Thursday, 7 April 2016

West Kent: local opposition versus local need for new homes

Who said building houses was easy? It certainly looks like it isn’t Paddock Wood in west Kent.

Rydon Homes set off in February 2013 with plans, according to its website, to develop Church Farm in Paddock Wood, delivering:
• Up to 300 quality new homes
• 105 affordable homes (35%)
• Measures to reduce flooding in Paddock Wood
• A 24-acre country park
• Improved wildlife habitat
• New children’s play areas, allotments and orchard

Plus off-site provisions of a new school facility, community facilities and highway improvements

The proposed Rydon Homes development falls within Tunbridge Wells borough, and the local Paddock Wood Town Council has just unanimously opposed it.

This is despite the draft Strategic Housing Market Assessment showing Tunbridge Wells needs to provide 12,960 homes between 2013-2033 – that’s 648 each year.

The partners certainly can’t be accused of not consulting with the public, far from it, and Kentcentric understands the application was submitted in 2014.

With Rydon Homes getting the thumbs down for its proposed 300 new homes, it probably doesn’t bode well for Hillreed, which has plans for 375 homes at nearby Mascalls Farm. The same fate might also befall Berkeley Homes’ plans to build in Paddock Wood.

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council makes its decision later this year. It will need to balance its position against struggling to show it doesn’t have a five-year housing land supply and a non-NPPF compliant Local Plan, against building in a flood plain and local opposition.

One to watch.

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