Gladman withdraws three appeals for 500 homes in Ashford

Land promoter Gladman Developments has withdrawn three appeals it had lodged with a Kent council for almost 500 homes after a local plan inspector found that the authority could demonstrate a five-year housing land supply.

Ashford Borough Council: appeals withdrawn. Pic: N Chadwick, Geograph.org
Ashford Borough Council: appeals withdrawn. Pic: N Chadwick, Geograph.org

Gladman appealed after Ashford Borough Council refused outline applications for 125 homes in the village of Brabourne Lees in August 2016 and for 245 homes in the village of Charing in July 2017.

The firm lodged a third appeal after the council failed to determine an outline application for 110 houses in the village of Biddenden. Council officers had recommended that the scheme be refused at a planning committee in May.

Among the reasons for refusal for the three schemes was that the scale of development would have an "adverse" impact on the villages concerned.

Gladman's appeals were made on the basis that the council could not demonstrate a five-year land supply, the authority said, a key requirement of the National Planning Policy Framework. 

According to barristers Francis Taylor Building, which represented the council in the three appeals and advised on its local plan, the Brabourne Lees inquiry opened in January and was due to reconvene in this month.

The Charing inquiry had closed after sitting in March and April with a decision due in August. Meanwhile, the Biddenden inquiry was due to take place in October. 

However, on 29 June, the two inspectors examining the new Ashford local plan issued a post-hearing advice note, which concluded that the council could demonstrate a five-year housing land supply.  

The inspectors said the housing land supply in Ashford was 7,730 homes, above the 7,440 needed. According to the note, the inspectors found that the local plan's annual target should be 888 homes a year, or 16,872 over the 19-year plan period up to 2030.

Paul Clokie, the council's planning portfolio holder, said: "Our planning and legal teams, along with our colleagues in Brabourne and Charing parish councils and the Campaign to Protect Rural England, have worked tirelessly to prevent three separate developments that would have been a blight on these rural areas. 

"Understandably, we are very pleased with the result.

"The council will continue to take a local plan-led approach, including consultation with local residents, to meet the development needs of the borough and we will strongly resist any inappropriate or unjustified development."

Dr Hilary Newport, director of the Kent Branch of CPRE said: "The local communities can be rightfully proud of the defence that they put up against land speculators like Gladman Developments."

Gladman was approached for comment but had not responded at the time of publication.


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