Published: 15:12, 25 August 2019
| Updated: 08:22, 27 August 2019
A developer has offered to relieve congestion at Hawkhurst's busy Highgate crossroads by building a "bypass."
But the idea has been shunned by many villagers, who have condemned it as a "sop" or "inducement" to accept plans for 417 new homes across the 20-hectare site.
Cedardrive Homes has submitted a planning application to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council seeking permission to build on Hawkhurst Golf and Squash Club, and also on the adjacent Springfield nursery site.
The company is seeking outline permission for 417 homes, but is also offering to build a road through the centre of the site, which it suggests could become a substitute for the A229.
The road would link Hawkhurst High Street with the Cranbrook Road.
It is also offering to building a community structure as part of the development that could be either a doctors' surgery, village hall or children's nursery.
The road would link to Hawkhurst High Street with a new roundabout, while at the Cranbrook Road end, the road priority would be changed so that traffic travelling south from Cranbrook would automatically turn into the new road.
It suggests the move would enable the northern leg of the traffic-light controlled Highgate crossroads to be shut off and become a pedestrian area.
But the plans have already received more than 160 written objections.
Villagers fear the effect of the extra homes and population on already stretched village services and resent the proposed loss of green space.
The golf course is bordered by designated Ancient Woodland to the north and east, lies outside the village envelope for built development, but inside the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Part of the site also falls within an area designated as of Special Landscape Importance, and the land is dissected by the Slip Mill Stream.
The nine-hole golf course opened in 1968, and there are also two squash courts on the site
Hawkhurst Parish Council has called a pubic meeting to discuss the plans and to hear residents' views. It will be held on Monday, September 9, from 7.45pm till 8.45pm in the St Lawrence Church at The Moor in Hawkhurst. All welcome.
Application number 19/02025 refers.