Stones Farm Exhibition

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10 Jan 2010
Exhibition on Stones Farm development to be held at Bapchild Village Hall on 24th January 10-4pm and 26th January 2-6pm rather than 12th and 15th January originally advertised due to the bad weather.

This is an consultation being undertaken by the land owner Doubleday and is being undertaken without the Borough Councils involvement.

James Freeman, Head of Development Services at Swale Borough Council has written to Doubleday's planning consultant, Mr Sharpe stating

"I do not feel this would best achieved by going out to public consultation on what appears to be a draft SPD in January ahead of the road route consultation. This is already causing confusion and concern with local representatives and residents and we have been obliged to inform them that we have had no input into these plans other than the scoping comments."

"I would draw your attention to para 6.2 of PPS12(2008) which states" 

"..where communities or developers wish to use the statutory planning process (ie SPDs) as part of their approach, they should work with the local planning authority from the outset. Developers and communities should not expect to prepare plans independently from the LPA and then have them adopted as SPD."

"I re-iterate the position that whilst the completion of the Sittingbourne Northern Relief Road prior to development of this site may not be necessary,transport assessment as required in the Local Plan to assess the impact of thedevelopment on the A2 is clearly sensible and could indicate the need for phasing of the development in accordance with progress on the road. I do not wish to prejudice the position of the Local Planning Authority in advance of such work being completed; should it show the need for phasing or mitigatory measures. To do otherwise is simply not in the interests of good planning, and could result in the need to refuse a planning application at a very advanced stage."

The Parish Council is therefore unclear as to whether this consultation could potentially become void, because of the failure to work with the Borough Council.

We are reminded of the farcical situation that emerged during the Local Plan inquiry where Swale Borough Council invalidated residents responses to the inclusion of Stones Farm on the basis that it was technically an omission site and therefore not proposed.

Whilst the Parish Council would not suggest for a minute that you abstain from becoming involved, you must be aware that Swale Borough Council will be duty bound to hold an official full public consultation before the development brief can be adopted and we would much rather that you related your concerns directly to Swale if you don't wish to take part in both consultations.
Although the letter has been sent out to some residents in Bapchild the majority of you will not have received a copy. The Parish Council is disappointed that the land owner considers that those living directly adjacent to the site would be interest or indeed effected by this huge development that will undoubtedly change the village for ever.

You can download and view the letter by clicking on the related link to the left of the page.