2,000 new homes on the map

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Concerns have been raised over the environmental impact of more than 2,000 homes earmarked for Tonbridge as the borough moves towards a new Local Plan.

Mark Hood, of West Kent Green Party, said it was unacceptable that a number of greenfield locations had been identified for development – many of which are in areas known to be at heightened risk of flooding.

The largest scheme within the town, revealed under Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council’s interim sites assessment, is at Grange Farm, off Higham Lane.

According to the study this could hold up to 1,211 homes in a bid to meet the shortage of family properties.

Mr Hood said: “It is unjustifiable to be building on greenfield sites when there are a number of urban ­locations that already have planning approval that have yet to be built.

“It is also a shame there are proposals to build on school playing fields off Dryhill Park Road, as we should be looking to preserve the green spaces.”

Further potential locations include up to 332 homes on land at Manor Farm off Upper Haysden Lane, plus more than 300 at Coblands plant nursery in Trench Road. Land north of Lower Haysden Lane was also considered potentially suitable for up to 440 homes.

In addition, Ridge View School’s plans for a new site at Upper Haysden Lane next year could lead to its present site becoming the location more than 70 properties.

A similar total could be constructed on the playing fields on Dryhill Park Road linked to Hilden Grange Preparatory School.

Also among the sites that are being considered is land near Tonbridge Football Club, which could house hundreds more homes.

The council’s ‘call for sites’ document acknowledged that many areas of the potential development within Tonbridge were at risk of flooding.

But it also identified that, as of 2011, the borough required up to 13,000 homes over the next two decades – which the council said was likely to be reduced to fewer than 7,000 as a result of developments over the past five years.

Under its call for sites, three major schemes emerged elsewhere in the borough. These include up to 5,000 homes on the site of the East Malling Research Centre, plus several thousand properties for an extension of Kings Hill.

The sites will be put to public consultation this September. Cllr Howard Rogers, the borough’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Infrastructure, said: “The Interim Sites Assessment is not any indication or guarantee that sites will be included in the Local Plan.”

He added: “Sites having potential at this stage will be subject to public consultation and will be considered in more detail later in the process, when planning merit can be applied.”

For a full list of the potential sites, visit www.tmbc.gov.uk/callforsites

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