Decision on Broadwater Farm delayed

22nd December 2022

A decision over proposals to build 900 homes on open fields is unlikely to be decided until August of next year.

Tonbridge and Malling council has agreed a new timetable with applicants Berkeley Homes over its plans for Broadwater Farm near East Malling. The housebuilder is expected to submit amendments to its original plan in February, which will then go out to public consultation. There will be site visits in June with the planning committee making its determination in July.

The application will then be referred to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities for government approval or rejection. The site is not allocated for development in the existing Tonbridge and Malling Local Plan, but has been included in the draft Local Plan currently being prepared.

The Broadwater Action Group, which has around 400 members, is opposed both to the inclusion of the site in the Local Plan and the existing application. The group's chairman Tony Ward said one of the key issues was the housing target set by the government for Tonbridge and Malling.

He said: "The government’s own projected population increase over the lifespan of the plan is 5.7% for England, yet TMBC has been asked to find space for nearly 16,000 new homes over the same period, an increase of around 30%."

"There is no economic model that shows this will result in homes becoming more affordable locally, instead it will just result in migration of residents from more expensive areas – ie London – ‘jumping’ the green belt and settling here and actually making housing less affordable.

"Add to that the fact that nearly 60% of all development in the borough since 2006 has been within one mile of the West Malling boundaries, this makes this imposed allocation both disproportionate and unfair on local residents."

Residents are particularly fearful of a large and lengthy access dual carriageway proposed by Berkeley to provide access to the new estate from the A228 Ashton Way, which would affect the both New Barns and Broadwater Farm Conservation Area and the Mill Street Conservation Area.

You can view the application on the council's planning portal, under the reference 21/02719.

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