Plans for three ‘huge’ homes on edge of ancient woodland set for approval

TRIPLE UP: The new homes, as proposed by the developer Photo: Beau Architects

A bid to replace one bungalow with three ‘huge’ houses on the edge of ancient woodlands in Southborough is set to be approved, despite numerous public objections that the development will wreak havoc with traffic in the already congested area.

The development in contention is on the Ridgewaye, Southborough, on the edge of Brokes Wood, a protected area of ancient woodland. It currently houses one bungalow.

Although 35 objections have been lodged against the plan, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (TWBC) has said in a report that the proposal would result in the delivery of ‘sustainable development’. The Council also did not believe that the development would be ‘significantly harmful’ to the neighbouring properties.

A previous application in 2018 to flatten the bungalow and replace it with four new homes was rejected by the Council’s planning committee, which said at the time that the site would be ‘cramped and overdeveloped’.

However, the new plans for three, four-storey homes with basement levels built into the slope of a hill, are being treated more favourably this time round.

One local resident wrote to the Council to express his fear of increased hazards on the highway and the danger it posed to current local residents. He had concerns about the viability of the junction between the Ridgewaye and Hillcrest, saying that the area had already been ‘developed to capacity’.

“The development of the flats overlooking the Ridgeway playing fields had resulted in congestion at the junction of Ridgeway and Yew Tree Road, which was horrific at peak times,” he added.

Several residents wrote in to argue that the submitted plans also ignored a hedge at the entrance that limited the ability of passing drivers to see the driveway to the plot, resulting in ‘zero visibility’.

“At this point, it is too late to see an oncoming vehicle and there would be a collision,” one complainant wrote.

Another concern expressed was that the three houses were huge, at four storeys high and five bedrooms each.

Beau Architecture, writing on behalf of the applicants for planning permission, said: “Although overall the proposed dwellings contain four storeys of accommodation, care has been taken in the design of the elevations and roof treatment to ensure that from no vantage point will they appear more than two-and-a-half storeys.”

Beau Architects said: “The scheme will improve the character and quality of the existing site for both people and wildlife by replacing existing areas of hardstanding with additional soft landscaping to encourage biodiversity.”

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