", and that the new home wouldn't alter the area as there is a separate retirement home neighbouring the site.
While Cllr Knowles understood neighbours concerns, he asserted: "The developers have listened and changed the design - perhaps we could've gone a bit further but that's where we are with this."
Fellow Conservative councillor Paul Clokie said that despite not usually liking "knocking down perfectly good houses to build something else, but in this case the buildings don't look too bad frankly."
Noting that it also adds a lot more residences to the same area of land, Cllr Clokie motioned to permit construction.
Cllr Neil Shorter (Con) seconded that motion, which was approved unanimously.
Stuart Goodwill, managing director of Churchill Retirement Living’s in-house planning consultancy, said: “We are grateful for the support of the local planning authority officers and councillors in supporting our proposals for this new development.
"It will help improve the health and wellbeing of those who live there, create a vibrant new community in the heart of the town, and meet the housing needs of many older people in Tenterden and the surrounding area.
"Retirement housing is the most effective way of generating local economic growth, local jobs, and increasing high street spend as we look to recover from the pandemic.”