Proposals to redevelop a derelict former petrol station for nearly 30 new retirement homes have been turned down after being branded “farcical” by a councillor.
Councillors rejected the plans in Staplehurst over a lack of parking which members said was nowhere near enough for the site.
The former Texaco and Enterprise Rentals site on Staplehurst High Street has been derelict for 10 years.
Churchill Retirement Living had intended to turn the forecourt into 27 apartments and two cottages designed for over-60s.
Estimated to cost £3.5 million the estate would’ve boasted communal facilities, a coffee bar and gardens.
But councillors sitting on the Maidstone Borough Council planning committee said they were unhappy with the proposals which included 15 spaces for at least 27 residents.
Cllr John Perry, who represents the village, said: “Deciding an application with 15 spaces for 27 people is quite farcical, ridiculous.
“If approved my village will be up in arms, it’s crazy.”
Councillors roundly turned on the scheme’s parking provision which Kent County Council highway officers said could be remedied by the public transport network.
But members noted the one bus route running through the village, the number five, is due to be cut by KCC.
Cllr Perry (Con) added: “We have the number five bus which runs periodically, you need to go to the local church and pray for it to turn up.
“It’s a bit of a cheat that KCC is a consultant in this because they are wanting to get rid of the one bus running there.
“I find the application really patronising, where it talks about elderly people not having cars. I live in Staplehurst and a lot of people have cars.
“They have to have cars because otherwise you wouldn’t be able to get anywhere.
“I know a lot of 80 years olds who regularly drive. The idea they will get rid of their cars is completely wrong and is misleading. I realise the developer is well known, but at this particular moment, this application is totally flawed.”
Others also pointed to the presentation by Churchill Retirement Homes which said the average age of a resident would be 80 and that some residents may cycle instead of drive.
Cllr Perry said any resident cycling down the A229 wouldn’t be living there very long and Cllr Lewis McKenna (Con) said it just wasn’t “the real world”.
Despite the many complaints councillors had about the parking situation, Cllr Tony Harwood (Lib Dem) pointed out because KCC Highways hadn’t objected, any refusal based on parking would likely fail.
He said: “I think there are some concerns about this application but I’m wary of putting too many eggs in a parking basket.
"At this particular moment, this application is totally flawed..."
"The other key concern is the scale and massing of the building, it’s much closer to the highway than other buildings in the village.
“There is an established building line in Staplehurst High Street, and this comes further forward a lot.
“That actually chips away at your opportunity to landscape, drainage and parking.
“It needs to be more subtle and suitable for its surroundings and environment.”
The plans were defeated unanimously based on the scale of the building.