Pond Farm:  summary of the main points made in comments to the Application and to the Inquiry

As requested,  you may find these helpful in writing any response to the Inspectorate.  There is no significance in the order of the points below and new points (submitted to the Clerk, Wendy Licence on clerk@npc.gmail.com )  are added at the end of the list.

 

Blackcurrant harvest at Pond Farm August

 

The outbuildings form part of the integrated farm buildings, alongside the Grade II listed Pond Farmhouse

 

This working farm is part of the heritage of this Village.  There is a harvest of apples and fruit this autumn

 

The arrangement of farmhouse and outbuildings are ‘classic’, but sadly few others remain in this area.

 

The proposal for the demolition of the farm outbuildings is merely a convenience – allowing access to an undesirable development that will destroy the adjacent farmland.  

 

The Application is in breach of existing planning policies namely SH1 section 4 (The local service centres of Boughton, Eastchurch, Newington, Teynham and Leysdown, where new development may be acceptable on previously-developed land within the defined built-up areas or, in the case of new services for the settlement and the surrounding rural area, on other suitable sites that do not harm the settlement pattern or character of the surrounding countryside.), E6 (where it does not meet any of the 9 criteria) and RC3 where it does not have the support of the local Parish Council. 

 

The draft local plan states:

4.3.20  Newington: Despite its role and level of services, development opportunities are very limited due to the valued and important heritage, landscapes and habitats to the north of the village, poor pedestrian connections between north and south of the village, a restricted internal road network, poor air quality and surrounding high quality agricultural land.

 

In drawing up the Local Plan the Pond Farm site was considered and rejected.  The Plan makes clear the scale and location of the limited developments Newington is able to sustain.  The Local Plan surely has the status of ‘Material Planning Consideration’ and on this basis the Gladman proposal should be rejected.

 

In section 02 of the Design and Access statement the applicants have used the general national trend of an ageing population arguing that there are declines in school age and working populations and that this development is required for the sustainability of the village.  That is disputed as local schools have high numbers of pupils and there are now more commuters using the train station.

 

Existing schools would struggle to cope with the influx of children from a development of 330 homes.

 

The nearest A & E hospital is emerging from being in special measures and is  already struggling to cope with the existing population.

 

There is a shortage of local Doctors and although the plan states that there will be a Doctor’s surgery provided: it is unclear who will be responsible for its construction.

 

The application states that the village amenities are within walking distance.  To gain access to these amenities pedestrians would have to cross the A2.  Even if the applicant were to build a pavement and cycle path along the frontage of the development this would not link to the existing village infrastructure.  Crossing the A2 outside of the village centre is difficult but with children and at peak times would be dangerous even at a refuge island.

 

The applicant’s Air Quality report accepts that the existing levels of NO2 in Newington High Street already exceed European safety levels.  However the applicant’s expert dismisses the data in 3.3.8 of its report by stating ‘the monitoring locations are influenced by local factors i.e. congestion and a lack of dispersion due to canyon street effects’.  The applicant's report fails to acknowledge that these local factors apply to the majority of the High Street and the additional traffic created by an additional 330 + 60 homes will only accentuate the congestion and air quality problems. 

 

The rail service is not as described in the Gladman publicity:  the number and frequency of stopping trains has reduced in recent years.  Road travel to Rainham and Sittingbourne for access to the faster service would add to congestion on the A2 at Rainham and Key Street.

 

Villagers have chosen to live in Newington because of the location, size and character of the village.  

 

Newington is a village of 2500 inhabitants;  A development of 330 houses would mean a sudden growth of up to 1000 people – ie 40%.  Census figures show a much smaller, organic increase of 11 people between 2001 and 2011.

 

Newington is centred on the A2, renown widely as a frequent obstruction.  The Village sees the narrowest point on the entire length of the A2.  Rainham and Key Street, on either side of the village, are very congested at morning and evening rush hours.

 

The County Council proposal, for Operation Stack, to re-route M20 traffic along the A249 to the Stockbury roundabout en route to Manston would further increase congestion at a place where there are already significant traffic delays.  Operation Stack has been a frequent occurrence this summer.

 

Newington School would be unable to accommodate an increase of roll that this development would cause.  Parents choose the school because of its small one form entry size.

 

The proposed walking route to school would be hazardous for young children.  Research shows that working parents usually drive their children to school as part of their own journey to work.  Church Lane would be unable to cope with the increase in traffic at the start and finish of the school day.

 

 

Please send any digital photographs showing Pond Farm as a working farm to the  Parish Clerk, Wendy Licence, on clerk@npc.gmail.com )