Plans for 3,000-home new town ‘Borough Green Gardens’ suffer a ‘huge setback’
Plans for a brand new town near Sevenoaks have suffered a setback after Government inspectors raised “serious concerns in relation to legal compliance”.
The huge site, currently known by its development name Borough Green Gardens, is proposed to be made up of more than 3,000 homes, two schools and a major relief road.
It includes land bounded to the north by the M26, to the south by the existing village of Borough Green, to the east by the A20 London Road, and to the west by the Ightham bypass roundabout.
Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council has put it forward as a major contributor to new housing needed for its next Local Plan – which identifies sites suitable for development up to the year 2031. It has even produced a website dedicated to promoting its benefits.
But Government planning inspectors who scrutinised the plans in recent weeks have now written to the council to cancel the next round of hearings, citing “serious concerns in relation to legal compliance”.
The letter added: “Because of this it would not be a good use of anyone’s time for the next hearing sessions to go ahead at this stage.
“We understand how important it is for the Council to be able to move forward to get an up to date local plan in place, and that you will be disappointed with what we are saying here.
“However, we have only come to this view following a great deal of thought and after hearing all the evidence from both the Council and representors.”
Kent Live understands that several concerns were raised specifically about Borough Green Gardens in the first set of hearings. They were attended by barristers representing a consortium of five parish councils that is fighting the plans.
Peter Gillen, chairman of Wrotham Parish Council which bounds the site to the north, said concerns were raised about the site lying on active quarries, and the borough council’s failure to consult with Kent County Council which has responsibility for minerals.
He said further concerns were raised about Sevenoaks District Council not being consulted in relation to traffic increases expected and the potential impact on a nearby designated Air Quality Management Area.
The site also contains green belt land and other parcels designated as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Both the parish council consortium and the borough council are awaiting a more detailed letter from the Government inspectors.
A spokesman for Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council said: “We are disappointed that the hearings scheduled for November have been cancelled. We are now awaiting further details from the inspector regarding his concerns. Until then we are not able to comment further.”
Borough Green Gardens will contain around 3,000 new homes, a relief road, two primary schools, business space, two primary schools, a doctors’ surgery, local shops, community hubs and a sports centre and playing fields.
The council says some of these were included following “a large consultation survey in late 2016/early 2017” where “the consortium asked the local community and surrounding areas what they would like to see”.
However Wrotham Parish Council chairman Peter Gillen says there is little local appetite for a development of such scale.
He told KentLive: “We think they have completely miscalculated the traffic implications. Around here we already have great long queues in the mornings and in the evenings.
“They are trying to urbanise a country area. We are a series of villages. We don’t want one continuous urban area.”
Article originally appeared on Kent Live
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