19/01206/AS – Hybrid application at London Beach Golf Club, Ashford Road, St Michaels, Tenterden, Kent TN30 6HX

Proposal: Hybrid application seeking:

  1. full planning permission for a detached 3-storey building containing 12 x 2 bedroom flats for active retirees with associated parking and landscaping and
  2. outline planning permission with all matters reserved on a site area of 1.16ha for 4 detached buildings each containing 12 x 2-bedroom flats for active retirees.

I am writing on behalf of the Tenterden & District Residents Association (TDRA) to object to this planning application for the following reasons:

  • The Ashford Local Plan states: “This site is located on the A28, Ashford Road on the entrance to the built up settlement of St. Michaels, Tenterden. The London Beach Golf Club and Hotel is situated to the north of the site but is not visible, due to the setback nature of buildings. The site is overgrown scrub and contains a significant mature tree and hedgerow boundary, including a prominent Oak on the road frontage. There are views to the open countryside on the opposing side of the road and the housing directly to the south comprises of detached dwellings in large curtilages, creating a rural setting… The site was submitted for low density ‘high quality’ detached dwellings and is considered suitable for this ‘exclusive’ home purpose, for up to 3 dwellings only. This amount of development enables the retention of the mature trees and hedges, in particular the large Oak and enhancement of the pond that lies beneath it. The design of the properties here must be sensitive to characteristics of the local area and design proposals must indicate how the immediate setting will be enhanced. The buildings must be of innovative and high quality design and must not harm the immediate or wider setting…”
  • In Para 3.187 the Local Plan states “The Council is concerned that unplanned erosion of countryside between built up areas would have a serious and significant adverse impact on the character and individual identity of villages through loss of their setting or, more seriously, through coalescence. This could occur in a variety of locations across the borough, for example by the large scale expansion of villages to encompass nearby hamlets; through progressive ‘ribbon’ or linear development along roads that joins up settlements, or through the expansion of Ashford itself.”
  • POLICY SP7 – Separation of Settlements states “Proposals for built development on non-allocated sites outside the built up confines of settlements shall be permitted only where its impact, individually or cumulatively, would not result in the coalescence or merging of two (or more) separate settlements, or the significant erosion of a gap between settlements resulting in the loss of individual identity or character.”This application would have all of the adverse impacts that the Council suggests in Para 3.187 and Policy SP7 that they are seeking to avoid.
  • This proposal would result in significantly increased vehicular movements, impacting an already congested A28, particularly at peak travel times.
  • The proposed designs do not reflect the local vernacular architectural character of the Low and High Weald, including Tenterden, both in use of materials, form and massing of the buildings.
  • This site is not in the Ashford Local Plan and the proposals represent a significant additional number of residential units to Tenterden Parish, more than would typically considered ‘windfall’. We would consider this scale of development totally inappropriate for this location and completely unsustainable.
  • There would be significant erosion to the ecology and wildlife that inhabit the site, particularly for foragers; bat roosting; amphibians and reptiles resulting in yet more loss of valuable green space within Tenterden Parish.

In summary, we object to this application as the proposed site is located in open countryside, beyond the urban zone of St Michaels and High Halden resulting in more unsustainable and unsuitable sprawl along the A28 towards High Halden. This would set an undesirable precedent for future linear development and would impact on the individual character and identity of the village of St Michaels and High Halden.

Siggi Nepp
TDRA Planning Secretary

Posted by Planning Committee
Monday 9th September 2019

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