My report to the Planning Committee on 14/0681AS

Below is a copy of my report to the Planning Committee on behalf of the residents of Aldington regarding:

Planning Application No:14/00681/AS
Location: Land abutting Celak Close SE of Callywell Lane Aldington, Kent.
Application: Erection of 41 dwellings with access from Callywell land together with associated parking, landscaping and open spaces.

This site adopted into the core strategy in 2008, has been the source of considerable unrest and acrimony within the village of Aldington, being the last of no more than 5 separate development projects in the last 11 years that have seen Aldington constantly plagued by upheaval and unrest. As a result of these developments, Aldington has grown in excess of a staggering 47% in terms of dwellings in this time. An earlier development of some 70 homes in the village has been blighted by considerable build quality issues, and has left villagers extremely distrustful of developer promises to deliver something of quality that they can be proud to welcome as part of their village, without some kind of quantifiable commitment attached.

The greatest concern posed by this development therefore lies in the quality of the homes and the development that TW will deliver. To this end I would like to draw member’s attention to the very detailed and specific conditions on pages 1.41-1.44, of the officers report , that have been out lined as prerequisites to any planning application being granted. it is unfortunate that as a planning authority, we should need to impose such a lengthy list of conditions on a developer such as Taylor Wimpey, and in particular on an adopted site, so I applaud the officer’s diligence and insistence, that QUALITY be the one of the key overriding issues in this planning application.

As noted in Paragraph 39 of the report on page 1.23 High quality cannot be delivered by conditions alone and given this committee’s strong commitment to provide quality development, I would ask the committee to reinforce their agreement, with the inclusion of quality Monitoring in the 106 agreement.

I ask members to take particular note of the importance attached to the need for all amended plans and missing information to be supplied, and that planning obligations should secured through by this 106 undertaking as a condition of any decision to permit this development.
Involvement of our building Control team, will ensure all conditions are complied with, avoid past mistakes, and begin to restore residents faith in large development in their area. I particularly applaud the inclusion of a time frame for commitment to comply by March 13 2015.

I am pleased that in the past few weeks Taylor Wimpey have adjusted almost all of the major concerns myself, the officers, residents and the planning department had on the proposed development. I positively note that residents’ concerns over the need for no vehicular access via Quarry Wood have been agreed by both officers and TW and that the development be completed in one phase rather than two. These two adjustments contribute greatly to ensuring the development minimizes disruption and quality of life for residents, and I would ask the committee to agree to these.

Residents are unsettled by the affordable housing block of flats to the SE. Whilst the design has been improved and better integrated into the development, it is considered that the location would have been better served by a greater proportion of semi- detached or terraced homes that look less like an afterthought, and that would blend in to the environment better. Having failed to secure the complete adopted site for development, it appears a rather clumsy attempt to squeeze the full capacity of homes, at the expense of integration and harmony.
I would ask the Committee therefore to consider this as an indication of how vital it is to tie the developer to a quality commitment.

Concerns remain regarding the delivery of an adequate drainage system, but I am assured by both the officer, and Southern Water, that by delivery of the requirements outlined in the recommendations, a workable and sufficient system can be provided to meet the development’s needs going forward.

Aldington lies within the Aldington Ridge Landscape Character and as such great care needs to be taken to conserve the amenity and character of the surrounding area, to ensure wildlife is respected & preserved, and to ensure the adequate provision and maintenance of public rights of way, as noted in the report. I particularly support the officers recommendation on page 1.46 for a 5 year replacement plan for trees and plants.

The recommendations attached to this application span some 17 A4 pages and give an indication as to how much vital information and fine detail is still to be supplied. Whist considerable opposition still remains in Aldington, I am happy that, if the committee sees fit to grant the application and includes the complete list conditions and unmet requirements, that a development of some quality could be built that would be of benefit to Aldington.

I commend the hard work of the officer, & the planning department together with their concern to, not only adhere to policy and legislation, but also to deliver a development in accordance with the wishes and concerns of residents, and I thank them greatly on behalf of Aldington for this.

Mr Chairman I support the officer’s recommendations to grant the application pending, implementation of the full list of conditions.

By copying in the below to your browser you will be able to read the full report by the Officer leading the applications and to the conditions recommended and now agreed