A NEW blanket demand for 80 houses north of Common Mead Lane, Gillingham, has been submitted by developers – claiming it could bring the area Â£ 1.2million.
A similar request was rejected by 5-4 by Dorset Council in August after opposing more than 120 locals, including City Council and two Ward Councilors. Dorset Council town planners had recommended that the request be approved.
The 4-acre site, next to the BUPA Mellowes nursing home off Common Mead Lane, had been set aside for recreational use in the neighborhood plan, although there was never a request to bring it to fruition .
Opponents claimed at the time that the city had already encountered the 2,200 houses the area needed.
Ward Councilor Cllr Val Pothecary told other councilors on the area planning committee that the site was outside the settlement boundaries and in conflict with several planning strategies; had no bus route to town and would increase the risk for pedestrians and cyclists using area roads and lanes, including the nearby Common Mead Lane which many local drivers used to avoid other routes.
Gillingham City Council has raised objections to the overdevelopment, adding that construction at the site would also be detrimental to the setting of Queen’s Farm, associated with the former Royal Forest.
The latest ‘principal’ request, dealing only with site access in detail, comes from Fairfax Acquisitions Ltd and says it hopes to build 60 homes on the open market with 14 ‘affordable’ homes for rent and six homes’ affordable ‘for sale.
An agent for the company said the new app has changes to reflect comments made at the August meeting. These include using an adjacent field of similar size to the application site for what is claimed to be a 10% “net biodiversity gain”, adding grassland, maintaining hedges and planting. new hedges and trees and maintaining the site as a ‘wildlife corridor’.
Access to the site is offered off Common Mead Lane, a Sustrans cycle path,
The developers say that if approved they will make payments of around Â£ 1.2million to help local indoor and outdoor sports facilities, pay Â£ 6,200 for each eligible home towards places school, Â£ 720 per house for health contributions, Â£ 38,900 to improve public rights of way and additional contributions to library and bus services.
Public comments on the application, reference 2021/04019 on the Dorset Council website, remain open until 12 November.
If the framework request is approved, all project details will be submitted for planning agreement at a later date.