The Doubleday’s trying their luck with Stones Farm

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21 Nov 2009
The Doubleday’s planning consultants Paul Sharpe Associates LLP have requested that the Parish Council take part in a consultation exercise on Stones Farm.

Our response is contained below

Paul H Sharpe
Paul Sharpe Associates LLP
The Old Rectory, Broad Blunsdon, Swindon SN26 7DQ

Dear Mr Sharpe,


With regard to the preparation of a Development Brief for Stones Farm, Bapchild Parish Council offers the following comments.

Firstly we must make it absolutely clear that the Parish Council does not support the development of this site. Secondly we must stress that we feel that it is rather premature to be discussing this site as major factors that will heavily influence the final design and layout of such a site if it were brought forward have not yet been determined or even undergone the public consultation which is mandatory. Finally having spoken with Swale Borough Council it is as we suspected far too early to determine whether or not the Borough Council will meet its current housing targets and therefore require this site to be developed.

Obviously this presents us with some difficulties, with the final route of the Northern Relief Road not yet even at consultation stage and therefore the specific citing of road junctions, open space and the required landscape buffers not known, we can not at this juncture provide any meaningful dialogue on any of these key factors.

We understand that it is a requirement of this site should it be brought forward to provide a significant landscaping buffer between the development and the public open space, which we wholeheartedly support.

Recent housing developments in Swale have raised some key issues, particularly in relation to adequate parking provision. This leads to increased parking on pavements which are the cause of many complaints from residents, pedestrians and traffic users alike. It is abundantly apparent that recent exercises in government planning strategy to reduce traffic by decreasing parking provision have been an unmitigated failure.

If this site were to be developed, we would like assurances that sufficient provision has been made at local primary and secondary schools at the point at which development commences to cater for the increase in demand that will follow. Bapchild and Tonge primary school is over subscribed and to our knowledge so now is the Sittingbourne Community College. It is not sufficient for increased provision to be made post completion of the development.

We would expect that a development of this size provide a number of community facilities such as a fully equipped children’s play area. We also believe that such facilities might be better placed within the development rather than on the public open space as we are conscious that children may be forced to cross a road that could potentially be the Northern Relief Road. Obviously this has further safety implications which we would be happy to discuss subject to the outcome of the final route of the Northern Relief Road.

We would require that all open spaces, play areas and other facilities be adopted and maintained by the Borough Council in perpetuity.


Andy Hudson
Bapchild Parish Council