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HOUSING: Traffic fears over 840 homes plan off Hermitage Lane

Friday 6th December 2019

OPPONENTS to a plan for another 840 homes off Hermitage Lane have criticised the council for approving “more traffic mayhem” for the area.

Allington’s borough councillor Dan Daley has written an official complaint to Tonbridge and Malling Council over the way planning officers secured councillors support for the development of fields opposite McDonalds Drive-thru.

He says a photograph of a traffic free Hermitage Lane presented in support of the homes depicted the road as “some sort of country lane” and local representations about the “grid locked” state of the roads were ignored.

Cllr Daley and Aylesford Parish Council spoke against Gladman’s plan, that was recommended for approval by planning, but just three councillors - representing Aylesford and Burham – voted against.

Cllr Daley said: “There wasn’t a single car, van or person on the road in the picture, which, I suggest, must have been taken at four in the morning.”

He also raised the issue that the National Planning Framework of 2012 made clear local voices would be heard and coalescence of development should be resisted.

“Unfortunately, this framework also provided councils without about 300 paragraphs of how this could be avoided and now we will have not a blade of grass along the A20 from Maidstone to Borough Green.”

He joined the area’s prospective Parliamentary candidate Tracey Crouch in describing the plan as “barking mad”, with a proposed bypass “emptying the contents of the new estate and some 900 cars” – on to the inadequate Poppy Fields roundabout.

He said: “The council made no mention of the proposal to double production and vehicle movements at the incinerator on the 20:20 estate and the bridge that means the road off the roundabout can’t be widened.

“The traffic problems here will now simply get worse and worse. If this roundabout blocks, the whole of Maidstone blocks.”

Criticism of the decision also came from Ditton, Larkfield as well as Aylesford, with its chairman John Balcombe “gobsmacked” by the decision.

“It is an understatement to say we are disappointed that borough councillors and TMBC officers could not understand the implications of this massive development in an already gridlocked Aylesford.

“It seems the aim of officers and the leader of council was to secure a deal with Gladman’s for a contribution to build a ‘Magic Roundabout’ at Quarry Wood. What it has failed to see is that this in itself will not tackle the fundamental issue of where all this traffic disperses to.”

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