Revised comments following discussion at Newington Parish Council meeting on 26 July 2016
Application:  16/501266/HYBRID  99 High Street And Land To The North Of High Street Newington Kent ME9 7JJ
Proposal:  Hybrid application for demolition of 99 High Street and erection on the site of 99 and land to the north of the High Street of 113 No. two storey 2, 3, and 4 bedroom dwellings with a new access road from the High Street, formal and informal areas of open space and landscaping, car parking and amenity space, and outline planning permission (access and layout) for the erection of a single storey building for any use within Use Class D1, together with car parking.
Application Received:  Monday 15 Feb 2016
Application validated:  Tue 08 Mar 2016
Status:  awaiting decision
(NB  Local Development Framework Panel, 19 May 2016, allocated site.  Further discussion at NPC Planning Committee meeting proposed for Wednesday 13 July 2016)
 
NB   Application 15/506158/ENVSCR  Land Lying North High Street Newington Kent ME9 7JJ
Application 29 July 2015: EIA Screening Opinion – 100 houses with associated recreational open space
Decision, 6 October 2015: Environmental Impact Assessment Not Required.
 
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We wish to make further comments to those submitted on 24 April in light of the revisions to the original proposals.  Our comments follow a Newington Parish Council Planning Committee meeting on 13 July which was well attended by concerned residents of the Village.
 
Newington Parish Council acknowledges that Persimmon Homes have listened to the concerns raised by local residents and the revised application seeks to mitigate some of those issues.  However we believe the overall concept is flawed and unacceptable, so no revisions could make the proposals palatable to the people of Newington.
 
The planning application is not sustainable.
The village economy means that residents would all travel to work adding further congestion to the A2, suffering the diminishing rail service or the poor bus service, which does not run at all late evenings or on Sundays.
The environment would suffer due to the loss of farmland and because of building outside the accepted built-up area of the village and adjacent to the High Street and Church Lane Conservation Areas.
We are concerned at the social effect.  Newington Primary School is at capacity.  In spite of the best efforts of Persimmon it seems KCC are determined that S106 monies would go towards Regis Manor School, opening the prospect of 4-11 year old children being bussed to school outside the village.
 
Concerns about drainage and sewerage remain.  Residents of properties to the north of the A2 have experienced flooding after heavy rain over several years, resulting in sewage washing over their gardens.  We question whether the measures proposed adequately address the problem and are concerned that these properties and the proposed development would be protected against future flooding, especially as the road and housing infrastructure would mean the loss of natural drainage through the current farming land.
 
The A2 cannot bear further traffic and the proposed traffic junction is unacceptable.  The publishing of the Highways report (26 May) was delayed for 6 ½ weeks but people have now had the opportunity to consider its proposals.  We are sceptical about the conclusions contained in it.  Even if the vehicle trip rates were to prove accurate the additional traffic would add to the already unacceptable peak-hour delays at Key Street – with the £94k contribution rate doing nothing to alleviate the problem there, or onward to Sittingbourne or the Stockbury roundabout.  Traffic travelling westwards will contribute to air pollution in the village before reaching the peak hour congestion in Rainham; a problem that will only increase with new housing developments in Rainham. Although Moor Street has now been declined at appeal there are several more developments in the same area, some traffic from which will also travel eastwards through Newington and to Key Street.
 
Newington Parish Council does not believe the proposed road junction would be safe:  it might allow two cars to pass on the carriageways whilst a third waits to turn into the proposed development, the inclusion of a lorry or bus would block the A2.  The A2 is an ‘A’ classification road of ‘B’ classification standard.  It is a main bus route, school bus route and is heavily used by HGVs, often en-route to the Spade Lane cold store at Hartlip.  The highways report seems to suggest that, because similar junctions exist, this one would be satisfactory – regardless of how unsatisfactory the existing junctions are or whether they just result from the intersection of historical lanes.  The proposal would mean narrowing the pavements to 1.5m – when a double-buggy or mobility scooter has a 1m width;  we believe this to be an unsatisfactory provision on a main road with houses throughout its length in Newington.  A pushchair and pedestrian could pass with difficulty, two pushchairs could not pass at all without one going into the road.  At all times HGV mirrors would overhang the pavement.
 
This proposal would lead to the loss of best and most versatile farmland – amongst the finest in the Borough and a national asset that is too valuable to lose.  The land north of the High Street is assessed as amongst the finest in the country; it has been the landowners choice to use the fields for a rape crop in recent times, but villagers still refer to ‘the beanfield’ and remember the land as a reliable producer of high-yield quality crops.  Policy ST3 is clear: ‘new development may be acceptable on previously developed land within the defined built up areas or in the case of new services for the settlement and the surrounding rural area, on other suitable sites that do not harm the settlement pattern or character of the surrounding countryside’.