Controversial Dairy Crest site plans get approval

Infinity Haydon Kirby

Plans to redevelop the former Dairy Crest depot on St John’s Road into 58 modern homes have been given the green light by the borough council.

As reported in the Times last week, the proposed development had been met with vocal opposition from neighbours and the chairman of the Tunbridge Wells Civic Society.

In total 158 objections to the new development were submitted to the council, with the height of the development, its aesthetic impact and its contribution to congestion among the issues raised.

But records of the planning committee reveal the council had ‘no objection’ to the proposed development, adding: “The scale, layout and design of the development would respect the context of the site and preserve the visual amenities of the locality.”

In total only two of out of 17 members of the council’s planning committee voted against the proposals, which had been submitted by London based developers Ashill.

Approval of the development was also made easier after the council removed a previous requirement to preserve the Methodist Chapel, which part of the depot occupies, last year.

Despite acknowledging the chapel was one of ‘moderate significance’ and a ‘non-designated heritage asset’, the council felt the need for further housing in the community outweighed its loss.

Commenting after the decision to approve the plans, Ashill’s managing director, Ben Boyce said: “Following extensive consultation with residents, local community representatives and officers at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, we are pleased that the Committee voted to approve our proposals which will deliver a high-quality residential development.

“The plans represent an important opportunity to deliver much-needed new homes, many of which will be affordable for first time buyers, whilst rejuvenating a site which forms part of the gateway into Royal Tunbridge Wells.”

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