Swale Borough Council has decided not to submit the Local Plan Review to the Government Planning Inspector.

Instead, they will go back a stage and launch a new Regulation 18 consultation which allows residents more say over the contents of the Local Plan.

The draft document that will now be scrapped contained proposals to build around 1,400 houses in Lynsted and Teynham - plus a bypass south of the London Road in Lynsted Parish.  

These plans attracted major opposition from local residents and Parish Councils.  There were a total of 734 individual comments on the Teynham Area of Opportunity (TAO) - of which 93% were clearly opposed.

The summary of issues raised in the consultation, prepared by the Council’s officers, noted the perceived lack of compliance with SBC’s Statement of Community Involvement and the absence of evidence such as air quality and transport modelling to support the Lynsted bypass.

Other concerns included insufficient infrastructure plans, harm to the natural and built environment, and lack of clarity with no defined sites or boundaries.

A high number of residents were angry at the amount of development proposed on greenfield sites, particularly agricultural land.

Kent County Council had also noted that critical highway evidence was either missing or inaccurate, and that there had been limited opportunity for residents to influence the type and scale of growth in Teynham.

"Lynsted residents are highly relieved that the weight of argument against the Local Plan has been acknowledged.  By going back to a Regulation 18 document, the community can properly debate the issues and options, instead of only being allowed to comment on technicalities such as soundness and legal compliance,” comments Julien Speed, Chairman of Lynsted with Kingsdown Parish Council.

"We will have to wait and see what the new plan contains.  We fervently hope Swale Council has now recognised that the TAO is undeliverable and that it will be removed from the next iteration of the plan.

“SBC rejected garden villages in the earlier draft plan on the grounds of residents' objections, but the numbers arguing against the TAO were far greater.  To exclude the TAO from the new plan would carry no shame. On the contrary, it would be democracy at work”.

The new timetable is for the Issues and Options (Reg 18) consultation to take place in October and November, with a revised draft Local Plan (Reg 19) to be published in February of next year.
Kent Online have reported on the news here:
Julien Speed adds:  “Swale Council can legitimately argue for lower housing targets based on need and deliverability.  We would like to see them challenge the Government and make the case for fewer new houses”.