Dartford Council Approves Ambitious Plan for 12,500 New Homes Despite Housing and Infrastructure Concerns

Dartford Council Approves Ambitious Plan for 12,500 New Homes Despite Housing and Infrastructure Concerns

Dartford Approves Plan for 12,500 New Homes Amid Housing and Infrastructure Concerns

The town of Dartford in Kent is set to undergo a major transformation as plans for 12,500 new homes have been approved, despite concerns over the housing crisis and infrastructure readiness.

The population of Dartford has seen a significant increase of 20% since 2011, with the current population standing at 116,800. This rapid growth has been fueled by the development of the Ebbsfleet Expansion, which includes the country’s first garden city in 100 years and a planned 15,000 homes.

The local council, led by long-time leader Jeremy Kite, has approved an ambitious plan for housebuilding over the next 13 years. While some have praised the move, others believe it falls short in addressing the housing crisis and the need for adequate infrastructure to support the growing population.

Local councils are required to have long-term plans for development, and failure to do so could result in a state of presumption in favor of sustainable development, meaning developments must be approved even if the council would prefer to refuse them.

The approved plan has been described as “the mother and father of all planning policies” and has received support from both the ruling Conservative party and the opposition Labour party. However, concerns have been raised regarding the plan’s focus on the Ebbsfleet area, which is already struggling to keep up with the demand for schools and health facilities.

In 2014, the government announced plans for a new garden city at Ebbsfleet, with a target of 15,000 homes. However, as of 2024, only 4,000 homes have been built and the local plan only includes a provision of 8,200 homes by 2037. This has led to criticism from the community, with some saying that the pace of development is not fast enough.

Ian Piper, chief executive of the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, has defended the progress, stating that a project of this scale takes time to complete. He also clarified that some of the housing figures fall outside of Dartford’s local plan and will not be included in their numbers.

Freddie Poser, director of the pro-housing and planning reform campaign group PricedOut, believes that Dartford is a prime location for new homes to be built, especially in the southeast where the demand is high.

The local plan sets a target of 35% affordable housing on new developments, while the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation has a target of 30%. This has been a point of concern for Green party councillor Laura Edie, who believes that developers have been neglecting the need for affordable housing in the area.

Despite these concerns, the local plan was adopted by the council and is set to move forward. Council leader Jeremy Kite has emphasized the importance of building communities rather than just homes, and ensuring that infrastructure is in place to support the growing population.

The approved plan is a major step towards addressing the housing crisis in Dartford and providing much-needed homes for the community. It will be crucial for the council to work closely with developers and stakeholders to ensure that the development is sustainable and beneficial for all residents.

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