Plans resubmitted for ‘wrong’ estate on village farmland

Revised plans have emerged for more than 100 homes on village farmland – despite a previous attempt being rejected as “nonsensical”.

A renewed bid to build 125 homes on farmland adjacent to High Knocke Farm in Dymchurch has been launched.

CGI shows what a house with 125 houses could look like. Image: RDA Architects/Redbridge Estates

It comes less than a year after a similar 132-home project was refused planning permission, a decision developers are still appealing against.

Critics called the previous project on the 15.5-acre site – which had been farmed for 30 years – “disastrous”, citing environmental issues and pressure on infrastructure.

But in documents submitted to Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC) as part of updated plans, developers Redbridge Estates said they had taken steps to allay concerns.

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Firm bosses said: “The proposed indicative layout has several character areas separated by strips and landscape areas which reduce and minimize the scale and impacts of the development as a whole.

“While the council’s position on housing supply remains marginal and delivery is still falling short of the delays to Otterpool Park, there is a need to ensure a robust supply of new homes in a range of suitable locations across the borough. [sic].

“The number of flats has been reduced from 132 to 125. Although this is a modest number, the removal of these units has had maximum impact, allowing the scheme to be opened up with large sight perforations which further separate groups of flats.

Previous plans for homes on the site were rejected. Image: RDA Architects/Redbridge Estates Ltd

“We recognize that there are sensitive issues that need to be balanced. However, the revised proposals are well informed and we strongly believe that the multiple identified public benefits of the latest proposals outweigh any limited perceived degree of harm.”

If all goes to plan, there will be 15 two-bedroom flats, along with 22 two-bedroom houses, 48 ​​three-bedroom and 40 four-bedroom properties.

Twenty-eight would be classed as affordable – equating to 22.4% of the estate, but in line with FHDC planning policy which states that a minimum of 22% of homes should be classed as affordable.

The offer is only an outline request – this means that specific details such as layout, landscaping and designs will be dealt with later.

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With a population of 3,750, Dymchurch could be set to move in a further 668 people if Redbridge’s forecast models for the estate are correct.

The complex is located about 400 meters from the center of the village itself.

Farmland in Dymchurch, next to High Knocke Farm, could be developed with 125 new homes. Image: Hill-Wood & Co (Kent) Ltd/Redbridge Estates Ltd

Redbridge first submitted plans to build 132 homes in December 2021 – on land owned by East Stour Developments – which were met with more than 100 objections.

Despite councilors recommending that the proposal be approved, the planning committee rejected the plan in June last year after it deemed the original proposal to be “unacceptably detrimental to the visual amenity of the area”.

The committee added: “Location [the] the proposed development located outside the built-up settlement edge, together with its scale, would have a significantly adverse urbanization impact on the free landscape, out of character and disrupting the sense of openness that characterizes the area.”

Planning agents for Redbridge Estates say the decision has since been appealed to the Planning Inspectorate and is ongoing.

However, he added that the applicant wanted to “engage further with the local planning authority and members to ensure a positive decision at local level”.

Commenting on the application, neighbors Mr and Mrs Eden, who live in the nearby Fairways Estate opposite the site, said the houses would “be a blot on the Dymchurch landscape”.

CGI shows what new housing estates for Dymchurch could look like. Image: RDA Architects/Redbridge Estates Ltd

They also argued that the work would lead to the “destruction of the natural environment” that “local residents and our tourists alike value”, and expressed concerns about overcrowding and further burdening GPs.

Council documents show others complained the estate stripped the coastal village of its identity.

“We fully believe that this application, if granted, will be a disastrous decision,” the Newmans wrote.

“We are in danger of losing Dymchurch.

“People have been visiting the village for years, despite all the picturesqueness the village has to offer.

“If this development goes ahead we will lose our identity and visitors will stop.”