The decision, if approved by Eric Pickles could see nearly 20 years of development begin, with house building proposed to be started in 2016.
Land at Lodge Hill – the former MoD Chattenden Barracks – had been earmarked for development by the MoD’s Defence Infrastructure Organisation, with Land Securities selected as Land Sale Delivery Partner.
However, earlier this year Natural England’s SSSI designation for the area’s nightingale population, as well as for species of special grassland and woodland, had appeared to scupper the plans. Land Securities have come forward with mitigation and compensation proposals and Kentcentric understands these will now be reviewed by Natural England.
Given the scale of the development, the outline approval came with a hefty raft of planning conditions linked to the S106 agreement, including:
· £7.5million contribution towards highway and public transport improvements on the A228 and A289
· Delivery of three primary schools; one school with special educational needs, and a secondary school with a sixth form and associated sports facilities
· £90,000 towards improving cycle links between the site and Medway City Estate
· £1,040,750 towards local sports facilities
The decision, with 5,000 homes attached to the development, was an important one for Medway’s planners as it will make a significant contribution to the authority’s housing land supply as required by the NPPF.