Highsted Park Environmental Impact Assessment
Bapchild Parish Council has responded to Swale Borough Council with regard to the applications by Quinn Developments for an opinion on whether an Environmental Impact Assessment should be provided in the event of a full planning application for Highsted Park. There were two separate applications (details are provided below) but they both form part of the overall Highsted Park proposal. Please see below for the response which has been uploaded onto Swale Borough Council Planning Portal.
Application Ref: 21/500836/EIASCO
EIA Scoping Opinion –
Proposed development of up to 1250 residential dwellings up to 1ha of
commercial floorspace/land, retail, learning, non-residential institutions and
community uses, the provision of open spaces, woodland and greenspace, highways
and infrastructure works, including new junctions onto the Northern Relief Road
and the A2, and associated roads at Land to the West of Teynham. Demolition and relocation of existing
farmyard and 2 workers cottages.
Address: Highsted Park Land to the West of Teynham London Road Teynham Kent.
Application Ref: 21/500819/EIASCO
EIA Scoping Opinion – for proposed development of up to 8,000 residential dwellings and up to 33.2 Ha of commercial floorspace/land, retail, learning, non-residential institutions and community uses, the provision of open spaces, woodland and greenspace, highways and infrastructure works, including new junctions to the M2 and the A2, and associated link/relief roads at land to the south and east of Sittingbourne.
Address: Highsted Park Land South and East of Sittingbourne Kent.
Bapchild Parish Council Response to both Applications
1 We consider it vital that the environmental implications of this proposal are fully and rigorously assessed and that the following issues are carefully considered:
2 The proposal is not part of the current Local Plan where the housing needs have been assessed and sites identified to meet the targets. In the current plan there is no proposal for completion of the Northern Distributor Road nor a new Southern Link Road to the M2.
3 Road infrastructure and the impact of such traffic growth on congestion, air quality and noise.
The Parish Council believes the availability of public transport in reducing the number of traffic movements is not being achieved and this is particularly relevant when the Local Authority approved on 22 Dec 2017 that 600 homes to be built at Stones Farm Bapchild. None of these dwellings have been constructed and this will further exacerbate pressure on the A2 through the Village.
Please can you consider the travel plan and traffic data for Stones Farm was prepared in 2014. We have already asked Swale BC to have this information updated to reflect the situation in 2025 when the development is due to be completed.
Swale Borough Councils own declaration of a Climate Emergency also means we must move to a strategy of making any new developments sustainable and does not further diminish people’s health and the environment they live in.
Since the Travel Plan was submitted the following Bus Services have been discontinued.
The Arriva 333, which runs between Faversham and Sittingbourne, was axed as of Monday, 4th January 2021
The provider no longer run a No.7 service and the No.8 service is approximately every 2 hours during working/school hours.
As the schemes Travel Plan is now 6 years old since the data was collected can we request this information is re-validated to ensure it is still relevant to maintain the sustainability of this development and those now envisaged in the new Local Plan.
We note the comment from Highways England of ‘the apparent reliance of all related proposals on a new M2 junction’ and endorse their request to be consulted on all Highsted Park related applications.
4 Air Quality – rigorous examination of the impact of increased air pollution from pollutant emissions from vehicles.
5 Loss of Agricultural Land – assess the impact of the loss of high grade agricultural land and orchards further reducing our ability to grow our own food and to support our local farms and rural businesses.
6 Loss of distinctive landscape views and local character environments. This goes against SBC’s own Landscape designations including important countryside gaps, Tonge Conservation area, several listed buildings and rural lane designations.
We endorse the comments from Kent Downs AONB that ‘the ES should include an assessment of both the direct and indirect impacts of the proposal on the special characteristics and qualities of the Kent Downs AONB’.
7 In view of the already struggling local systems including healthcare, schools, water systems, leisure/community facilities, light pollution and additional environmental problems with rubbish and pollution, the impact for existing residents must be assessed so that their quality of life is not diminished.
Responses uploaded to the SBC Planning Portal Wednesday 10th March 2021.