Published: 06:00, 11 September 2021
Controversial plans for 'urban sprawl' housing on the edge of a small town could be thrown out for a second time.
Proposals by Wates Developments for up to 145 new homes on land between Woodchurch Road and Appledore Road in Tenterden will be considered by councillors next week - with officers recommending they refuse them.
The firm behind the planned properties insists it remains "fully committed" to building on the site, despite its initial application for 250 homes being rejected.
They have now come back with a scaled-down vision for the site, but despite the reduction in the number of homes there are still a number of concerns about the project.
Town council planning committee chairman Cllr John Crawford has been one of many voices opposing the scheme.
He warned the latest revised plans would result in “urban sprawl”, adding "there is simply no justification for them".
In a report to the planning committee, which is due to consider the plans on September 15, Ashford Borough Council's head of planning and development recommends refusal of the "intensive" development on what is described as "undeveloped land forming part of a strongly rural edge" of the town.
"We are fully committed to bringing vitally needed new family homes to this part of Kent..."
The report drawn up for consideration by the committee states: "The proposals would involve a large scale, intensive residential development on undeveloped land forming part of a strongly rural edge that, in its undeveloped state, contributes positively to the landscape setting of the south-east side of Tenterden.
"The proposals, by virtue of their scale, form and intensity would not sit sympathetically within the wider landscape, would not preserve or enhance the setting of the settlement or be consistent with local character and would result in harm to the character and appearance of the surrounding area."
The head of planning's report also states the proposals would negatively impact on ancient trees and the biodiversity of the area.
Responding to the recommendation that the plans be turned down, a spokesman for Wates Developments said: "We are fully committed to bringing vitally needed new family homes to this part of Kent, and following feedback from Ashford Borough Council on the previous application we have worked with our technical team to revise our proposals.
"This has resulted in a significant reduction of the number of proposed homes on site, now including 145 new homes, of which 50% will be affordable. Ashford Borough Council have also recently acknowledged the lack of five year housing supply in the borough, further increasing the need for homes.
"We have listened to the views of the local community help inform our plans, and bring forward benefits in line with local needs identified by Tenterden Town Council and Ashford Borough Council.
"These include provision of five new grass playing pitches and club house, natural play spaces and extensive 21-acre country park. Over 78% of the site is proposed as publicly accessibly green space."