PARISH COUNCIL RESPONSE:
Newington Parish Council has considered this application and wishes to object for the following reasons:
At a Planning Committee meeting on 22 April attended by a large number of concerned residents, and addressed by a representative from Persimmon Homes, there were very strong reservations concerning the application.
The ‘Land North of the A2’ known locally as ‘the bean field’ is high quality agricultural land, still used for this purpose. Those residents with an understanding of the grading scheme believe it to be of the highest / most versatile quality and question the 2/3a classification in the Persimmon documentation. The ‘Swale Borough Agricultural Land Quality’ map (Scott Wilson) classifies this to be of grade I quality. Any development would be overriding the NPPF guidance that development should take place on poorer land in preference to land of higher quality.
The land forms a natural end border to the village and this development will add to spread, turning the village into an urban sprawl. We would ask The Planning Committee to consider the Secretary of States ruling in the following appeal. .Town and Country Planning Act 1990 – Section 78; appeal by JM Beatty, I S Clark and Redrow Homes, South Midlands; Land at Station Road, Earls Barton NN6.0NT APPLICATION REF: WP/2013/0457/OM –(Paragraphs 18 & 19 are relevant)
This land is not included in the list of sites identified by Swale Borough Council, nor does it feature in the current or emerging local plans. The proposed site is adjacent to the High Street and Church Lane conservation areas.
Newington Parish Council does not believe this would be a sustainable development. Public transport is poor: the daytime rail service is hourly in each direction; the bus service is poor and non-existent on Sundays. We have no dentist or doctor and there is no evidence that NHS clinical commissioning group have any appetite to provide one. Therefore there is a real concern that the land identified for a surgery would be re-designated for housing.
As with many proposals for new developments, there is insufficient parking proposed: 242 spaces for 113 houses and any visitors.
The proposed community green is scant compensation for the loss of the valued and much-used footpath across open fields to the north, south and east of the Village.
Newington Parish Council believes there would be a flood risk if the proposed development were permitted. The land is at the foot of the long and steep Boyces Hill. Currently rainwater runs down the road and the land to the north, draining to the ‘bean field’. We worry that either the new site would be a flood risk, or it would cause flooding to existing properties on the north of the High Street.
The A2 is a ‘B’ quality road with ‘A’ quality designation. The road is heavily used by HGVs, often en-route to the Spade Lane cold store. The junction proposed by Persimmon for the new site causes real concern. The three lanes would be of insufficient width for cars waiting to turn whilst HGVs try to squeeze past. This unsatisfactory solution would also result in a narrowing of the footpath, with pedestrians hit by overhanging lorry wing mirrors.
The Medical services locally are insufficient and our local major hospital is in special measures and has been for nearly 3 years. An increase in population will directly impact on local medical service.
Newington Parish Council remains concerned about air quality. It seems we are assessed against urban rather than rural benchmarks. We are not persuaded that the proposed mitigation measures will have any effect. It is surely a fact that any increase in traffic will result in further hold-ups in the Village centre, with inevitable increase in noxious fumes that impact on the health of residents. (Note: Directive 2008/50/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2008 on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe. This directive sets the limit at 30 ug/m3 and not 40 ug/m3)
The proposed footpath to Church Lane (known locally by its historic name ‘Linacre Lane’ after the Tudor physician, part of whose estate this comprised) is a cause for concern. On paper this seems useful pedestrian access to the station and for children to walk to school. Our experience is that many parents drive their children to school as part of their own journey to work; others choose to drive as they feel Church Lane is not safe for pedestrians. Newington Parish Council is concerned that the footpath would become a gathering point for teenagers, focussed on its widest point where the driveways to 40 and 42 Church Lane lead to their garages.