Application for 220 houses in Boughton Lane - APPEAL WITHDRAWN
We have been informed by DHA Planning, Consultants for Wards Homes, that they have formally WITHDRAWN their appeal. This is in light of the recent changes in circumstances regarding the allocation of the site following the Local Plan Examination and the main modifications.
The Planning Examiner for the Maidstone Local Plan removed the two site allocations in Boughton Lane as being unsound. This, together with the legal position regarding a five year land supply - which had given credibility to the judicial review (when the former refusal by the Secretary of State was challenged) - now being no longer relevant, strengthened the NLRA case against the application. We had been hoping that the developers would not be willing to invest any more time and money into proceeding with this challenge, but we had to wait for the MBC Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee on 14th March 2017 to make the official decision that they would accept the Planning Examiner's amendments.
We quote from the papers submitted to the meeting:
Removed Site Allocations
New Line Learning, Boughton Lane
Kent County Council as Highway Authority now objects to the proposed allocation on the basis that the mitigation would not be sufficient to avoid a severe impact and it has particular safety concerns about the proposed Swan junction improvements.
Without adequate identified mitigation the inspector does not consider the allocation of the H1(29) site to be sound.
The allocation of the site is considered to be unsound by the Inspector.
There are traffic issues along Boughton Lane, and the site would generate significant movements along the northern part of Boughton Lane. Without adequate identified mitigation the allocation is not sound.
The public inquiry in October is therefore cancelled.
It is interesting to note that, although Maidstone Councillors on the planning committee had rejected the application, the officers obviously wanted it to go ahead. When it came to the planning inquiry they refused to defend it and it is only because the NLRA decided to challenge the developers using the 'Rule 6' procedure that we were able to achieve this result. We had a very small team of dedicated people who had a huge learning curve and who worked long and hard over a three year period, freely giving up many hours of their own time. We were very well supported by the rest of the NLRA committee and also by our members, who helped with traffic counts and turned up in big numbers to the inquiry itself - thus showing the Planning Inspector how the community felt about this application.
In addition, MBC planning officers were ready to accept an application from Persimmon Homes on the other site in Boughton Lane. Although no application has ever been formally submitted, we had seen the proposed plans and agreed some road safety amendments with the developers - only to have them changed back again by the planning officer.
This is a huge success for the NLRA and the community - please encourage all your neighbours to join us so we can stay strong.