First strike at Haysden in battle of Green Belt
by Andy Tong | 7th February 2019
A PLANNING application has been made to build 125 new homes next to Haysden Country Park in Tonbridge.
The scheme is part of a project for 480 homes on the site around Lower Haysden Lane, which has been included in the draft Local Plan.
The wider South Tonbridge development has attracted fierce opposition because it will eat into the Green Belt. This is supposed to act as a buffer zone between built-up areas and open countryside.
The draft Local Plan demonstrates Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council’s development strategy until 2031.
It was submitted to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire, on January 24.
The area at Haysden had already been identified in the council’s previous plan, in 2007, when it was set aside as ‘safeguarded land’.
'This will cause increased pollution. Do we want to cause further health issues for our young students of the future?'
The current proposal includes provision for infrastructure to serve the new community, with a two-form entry primary school and pedestrian and cycle links.
This features new access on to Lower Haysden Lane and the Country Park.
Under the draft Local Plan, for developments of 11 homes or more, 40 per cent will have to be affordable housing.
The council would not comment on the Haysden application but said this stipulation could not be enforced until the draft plan is adopted later this year.
Councillors David Cure and Peter Bolt have been going door-to-door and claim that the majority are opposed to the 480-home plan.
Cllr Cure said: “I and many of my Judd ward residents are opposed to the loss of this vital Green Belt.
“It is adjacent to the award-winning Haysden Country Park, and any housing development will have an adverse effect on the wildlife.
Among the planning documents submitted, there are appendices relating to the presence of birds, bats, reptiles, badgers, dormice, great crested newts and water voles.
Cllr Cure added: “It will cause additional traffic on an already congested Brook Street and the roundabout on Quarry Hill.”
“This will cause increased pollution on a road with The Judd and Hayesbrook Schools, a special school and West Kent College.
“Do we want to cause further health issues for our young students of the future?”
The plot identified by Hallam Land Management Ltd follows the boundary of Hayesbrook and its playing fields, and skirts the boundary of the park to the west.
'It is adjacent to the award-winning Haysden Country Park, and any housing development will have an adverse effect on the wildlife'
A design and access statement claims the site will be ‘actively protecting and managing existing ancient woodland as a community asset’.
The company says there will be ‘enhanced biodiversity’ and notes the creation of a safe pedestrian approach to the Country Park.
Around 20,000 responses were received during the consultation process for the draft Local Plan.
The council will publish full details of the public examination including all comments received online in the next six weeks.
To view the application ref 19/00014/OAEA visit publicaccess2.tmbc.gov.uk/online-applications