Housing allowed despite impact on ancient woodland and protected species

Outline permission for up to 89 dwellings and associated infrastructure has been granted on grazing land in Kent. Harm to the area's character, loss of ancient woodland and impact on protected species were outweighed by the positive benefits of the needed housing and new woodland management scheme.

A lack of five year housing land supply, need for affordable housing and out of date local plan policies has led an inspector to consider, on balance, that there were insufficent reasons to prevent new housing being allowed at a greenfield site in Kent. The proposed dwellings would be located near to an existing built up area, be well-screened and be of such a low density to mean that there would be little harm to the character and appearance of the area. The inspector also concluded that the loss of less than 2% of ancient woodland to allow for access to the site and any potential affect on protected species of bats and dormice was outweighed by the mitigation measures proposed in the new woodland management scheme agreed as part of the S106 agreement. These included a dormice bridge, new planting and sympathetic lighting. A small biomass plant was also accepted as contributing to the sustainability of the scheme.

The scheme allowed was one of two appeals at the site, the other scheme was dismissed as having too great an impact on the ancient woodland.

Inspector: Paul K Jackson; Inquiry

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