The Lynsted Cherry Orchard Group have reluctantly decided to cancel their annual Halloween Event, scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday 28 October).  This follows much discussion about the unsettled and uncertain weather forecast which predicts rain during the event and a cautionary Met Office Amber warning for rain/wind.  The organisers apologise for any disappointment caused, but say they have to err on the side of caution at this family event - as the worst case scenario could cause too many issues with children running around in the dark.
 

Thirty Lynsted residents attended a Heart Start training session on Saturday October 21, held in the Church.  We learnt what the signs are of cardiac arrest and how to carry out CPR with chest compressions and rescue breaths if someone has stopped breathing.  We were shown the use of a defibrillator like the one recently installed at the Black Lion.  The session also covered how to deal with choking and bleeding.  It was a highly instructive combination of theory with hands-on training using defib machines and dummies.  The course was over-subscribed, so we now have a waiting list for another session - if interested, let the Parish Clerk know.  The Parish Council's thanks go to Simon White, Heart Start Instructor, who gave up his time free of charge - but £300 was raised for the British Heart Foundation.  

Around thirty residents including councillors attended the Annual Parish Meeting, held at Lynsted Church on 25 September.  Guest speakers were PC Gary Morris from Kent Police and Simon White, Instructor at HeartStart UK.
 
PC Morris attended on behalf of the new Beat Officer for the Teynham & Lynsted ward, PC Kirsten Jones.  He explained the new policing model, which means that every Parish will have a named neighbourhood police officer to deal with on-going and long-term issues.  He emphasised that, to report a non-urgent crime, the best method was online at https://www.kent.police.uk/ro/report - or via the Live Chat button on the same page.  In an emergency, dial 999.  PC Morris encouraged residents to sign up to My Community Voice Kent - a messaging service that keeps the community in touch with their local policing teams. 
 
A discussion followed - with topics including speeding in the Parish, shoplifting and other anti-social behaviour, the recent air rifle incidents and inconsiderate parking.
 
We then 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.   Following this talk, the Parish Council has now organised a hands-on 'Heart Start' course, which will be run by Simon who is an Instructor/Leader at Heartstart UK.  The course covers: heart attacks, cardiac arrest, CPR, defibrillators, choking, bleeding and recovery position and will be held on Saturday 21 October.  This course is now fully booked, however residents wishing to be placed on the list for a future session should contact the parish clerk.
 
The evening kicked off with a presentation by Parish Council Chairman, Julien Speed, on recent PC activities.  The full text can be viewed HERE

The Planning Inspectorate has allowed an appeal by developers against a refusal to grant outline planning permission for houses to be built in Lynsted.  They have granted permission for the erection of up to 10 residential dwellings at land east of Lynsted Lane, which had been turned down by Swale Council's planning committee.

The inspector considered the main issues to be whether the development would be suitably located in terms of its accessibility to services and facilities, and whether the proposal would comply with the Council's settlement strategy.

They acknowledged that the site comprises part of a field of open grassland which sits outside the settlement boundary of Teynham.  However, because Teynham is close by and classified as a Rural Local Service Centre it is considered to provide an “array of facilities” - notwithstanding the lack of “some” health facilities and a secondary school.

The inspector noted the existence of bus stops located a short distance from the appeal site and considered that “reasonably frequent services towards larger nearby settlements” were provided.  They also commented on the existence of Teynham train station which was found to be accessible via an “attractive route of footpaths through residential areas” and also an attractive route for cyclists (despite having to navigate the A2 before reaching Station Road).

Together, these public transport connections were considered to provide an “attractive alternative to private car use” thereby complying with the objectives of the NPPF relating to sustainable transport and availability of a choice of transport modes.

Regarding highways issues, the inspector noted that the evidence provided by third parties (which included Lynsted with Kingsdown Parish Council) show existing conditions on the northern part of Lynsted Lane to be “chaotic and harmful to highway and pedestrian safety”.  Any increased vehicle movements here, arising from the proposal, would be likely to worsen these existing conditions and would entail the loss of existing on-street parking opportunities used by residents and users of London Road shops.  However they were satisfied that “an appropriate solution exists for the works to the highway” and that the proposal “could” accommodate parking spaces to help compensate for those lost.

Whilst there would be additional traffic at the junction with London Road, the inspector considered that the impact would be “negligible”.  They appreciated local concerns that the proposal may form part of an intended wider development including land to the South. However, regardless of intentions, their assessment had to relate to the appeal scheme under consideration. 

The inspector acknowledged that the proposal conflicted with policies ST3 and ST1 of the Swale Local Plan and that it would conflict with the Council's settlement strategy – these being the reasons why Swale’s planning committee refused permission in the first place.

Policy ST3 states that in the open countryside, outside the built-up area boundaries, development will not be permitted unless supported by national planning policy and able to demonstrate that it would contribute to protection and, where appropriate, enhancing the intrinsic value, landscape setting, tranquilly and beauty of the countryside.  Policy ST1 requires development proposals to accord to the Local Plan settlement strategy.

However, the inspector ruled that because Swale does not have a five-year land supply for housing, paragraph 11D of the NPPF prevails.  This stipulates that planning permission should be granted unless any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits when assessed against the policies in the NPPF as a whole.  

Whilst noting significant local opposition to the scheme, the inspector did not consider that the quantum of objections in itself amounts to a material consideration of sufficient weight to dismiss the appeal.

So, although the inspector found that the proposal would conflict with the Swale development plan, they ruled that national policy overrides it. 

Permission was granted subject to conditions (amended by the inspector) already suggested by planning officers. These conditions include the requirement for approved drawings in relation to access;  details of surface water drainage and consumption;  details of cycle parking and additional parking spaces for existing residents;  plus the approval of highways works.

A construction method statement is also required which includes, amongst other things, “methods for dealing with complaints from local residents”. 

The Planning Inspectorate's full Appeal Decision can be read HERE

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