Local opposition mounts as Sevenoaks council faces challenges in proposed Pedham Place garden village

Controversy surrounds the proposal for a new garden village with 2,500 homes at Pedham Place, near Swanley, as local opposition continues to mount.

The Sevenoaks council, which is responsible for the area, is facing pressure from the government to meet housing targets and has identified a need for new housing. However, with 93% of the district designated as green belt land, the council is facing difficulties in moving forward with its plans for thousands of new homes.

As part of its local plan, the council is proposing to build over 10,000 homes in the next 15 years. One major proposal is for a 2,500 home garden village at Pedham Place, located near junction 3 of the M25. Currently, the site is occupied by a golf course and land used for boot sales. The plan argues that the site has the potential to accommodate a sustainable settlement.

However, concerns have been raised about the feasibility of the plan, as it relies on potential roadworks and changes to the M25 that may never happen. A recent consultation on the proposal closed on January 11, and the results were discussed at a council meeting on March 26.

Local residents from Farningham, Eynsford, and Crockenhill have expressed their opposition to the proposed location for development. At a protest held by the Save the Green Belt Together campaign, over 50 villagers gathered outside the council meeting to voice their disapproval.

Residents have raised concerns about the impact on the green belt, the need for access to cars, and the future of the area for their children. In the consultation, options for meeting the district’s housing targets were proposed, including building around the district and scrapping the Pedham Place plan entirely. Out of 5,300 respondents, one-third supported a new settlement at Pedham Place, although the validity of the survey was questioned by some.

Kent County Council leader Roger Gough has also weighed in on the plans, expressing concerns about the impact on the communities he represents. He believes that the council should instead focus on building around the district and leave out the plans for a new village.

The council now has time to rework the proposals based on feedback before publishing a final draft in the spring or summer. The final plan is expected to be submitted later this year.

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