Report on village homes out before public expiry date
Maidstone Borough Council’s planning department has been criticised for recommending a controversial housing scheme should go ahead – before the expiry date for the public to submit their views.
Official notices posted around Yalding gave residents until Friday to respond to an application to build 65 homes on glebe field off Vicarage Lane.
Yet the agenda was published two days before the original meeting date and already contained the planning officer’s recommendation that councillors should grant planning permission, subject to conditions.
Dr Robin Schuldenfrei, of Yalding Residents For Sensible Development which is opposed to the application, said: “How can the officer have properly considered residents’ views when the public consultation still had two days to run?”
Cllr Steve McLoughlin (Con), who represents Marden and Yalding, said: “This is appall- ing. It’s outrageous.
“I have no idea why the planners are trying to push this through so quickly, but I shall be asking for it to be pulled from the agenda until the officers have had a chance to hear all the public’s views and those of the consultees.”
The application from Countryside Properties is for 65 homes ranging from one-bedroom flats to four-bedroom houses on land owned by the church diocese next to a conservation area, and close to listed buildings.
English Heritage had also not responded.
Cllr McLoughlin said if councillors declared views on planning applications before hearing all the opinions they would be deemed to have “predetermined” the issue and be required not to take part.
Nu-Venture bus company objected because of congestion and Southern Water has indicated the existing sewerage scheme will be inadequate.
A total of 210 letters of objection, plus opposition from Yalding Parish Council, have been made but the planning officer said the proposal accorded with the newly adopted Local Plan.
A council spokesman said: “Any new information that comes in would be fully considered and added to the report as an urgent update. This would include information received right up to the day of the committee.”
The meeting was rescheduled from today (Thursday) to Thursday, November 16.
The village must also take 30 extra homes off Blunden Lane after Millwood Designer Homes won an appeal
Cllr Steve McLoughlin