The application to erect a new telecoms tower 40 metres from Grade II* listed Claxfield Farmhouse, in Claxfield Lane, has been withdrawn.
The planning officer ruled that the replacement mast with 5m height increase plus extra antennae and dishes would further exacerbate the visual intrusiveness of the existing mast - causing harm to the setting of listed buildings in Lynsted.  It did not appear from the submitted information that any alternative, less sensitive sites were investigated prior to submission.
 
The officer advised that the application would be refused, unless it was withdrawn - which it then was.  We all want better connectivity, of course, so hopefully they will find an alternative location that is less obtrusive.
At the Annual Parish Meeting on 25 September, we had an excellent introduction to CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) by Lynsted resident Simon White.  This follows the recent installation of a defibrillator at the Black Lion pub in the heart of Lynsted.  The Parish Council is now organising a hands-on 'Heart Start' course, which will be run by Simon who is an Instructor at Heartstart UK.  
 
The course covers:  heart attacks, cardiac arrest, CPR, defibrillators, choking, bleeding and recovery position.  The date is Saturday 21 October at Lynsted Church.  There will be two sessions.  10am to 12.30 and 1pm to 3.30.  If you would like to attend, please email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  - indicating whether you would prefer morning or afternoon.
 
The course is free of charge, but we are requesting a donation of £10 per person to the British Heart Foundation.  
 
Because of limited capacity, we regret this particular course is only open to residents of Lynsted with Kingsdown Parish. 
The Planning Inspectorate has dismissed an appeal by developers against Swale Council’s decision to refuse permission for houses to be built on land to the East of Cellar Hill in Lynsted.
 
In his judgment, Inspector John Felgate ruled the development would cause harm to the character, appearance and significance of the Cellar Hill and Greenstreet Conservation Area (CA), and to the settings of the many listed buildings in the immediate vicinity.  This was due to the loss of the site’s undeveloped nature, and the visual contribution that the site makes to these heritage assets.  
 
As such, the scheme would conflict with Swale Council Policies CP8, DM32 and DM33, which together seek to sustain, preserve and enhance the significance of heritage assets and their setting - and all features that contribute positively to a CA’s special character or appearance, including the layout of streets and spaces. 
 
The Inspector acknowledged that the potential harm to designated heritage assets would be ‘less than substantial’, but nevertheless real.  NPPF paragraph 199 requires that great weight is given to the conservation of heritage assets.  Whilst the proposed scheme would have some public benefits - in the form of housing provision, a net gain in biodiversity plus economic and social benefits - these were outweighed by the identified harm to the CA and listed buildings, and their significance. 
 
In terms of design, the Inspector considered the scheme for five new homes to be in many respects exemplary.  The individual designs are tasteful and well detailed, and the layout would make for an attractive overall grouping.  However, he considered that to judge the scheme only in these terms would be to disregard the positive value that the site currently brings to the CA and listed building settings. 
 
The appeal site lies within 6km of the Swale Special Protection Area (SPA), which is designated under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017, because of its importance for birdlife.  The Inspector ruled that the lack of mitigation for the development’s potential impact on the SPA added further weight against the scheme. 
 
He concluded:  "The development would not harm highway safety, or the character and appearance of the countryside, or of Cellar Hill as a rural lane, but all of these matters are neutral.  Overall, despite the District’s need for more housing sites, in this case the conflict that I have found with the development plan is not outweighed by this or any of the other material considerations.  The appeal therefore fails and is dismissed”.
 
The full Appeal decision can be found HERE
 

Further to the letter sent to Burlington Property Group (ATTACHED), we have now received a response from their Land Director.  He has confirmed that they will no longer be pursuing the site to the west of The Street - so won't be submitting a planning application.  Below is his letter:

 

Hi Julien

Thank you very much for your email and attached letter. We are grateful to you for undertaking such an extensive survey.

Having reviewed the content, I agree that the message is very clear.

As a Team, we believe that this is a real shame as our proposals represented an excellent opportunity of turning a locked off inaccessible field into a multifunctional accessible and usable amenity space for local residents, whilst also delivering much needed new homes and community facilities. We would also have investigated the potential for infrastructure upgrades for the benefit of the community.

As mentioned, without community support we will no longer be pursuing the site so won't be submitting a planning application.

I would like to thank you and Marion for your willingness to engage.

Many thanks

Nathan

Residents have voted overwhelmingly against plans to build houses on land west of The Street, opposite The Vallance.  The Parish Council conducted a survey following the presentation by Burlington Property Group in June.  
 
The results were emphatic, with 85% saying the plot should be left as it is.  There was little interest in the community hall, with 60% saying “none of the above” when given a long list of attractive-sounding facilities that could be included.

Four fifths of respondents didn’t want any houses built there at all or thought the number of houses was too many.  Nearly 90% said the landscape and appearance of Lynsted would be made worse, whilst 84% said their general enjoyment and quality of life in the Parish would deteriorate.
 
Burlington have stated they would only proceed if they had full support from the local community.  Given the findings of the survey, the Parish Council voted unanimously at an Extraordinary Meeting to reject the proposals.  We have now written to the developers requesting confirmation that they will not progress any further with plans for this site. You can read our letter HERE

Burlington Property Group presented outline proposals to over 50 residents on Saturday 24 June for land West of The Street in Lynsted.  This is the field where the village fete used to be held, opposite The Vallance.

The Parish Council has carried out a survey seeking resident feedback.  The questionnaire is attached HERE and the survey has now closed.  The results have been analysed and the findings will be published soon.   

A public meeting has been arranged this Saturday (24 June) so residents can discuss the plans for a new housing development on land West of The Street.  Drop in to Lynsted Church any time between 10am and noon.

At May’s Parish Council meeting, Burlington Property Group presented their outline proposals for the field where the village fete used to be held, opposite The Vallance.

They are planning eight or nine homes.  They say they are keen to work with the local community to address the concerns raised in 2015, when a similar scheme was put forward but not progressed.

They are looking to retain the green space facing The Street, making this an open area for use by residents.  They state the new houses to the west of the site would take into account the character and appearance of the area and nearby listed buildings.  There is also the potential for a community facility.

Please come along to find out more. 

The latest issue of the Parish Council newsletter is now out and dropping through the letterboxes of Lynsted and Kingsdown.  There are updates on the latest planning issues, including news of a drop-in session this Saturday (24th) at Lynsted Church between 10.00 and 12.00.  Burlington Property Group will be presenting their proposals to build houses on the old fete field, opposite The Vallance.

You can read the newsletter HERE

A full Ofsted inspection at Lynsted and Norton Primary School has underlined the “significantly” improved quality of education at the school since its last full inspection in 2021, where it was rated as ‘Inadequate’. The new rating is ‘Requires Improvement’, but Headteacher Catherine McLaughlin, who took on the role in September 2021, says the school is on the right path with clear actions of how to make further improvements.

In a letter to parents and carers she said: “We are really pleased that the inspectors recognised the progress that the school has made and have now taken us out of serious weaknesses.

“The inspectors could see that we all have a shared commitment to improving the quality of education at the school and the progress that we have made in developing the curriculum.” She thanked the staff, governors and Trust team for working so hard to enable the school to now be on such a positive journey.

Following the inspection carried out in March this year, Ofsted rates the early years offering as ‘Good’, stating “teachers and support staff have a clear and shared understanding of what children need to know and be able to do to be ready for Year 1”. They highlight the “nurturing environment’ across the school, but the report suggests that further improvements could be made: “While pupils now follow a broad and balanced curriculum, there is more to do to ensure that all pupils achieve well across all subjects.”

The school became part of Our Community Multi-Academy Trust in May 2021, and made changes to leadership and staff. Ofsted commended their new approach: “School and trust leaders, as well as those responsible for governance, share a clear and ambitious vision. They aspire to provide pupils with an excellent education in their village school. They want the school to be at the heart of the local community. Those responsible for governance provide leaders with strong support and challenge so that the school continues to make progress towards this shared vision.”

At our recent AGM, the Chairman presented his report on the Parish Council’s activities over the past year.  Once again, housebuilding dominated our agenda with applications off Lynsted Lane and Cellar Hill both being referred to the Planning Inspectorate.  We continue to work on analysis of pollution in the Parish and responded to the Government’s consultation on air quality - one of only four Parish Councils in the entire country to do so.  We’ve also been taking action to improve traffic safety in Lynsted and Kingsdown.  You can read the full report HERE