Feedback to Hallam Land

Perry Court Farm Development

 Response to Hallam Land Feedback Form http://www.perry-court.co.uk/PerryCourtComments.pdf

Before I give you my response I need you to understand that I have no financial interest in this development. My only interest is my care for the historic and proud town of Faversham. I am not against progress and development, as these are essential to the well-being of the town and area.

Question 1: Housing requirement in Swale

The answer to whether there is a need for housing in Swale is obviously yes but the question should have been should it be situated at Perry Court Farm. The answer to that question must be no. This is prime agricultural land and must be kept as such. One of the site land-owners agrees that it is prime agricultural land.  In this country we need to be producing more of our own food to take away some of the reliance on food imports. Indeed the land could be used far more productively than it is now in terms of food production, especially as Kent has a favourable climate and has always been seen as ‘The Garden of England’.

The idea of building housing in the form of estates is rather out-dated because of the problems associated with estate housing and the ghetto-isation of a community who will feel isolated from the population of Faversham.

Dwellings should be built within the present town-envelope including the reoccupation of accommodation over shops, and on brown-field sites of which there are a number in the designated development areas north of the A2.

Hallam Land state that there is evidence showing a need for a greater level of house building. Please furnish me with this evidence.

Question 2: Employment in Faversham

Of course many people work outside of Faversham. That is the case now and it always will be. People work in London, Sittingbourne and Canterbury. Faversham is a commuter town. Are you saying your little employment site will change this? There are any number of small and quite large vacant employment sites around the town and borough. I understand that M&S will be closing their distribution centre in Oare quite soon in favour of the London Gateway Distribution Centre. This will be a site appropriate for quality employment opportunities or better still housing.

Question 3: Hotel

This is indeed illustrative as no concrete research has been undertaken. I was told at the consultation meeting that no talks have been made with any hotel company. A hotel in Faversham designed to attract tourists must be situated within Faversham not on the Perry Court site. A hotel here would be for over-night stops off the motorway but there is no need for a transit style hotel. Traffic heading for the tunnel mainly uses the M20 and traffic will not stop in Faversham if it heading for the ferry terminal.

There are already numerous hotels and B&Bs in Faversham town centre and surrounding areas, all of which will be badly affected by the building of a hotel on this site.

If determined essential for the town a suitable site for a tourist hotel in Faversham would be on the present GMM Weston site. I am hearing GMM Weston will soon be vacating this prime site overlooking the creek and the town.

Question 4: Care Home

Perry Court Farm is totally the wrong place for a care home. Residents of a care home need a quality environment where they can enjoy a peaceful garden free from motorway noise and the attendant pollution. They are not all deaf and many will have breathing problems. The prevailing wind in this area is from the M2 onto the Perry Court site. Residents should be within easy walking distance of the town centre without the need to use public transport. The word ‘care’ is paramount. Faversham has a care home in the centre of the town and once again I am hearing that it might be closing. Swale should be supporting such a home and not be looking for another site. I was told at the consultation meeting that no talks have been made with care-home businesses. At this stage why has this not been carried out?

Question 5: Development Layout

The plan that was displayed at the consultation exhibition and on the Perry Court website is purely illustrative and will have very little bearing on what the site might look like if permission is granted. Therefore I cannot comment on the design except to say that you appear to have ignored the contours of the land and the quite considerable height variations.

Question 6: Scoring questions (see pdf)

All of these 4 points are important and can only be scored 5 in each case. However, these points are important for Swale and not Perry Court Farm. Just because I score each of these 5 (most important) please do not get the idea that I approve of a Perry Court Development.

Question 7: Other comments:

7.1 This proposal flies in the face of advice presented to Swale in 2010 by Jacobs Engineering UK Ltd.

http://www.swale.gov.uk/urban-extension-landscape-capacity-study-june-201/

I quote from this report:

Study Area 5 South West Faversham

Capacity to Accommodate Change.

To respect the rural character and largely rural approach to Faversham it would not be appropriate for development to extend significantly to the south of The Abbey School toward the M2. Neither would development be appropriate immediately south of the listed Oast Houses in order to retain its setting and relationship to the adjoining landscape.

7.2 Access to the Perry Court Farm site:

The Ashford Road at peak times is already under great pressure and the number of extra vehicle movements would result in ‘grid-lock’. Provision of traffic lights at the Ashford Road/A2 junction rather than alleviate problems would exacerbate the situation and cause a back-up of traffic along the A2 and into the town. This road must be kept free-flowing because of the siting of the fire-station. Recently, at 9am, I observed a traffic queue along the A2, from the Ashford Road junction all the way to Ospringe. This happens quite often even without the extra traffic this development would generate.

The Brogdale Road is entirely unsuitable being a country lane. Having access into the Perry Court Farm site from both the Ashford Road and the Brogdale Road would result in a ‘rat-run’ being established.

Has permission been given to create vehicle access to The Abbey School site?

With the Ashford Road access point being so near to the M2 slip road, at peak times there could be a back-up of traffic onto the motorway itself.

7.3 Devaluation of Properties on the Ashford Road:

One of your ‘consultation’ exhibition members of staff said that it is not possible to measure how much properties will be devalued. He is wrong. This is indeed measurable relative to current property values. However, I can see that if Hallam Land do this piece of research you will be needing to pay compensation. The member of staff had obviously never stood at the door of any of the Ashford Road houses as he was quite unaware of their view and how it might be affected.

7.4 Schooling:

Ethelbert Road Primary School is full and has no room for growth. A development of the size proposed should include provision of a primary school plus a community hall, doctors surgery and shop. As an ex-teacher I consider having green fields surrounding the Abbey School conducive to creating a calm and safe environment for learning.

7.5 Health Care:

The present doctors’ surgeries are at capacity.

7.6 Housing:

Will provision be made for affordable housing? Do you recognise the definition of affordable housing?

What provision will be made for car parking? 438 houses x 2 cars average per household = 876

7.7 Utilities:

Although a new water pipe has recently been installed along the Ashford Road, have you looked into the actual supply ie the water reserves in the area. Houses along the Ashford Road are not on mains drainage. Why? Although you can join the system at the north end of the Ashford Road, is it adequate?

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In summary I am completely against any form of development on the Perry Court Farm site. Having sort the opinion of many local residents I can assure you that I am far from alone. Hallam Land has totally misunderstood the needs of the town and its market-town character, obviously being unfamiliar with Swale. Hallam Land see this purely as a money-making venture and are using Government planning relaxation and house building guidelines to their own advantage. Hallam Land are using the National Planning Policy Framework as a threat to Swale BC to ensure the application is granted permission. I am confident that SBC will make the correct decision and reject the Perry Court Farm development application as was done in 2011. I am not against change and development. This is essential to maintain Faversham as an economic, vibrate centre, attracting business, home buyers and tourism. According to the Hallam Land map, Swale have identified land to the east of the Ashford Road as land suitable for development. Any significant development on land south of the A2 will result in urban sprawl and the soul of Faversham being drained away as has happened to Ashford.

Many of the questions on your feed-back form have been designed to give you the answers you require to give strength to your arguement. No consultation was taking place at your exhibition. Consultation implies listening on both sides. None of your staff were listening, in fact they were very defensive and rather arrogant being of the opinion that they were right and how could some local possibly have any valid point. I did listen to what they were saying and have formed my opinion accordingly.

Please do not ignore my comments. If Hallam Land is an honest company I consider it your duty to respond, answer my questions and supply me with the information I am seeking but above all end this farce now and leave Faversham alone. We have the necessary local expertise to do what is right for the town.

Dated: Tuesday 16th July 2013