Malling Mail Local Plan is set for approval

Sept/Oct 2018 Serving local people, businesses & events in

Addington, Birling, East Malling, Kings Hill, Larkfield, Leybourne, Mereworth, Offham, Ryarsh, Trottiscliffe, West Malling

TONBRIDGE & Malling Borough Council’s Tory cabinet has unanimously approved the latest draft of the Local Plan for the borough’s house building and employment sites up to 2031. The ruling Conservative group are likely to ratify the plan when full council meets on September 12.

Many councillors have expressed concerns they were under government instruction to find sites for the government requirement for an additional 6,500 houses, which would have serious effects on the local area, particularly in relation to traffic. They also were unhappy that government had put further pressure on the borough by instructing that the agreed Plan must be sent to the Secretary of State by January 2019. Failure to do so would have resulted in a 23% penalty increase in the number of homes required. Cabinet were agreed this must be avoided. Unless TMBC has an agreed plan, it is more likely to lose battles with developers when they appeal adverse planning decisions.

Against that backdrop, several councillors have reluctantly agreed to recommend the plan for approval. If the plan is approved on September 12, there will be a six week public consultation exercise. Feedback will be submitted to the government-appointed

inspector who will hold a public inquiry and make his recommendation to the Secretary of State for his decision. Local landowners, whose sites have not been chosen for housebuilding by the borough, are likely to put in renewed requests for the inspector to overrule earlier refusals.

THE Local Plan proposes:

- A 1,000 home extension to Kings Hill north onto Broadwater Farm, with a new access joining the bypass opposite West Malling Station, including building 65 homes at the western end of Teston Road with vehicle access only onto Kings Hill;

- Extending the Green Belt boundary from West Malling to Wateringbury Road, East Malling, protecting the remaining countryside between Kings Hill, West Malling, East Malling, Larkfield and Leybourne;

* 205 houses off New Road, East Malling on East Malling Research land south of Bradbourne house;

* 110 houses south of London Road, West Malling; * 12 houses on Manor Farm, Offham Road West Malling; * 1,200 houses in Aylesford mainly off Hermitage Lane; * 245 houses in Ditton mainly on land belonging to East Malling Research.

Court action against named travellers

A NUMBER of London boroughs have successfully obtained High Court injunctions against specific named travellers to prevent them returning to camp sites they have invaded. County councillor Trudy Dean has asked Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council whether it can use this process locally, with the support of parish councils, to prevent the problems in Larkfield, Leybourne, East and West Malling over the past two years. Travellers have had to be removed from public land, involving a costly legal process taking sometimes up to ten days to complete, and clean up and repair costs to damaged fences and gates. The eviction order prevents return to the same site for three months, but reoccupation has occurred immediately following the expiry of the notice, requiring the whole eviction process to start all over again.

The London boroughs which have obtained injunctions had much bigger problems, such as in Harlow where there were over 100 invasions in eighteen months.

The process also costs tens of thousands of pounds and the

injunctions must still ultimately be enforced through Police arrest and committal to prison.

TMBC officers will be discussing the issue with the police in coming months.

All local parish councils are putting in various methods of physical barriers to sites, but this legal process may be more effective.

David’s history walk

DAVID Thornewell is leading an Historical Walk on Sunday, September 16, at 2pm from Church Farm, New Hythe Lane, Larkfield. It is a walk to look at some of Larkfield’s few remaining old buildings and local features. It is being undertaken on behalf of the parish council as part of the second weekend of Heritage Open Days and is expected to finish about 4pm-ish.

A Malling Action Partnership publication

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